Century Graphic

Century Graphic

The Century Graphic is a cost-reduced Miniature Pacemaker Crown Graphic, made of ``Mahoganite,'' which is a kind of plastic. It comes with the highly-desirable Graflok back molded in as an integral part of the case. It also lacks a body-mounted shutter release, and is often found with a second-grade lens, such as a triplet, instead of the Tessar type lenses found on the miniature Speed/Crown Graphics.


The standard low-cost Century Graphic has the 103mm Graflex Graftar f/4.5, an astigmat lens in the Century shutter, with built-in M-F flash synchronization and speeds from 1/10 to 1/200. Other option lens equipment included the following lenses, all (presumably single) coated:

Lens Focal Length Lens Design Aperture Shutter Shutter Speeds
Graflex Optar 101 mm f/4.5 Tessar-type: 4 element Graphex shutter with adjustable flash synchronization 1 to 1/800, B
Kodak Ektar 101 mm f/4.5 Tessar-type: 4 element Synchro-Rapid 800 shutter with adjustable flash synchronization 1 to 1/400, B
Kodak Ektar 105 mm f/3.7 Heliar Flash Supermatic with adjustable synchronization 1 to 1/400, T, B
Graflex Graflar or Trioptar 101 mm f/4.4 Triplet: 3 element Graflex Century with M-F flash synchronization 1/10 to 1/200

The standard lens, the 101 mm f/4.5 Graflar or Trioptar, is the weakest and least expensive lens fitted to the Graflex lineup. It is a three-element triplet. The Tessar-type Kodak Ektar 101/4.5 and Graflex Optar 101/4.5 are better, and can be obtained for ~$50 (1995) in good condition.

Other good lenses which cover 2x3 and fit the lens board include the Wollensak 65/6.8 Graflex W.A. Optar and a similar Schneider Angulon.

The 101 mm Wollensak Raptar and OEM variant Optar are 4-element Tessar type lenses, as are the 101mm Kodak Ektars (f/4.5). There are also 105mm f/3.7 Ektars (and the occasional f/3.5 100mm Ektars) which are 5-element Heliar lenses. (The 100/3.5 Ektar from the Kodak Medalist is quite good, and can be used on a Centiry Graphic.) A few of the late production Century Graphics were shipped with the Schneider 80mm/2.8 Xenotars.

You may also adapt lenses from the Graflex XL, among those are 100mm Zeiss Tessars and 80mm Zeiss Planars.

The Century is thin enough to focus a 47mm WA. The limit of bellows draw is around 150mm for a non-telephoto lens. The 8" Tele Optar telephoto is a true telephoto, which means that even with its 203mm focal length, it has a short bellows draw of 180mm.

If you change lenses, you should be able to adjust the optional side-mounted Kalart rangefinder for up to about 135mm, but not anything much longer.


The Graflok back, being molded into the case, is not an accessory, but it is a highly desirable feature, since of the 2x3 Graphics, only those with Graflok backs can easily be fitted with roll film backs.

The side-mounted Kalart rangefinder was an option, and is quite useful. The top-mounted optical tube viewfinder is also an option.

A pistol-style grip, the Graflex Multi-Grip for Century 23 (Catalog 9#9127) was offered for Century Graphics, to improve hand-held photography. It attaches by a tripod screw and provides a thumb-actuated shutter release. The grip also fits the Graflex XL.


Picture Size:
2 1/4" x 3 1/4". Roll holders are available. Sheet film back accepts two sheet films. Grafmatic back holds six sheet films, providing for faster interchange for sequence shooting. 2x3" sheet film is available (but obsolescent and tedious to work with).
Camera Size:
5 11/16" high x 5 1/2" wide x 3 3/16" deep when closed. Weight 41oz.
Bellows Extension:
7 3/4". Folding infinity stops and focusing ground glass provide for full use of the long bellows for copying, close-up and macro/micro-photography.
Dual knobs provide rack-and-pinion adjustment for either right or left hand use. Accessory Kalart range-finder and FocuSpot permit fast, accurate use.
Graflok Back:
Furnished as standard equipment, the Graflok back provides accurate ground glass focusing and composition, has self-erecting, removable metal focusing hood, spring back for sheet film holders, and accurate clamps for other film accessories.
In addition to the film holders mentioned above, there are available range-fifinders, focusing lights, auxillary lenses, viewfinders, Graflite flash equipment, the Graflarger, carrying cases, and the Graphic all-metal tripod.

Century Graphic Features

Graflok back takes holders for sheet, roll, or [obsolete] pack film ... provides ground glass focusing .. accepts the Graflarger which converts camera into an enlarger.
Double Extensions Bellows permits extreme close-up photography. Copying 1-to-1 is simple. Ground glass back insures accurate focus and composition.
Removable Lensboard permits interchanging of lenses. In addition to standard and speed lenses, wide-angle and telephoto lenses are available for cramped areas or distant subjects.
Rising, Shifting, Tilting, Front aids control of perspective and distortion on difficult subjects. A drop bed is provided for wide-angle work.

Coupled Range-Finder. This is optional auxillary equipment. It may be ordered with your camera or added later. May be fitted with focusing light for use in the dark.
Rugged Construction is combined with compactness and lightness, thanks to Mahoganite ... a new, almost indestructable, climate-proof material which provides the highest degree of accuracy.
Flash Synchronization is built into all normal Century Graphic lens-shuuter combinations and fitted with ASA flash contacts.
Viewfinders -- two are provided: (1) a press-type frame viewfinder for fast, accurate picture-taking; (2) (optional) a parallax-corrected eye-level optical finder with interchangeable lens masks.

Source: Graflex Brochure, c. 1952.