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  1. #1

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    New to large format and feeling exceedingly dumb

    Hi, folks.

    I tried searching for this, but as I am still learning all the proper terminology I may have missed previous threads. That said, please excuse my ignorance.

    I've just been gifted an old Speed Graphic (still trying to determine what model it is, but the serial is 447446) along with a Polaroid Land Camera back for it. Everything seems to make sense, but I'm trying to figure out if there's a piece missing. When I look through the shade and ground glass, I only see inside the camera body (for example, I see the darkness of the bellows and the lens itself, not the image that I should be seeing). Is there a piece missing that goes in between the ground glass and the camera body?

    Thanks in advance for any help!

  2. #2

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    This may sound like a ridiculous question, but is the shutter open?

    Also, is the ground glass really ground, not just a clear pane sitting there as a placeholder for some strange reason? It doesn't seem like you should be able to see the back of the lens through a ground glass, unless you're putting a lot of light through it from the outside.

    If you have a lens in an open shutter, a dark space, and a ground glass, you should be seeing an image---I can't think of anything that would interfere.

    -NT
    Nathan Tenny
    San Diego, CA, USA

    The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
    -The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_

  3. #3

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    Shutter is definitely the open, but I think I've discovered the problem now that you mentioned something about a clear pane. The ground glass was broken at some point and repaired with some sort of wide, clear tape and that's right in the middle of the glass. That appears to be the problem.

    So, I guess that brings me to question number, 2 ... how big of a repair is broken ground glass? : )

  4. #4
    shutterfinger's Avatar
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    What you have is an early Pacemaker Speed Graphic, 1947 to be exact. www.graflex.org > cameras > Graflex Graphic Model History > Pacemaker Speed Graphic = http://www.graflex.org/speed-graphic...d-graphic.html
    Rear shutter must be at O, front shutter must be open via the press to focus lever, locked open on B with a locking shutter release cable, or open on the first trip at T to see light from the lens on the ground glass.

    User manual: http://www.cameraeccentric.com/html/info/graflex_5.html

    Ground glass replacement is an easy task. The ground side always goes toward the lens.


    http://www.cameraeccentric.com/html/...raflex_12.html will tell you what you need to know about leaf shutters used on these cameras.

  5. #5
    winger's Avatar
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    If you're willing to say where you are, there might be someone nearby who knows enough about Graphlexes to help out.

    I ended up adding LF because of the enablers, um, I mean, other members here. They've all been a great resource for figuring out new areas of photography.

  6. #6
    Ken Nadvornick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billy_pilgrim View Post
    So, I guess that brings me to question number, 2 ... how big of a repair is broken ground glass? : )
    Depends on if you have someone make one for you, or if you make one yourself. Professionally made ones are not horribly expensive, depending on your definition of horribly. And they usually come with nice grid lines, and sometimes mask lines for smaller formats such as 6x7 or 6x9. They may even come with a fresnel lens which is designed to brighten up the image on the screen considerably.

    Possibly the best professional true glass (not acrylic) hand-made screens are available at this link (and you will not find a nicer person to deal with than Steve Hopf):

    Hopf Ground Glass

    But making one yourself is also not at all difficult. Click on this link to see an article written by a fellow APUG member who has posted do-it-yourself instructions:

    Making a Ground Glass Focusing Screen by Ian Grant

    The word is that Ian's method produces excellent screens.

    It's also worth mentioning another fellow APUG member 'laser' (Bob Shanebrook) who has posted classified ads in the past (most recently on 7/24/12) offering original equipment replacement fresnel screens for Graflex cameras that already have a working ground glass. I can vouch for these personally as I purchased a beauty from Bob for my own 4x5 Pacemaker Crown Graphic.

    Ken
    Last edited by Ken Nadvornick; 03-18-2013 at 07:12 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    "Hate is an adolescent term used to stop discussion with people you disagree with. You can do better than that."
    —'blanksy', December 13, 2013

  7. #7

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    Thanks, everyone, for your replies. This has all been incredibly helpful. I'm in Philadelphia, and I need to add that to my profile. Thanks for all the links, shutterfinger and Ken!

  8. #8

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    I made a ground glass using Ian's method. It took a few iterations (grinding on the same piece of glass) to get an even texture. But, as the saying goes, so easy a caveman could do it. I used rock polishing compound (medium then fine) because I had some laying around.
    "Far more critical than what we know or do not know is what we do not want to know." - Eric Hoffer

  9. #9
    Fixcinater's Avatar
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    I've just recently (last few months) have gone down this same path with an Anniversary Speed from '43, and the feeling dumb part has not gone away completely yet. Just exposed a couple sheets to light the other day because I still haven't settled on a system for marking/knowing film holders are empty/loaded/exposed and thought they were empty.

    Keep at it, one of the guys that helped me get into it had a motto: if you get any images from the first box of film, be proud you got *something* as there's a whole heck of a lot more to go wrong than with 35mm/MF.

    I got a bunch of Fuji instant film to experiment with and that has helped my confidence level, and helped me go through the shoot routine many times to get some memory built up. You might think about that, if you have the pack film back and not the roll film back.

    Pack film back (image from Wikipedia commons):


    Roll film back (image from Wikipedia commons):

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fixcinater View Post
    I've just recently (last few months) have gone down this same path with an Anniversary Speed from '43, and the feeling dumb part has not gone away completely yet. Just exposed a couple sheets to light the other day because I still haven't settled on a system for marking/knowing film holders are empty/loaded/exposed and thought they were empty.

    Keep at it, one of the guys that helped me get into it had a motto: if you get any images from the first box of film, be proud you got *something* as there's a whole heck of a lot more to go wrong than with 35mm/MF.

    I got a bunch of Fuji instant film to experiment with and that has helped my confidence level, and helped me go through the shoot routine many times to get some memory built up. You might think about that, if you have the pack film back and not the roll film back.
    The camera came with that instant film back, and that's my exact plan. Just ordered a few boxes of Fuji fp-3000 and plan on shooting with that for a good while and scanning the negatives (I love the look of those).

    Appreciate the advice!



 

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