Help offering/Valuing Miniature Speed Graphic

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by ben_hutcherson, Feb 25, 2018.

  1. I am going tomorrow to look at and make an offer on a Miniature Speed.

    I've had a Miniature Pacemaker Crown for a while so know the pitfalls that comes with the format as well fresh film on hand.

    I'd not consider it, but it's a nice complete kit and I'd like to have it if I can get it for the right price. I just don't know what that is.

    Here's what I know:

    1. Miniature Speed Graphic with Kalart rangefinder. I don't know what lens is included. Of course, it has the standard spring back. I haven't checked it for operation

    2. Graflex 3-cell gun with sync cables. It's not the "light saber" gun. It comes with 5" reflector and about 3 or 4 dozen Sylvania P25s(I've been paying so little for GE #5s lately that I'm not factoring them into the value).

    3. 4 boxes of Super XX and 4 boxes of Tri-X. I don't know expiration dates, but I'm guessing 50s or 60s based on box design. I know Super XX can last a while, but I'm guessing these would be decoration.

    4. Various assundry odds and ends.

    There are not any film holders from what I can see. This isn't a big deal as I have a bunch, but I feel like this is a good bargaining chip as the lack of them would be a problem for many prospective buyers.

    This is a take it or leave it deal for me, and I'm thinking around $150 for the mess. Any ideas(realizing, of course, that you all can't see it) on if I'm on base on that?

    BTW, this is assuming it's all working. I know Graphic cameras decently well(I shoot a fair bit with a 4x5 Pacemaker Speed Graphic), so feel comfortable checking that out.
  2. Ben, is this a 4x5 or a smaller format? I see them trading on ebay for around the number you are thinking. If it was not a 4x5 maybe less and not having holders would be a bummer. Good luck checking it out and sealing a deal on your terms. I have a linhof III 4x5 and love the format.
  3. Andy, the "miniature" model is 2 1/4 x 3 1/4.

    As I said, I have a bunch of 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 holders, but that's something most folks wouldn't have. I also have fresh film on hand, but again that's not something everyone would have.

    I use my 4x5 Speed Graphic all the time. To me, 4x5 is still a "legitimate" format while I consider 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 sheet film more of a novelty(just a novelty I'll deal with). As a 4x5 shooter, I have lots of modern emulsion choices and film holders are everywhere.

    If this were a 4x5, I'd probably be talking double the numbers here at least :)
    andyfalsetta likes this.
  4. Check how much they've sold for on eBay.

    You can use roll film in a Miniature Speed Graphic with spring back. The Adapt-A-Roll 620 is an insertion type roll holder made for 2x3 press cameras with, yes, spring backs. AARs will feed from a 120 spool, must take up on a 620 spool.
  5. I'm familiar with the miniatures being called "Century" Graphics. They're plentiful on eBay. Check the "Sold listings" box on the left and see what Centuries actually sell for on eBay. The lowest prices you'll find are all auctions. The Buy It Now listings are always higher.
  6. Thanks guys-I had checked Ebay but was asking for a second opinion here.

    This is NOT a Century graphic. The Century Graphic is a low-end version of the Pacemaker Crown Graphic that lacks a lot of the features.

    This is a full blow "Miniature" speed graphic-it's the model contemporary to the Anniversary Speed Graphic, but is in 2 1/4 x 3 1/4.

    I've found a few Miniature Speed Graphics that SOLD for $80-100, which is where I'm getting my $150 for the camera+flash+film+other odds and ends. I'm mostly wondering if I'm about right, low, or high.
  7. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    McKeown's Price Guide has the Miniature Speed Graphic listed at $125 - $150. Just saying.
  8. I have a Century, also 2x3 Crowns. The Century doesn't have the infernal body release and its Graflok back is integral, can't be removed, otherwise it is completely equivalent to a 2x3 Crown. I've removed the Crowns' body releases because the cables make closing them difficult, did the same with my 2x3 Pacemaker Speed.
  9. Hi Ben.. I know the model and I have one. Mine came with Japanese lens (Seikoscha Atragon 105mm) mounted but I refit a Raptar or Optar mounted on a lens board. I then went back and patched the light leaks from the mount holes (duhhh)
    Every one I've seen has looked virtually the same; they have a Kalart RF on the right and very thick sturdy strap on the left. There's a flip up sports finder to coincide with a larger wire finder that folds up and down around the lens mount. The black bellows have been light tight and show no signs of deteriorating. It'S a loveable model and mine came with both a roll film back and GG back. I promptly broke the GG and made a substitute using acid to etch the glass. I used once back in 1986 or so. I found using sheet film cumbersome. The roll film back came with lever wind, I recently broke too (don't ask grr) . I had to look wide and far to find a correct model. It needs scoops in the bakelite for the rounded spring screw that holds it in place. (Fotos and tips if you need) It may have been ok with a later RFB, if I had a flat headed screw. I never went that route as I found the right part albeit with a knob wind instead of a lever wind. The desirable Graf-Lok back is not an option on this model. Age and condition will play a role so I think your limits or expectations are right on the mark. I wouldn't pay more unless the lens was special Zeiss or maybe a wide angle 65mm as a Century Graphic or a Crown is easier to adapt for roll film use.
  10. Arguing that roll film adapters for the earlier models are not generic as the later Graflok version are more interchangeable ... This seems to be the same roll film back I use with my spring back. There are two other cartouche/inserts here one Ebay that are the key to fitting spring backs in my limited experience.
  11. Chuck, the link you posted is to a Graphic 23 roll holder that fits a Graflok, not a spring, back. How do you attach it to a camera with a spring back?
  12. Thanks Dan... This particular RFB will fit my Miniature Speed Graphic. I have made an assumption that is clearly wrong. On the is a chapter on refurbishing or converting the so called spring back with a "spring kit" from Graflex ( Graphic Back Conversions ). I now realize that my "spring back" may very well have been outfitted with this kit. I apologize for misleading everyone on this misadventure. So the term "spring back" is a little bit ambiguous as mine is clearly a "spring back"
    What I have learned is that not all RFB will fit my Miniature Speed Graphic as the screws mentioned here are round - headed and the RFB is then unable to fit flush against the back. I considered flat head screws but I have yet to locate ie try that. Those backs or middle parts/cartouches with the cut-outs for the screw heads are needed for my model.


    NOte the round headed screw that holds the spring in place .. I assumed all "spring backs are like this... apparently this is the "spring kit" mentioned on the page.. if someones has a "normal" spring back photo ...that would be helpful too


    This is the top spring


    It'S hard to see but there where numbers 8,9 on the exposure dial is a small plastic cut-out to accommodate the screw. Without these cutouts the back sits on top of the screw head and will likely leak light.


    The RFB I linked on Ebay has these features, but of course if the "spring" back has different "springs" then this won't work either...

    Grafkexser 008.jpg
    lance_blakeslee likes this.
  13. Thanks, Chuck. Graflex' nomenclature defeats everyone.

    Look here Speed/Crown/Super Graphic Features for a so-so image of a Graphic (= spring) back. Note that it has a focusing panel.

    I don't want to take anything away from you or your Mini Speed but I've never seen the charm of the spring kit. It replaces the focusing panel, makes the camera usable only with the lens for which the rangefinder is calibrated. If the RF isn't calibrated for the lens mounted, good luck with focusing ... Kinda defeats the purpose of having a camera that can use more than the one lens.
  14. @dan The photo in the link for the "Graphic" back is not too clear, but it does look similar to the "leaf springs" on my Mini. Since you've challenged me and I've read the "spring kit" reference on I again made the assumption that if mine isn't the "Graphic" spring back then it must be the "spring kit" which so adroitly describes the function of my arrangement. So now, I am confused.
    The limitations of one lens calibrated to the RF is certainly as you said self-defeating, however at least you have one working combo.
    I just watched this video

    and his mini has the same "leaf springs" that mine has. Can you say in your experience is this the "spring kit" or is this the "graphic (spring) back"?
  15. Truer words have never been spoken.

    I use my 4x5 speed out and about frequently, albeit tripod mounted and more as a lightweight/easy to set up "light" technical camera than handheld.

    In any case, I've had plenty of questions about my "Graflex" and I'd rather just talk about it than correct the person on the nuances of naming :) . Aside from that, the Pacemaker models at least have a little badge that says "Graflex" on the camera body.
  16. At around 0:14, normal Graflex back. One slider above the gate. Not shown, focusing panel that fits in like a film holder. Lower edge engages a strip of metal below the gate, the slider engages the upper edge. And a Graflex compatible roll holder with grooves above and below and another at the right side to go over a strip of metal that stands up at the end of the gate. I have a couple like that for my Graflex RB Ser. B, an SLR.

    At around 1:29, normal spring (Graphic) back. The leaf springs, one above and one below the gate, hold a focusing panel in place. The focusing panel is not removable. Film holder insert between focusing panel and the camera's back.

    At around 2:53, Graflok back. One slider above the gate, one below. Focusing panel held on by two levers with coil springs. Focusing panel removes to allow Graflok compatible attachments like your roll holder to be attached. Graflok backs have a groove at the right side of the gate, Graflok compatible accessories have a ridge that mates with the groove. Insertion type film holders slip in between focusing panel and the camera's back, as with spring backs.

    At around 4:33, spring back again, then Graflok.

    At around 5:20, a variant Graflex back as fitted to some Graflex SLRs. My RB Ser. B has a normal Graflex back as at 0:14.

    Your Mini has the spring kit. The leaf springs hold a Graflok compatible roll holder in place. It isn't removable and there's no focusing panel and no way to use insertion type film holders.

    Sheet film holders for modern cameras are all insertion type. There are also insertion type roll holders.

    Wishful thinking is a killer.
  17. Is this wishful thinking applied to me? As you described the the mini in the video: " At around 1:29, normal spring (Graphic) back. The leaf springs, one above and one below the gate, hold a focusing panel in place. The focusing panel is not removable. Film holder insert between focusing panel and the camera's back"

    My mini is the same as in the video and the "focusing panel?" with the ground glass was previously there, By removing the two screws and consequently the leaf springs, I was able to mount a roll film back. (see photos above). Of course once the rfb is mounted you cannot use film holders, but I can theoretically remove the screws and add the GG back.
    The assumption was that mine was the standard "Graphic back" however after reading the description reference to a "spring kit" regarding the two screws etc, I became ( perhaps now wrongly) convinced mine must've been modified before I received it. After watching the video, and seeing that the "springs" used there, are the same as mine, implies either we both have " spring kit" modified mini or we both have the standard version.

    Grafkexser 005.jpg

    Mini (leaf spring) with roll film back attached
  18. Chuck, we may be going around in circles because of confusion about terminology. What you've show in post #16 is a Miniature Speed Graphic with the spring kit used to attach a clip-on type roll holder. The spring kit has two leaf springs, no focusing panel. It is not a standard spring back.

    A standard spring back (= Graphic back) has two leaf springs and a focusing panel, will accept insertion type film holders and can't be used with a clip-on type roll holder. The camera show in post #16 doesn't have a spring back. I take it that you removed the focusing panel, still have it, and sometime replace it and use it.
  19. The "Baby" was widely used by press photographers in the day.

    Here is a regular 4x5 with the 'baby' and a picture of one in use in the hands of Scotty in The Thing...

  20. Oh, dear. The blurry b/w pictures show, respectively, what looks like an Anniversary Speed Graphic and a Miniature Speed Graphic. The sharper color photo shows a pair of Pacemaker Graphics, quite possibly Crowns.

    There are times when the common language's lack of precision gets in the way of communication.

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