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Centuy graphic

 
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campy



Joined: 23 Sep 2002
Posts: 50
Location: mass.

PostPosted: Sat Aug 29, 2009 12:31 pm    Post subject: Centuy graphic Reply with quote

I am considering buying a century graphic with red bellows but it does not have the side view finder. Can one be installed and where do I find one?
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Les



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 2682
Location: Detroit, MI

PostPosted: Sat Aug 29, 2009 1:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the side viewfinder is actually the range finder. Yes they can be added, but it's tricky and painful, even after you find the right rangefinder and all of its bits and bobs.

Hold out for one with the rangefinder already installed. These are actually more common than ones without.

Les
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Dan Fromm



Joined: 14 May 2001
Posts: 1888
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Sat Aug 29, 2009 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is a rangefinder, not a viewfinder. They're around, can be found and mounted, but if you must have one the best thing to do is be patient and wait for a Century with an RF to turn up.

If you don't know the difference between a rangefinder and a viewfinder or what the Kalart RF fitted to Centuries can and can't do, read the FAQ.

By the way, there's nothing special about red bellows. Early and late Centuries have black bellows, in between red was standard issue. Cameras with red bellows don't take better pictures.
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campy



Joined: 23 Sep 2002
Posts: 50
Location: mass.

PostPosted: Sat Aug 29, 2009 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am interested in this particular one because I think it may be brand new or never really used. I will probably display it more than use it. I would like the option of using it once in a while but don't want to use it with the ground glass only. I had a very nice 4x5 crown a few years ago but sold it to get a new lens for my digital camera. I wish I kept it and found another way to fund it. So much to buy so few dollars.
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Les



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 2682
Location: Detroit, MI

PostPosted: Sat Aug 29, 2009 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If it really is new old stock or barely used, it's likely never to have had a rangefinder on it, making it a rather scarce variation, and a likely candidate to collect and put on the shelf.

Adding a rangefinder would actually decrease its collector value, even if you could manage to get a proper "looks like new" Kalart rangefinder the proper arm and the rest of the bits and screws. So that it looked like it was on there from the beginning.

I used to work in a Museum, so I tend to be conservative in my modifications and consider "First do no harm" to be my prime directive.

I see 4 options for you and your check book.

A. Buy it, love it, use it occasionally with the ground glass, or get good with estimating distances. (remember professional photographers in the 30s considered coupled rangefinders "training wheels" for amateurs.)

B. Buy it, love it, but find another Century with a Kalart to use and enjoy.

C. Consider this a very nice camera, but something that really doesn't fit your needs and let somebody else enjoy it.

D. Buy it. Spend $50-75 and a year to find the right Kalart RF. Spend another $50-75 to have somebody install and calibrate it. Use it for two to three years and sell it for 1/2 of what you have into it. You'll also notice (after you sent the camera, the rangefinder and the check to SK Grimes for installation) that there's a complete red bellows Century on ebay for 80% of what you paid for this one.
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glennfromwy



Joined: 29 Nov 2001
Posts: 903
Location: S.W. Wyoming

PostPosted: Sat Aug 29, 2009 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Les offers some very good advice. However, you do have another option if everything is as the factory assembled it. Scale focus. Not hard to do and would work well if the focus scale is matched to the lens.
Estimate distance, set the focus using the scale on the bed, stop down well and shoot. You can use a hyperfocal distance scale for your lens' focal length, too. You set your focus and aperture to get the depth of field you want. Then set the appropriate shutter speed and shoot. Or, you could buy a camera with a working rangefinder.
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Glenn

"Wyoming - Where everybody is somebody else's weirdo"
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bruiser



Joined: 15 Oct 2006
Posts: 259
Location: Northern NSW Australia

PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2009 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Further to Glenn's advice you can always buy a separate early pocket type rangefinder (always plenty on eBay) marked in feet, not meters and use that to get a distance reading to set the camera's focus scale.

Check at a few near and far distances verifying with the ground glass before serious use.

A much cheaper alternative and the camera remains original!

Cheers,
Bruce
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Henry



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 1443
Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania

PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2009 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What Les said. Fully loaded Centurys seem come up regularly on the auction site. However, if you decide to acquire and install a Kalart yourself (or have somebody do it for you), you should be aware that mounting holes are already cast into the Mahoganite body of the camera. They are there under the "leatherette" cover on the right side. At least, I'm reasonably sure they are. (I know when I installed an optical finder on the top of my Century, the holes for the bracket screws were already there.) When I look into the camera box, I can see that the traveling arm of the Kalart is mounted on a shaft that projects from the rangefinder through a cast-in hole, not a drilled hole, in the Mahoganite. I'm assuming that the same holds true for the outside mounting screws as well.
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