4x5 rangefinder lives again

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by ronald_moravec|1, Mar 19, 2007.

  1. I saw Valerie Plame, the CIA operative, testifying in front of some
    congressional commitee yesterday. Off to her right about 5 feet and slightly
    to the rear was a Washington photog with a Speed Graphic. All I could see was
    a hugh lens, top mounted RF, and the guy removing his dark slide.

    Look very carefully if you catch the news clip, as he is almost hidden.
    Considering the 24hr news cycle, it will not be shown again.

    He was not in the crowd with all the white lenses to her front.
  2. Although I did not see the report, I suspect that the photographer was David Burnett, a distinguished PJ for many years. I believe he is working quite retro, enjoying the selective focus his 4x5 provides. If I recall correctly, he's been on the major campaign trail for the last couple of years.

  3. it's probably David Burnett.


    and at this NY Times page:
  4. Didn't glimpse the ghost of Joe McCarthy hangin' around did you?
  5. Yes, I noticed the Graflex too. I was surprized to see such a big lens on it.
  6. Probably a Zeiss Biogon. They perform very well wide open, but are big and offer a relatively small image circle.
  7. The lens is a Kodak Aero Ektar 178mm f/2.5.

    Here's a shot of him with the camera:

    Also see about 1/3 down on this page:
  8. That is sooo cool! Gd to know some people still put those excellent tools to good use!
  9. I have one (not with that aerial photo lens though)and it is a great camera, but hasn't been used since the 1970's. But it IS a rangefinder. Both focal plane and Compur shutters. Needless to say the focal plane shutter is not as quiet as an M3. With a dark slide, Burnett was using the Compur shutter.
  10. saw it. Very groovy.
  11. I was incorrect. Barnett's lens set up appears to use a focal plane shutter unless he has a custom built mount that included a Compur shutter. My Dad worked as a film development test engineer for EK's Film Testing Division during WWII. Film breakage was a constant problem for the electronic film drive aerial recon cameras until a camera heating system was developed. For a period of time the AAF stationed a B25 in Rochester for testing installations of cameras, lenses and film emultions and transport systems. One of the EK Kodak Park building roofs had one of the largest resolution test patterns used up to that time. Rochester winter altitude camera/film test runs were no fun.
  12. An they are still doing air to air from B 25`s. The rear guns and enclosure is removed and the camera aimed rearward.

    I saw this done in Kalamazoo Michigan several years back. The air musiem has has a F4 Wildcat, F5 Hellcat, F7 Tigercat, and F8 Bearcat. I saw them all takeoff and form up behind the B 25 for sunset photo. This is the sole place in the world where one can see all the Grumman cats in one place.

    The man who flew the F4 came from the hangar to the airplane dressed in a WW2 flying suit and short grey crew cut. Word was he was a real F4 combat pilot from the war. This was middle 1980`s
  13. The dark slide is irrelant as to to which shutter he is using. If he has a dark slide entered
    into the holder (or whatever) he isn't going to get an image-- period. The dark slide
    protects the film holder, nothing else.

    If you are going to use the focal plane shutter, then you need to be sure that the BTL
    shutter is open (or you have a barrel mount). You set the FP completely separely for
    speed, but it is in front of the slide, just like the Compur or whatever.

    If you're going to use the compur BTL shutter, then you need to set the Focal plane shutter
    to be open, which will depend on which model you use. Later FPs have a specific setting or
    you can improvise. Earlier FPs I'd have to look.

    The easiest way to use an Aero Ektar is with the FP, but it's not necessarily the best for low
    light imaging. Remember a 30th isn a thirtieth but a continuum of 1/30s across 4 inches,
    top to bottom.

    The f/2.5 aero ektar isn't designed for a BTL shutter, but it's been done and there are
    variations if you're a good machinist or Grimes is doing your machine work. Compur is
    just guessing and not likely. Grimes suggests an Ilex Number 5 shutter is whtat works

    I have a collection of Graphics - and worked with them.But I don't have an Aero Ekta. The
    camera is a Graphic.Graflex is either the brand name or an SLR, whatever. If you're going
    to use both shutters, you must be carefull to keep one open. I don't now offhand what the
    practical lower end shutter speed is for FP, but I do know, you can inspect 4x5 if it needs
    to be pushed (B&W) and you've got the bigger imae.
  14. Joe, your post is 100% accurate. The slow speed shutter travel time can result in an interesting distortion if the object like a race car is moving at high speed right to left as it is being exposed. The image has a distinct lean. I recall an early race photo by "Lartigue"? where the wheels ended up as ovals and the car body was leaning into the direction of travel. Neat effect of speed better than a blur, but I have no idea how to duplicate the shot. Where would you ever go to get 4x5 film packs and development?
  15. Christopher,

    You'd probably develop it at home. I suspect most 4x5 shooters do so. I know I do. Local lab can scan the negs and print OK. Or I can scan the neg in pieces and stitch it together in PS.

    I've seen posts from people telling where to get 4x5 proccessed in big cities, and I *think* my local labs have told me they can do it too, but I have no firsthand experience with lab-processed 4x5 film.

    Doug Grosjean

    Rural NW Ohio

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