A quirky little camera

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by rod_larson, Jun 20, 2013.

  1. The Graflex Graphic 35 can trace its beginnings back to the "Cee-ay 35" introduced by the Candid Camera
    Corp. in 1949. A few were produced when Ciro bought the design and renamed the camera the Ciro 35.
    Graflex, in an attempt to break into the 35mm market bought Ciro in 1951. Graflex continued to produce
    the camera until 1954 when they redisgned the camera in 1955 and renamed it the Graphic 35
    A range finder, the Graphic had two viewfinders. On for the split image rangefinder and one to frame the
    shot. It also sported a Prontor SVS shutter with speeds of 1sec. to 1/300 sec. and B. The lens was a 3
    element Graflex Graflar 2.8/50 made by Rodenstock.
    The camera is a little wierd to use. Focusing is done by two black plastic pushbuttons operated by the
    forefinger of each hand. A very fast method of focusing. The shutter release is the lever on the left side
    of the shutter and is operate by the middle finger of the right hand. This can cause the camer to rotate
    about its axis and can easily ruin a shot if you are not careful. The shutter has to be cocked manually by
    a lever on top of the shutter assembly.
    Over all the build quality and optics are excellent and is fun to use once you get used to it. Despite all this
    the design was already obsolete and it could never begin to the Japanese cameras comming into the
  2. Here is a photo of some wreckage from a collapsed bridge.
  3. some more bridge wreckage.
  4. At least the oldtimers are happy to see a classic camera while the younger crowd hasn't got
    a clue.
  5. Don't know what happened but here bridge wreckage.
  6. And the oldtimer who appreciates classic cameras.
  7. I confess I've been looking to buy one of these, but they always seem to be missing one or two of the plastic focus buttons.

    They are pretty funky though.
  8. You're luck to have such a tidy example, Rod. They fetch a good price, these days, mainly because of their quirkiness, I suspect. I have one of the later Kowa-built versions, but it's all gummed up, both focus and shutter, and a major resurrection seems hardly viable. As Rick observed, copies with both of the plastic focus buttons are hard to come by. The images seem fine; the camera had a good reputation, in it's day. Nice pic of the camera, BTW.
  9. I always wanted one of these, as I like quirky cameras. Yours is much prettier than the usual examples I've looked at, by far. As much as I like the idea of the camera, it's easy to see why Graflex disappeared as a company. A knob wind 35mm film camera w/ a fixed lens, manual cocking shutter, and two window focusing in 1955 was just too much to overcome.
    The chrome Diogenes is wonderful. Contrasty little lens on the camera.
    That bridge is an excellent public sculpture. They should just leave it there.
  10. Nice shots with that funky camera. It's
    interesting that you posted this as I
    currently have a Century 35A making
    its way across country to me. Hope it
    works as well as yours seems to.
  11. Great camera and great work with it.
    You'd have thought the Americans and Europeans would have seen the writing on the wall (Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin, etc.), wouldn't you?
    Some of the contemporary Kodak cameras have the same general appearance. As you say, comparing them to at least some of the early 50s Japanese RFs is like past and future.
  12. Ironically, it may have been built for Graflex by Kowa according to http://www.graflex.org/graphic-35/
  13. In Marc's inexplicable absence, here is an ad for the Graphic 35:
  14. And in the same issue of Popular Photography, what then passed for an equipment review.
    A higher standard was set a few years later by Keppler and Modern Photography, but in 1955 this was it.
  15. Dang, I just realized, I'm being sucked in again. Will my helper in Camera Collector Anonymous please call me to intervene.
    Sorry, Rod.
  16. Thanks for posting this Rod because that's one camera that I have never seen. It is a funky looking beast but it looks really well finished and looks to take great pictures as well. Do you know what happened to that bridge? And the old timer looks like I feel!
  17. Rod, I just bought your camera's older sibling today at an estate sale. It is a Ciro 35 with the Graflex name on the back. It isn't as nice to look at as yours. The lens is in really good condition and the shutter speeds seem to work. It also came with a Graflash which works, just not on camera. The camera wont fire the flash bulbs but it works if the contacts are shorted. Mine has the 50mm f/3.5 graftar lens. I plan on taking it out for a test run this weekend along with a couple of other classic older cameras. I have a Voigtlander vitomatic II and a Braun Paxette super II that I have not shot with yet, so I think all 3 will get used. Thanks for sharing photos of and from the camera. It motivates me to get out and use my older cameras when I see how good the results can be from a classic.
  18. I had hoped to respond earlier but the thunderstorms that rumbled through last night caused
    power failures that kept me from lurking on this site last night. Withdrawal is a tough thing to
    go through.
    Rick - Post a photo of your camera. I would like to see how they compare. If yours is just
    dirty it should not be too difficult to get working again.
    JDM - I found the reference to the Kowa made Graphic 35. There seems to have been two
    models, one with the Prontor SVS shutter and one with the Seikosha MX shutter.
    Mine has the Prontor SVS shutter. I removed the back cover and it has "Made in USA"
    printed on it but the shutter and lens were obviously made in Germany. Maybe Rick
    can look at the back cover of his example and let us know.
    Thanks for the additional info. It is very interesting. I didn't know there was a CCA.
    My wife would like me to join.
    The plastic buttons were molded right onto the metal focusing levers so there is no replace-
    ment available. I have hatched a plan that involves a block of parafin was, some epoxy
    resin material such as JB Weld, a little carving and probably a lot of sanding and filing but
    have not implemented it yet.
  19. My father came in to one of these in the early 1980s as I was starting out. He had asked a photographer friend if he had or could find an old stereo realist. ( He was teaching photography at the local High School) His friend came back with this thing in the original box. I think the original agreement was this camera was on loan or I would've scampered with it then.. I shot at least one roll if not two. Just to see how this thing worked. I liked its "quirkiness" I do recall focussing, changing windows, composing, then pressing the shutter .. DUHH you have to cock the lens!!
    I recall later that it was with all my fathers photo stuff in the dining room bookcase. I had moved to Europe when my mother got very sick and the whole house was turned out to make space for an invalid. Since then ..it seems all my father's photo equipment vanished. He has no recollection but also can't believe it got tossed. I fear his mid 50s Tower RF and a 3x4 Speed Graphic went to the dump!! Along with his 50 year old Nationakl Geographic collection. That is what he bemoans!!
    Interesting the different constructions, or constructors rather. It was indeed a too late, too little in vain attempt to enter the 35mm market for Graflex. I have been surprised to see how the price has gone up on this thing. Just my luck!! Everything interesting etc just falls through my fingers
  20. Ah, the National Geographic collection -
    My mother had thrown out mine a long time ago (together with all my old EC comics, but that's another story). I finally bought the CD set of all the issues. Justified it to myself by indicating I would use in my researches.

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