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Graflex Sid



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 221
Location: London,England

PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2004 10:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Their seems to be two camps on this Forum,those that have bought the 'perfect'Graphic,and those like old cars,seem to have bought either on purpose or accidentally,the end of the range camera that needs a complete 'make-over'.

Have I missed out on something,perhaps I should have bought the camera with half the nuts missing,upside down bellows,lens that doesn't fit,groundglass that's in a million pieces (and what glue should I use?)etc,etc.In fact a Graphic that's in such bad condition it hardly works at all.

BUT if this is a hobby of preservation then good luck,sorry,Im not in this camp,Im one of those 'unfortunates'that purchased the perfect Graphics.Every nut & bolt is correct,so is the lens,bellows and every other part of the camera-in fact,mint!
Thus,out in the field using them.
I know others with my sentiment...

But as they say,to each his own!
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Dan Fromm



Joined: 14 May 2001
Posts: 1861
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2004 11:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

On 2004-09-13 03:34, Graflex Sid wrote:
Their seems to be two camps on this Forum,those that have bought the 'perfect'Graphic,and those like old cars,seem to have bought either on purpose or accidentally,the end of the range camera that needs a complete 'make-over'.

Have I missed out on something,perhaps I should have bought the camera with half the nuts missing,upside down bellows,lens that doesn't fit,groundglass that's in a million pieces (and what glue should I use?)etc,etc.In fact a Graphic that's in such bad condition it hardly works at all.

BUT if this is a hobby of preservation then good luck,sorry,Im not in this camp,Im one of those 'unfortunates'that purchased the perfect Graphics.Every nut & bolt is correct,so is the lens,bellows and every other part of the camera-in fact,mint!
Thus,out in the field using them.
I know others with my sentiment...

But as they say,to each his own!

Yes, you're missing something. The pain and expense (time, money) of converting a wreck into a usable tool. You should feel deprived.

Cheers,

Dan
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Nick



Joined: 16 Oct 2002
Posts: 494

PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2004 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's not like you can walk into the local shop and buy a brand new camera today. So you buy what you can get. Also some of those perfect cameras sell for more then a brand new Shen Hao. From a user point of view who cares if it's not perfect? My View has short bellows and rail. It handles short lenses great but couldn't handle a longer lens for love or money. My Ansco came in need of a good cleaning. But it also cost about 1/2 what one sold for two weeks later.

Personally I have a hard time believing in 100% perfect 50+ year old cameras. I know with tools the rule always was mint tools likely never worked right in the first place-))
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David A. Goldfarb



Joined: 03 Sep 2004
Posts: 142
Location: New York City

PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2004 2:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, sometimes one approach leads to the other. I bought a 5x7" Press Graflex recently and paid a bit of a premium (relative to eBay prices, but it was still an excellent deal compared to what a dealer might charge), because it was in good working order and didn't require a shutter rebuild.

But then I discovered how hard it would be to get 5x7" Graflex filmholders, so I ended up buying a bag mag that was a wreck and rebuilding it--an evening well spent. Now I have a working 12-sheet bag mag, and I know much more about how it works than I would have if I hadn't taken it apart and repaired it.
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t.r.sanford



Joined: 10 Nov 2003
Posts: 812
Location: East Coast (Long Island)

PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2004 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's also the ancient dilemma: you come upon just what you've been looking for, and it's in very good shape, clean and evidently well-cared-for -- but the frammis is missing, or the widget is bent, or the ferndock is broken. What you do then depends on your assessment of the ease of finding, straightening, or fabricating the magoffin!

As noted, it's hard to find this stuff in mint condition. It gets harder every year. It will never get any easier.
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RichS



Joined: 18 Oct 2001
Posts: 1467
Location: South of Rochester, NY

PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2004 5:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And, there's just a plain good feeling, sense of accomlishment, pride, etc... In taking something that someone else would have tossed on the trash heap and bringing it back into a good useful life!

If all the Speeds & Crowns that had a minor problem were tossed, very few of us would own one now...
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t.r.sanford



Joined: 10 Nov 2003
Posts: 812
Location: East Coast (Long Island)

PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2004 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's also the matter of maintenance. You may find a Graflex camera in mint condition; but if you use it, you will find that metal fatigues, leather decays, rubber embrittles, reflective coatings oxidize...

Keeping one's hand in by returning a deteriorated camera to good working order is useful practice for the day when that happens.
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Henry



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 1425
Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania

PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2004 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I guess I got lucky because I bought a near-mint Century about seven years ago and have been learning how to use it ever since. Even in its great condition it had a couple of minor problems. There was a rivet head missing from one of the claws that holds the ground glass frame; fixed that with a blob of solder and when that fails I will have to drill out the hole and insert a new rivet. The focussing hood has one of its limiting tabs broken off, but seems to work OK with just the other one and some care in opening the hood. Previous owner had tried to close the bed without fully retracting the bellows, resulting in bent rails, which I carefully straightened and secured against my own forgetfulness by installing 1/4" diameter brass washers, blackened with permanent marker, under the screw heads at the rail ends. I had to purchase a 101 Optar and lens board, and I installed an optical finder (which I rarely use). In all I have about $375 invested in this basic set-up, but of course that doesn't include all the other lenses and kit (meters, filters, roll film holders, etc. ad infinitum) needed to get the most out of the camera.

But I'm nuts about the camera, and especially about the photographic results it yields, and since I like to tinker there's a lot of satisfaction keeping the thing going, and the fact that it's old and "obsolete" makes it all the more enjoyable.

Now don't get me started on my 1917-vintage VV-XI Victrola....
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glennfromwy



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

PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2004 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I got my first Speed Graphic as a fixer upper because that's the only way I could afford to get into the larger format game. After learning the ins and out of the thing, I started buying more wrecks and boxes of parts. I've put together about a dozen so far. I don't try to "restore" them, I just want them to be clean and working. It's a great hobby and it gets adictive. I have built a couple of modified one-off
cameras from spare parts. No one else has one - I love it. Oh, I actually have one with an upside down bellows off of who knows what but it works, so I leave it alone until it doesn't. Great fun!

Oh, forgot to mention, I actually use the things on occasion, too. _________________
Glenn

"Where everybody is somebody else's weirdo"

[ This Message was edited by: glennfromwy on 2004-09-13 13:10 ]
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disemjg



Joined: 10 Jan 2002
Posts: 469
Location: Washington, DC

PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2004 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As others have already pointed out, getting these cameras in fixer-up condition and repairing them is a lot of fun, develops skills useful for keeping the old iron operational, and puts otherwise unusable cameras back in circulation. As long as the price is right, I keep adding bones cameras to my parts box, and from time to time things come together and a complete camera emerges. I never have any difficulty in finding a home for it. Repairing them is a hobby, so I am unconcerned about recouping the time I put into fixing them. They have already entertained me, and provided great satisfaction in the process.

I occasionally find Graphics that really are in near-mint condition, or at least VERY clean. I nearly always buy them. While they can be used, I prefer two user cameras that I rebuilt from the parts box. One is a very nice user grade Crown (with 135 Schneider Symmar that matches the cam) and the other is a Pace Speed that is very user grade but works fine. While not encouraging mishandling any gear, these two cameras will not notice any wear from being used. And I paid small bucks for them, which only makes things taste better. So buy 'em cheap, learn how to fix them, and enjoy another angle to these great cameras.
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Graflex Sid



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 221
Location: London,England

PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2004 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just another comment-it looks like the Bronica and perhaps the Hasselblad (rumblings in the Swedish press)could be joining the S.G.on the shelf as collectors items-all because of the decline of FILM!.

So more room will be needed shortly-as someone has just pointed out in GB in the end it might be places like China making the film if everyone gives up the ghost.(didn't China buy the original 3-color Technicolor process?).

Lets hope film will be around for awhile yet & the chemicals for developing (or even labs).
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Les



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

PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2004 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm in both camps. My first Graphic was near mint, I used it, got paid for using it and except for a swim in a sewer, never really needed maintainence.

As Sister Sarah Brown of Save a Soul Mission might say, most of the rest of my flock needed salvation.
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Nick



Joined: 16 Oct 2002
Posts: 494

PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2004 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most of the chemicals can be brewed up one way or the other. The only issue is will your favorite film be available?

I'm just going to keep the fridge full. I'll also keep finding new favorites.
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alecj



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 853
Location: Alabama

PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2004 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Les said: " My first Graphic was near mint, ...except for a swim in a sewer..."

No wonder you stand alone in a crowd, Les. Was that the origin of the phrase "my pictures stink"?



[ This Message was edited by: alecj on 2004-10-24 06:49 ]
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Graflex Sid



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 221
Location: London,England

PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2004 2:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Careful now,gentlemen,not another war,I know it's coming up to election time down your way,but keep the forum a 'no-go zone',otherwise we will have to melt down our Graphics into tin hats (flak jackets on sale at your local ex-military store).

Ex-Army Sid.(ready for call-up if needed on the home front...to defend the great name of Graflex).Visa at the ready!.

Just remembered-you have to be photographed coming into the country now-years ago they would have used a 'Graphic'or with it's name on it!
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