Century Graphic gets out for New Year

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by sg_adams, Jan 1, 2009.

  1. &n bsp;
    Finally took out the Century Graphic that got prettied up a few week s back. Since I never posted up any samples shot with the camera I gave it a try this morning. It's n ot foggy here very often, overcast yes, but I've only been able to get out in the fog a couple times when its thic k. For us sissies here in So Cal it's been cold. There was actually ice on the deck of one of the boats I've been refitting quite a few days over the last couple weeks. Watching all the cars spinning around on the roads in Chic ago and elsewhere that the news was showing did not look good. Made me feel quite fortunate to be where I am and enjoy the earthquakes.
    The Century Graphic 23 was pr oduced as a lower cost entry level Graphic basedon the popular Pacemaker Crown and Speed Graphics.&nbsp ; The price sheet I have for 1953 shows the Century selling for $172 with the 101mm O ptar lens while the Crown 23 ran $214. If you wanted the Kalart coupled RF you added $37 and it came mounted and calibrated on new cameras. The Century was considerably less with the Grafta r 103mm Triplet lens at only $105. As I mentioned in the previous post about refurbishing this camera, it is in its original configuration.
    Having&n bsp;just been out testing out a couple other Crown 23's, and being very similar, I found the Centu ry to be quite comfortable to use and carry around. &nbsp
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  2. (Sorry about the errors above. Blame them on PN after I actually tried to edit. I wont do that anymore.) This Century came with the 101mm 4.5 Optar lens like the one on Gene's Crown 23. They are tessar design, sharp and contrasty, and cover 6x9 very well esspecially stopped down. Very nice general purpose single coated lens.
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  3. Not a great photo trip, but it's kinda nice just to go down to the waterfront in the early morning, even better when it's foggy. Not feeling very inspired I only exposed one roll of some old type TMY I had left from last summer. These couple images are f16 at 1/25 hand held, so Iguess I got over the camera shake issues I was having with them.
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  4. Rather than fool around with zones and adjusted developments as I have not tested old TMY with HC110, I just went box speed and suggested development. It's OK, fog or diffused images are better for handprinting I think anyway, so good enough. Got nice fine grain compared to the D-76 1:1 I was using.
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  5. SG, great pictures. As I told Gene M, I enjoy all of the photographs all of you post on this site, as well as the stories about how some of you restore the cameras you use.
     
  6. It will probably be January 2, 2009 by the time anyone sees these but I hope you all had a safe and enjoyable New Year's Day.
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  7. Very atmospheric, SG, and a lovely camera. I really enjoy your combination of technical discourse and fine photography. All the best in 2009 to you.
     
  8. A Foggy Day. I too like the fine grain you got with the HDC110. I remember your earlier post.
    What was it that was more budget with the Century? Just the lens? I assumed the RF was 37$ either way. Handheld? Wow! I don't think I would trust myself or I'd have misgivings about it!
     
  9. Yes, the RF was the same price regardless of which 23 series camera, but the part number is different. I assume this is because they mount a little different on the camera body and use different fasteners. As far as the camera being lower cost, this had to do with the camera body mainly as it is molded plastic which they called Mahoganite. It's very much similar to bakelite. The Crown and Speeds are all mahogany and required a lot of tooling, gluing, and covereing etc... The Century also did not have the body release which also saves on tooling in the body,parts, and assembly. The only other difference I've noted is in the front standard. The Pacemaker line has adjustment eccentrics on the lower sides for alligning the fixed verticle position and this was deleted on the Century. On the other hand, the Century had the Grafloc back and slide lock bars built into its design.
     
  10. SG: Nobody really uses 'em anymore, but the baby Speed and Crown Graphic Pacemakers had parallax-correction marks on the sports finder, but the Century didn't. Just another one of those itty-bitty differences.
    Also, AFAIK, all Century Graphics had the old-style release for the bed on the top of the camera, whereas Pacemaker Speeds and later Crown Graphics had the much-improved side-release. The later design is a lot more robust - I have a baby Crown whose bed doesn't reliably latch shut anymore, a state which doesn't seem correctable - but that could well be due to some idiocy on the part of a previous owner. (Helped keep the selling price on eBay down to around $65, though - *with* Graflok back, so I'm not complaining too much.) The later design is pretty much impossible to screw up, as far as I can see...
     
  11. Oh yes, the paralax marks. Well, if you bought the camera with the Optical tube finder, that has the revoving adjustment at the rear, which is what I used for these images, but I use the open finders more these days. Also, the Optical finder was optional on the Century with the low grade lens which lowered the cost a little more. If you ordered the camera with the Optar or Ektar it came with it.
    Paralax with the smaller Graphics is only a bit more than the TLR's, but on the 4x5 it is a real issue. I have just got in the habit of shooting loose and anything within 20 ft I aim just a little high. And unlike the TLR's, the Graphic's RF and Optical finder are to the side and up, not just over under, another reason I have been using the open finders more. One learns fast it is more pleasant to crop later rather than throw film away, and a 6x6 to 6x9 neg has plenty of give.
    I believe the latch release for the bed is debatable. I've got side and top buttons Pacemakers from the early and late fifties, 2x3 and 4x5 and also have the top button. My later top rangefinder Crown is a top button as is my very clean Crown 23 from the late fifties. My 1951 all black Korean War Speed is a side button. The top button is certainly more cost effective. The top button is also causes less wear to the covering. I have a couple side buttons that there is some concern that they may break through in a couple years. There are also a lot of parts involved with the side button and a few people have lost a screw or two.
    As far as having the top button not catching properly, this requires only a little tweeking to re-adjust the catch, which is its own spring (see, less parts). There may also be issue with the stainless trim piece on the very front of the bed. The top button trim has a formed catch to receive the inside thetop of the body. The side button trim is not. Folks forcing the cameras open has been a real problem over the years and I've had to straighten out a couple of these. So if this is the case one would have to bend the catch area of the stainless trim back down to it proper position. There is a also a slight chance someone may have switched a bent up top button trim for a straight one. Seen that too. Same for the side button. If the drop bed has been forced open damage has occured and some amount of repair is probably necessary.
     
  12. Eerie mood on the foggy shots. The foggy morning shot looks like a ghost ship slowly lurking on murky waters, very creepy.
    Very nicely presented
     

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