Pre-Anniversary Speed Graphic

Pre-Anniversary Classic Camera
Photo by Brian Wolfe

4x5 - wire hoop viewfinder has curved top.

The big improvement in the 1928 Speed Graphic camera over the top handle version was the 4 inch lensboard for tele and speed lenses. This feature was mentioned in Central Camera and similar catalogs of the time. But one rarely finds an early Speed Graphic listed in catalogs and ads equipped with a front shutter until the era of flash synchronizers, 1932 on... An advantage of the Pre-Anniversary cameras over later ones is that it is quite a bit lighter, good for hiking and backpacking. One can make up special U-shaped front standards out of flat stock giving full front movements to any Anniversary or Pre-Anniversary Graphic. The standard can be installed without any damage or cutting. The Anniversary Graphic front standard and lensboard frame fit the Pre-Anniversary, and this replacement was common, which can be confusing...

These cameras (and old Graflexes) are often found without lens, as the lens was taken for an enlarger. B&L Tessars and Kodak Anastigmats F4.5 made fairly good enlarging lenses, but not equal expensive modern ones. Look for these lenses at photo flea markets on enlargers and in boxes of darkroom items. Pay little for them. Later cameras did not suffer this fate because the lenses had shutters in them.

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