Another Speed Graphic Question

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by wabi-sabi, Jan 27, 2005.

  1. I posted a question about a speed graphic not too long ago, and I
    have another one. How in the heck do you work it. Mine just came in
    the mail and this one in particular is very very nice, I don't want
    to mess it up and I am too impatient to wait for the manual. I can
    usually figure things out but I noticed a few things I hope someone
    could explain. The back doesn't come off so do you slide the film
    holder underneath, on the right side if you were holding it to take a
    photo I figured the top switch must release the focal plane shutter
    but whats with the lettering and you have to wind it with the top
    knob. What does the bottom switch do. Last question, how does the
    ektar lens work and what is the small barrel with the wire coming out
    of it do? I pushed and the shutter released but i know that can't be
    the way to take photo's. I'd appreciate any help, thanks.
  2. Edward ,, the bottom switch changes the shuttter speeds on the focal plane shutter. The barrel device is a selonoid (sp?) that is a little electromagnet that when power is connected to the two prongs,will trip the shutter. This was a way setting the flash off at the same time as the shutter firing.
  3. Edward, after you've taken a nice cold shower and calmed down a little, mosey on over to, light up the site map, and slowly look at the various sections. This is at least the second time you've been advised to go there. GO!

    You've asked a short question that requires a long answer. Wait for the manual to come. Its more complete than anything you'll get here.

    Is this your first more or less LF camera?

    Have fun, but slowly,

  4. You have bought the swiss army knife of cameras. It can do anything. It has two complete shutters (you only use one at a time).

    You can get attachments for roll film and you can use it as a studio camera. The number of lenses that will fit it are endless because all you have to do is mount them on a board.

    I have even used plastic lenses out of junk Polaroid cameras with mine.

    You can buy "Graphic Graflex Photograpy" on Amazon for as little as $9.97.

    I agree with the above poster. While we are happy to answer your questions, you really need something to study.

    The little barrel with wire comming out of it is a solenoid. It was used to sinc the shutter to flash bulbs. Flash bulbs have to catch fire and burn. It takes them a while to get up to full brightness. If you have a graflex flash attachment, it will have a red button. The button fires the bulb and also triggers the solenoid. The slack in the solenoid linkage determins the delay between when the bulb fires and when the shutter is released.

    This is just the oposite of a modern camera where you release the shutter and the shutter then fires the flash.

    You can have several different shutters on an Ektar lens so it is difficult to tell you how to work it.

    In general: Your back shutter has 5 or 6 slits in it of different widths. To use the back shutter you wind it just past the slit you want to use. (the smaller the slit, the shorter the exposure). Then you set the spring tension with the bottom knob. The combination of spring tension and slit width determins exposure. There should be a matrix plate on your camera.

    It sounds like you didn't get a Grafloc back which means amoung other things that you can't take the ground glass off and watch what the shutter is doing when you work the knobs. Second best is take the lens off and look throught the front it will all make more sense.

    For the front shutter, you set the back shutter to "O" for open. Then you set your f stop on the front shutter, cock the shutter, and either fire it electronically with the solenoid or use a cable release screwed into the socket, or just fire it with your finger.

    Beyond learning how to use your camera there is the whole thing about sheet film and film holders.


    At least you figured out how to open it. Quite a few don't.
  5. Yes, but be careful in closing it. Unless the front standard has been ratcheted all the way back, you can bend the rails when closing the front.
  6. Well Dan I know I was directed to the Speed Graphic website and I found it before I asked my 2 questions. I even registered. However, the website was a little confusing at first with all that info. I figured what would it hurt if someone just jotted down a quick helpful hint. Michaels explaination probably took 2 seconds and I didn't have to wait 3 weeks to get a manual.

    You did help, though, Dan. I looked a little more closely and got some more answers so thank you. It is my first LF and I feel like a kid on Christmas who doesn't want to wait to play with his new toy.

    Thanks again to you and Michael and anyone else who posts and sorry for the repetativeness.
  7. If you patiently dig through, you will find a virtual gold mine of information on these cameras. They're not as complicated as they first appear. In fact, they are as basic as anything can be, almost intuitive. There are manuals online at also. Have fun with your new baby!
  8. Listen to Red; that's exactly what I did. I just about cried. I had to remount new rails on it but it was from a different vintage and now it isn't exactly right; still works good, but it isn't "whole".
  9. "At least you figured out how to open it. Quite a few don't."

    I love the EBay auctions where someone advertises a Kalart Sycronized Camera. The one with the lens that is 'cracked' in the corner. They then show a picture of the closed up Speed Graphic with the flip up ground glass cover open.

    I usually send them a note telling them how to open the camera, but the more they try and pass off themselves as all knowing, the less I am willing to help them out.

    tim in san jose (20 years with my Speed and counting)
  10. Kirk, I had a repairman straighten the rails that I bent; but he couldn't get them true, so there's a little binding just short of infinity. Every time I use that camera, the binding reminds me of my screwup.

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