A lucky find on eBay!
It's nothing for a fierce discussion topic, we'd just thought we'd share this with y'all. (A little hapiness won't harm to counteract the general depression about Katrina).
We own a Pecoflex medium format SLR on a monorail. As the SLR housing is taking up quite a bit of space, we'd thought we'd get a wide angle bellows, so we can use a 150mm lens with movements. Now, as you might know, WA bellows for medium format view cameras are a hard find in general, let alone finding a Plaubel one. We'd figure what we need is the Peco Junior WA bellows, as this camera shares parts with the Pecoflex and with the Makiflex. No luck in months. So we broaden the search, as we are ready to contend with any medium format WA Bellows and adapt it to fit the Pecoflex. Finally, last week an Arca Swiss bellows shows up on eBay. Surprisingly enough, it looks like it could fit the Peco. We ask for measurements, and things are looking good. Even the lens boards would fit. Slowly suspicion creeps upon us. It might not be an Arca Swiss bellows, but in fact a Plaubel one. Even better. We buy it, with the garantee that we can return it if it doesn't fit (good seller).
Out of the box it went straight on the camera. Everything fits exactly as it should. Click, clack, shove, push and everything sits snuggly in place. We are convinced, 'it simply must be a Peco Junior bellows', even though there's no name on it. Only a small sticker with some numbers and letters scribbled in pen, starting with PX.
Hmm, PX....funny, same initials that are on the Pecoflex. Suspicion creeps up a little more... Could this be....and, yes, lo and behold! We bought a special Pecoflex Wide Angle Bellows. A Peco Junior WA Bellows would never have fit on this camera to start with. It sure was a stroke of pure luck to find this needle in the haystack! Needless to say, we wrote the seller an email asking if she happen to have more things with PX stickers on it. One never knows, perhaps she has more things we're looking for, like the special cable release that only fits on this camera and it's other sibling, the Makiflex.
We feel, sometimes the gods of photography make up for things that go wrong on other occasions. Anyone else ever feel that way?
Good deal, congratulations!
That is quite a find!
Every once in a while something fortunate like that happens, like when I purchased a 19" Apo-Artar and it turned out to have the same flange as my 12" Gold Dot Dagor of later vintage, so I could mount them with the same S. K. Grimes adapter ring on the front of my Ilex #5 shutter from my 10" WF Ektar (a very compact way to carry 3 lenses for my 8x10" kit), and then later when I got the 5x7" Press Graflex, the stock B&L 5x8" Tessar could take the same flange, so that lens works on the Ilex #5 and the Dagor works on the Press Graflex, but alas, the Graflex doesn't have enough bellows for the 19" Artar.
Another nice one was when I bought an estate lot for a Sinar F with a lot of accessories, one of which was a 4" gel holder that fits the 10" WF Ektar. The finish on the metal looks the same as the Ektar, so I suspect it's an original accessory.
Hello there at medform-norm,
Searching for PECOFLEX SLR had brought me across your post at this forum. I was searching the topic in hope to obtain any information on MAKIFLEX and PECOFLEX cameras from Plaubel.
I am at the point of my search for the right camera gear where I have realized that there is that ideal camera which is just created for me, sitting somewhere. Currently I am creating a line of custom cameras based on venerable US-built large format Graflex SLRs. This is driven by desire to advance further my own effort to develop a unique style of imagery, that is delivered by custom optics I am photographing with. What I mean is getting farther and farther away from modern tack-sharp rendition toward pictorial approaches, where lack of precision, the work of a chance matter as much as my own vision and skill. My custom cameras are going to be based on 4X5 and medium format. The reasons for that are multiple. Greater, more delicate tonal range than in 35mm, is one. There are other reasons. But the primary one is quest for extremely shallow depth of field that I want for portraiture. Thus, Graflex, thus large format and focal plane shutter, allowing use of the fastest optics. The custom aspect of my cameras is going to be pentaprism viewers, as opposed to the typical chimney finders, for one. But the primary reason for the modifications of stock cameras is giving them freedom of placement of the lens against the focal plane of the film, like with the view cameras. Like the PECOFLEX you are photographing with.
The irony is – half-way into the design and fabrication of the components comprising my unique cameras, I just had to discover that what I am working on … already exists, at least sort of exists. Only three (!) days ago have I found of the very existence of MAKIFLEX and, especially, the PECOFLEX cameras! Some digging through the web resulted, and the frustration followed. Hardly anything! Indeed, I have found a few cameras for sale, mainly with the European dealers, many of whom are completely uncooperative. Emailing from America, I guess, is just asking for trouble… Well, anyway, there are a few cameras I can buy today and ZERO information on them, short of a few pictures here and there.
Now I find your post, and I am appealing to your knowledge and expertise. If you can find a few moments to explain the basic operation of the BOX of your PECOFLEX, I would be immensely grateful. I am interested in how many different versions (models) of the camera exist; what is the exact function of the little knob on the right hand side of the camera, that, obviously, operates the mirror; what is the function of the little knob on the left side of the camera that travels horizontally; how does the automatic aperture work, etc. I noticed that some MAKIFLEX cameras have two shutter speed dials on the right hand side, some basic models have one. I want to know what are the ranges of speeds on both models, what is the X-synch speed and top shutter speed on either. Another very important for my personal approach feature is the openness of the film window to the light rays of the rear pupil of big and fast lenses, like 12” (305mm)/ F2.5 Kodak Aero Ektar. This parameter is very different for each model of cameras. It is largely connected with the overall design philosophy of a camera – whether there was an attempt to seal the camera at the mirror, which engages against a special lip, like in the Graflexes, so that even with fully open shutter, the mirror effectively baffles the light and does not allow any of it reach the film, or – like it is done in most modern day SLRs and in large format MENTOR SLRs – there is no sealing taking place. Mentor is a good example: if you remove the lens board and raise the mirror, you can see the entire square film window from as far as you want, so that there never is any localized vignetting from the internal camera components, typical for shots with the long bellows’ extensions. I want to know, how is this done on a PECOFLEX.
Furthermore, in the dealers’ camera listings I have come across the following camera designations:
Makiflex 9x9 X 90x90
Makiflex MX 1 X 60x90
Makiflex MX 1/01 X 60x90
Makiflex MX 1/521 X 60x90
Are these different models? What is “521”?
I don’t mean to tire you with my endless questions. Whatever information you can share with me, I will greatly appreciate. I too, can be of help. For instance, the very nature of your post – sharing the joy from accidentally finding the wide angle bellows for your PECOFLEX caused me to stop for a moment. I thought, other people must be getting rather desperate in situations like yours. For me personally, this wouldn’t be an issue. I would simply proceed to make myself a set of bag bellows and fabricate two black anodized aluminum flanges for it. The whole thing would have taken me two evenings. In other words I am willing to help other people when my skill can deliver something that money can’t buy. Like my upcoming custom cameras for portraiture…
Thanks in advance for your attention and help.
I don't have the answers to all your questions... BUT I have tryed the MAKIFLEX and I must say it is awesome...
huge and ugly. Like a Hassy on steroroids....
but the 6x9 cm back (rotating, hence the 9x9) is great for two reasons:
1: you can put polaroid back on it, and it will cover almost the whole area.. (normal pol backs)
2: and this is the awesome part: with an adapter, you can actually use LF film cassettes on it.
consider it: you will get square negatives, 9x9cm with rounded corners!!
tell me what other camera does this..
I don't remember the flash syncro time, as the camera isn't here at me now, but if you want, I can get the informations for you..
so you have the hassy system, but with LF negs.. that IS awesome, and fun.
Hey there Gandolfi man!
Yes, totally. You just said what I meant to say. That's exactly the thinking I have done as soon as I saw photos of MAKIFLEX. I love square negs, and immediately pictured fitting my upcoming (I am just becoming certain about it with every minute) MAKIFLEX. As to your "tell me what other camera does this..", - I tell you this: Baby Graflex does just that. People have done this - I saw them fitted with Graflock backs. You will have shutter speeds up to 1/1000s or even faster if you want to crank the shutter up a bit. Plaubel quits at 1/250th. I personally though would machine the corners of the frame so that they are square. You can always "round things up" later, but not the other way around. Although, it is purely a matter of taste. Thanks a lot for your reply. Hm... Hassy on steroids... I say - it would be better. With these things, that are, as you say, huge and ugly, you don't mind using exotic optics, which one typically wouldn't do with a hassie. I think. Except for the venerable "Plungercam" - the inexhaustable source of inspiration for many people. The additional info you are offering will be very welcome. Good luck to you!