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Miniature graphic production dates on graflex.org
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bigglassman



Joined: 22 Dec 2010
Posts: 6
Location: Cambridge UK

PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 3:45 pm    Post subject: Miniature graphic production dates on graflex.org Reply with quote

I recently acquired a miniature speed graphic camera. It came with its original manual and is equipped with an uncoated zeiss tessar lens.

The manual was printed in 1947, so I can only presume that the camera was manufactured on or after that date. The picutre on the fornt of the manual clearly shows the same model as the camera itself.

It has a heiland flash attached and has the silver kalart finder like the one pictured on graflex.org.

However, the information on this site says this camera was made until 1946.

Further, this camera came with a graflex 23 roll film holder. It fits into the spring back as if it were a cut film holder, so also the statement about film holders on the graflex.org page also seems to be incorrect.

Unfortunately, I bough this camers (slightly carelessly I admit) on the basis that I couldnt see the back, but that if it has a roll film holder then it must be graflok, based on graflex .org's info.

Now I'm not bothered by this, but I would like to help, if I can improve the information on this excellent website.

Kevin.
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Dan Fromm



Joined: 14 May 2001
Posts: 1881
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When you say "Miniature Speed Graphic," do you mean 2x3 Pacemaker Speed Graphic or Miniature Speed Graphic. Check the FAQ. They are very different cameras.

Are you sure that the rollholder slips in front of the ground glass like a sheet film holder? I ask because I've had a number of 2x3 Graphics, some with spring back, others with Graflok, and have some Graflex (that's as in made by) 2x3 roll holders to fit Graflok and Graflex (that's as in SLR) backs. None of my roll holders will slip in front of a Graphic (that's as in spring back) or Graflok back's ground glass.

Not to be unpleasant, but what you report is so contrary to what I know and own that I have to wonder whether you're confused about what you have.

As far as I know there are three slip-in roll holders that will fit into 2x3 Graphics' spring backs. Adapt-A-Roll 620 (I have a few), Busch (very very rare), and Linhof Super Rollex (6x7 only, I believe, but could be mistaken).
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bigglassman



Joined: 22 Dec 2010
Posts: 6
Location: Cambridge UK

PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK. The roll film holder: this is a graflex 23 6x9 roll film holder of the knob wind variety. There is no GG on the camera. The roll film holder has a bar along the edge that runs under the springs that would normally hold the GG in place. The face of the roll film holder is just like a normal double darkslide and fits into the groove across the face of the back like a normal DD/slide.

The camera is a Miniature Speed Graphic, not a pacemaker. It has the early silver kalart range finder. It has the flip up square hole sports finder mounted on the top surface and the round bi-pin plug on the rear above the back spings. It has the flip up wire frame for the sports finder. It also has only rise, no tilt or bed drop.

It also has the tension wind type of focal plane shutter rather than the type where the window displays the speed.

I guess I shall need to take some pictures. I'll try tonight !

I'm pretty sure its a miniature speed and the manual for the camera displays exactly the same camera on the cover. As I said the manual is printed in 1947.

I too was confused, because what I received didnt match any of the desciptions on graflex.org, which is usually so reliable.

Kevin.
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3201
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to the world of Graflex where no fixed rule exists except for the inconsistencies.

We're sorry you stubbed your toe on one of these inconsistencies and hope you did not fall or bruise your lip.

On the home page, Cameras section, Model History list the Miniature Speed as being made from 1939 to 1946 while the Major Products list says it was made from 1939 to 1947. Which is the typo? Good question.

Open the bed of the camera, turn it upside down, and using a flashlight (torch) locate and record the six digit number that should be ink stamped on the bottom side of the camera top. Please post it here.

From your description the camera has a Graphic (spring) back with the roll film back attached via the special kit required to attach a roll film back or a 3rd party attachment method. If the roll film holder is easily removed by a top slider bar then you may have a Graflex back on the camera. A picture of the camera back will definitely help. This site does not host pictures so you will need to use a image hosting site and post a link to the picture(s) here.
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Dan Fromm



Joined: 14 May 2001
Posts: 1881
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For what its worth and to help you understand the general confusion, the last two batches of Miniature Speed Graphic serial numbers were assigned, respectively, on 12/20/1946 (400 numbers) and 12/27/1946 (60 numbers). There's no guarantee that all of the numbers assigned were used or just when the cameras the received were made.

The first 2x3 Pacemaker Speed Graphic serial numbers were assigned 1/31/1947 (500 numbers).

The last Minis could have been made in January, 1947, but as I said there are no guarantees.

It does sound as though your Mini has a Graflex back. Uncommon, not unheard of. Most Minis have Graphic (spring) backs, some were retrofitted with Grafloks.
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Les



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

PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mini Speed Graphic cameras Originally came with 2 back options, Graphic or Graflex, and not many opted for the Graflex.

When the Graflok back came out there was a retrofit back available that kept the focal plane flash sync.

Many photographers found the standard Graflok back from a Pacemaker would fit too, and you can tell the difference because there's no flash sync and two rear sights (the original on the camera body + the pacemaker swing up.

Another option is the roll film adapter. These were special springs that replaced the springs of the Graphic back (and the ground glass) the new springs folded around and down and held the roll film folder in place at their ends.

Post war Minis have a shutter speed table that looks art deco and says "Graflex Inc." and has "Speed Graphic" in script on the front slider.
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bigglassman



Joined: 22 Dec 2010
Posts: 6
Location: Cambridge UK

PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 11:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've hastily put up some photos on my blog at:

http://wideopeniris.blogspot.com/

the serial number of the camera is stamped in the place exactly as described above -its 260434

I need to tkae a photo of the manual as well, but its bedtime now here in th UK.

Kevin.
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Dan Fromm



Joined: 14 May 2001
Posts: 1881
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 11:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mini with lightly butchered back, i.e., spring back with focusing panel replaced by a spring kit to accept a roll holder. Not a Graflex back. If you're going to use any lens but the one the rangefinder is set up for you'll probably need a ground glass. Pray that the rf is set up for the Tessar on the camera. If it isn't focusing will be, ah, problematic.

Y'r Tessar is a 1938 lens, might be a retrofit, might be original issue. I'd guess retrofit, but don't bank on that.

The camera's s/n is one of a lot of 1,500 assigned on 5/25/1940. The next lot of Mini serial numbers was assigned on 7/8/1940. No guarantees, but your camera was probably made in mid-1940.
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3201
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 11:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Serial numbers were assigned by batch, listed in a log book with the date listed in said book after the early 1920's. In 1960 date codes were put into use so one can date by them to the month and year, pre 1920's is a guess, 1920's to 1960 an approximation. Once the batch of numbers were assigned the cameras were built according to demand. Yours is near the beginning of a batch of 1500 entered on 5-25-1940 with the next batch listed in July 1940 so its a safe bet yours is a 1940 Miniature Speed Graphic.

The spring kit looks to be a factory set or a 3rd party set from a quality manufacturer, they are not the focus panel springs. If the rangefinder is calibrated to the lens then you are set to go, if not you will need to find a ground glass focus panel for a 2x3 Graphic back and put it on in place of the RFH to calibrate the RF to the lens and/or shoot sheet film with gg focusing.
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bigglassman



Joined: 22 Dec 2010
Posts: 6
Location: Cambridge UK

PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all the info.

The lens is almost certainly not an original fit. The lens board is made of a modern plastic which is a poor fit in the aperature (rather tight). Makes me wonder if even the focus scale will be correct. But I can probably arrange a means to setup the rangefinder - I have managed in the past with baking parchment stretched over the film gate!

The thing that suprises me still is the manual for the camera. It shows a lady holding exactly the same model camera. On the last page it has:

printed in USA 106/10-1-47

So I guess it is possible that the cameras were made in batches and stored and sold over a number of years? The manual must have been reprinted at some time through the stock of cameras?

With regards to the roll film holder.. the graflex.org site states that film flatness is an issue with old 23's and that later models have extra rollers. Is that the same as the rollers on my 23 or will I have trouble with shooting wide open?

Thanks,

Kevin.
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bigglassman



Joined: 22 Dec 2010
Posts: 6
Location: Cambridge UK

PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh yes - forgot to ask- the lens rails and frame and the viewfinder are rather yellowed. Is there any easy way to clean them up. I'm not sure whether it is an original lacquer that has yellowed or if its many years accretion of tobacco smoke. A quick wipe with lighter fuel didnt seem to have any effect.

I didnt spend very much at all on this camera becuase it had lens and shutter issues (all fixed now and working well). So I didnt fall on my face!

Kevin.
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Dan Fromm



Joined: 14 May 2001
Posts: 1881
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The rollers that we all go on about are long slender bright things that are located on the shell at opposite ends of the gate. We call them "pin rollers" because of their shape. Your shell doesn't have them.

The rollers you can see are part of the insert, also called film carriage.
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Les



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

PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bigglassman wrote:
Oh yes - forgot to ask- the lens rails and frame and the viewfinder are rather yellowed. Is there any easy way to clean them up. I'm not sure whether it is an original lacquer that has yellowed or if its many years accretion of tobacco smoke. A quick wipe with lighter fuel didnt seem to have any effect.

I didnt spend very much at all on this camera becuase it had lens and shutter issues (all fixed now and working well). So I didnt fall on my face!

Kevin.


It original. For a few months in 1940 Graflex lacquered the matte chrome. Over the years it's yellowed. It's pretty tough stuff to strip off, so I just leave mine and claim it's mellowed with age.
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bigglassman



Joined: 22 Dec 2010
Posts: 6
Location: Cambridge UK

PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thankyou for all your prompt answers to my queries. I know where I stand now.

So just how bad is a 23 roll film holder for film flatness? will I notice with my F/3.5 tessar wide open (the tessar has 0.6mm inward field survature anyhow...)

Kevin.
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Dan Fromm



Joined: 14 May 2001
Posts: 1881
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ask it, not us. Based on the ones I have, some are better than others.
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