5x7 Speed Graphic
I have a 5x7 Speed Graphic that I shoot with a few times a year. It's an odd ball size camera and the lack of movements really don't allow much control. I use it like a point and shoot honestly.
But for the life of me I haven't been able to find ANY info about them online. I know mine was made in 1933 by the serial number, but it seems like the 5x7 is the model Graflex wanted to forget. Why was the run so short on these cameras? Seems like I'm the only one who uses one based on the lack of into online.
I suspect the preference for 4x5 film in news photography made sales weak.
Have you visited www.graflex.org? If you haven't, you should.
There's a mythical non-existent Graflex serial number book. The latest 5x7 Speed Graphic serial numbers I could find in it were assigned 8/1/1940. It appears that very few 5x7 Speeds were made. The reason has to be very weak demand.
War-time production was entirely for the War Department, which seems to have bought no press cameras or Graflex SLRs larger than 4x5.
I have a 5x7" Press Graflex (SLR), which I understand was a very popular camera for news gathering around 1915 or so, and it was made until around 1920. There were plate and film holders for it, and I suspect it would have been an attractive format for contact printing purposes in a typical American broadsheet, which would have been 15" wide (so a 5x7" is half the page width, allowing for margins), plus the negs could easily be retouched. 5x7" rangefinder Graphics in the 1930s might have held out the same appeal for newspapers that were set up to work in this way.
i worked for a portrait photographer who shot weddings in the 30 / 40s.
she used 4x5 pre annys for candid shots and for the formals she used
her 5x7 speed. 5x7 was one of the ideal portrait formats, easy to
proofs, easy to retouch with leads and easy to enlarge.
probably after the war when color film was more commonplace ( and mf used more )
the need 5x7 speed graphics became a relic of the past.
Look for this book: The All-American Cameras, a Review of Graflex®, Richard P. Paine, A Photographers Place, Inc. 133 Mercer Street, New York, NY
It is discussed and includes a photograph on page 58.
When I was a teenaged photo rat (long long ago), I knew Mr. A. B. Miller, a crusty former photographer for The Jackson (MS) Daily News. He told me of shooting one of the many delta floods with a 5x7 Graflex SLR. The part I remember most was: "The only @$%$$%^ thing I liked about that *^^$$%^$## was you could fold it up and sit on it."
And indeed one can sit on it. It's surprisingly well balanced for such a big box, and very quick to focus with it's rack-and-pinion focusing track.
I haven't been using it lately, but here's an old favorite with the Press Graflex:
Well, I have and use earlier 5x7 speed, the one with smaller lens board. Great compact camera on the go, if I don't feel like hauling Ansco Universal around. As the FP shutter is working OK, I can use whatever old glass that fits onto tiny lensboard.