FS: Aero Ektar Speed Graphic
ektar.jpgI bought this Speed Graphic Aero Ektar combo recently from a well know ebay seller who specializes in these cameras. It has functioned very well, but my favorite subjects don't sit still, so I have a John Minnicks Aero Liberator on order. SO I won't need this anymore. I am offering it for far less than I paid for it, and am sure someone else will be able to put it to very good use.
It's in excellent condition, and the lens is is incredible condition, with intact coatings, and minimal internal dust. The shutter is accurate but was professionally serviced, it is a little stiff turning to the top speed which I was assured is normal.
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I'm asking for $1350
Check my feedback I've sold some equipment to several satisfied members recently including a Rolleiflex 2.8f and Leica m9P Your equipment will be professionally packed and promptly shipped.
Following is some info from the original seller:
190751997050Kodak 7-inch (178mm) Aero Ektar & Pacemaker Speed Graphic: You’ll be ready to go; all you need is film!
This is another Aero Ektar/Pacemaker Speed Graphic package that I have put together (I believe this is number nine). The photos will show most of what you probably want to know, if you already know about the matching of these two items.
If you don’t, here’s a little history: The Kodak Aero Ektar was made for military air reconnaissance photography during World War II. It was cutting edge for its time, being one of the first coated lenses, and using exotic glass elements. Tens of thousands were made, and after the war, sold as government surplus. It is about the fastest large format lens there is, and is liked for its excellent out of focus areas, or Bokeh. The cameras they were used in during the War were huge, so the lenses have often been matched to the Graflex Speed Graphic camera, which was the choice of camera for American photojournalists from the 1920s into the 1960s. It has its own rear focal plane shutter, with speeds up to 1/1000th.
Please note that two of the images in this ad were taken with this lens through this camera. I used Fuji instant 3x4 pack film in a Polaroid 405 holder (not included in the auction). I had the included polarizer filter on the lens for the outdoor ‘tiny town’ shot (the effect is greatly enhanced by using the front tilt movement on the Speed Graphic). The polarizer acted mostly as a neutral density filter: f/2.5 in sunlight is too fast for even the 1/1000th of a second the camera provides, at least at ISO 100, which I was using.
The photo of the clock shows the amazing ‘bokeh’ of the Aero ektar, even when not using movements. I focused on the tip of the minute hand. The squares on the bottom of the photo are one inch across. The light leak visible in this photo was a mistake I made, not a problem with the camera! The color is a bit off because of the lighting I used, not the lens. (Both photos were scanned on the bed of my cheap printer, so they don’t look their best.)
The 4x5 Pacemaker Speed Graphic included in this auction is, in my opinion, the best camera to use with the Kodak 7” (178mm) f/2.5 Aero Ektar lens. The Pacemaker was the latest model made with the rear focal plane shutter, which is what makes it possible to use this venerable lens, as the lens does not come in a shutter of its own. This camera includes the versatile Graflock* back, which allows the easy use of a variety of film backs. This Speed Graphic also has the side-mounted Kalart Rangefinder, which can be adjusted to get very close to accurate with this lens (I've gotten it fairly close, but not spot-on). Personally, I’d still recommend using the ground glass to focus, since the depth of field is so narrow with this lens at f/2.5. I’ve adjusted the focal plane shutter according to the Graflex repair manual, and it is snappy and light-tight. I tested it with my electronic shutter tester, and it’s very close. I've done this on many of these now, and the fastest settings are always a bit slow (1/1000 is about 1/800; 1/500 is about 1/400). The slower settings are very close to accurate (within 1/6th stop by my tester).
The Camera is in fantastic mechanical shape; everything works as it should. It is also in excellent cosmetic condition, as the photos will show. I had to grind away a bit of the light trap on the front standard of the camera to get this huge lens to fit, but it does not show, and has no effect on the camera’s use. Any other lens on one of the standard lens boards will work just fine. The camera also comes with the quick release on the belt/handle. This makes it easy to get the handle out of the way so that the camera can be mounted in portrait mode, using the tripod mounting hole on that side. There is also a metal plaque glued to the inside of the bed, with a serial number and 'USDA: Forest Service' printed on it. I thought of removing it (I'm sure it would be easy), but then left it. Maybe there's a Forest Service fan out there who'd want it.
The glass in this lens is as good as I've seen in any of these (and I've had about 20). No scratches, haze, fungus, or any other optical issue. They all have a bit of internal dust, but this one has an advantage over others: the rear cell will unscrew, so I was able to blow most of the dust out. (These are usually sealed up tight, since they were used in shaky aircraft in combat zones, and no one wanted them to shake apart).
The diaphragm works fine, and I had the rear cell sitting between two ultraviolet lights for a couple of hundred hours to remove the yellowing stain that often happens to these as they age.
A photo will show that, unlike many of these, this lens does not come with an aperture scale (and as far as I can tell from the lack of screw holes, it never had one). There are scratches on the side of some threads that match up to a line on the side of the lens. I measured, and these accurately mark the f-stops: 2.5, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, and 16. The reason to own this lens is for what it does wide open, but accurately stopping down is still possible. There is an original lever that makes this easy to do.
I typically make an adapter to fit these to the Speed Graphic, but this one came already mounted to a Graphic board. I think this type of mounting is the best: sometimes Aero Ektars are mounted in tubes that hold them out from the camera. This allows their use without modifying the camera (as I described above), but it puts a lot of strain on the front standard, and the lens tilts downward. This lens nearly balances within the front standard, since much of the lens goes inside.