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  1. #1

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    Advice re: Graflex medium format 120 roll film 6X9 please

    I know I would not have the patience to deal with 4X5 sheets. I know you can get 120 roll film backs for the big Graflex, but why carry around the larger footprint camera. So, I'm contemplating a "baby" Graflex. I thought about a more modern Fuji GSW690, but the bellows camera has a certain nostalgia appeal. My planned usage is to do B&W landscapes in the Western parks ala Adams and Weston. A 50mm lens would approximate a 20mm on an SLR, 65mm approximating 45mm on SLR. I have a Mess Ikonta with 105mm, so I have that range covered. I'd be interested in advice as to which wide angle would be recommended for my purpose and why. I think the 22 and 23 models are the 2X3 120 models. I see some 2X3s going back to the 20's which makes me come up with another potential project to use a period correct camera to photo some of the remaining boom times pre depression buildings. So, what would be the pros and cons of one Graflex 2X3 model over another. What lenses would be appropriate? What components do I need to make sure I get to have a working system? (body, lens board and lens, 120 roll film back, do all backs have dark shades?, do I want barrell lens or with leaf shutter?, etc.) All advice and input will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks

    Jim

  2. #2

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    The earliest 2x3 Graphic was the Miniature Speed Graphic, made from 1938 to 1946. It was replaced in 1947 by the 2x3 Pacemaker Speed Graphic (has a focal plane shutter) and and 2x3 Pacemaker Crown Graphic (no focal plane shutter, shorter body). The Century Graphic (essentially a 2x3 Crown with plastic body) as added to the line in 1949.

    Since you're interested in using short lenses, 2x3 Graphics' minimum flange-to-film distances are: Mini Speed, 58.7 mm; Pacemaker Speed, 61.9 mm; Crown and Century, 34.9 mm. Other pros/cons? The big one is that some, not all, say that the Mini Speed's shutter cloth is less durable than the 2x3 Pacemaker Speed's.

    The shortest easily-found lens that will make infinity on a 2x3 Speed is the 58/5.6 Grandagon. The shortest hard-to-find lens that will make infinity on a 2x3 Speed is the 1.75"/2.8 Elcan. The shortest lens that will make infinity on a 2x3 Crown/Century is the 35/4.5 Apo-Grandagon; this is also the shortest lens that covers 2x3. The 1.75" Elcan covers, if you can call it covering, at most nominal 6x7. If you want to shoot lenses shorter than 65 mm you want a Crown or a Century.

    You can read more about these and other lenses on 2x3 Graphics at http://www.galerie-photo.com/telecha...2011-03-29.pdf . Don't nod your head, download it and read it. Also visit www.graflex.org and read the FAQs.

    Graflex' nomenclature confuses everyone. 22 and RH-12 rollholders are for 12 nominal 6x6 exposures on 120 film; RH-10 for 10 6x7s; 23 and RH-8 for 8 6x9 (really 2.25" x 3.25", 6x9 is a poor metric approximation).

    Lens in barrel or in shutter? Speed Graphics have focal plane shutters, can use lenses in barrel and in shutter. Crown/Century have no focal plane shutter, can use only lenses in shutter.

    Um, y'r equivalence factors are wrong. The 35 mm still frame is 24 mm x 36 mm, diagonal 43 mm. The nominal 6x9 frame is 57 mm x 78 - 82 mm (roll holders vary, some 6x9 fixed lens cameras have gates as long as 85 mm), diagonal 100 mm. So a 65 mm on a 2x3 Graphic with a 2x3 roll holder sees the same view as a 28 mm lens on 35 mm still. There's only one 50 mm lens for 2x3, it is in the Mamiya Press system. Uncommon, expensive. A 47 mm Super Angulon is probably a better proposition.

    Dark slides? Roll holders ship with dark slides, they're unusable without one. Dark slides are lost. The least expensive source of replacement dark slides for Graflex roll holders that fit 2x3 cameras is Graflex 2x3 film pack adapters.

  3. #3

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    Having just recently acquired a century graphic I can say that they're pretty fun little boxes =) Read the faqs, the graflex.org site is gold!

  4. #4

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    I just very recently bought a Graflex XL with 58mm Grandagon, haven't had the chance to put it to use yet, but looks like a nice, portable, well built camera.

    That shoots 6x9, has ground glass with hood for critical framing/focus, or use a finder on top if you want.

    I would say compared to some other wide angle 6x9 cameras, the XL represents pretty nice value.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by thegman View Post
    I just very recently bought a Graflex XL with 58mm Grandagon, haven't had the chance to put it to use yet, but looks like a nice, portable, well built camera.

    That shoots 6x9, has ground glass with hood for critical framing/focus, or use a finder on top if you want.

    I would say compared to some other wide angle 6x9 cameras, the XL represents pretty nice value.
    Its limited. There were three models. XLRF, XL, XLSW. XLRF, thick body with range finder; RF coupled lenses as short as the 58/5.6 Grandagon you mentioned. XL, thick body with no range finder; uses the same lenses as the XLRF. XLSW, thin body, no rangefinder; focus on the ground glass, intended for use with the 47 Super Angulon, which won't focus to infinity on the thick body XLs but can use all of the lenses in the system (won't focus them as close as the thick body will unless the 1" spacer is used) and can be adapted to other lenses. One of my friends spent a small pot of money at skgrimes to have his 35/4.5 Apo-Grandagon put on an XL focusing mount so he could use it on his XLSW.

    Catalog here: http://www.cameraeccentric.com/html/...raflex_19.html

    I handled XLs and read about them when I started thinking about going 2x3. It fits my hands and face poorly, but ergonomics are very personal, what suits one won't suit some others. More seriously, back then many users reported that the focusing helicals were easily broken.

  6. #6

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    Thanks Dan. I've downloaded your pdf. Yep, I have the graflex.org in my favorites and that's where I learned what I do know. The product list on that site shows several 1920's 2X3s. Maybe they were sheet film and a roll film holder won't fit. Anyway, I shall take lots of time to peruse "Unlikely Lenses". Jim

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmccl@yahoo.com View Post
    Thanks Dan. I've downloaded your pdf. Yep, I have the graflex.org in my favorites and that's where I learned what I do know. The product list on that site shows several 1920's 2X3s. Maybe they were sheet film and a roll film holder won't fit. Anyway, I shall take lots of time to peruse "Unlikely Lenses". Jim
    You saw mentions of Graflex SLRs, not Speed Graphics. The Mini was the first 2x3 Graphic.

    Graflex Inc. and precessors' terminology is very confusing.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Fromm View Post
    You saw mentions of Graflex SLRs, not Speed Graphics. The Mini was the first 2x3 Graphic.

    Graflex Inc. and precessors' terminology is very confusing.
    I knew you you would have the explanation. I just finished browsing "unlikely lenses". It will take several reading for me to even begin comprehension. thanks again, Jim



 

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