Once apon a time, you could also buy a running VW Beetle or Mini for not much more then scrap metal cost as well. With vintage equipment, they are worth what the market is prepared to pay.I am not a Graphic expert, i don't own one... but i am pretty sure a Super has NO shutter.
Just an all metal construction and marginally improved movements.
Considering that i am going to sell a good "user" Technika III (last version, with graflok back), for about 370 euros, a Super Graphic for 650 USD is quite expensive, bordering the unreasonable, IMHO.
When i am done selling some of my old "toys", i think i will start my personal patient search for a Pacemaker Speed Graphic with graflok back, in perfectly working conditions, with a price limit of no more than 250 USD.
I would prefer finding one for 200 euros, from within the EU, to avoid expensive shipment charges, but the chances are slim.
Probably i am biased (what i need is a focal plane shutter - any Graflex reflex fitted with a graflok back would do as well), but i can't find any good reason for buying a Super Graphic for more than 300 bucks.
If you spend more, then the price approaches the cost of other second-hand cameras with far better features.
I have seen korean copies of the Wista, selling for about $300, but with more bellows and more movements, not to mention the cheap lensboards.
Even a true Wista, or Horseman, would cost just a little more.
The Graphic's have rangefinders though, and that feature made them the queens of "press" cameras.
Nowadays very few Graphic owners use their cameras handheld.
I would do it, if i had one... well, sometimes
I would prefer an adjustable side-mounted Kalart viewfinder instead of the interchangeable cams of the Super Graphic, which are almost impossible to find, even for common focals.
As a matter of fact very few people use their camera that way, and some extremist even strips the rangefinder casing from the camera, to save weight
There are good reasons for being a Super/Crown/Speed Graphic fan, one of them being the price.
That reason is slowly becoming irrelevant, as more and more people decide that "i want it NOW", after reading a Flickr post, or after paying a short visit to graflex.org.
On top of that, too many people want to get vintage equipments in "as new" conditions, without realizing that most cameras and lenses were actually used to take pictures, for all those years.
Most Graphic cameras were professional workhorses, sometimes overused or even abused.
Whatever their aesthetical condition, if they were serviced, or still are in perfectly working state, the pictures they take won't be any different from those made with a spotless camera.
I feel that doing your homework, and becoming aware of market prices (which are different from "asked prices" ), is not only a boon for your own wallet, but also a kind of service to the large format community (which is largely made by amateurs, since a good number of years).
I've just stopped browsing a Christie's "photographica" auction catalogue (year 2000): vintage large format stuff was incredibly cheap, compared with present day prices.
I think that the "i want it now, and i can pay for it!" attitude played a major role in the escalation of prices.
Of course i may be wrong... so i am curious to find out if other people have different answers
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