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  1. #1
    David H. Bebbington's Avatar
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    Help wanted with Super Speed Graphic

    I already own 5 Graphics but have just acquired a 4x5" Super Speed Graphic. It is in solid usable condition but has the following parts missing:
    1) Track lock lever
    2) Battery compartment cover
    3) Detent button for revolving back
    4) Maker's ID plate (inside front bed).
    These are nuisances rather than disasters, except that the battery compartment cover also stops dirt getting into the rangefinder. As the e-bay seller did not mention these points, I feel I have good cause to return the camera if I wish.

    I have 2 questions:
    1) Do I have any hope of finding the missing parts?
    2) Is the Rodenstock/Graflex Optar lens in the 1/1000 sec. shutter a desirable collector's item? It is in very good shape but has no normal flash contact and takes a non-standard filter size, so I probably would not use it much. I also understand the shutter is not very robust.

    All advice welcome!

    Regards,

    David

  2. #2
    Pragmatist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David H. Bebbington
    I already own 5 Graphics but have just acquired a 4x5" Super Speed Graphic. It is in solid usable condition but has the following parts missing:
    1) Track lock lever
    2) Battery compartment cover
    3) Detent button for revolving back
    4) Maker's ID plate (inside front bed).
    These are nuisances rather than disasters, except that the battery compartment cover also stops dirt getting into the rangefinder. As the e-bay seller did not mention these points, I feel I have good cause to return the camera if I wish.

    I have 2 questions:
    1) Do I have any hope of finding the missing parts?
    2) Is the Rodenstock/Graflex Optar lens in the 1/1000 sec. shutter a desirable collector's item? It is in very good shape but has no normal flash contact and takes a non-standard filter size, so I probably would not use it much. I also understand the shutter is not very robust.

    All advice welcome!

    Regards,

    David

    David, you might call or email Midwest Photo (http://www.mpex.com). They have a large stock of Graflex parts. Check resources on Graflex.org also.

    I have heard that someone makes a replacement battery door. The rest is quite specific, and may be somewhat difficult to find (pricey too!!!).

    The Super lens has good optics, however, the cocking mechanism and other internal shutter parts are made of plastic. Notorious for crapping out. It's much better to replace the lens if it is funky with a more common tessar, or a modern lens. Cam outlines for your own manufacture can be found Rich's site on:

    http://www.southbristolviews.com/
    Patrick

    something witty and profound needs to be inserted here...

  3. #3
    joneil's Avatar
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    I've used my Super Speed Graphic for many years without the battery cover or the track lock, and never a problem. You might want to replace / fix the button for the revolving back however. That one could be problematic in the long run.

    As to the missing name plate - hmm- yeah, I think you can live without that.

    As for the lens, optically good, shutter mechanism is crapola. I dumped mine becasue it would work sometimes, fail others.

    Good luck, either way

    joe

  4. #4
    juan's Avatar
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    Conventional wisdom on the shutter is to avoid 1/1000. As Patrick said, the internal parts are plastic (I think nylon) and after 40 years, they are generally worn. Fred Lustig in Nevada once rebuilt these shutters, but he had a stroke a few years ago, and I'm not sure if he's back at work. He has lots of parts. Unfortunately, he has no Internet access - one has to deal with him by snail mail. His address is somewhere on graflex.org.

    Good luck,
    juan

  5. #5

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    [QUOTE=David H. Bebbington]I already own 5 Graphics but have just acquired a 4x5" Super Speed Graphic. It is in solid usable condition but has the following parts missing:
    1) Track lock lever
    2) Battery compartment cover
    3) Detent button for revolving back
    4) Maker's ID plate (inside front bed).
    These are nuisances rather than disasters, except that the battery compartment cover also stops dirt getting into the rangefinder. As the e-bay seller did not mention these points, I feel I have good cause to return the camera if I wish.

    I have 2 questions:
    1) Do I have any hope of finding the missing parts?
    2) Is the Rodenstock/Graflex Optar lens in the 1/1000 sec. shutter a desirable collector's item? It is in very good shape but has no normal flash contact and takes a non-standard filter size, so I probably would not use it much. I also understand the shutter is not very robust."

    As others have pointed out, the camera is probably useable without the missing items but I think I'd try to return it because of them.
    The battery door will set you back $39.00 from MPX. If the whole metal lever to release the revolving back is missing I would reject but if it is only the little plastic tab that was at the end of the lever on some of them it wouldn't bother me.
    The lens have a bad reputation but part of that comes from mis-use. The later ones are suppose to be much more sturdy than the first production.
    Incidently the 1000 shutter uses standard series 6 filters - the lens hood comes off when you rotate it counter clockwise.
    I currently have 3 Super Graphics and have had 5 over the years. They are strudy and compact. My personal experience with the 1000 shutter has been excellent but I only use it occasionally and it would not be my first choice for an only lens with this camera. I would get a 135 or 150 Ronar in a Copal shutter.
    Good luck in Super Graphicdom.
    bart

  6. #6

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    I don't know when Fred had the stroke, but he overhauled a roll film back for me a little over a year ago. I had to wait because he had been hospitalized. Maybe that was the stroke... I thought it was a blood clot in the leg.

    As said already, the battery door is available. Having one would be nice, especially if you plan on using the electric release. Without batteries in place, however, it won't stay put. The only part that you are missing that I'd consider important is the revolving back lock.

    Re: the super speed shutter... put it on a shelf as a museum piece. too unrealiable and pretty nearly unfixable. Look for a 135 Optar in Graphex shutter and use that. They are frequently seen at the auction site. If you can find one on a Super Graphic board you can use the electric release mechanism. Otherwise you'll need to use a cable release. I don't think you can put the regular Graphex shutter on the SuperSpeed board but I may be mistaken.

  7. #7
    David H. Bebbington's Avatar
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    Thanks to all respondents - very useful information. Re filters - I had discovered that the "lens hood" comes off, but the filter thread is not a common metric size, anything else is hard to find here in Europe.

  8. #8

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    Alot of times the wiring from the bodies button to the electric board would be bad, so if it is, just use a cable release.

    Fred's been back to work for awhile now that I know, but he had the business up for sale before his stroke. Guess he can't sell it or he gave up.

    I sold my Super years ago which was a mistake, but then my $100 Crown is lighter, but with no revolving back. A quick release handles that.

  9. #9

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    David-
    No threads at all. Series filters were/are "Universal" once you have the adapter. On the Super G. it is built in.
    bart

  10. #10

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    A bit late... And all good answers so far. I would add...

    If you want to use the 1000 shutter, you can synch through the body pins on the lower right side of the body. I outlined how to make a cable for this on the graflex.org site.

    My personal opinion on that 1000 shutter? I saved my working one as a collector's item as I wanted it in working condition. I know people who do use them. I've heard stories of them blowing up... I've also heard stories of "plastic gears". I have two and both are completely metal inside with no signs of plastic anything... The optics are great and if you don't mind saving a blown shutter as a collector's item, then use it. From what I've heard, the 1000 speed is the dangerous one. Anything below that seems safe. I really prefer the 135 Nikkor W on my Super. Best lens I've seen. Finding Super boards to mount lenses is a major problem (and I'm still in need in case anyone has spares).

    I would say 'good luck' in finding the parts. I've kept my eye open for years and they rarely show up. Fred may have some but from what I've heard he doesn't like just selling parts.

    I don't know what you paid, but if it was my camera, I would get the battery door and batteries from mpex ASAP to test the electronics. If that failed, I would return it. If the electronics, wiring, bellows and rangefinder are good, then it would depend on price and general condition.

    The only real annoyance would be the locking arm. I do use that quite often myself.

    If you paid a low price and don't care about the electric shutter release or rangefinder use, then it sounds like a keeper...

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