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.

Dmitri Serdukoff
Boston, USA