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Graflex Series D
Old 12-03-2016   #1
magista
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Graflex Series D

Well...I came home with this today - a Graflex RB Series D w/ the Zeiss Tessar 4.5. A customer had given it to my mother's husband (he used to have a camera shop). It was sitting next to a military Graflex used in planes. Long story short...he gave me the Series D.

It seems to be in pretty decent shape but needs a CLA.

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Old 12-03-2016   #2
Roger Hicks
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My wife and I inherited one from her father. I put a Polaroid back on it...

Cheers,

R.
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Old 12-04-2016   #3
Nokton48
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Looks to be in amazing shape. Many years ago I used to collect Graflexes. They are a lot of fun to use if that is your intention.
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Old 12-05-2016   #4
EdSawyer
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Nice! I have a 4x5 super-D that I restored, it's a cool camera, still very useful today. A bit bulky but really a fun piece to use.
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Old 12-05-2016   #5
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Now that is cool! I hope you will show more photos of that camera, as well as some shots from it when you get it CLA'd.
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Old 12-05-2016   #6
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Sweet gift.

I have a pre-1916 Kodak Graflex RB myself. It always draws a crowd when I use it.
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Old 12-05-2016   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr_Flibble View Post
Sweet gift.

I have a pre-1916 Kodak Graflex RB myself. It always draws a crowd when I use it.
I bet it would draw a crowd. Did it use the same film holders as are used today?
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Old 12-05-2016   #8
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I have a 3x4 graflex that's been adapted for 4x5. It shoots a 4x4 1/4 negative on 4x5. I've had the polaroid back in it too, it's a fantastic tool for portraits.

I hear Frank Marshman does Graflex CLAs.
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Old 12-05-2016   #9
Steve M.
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Used to have one too. They make fantastic portraits (mine had an Optar lens I think). Never could get up the courage to take it out and shoot it on the street. Imagine, photographers, even small women, used to do just that!!

It really puts us in our place when we see the incomparable images that Edward Weston and Tina Modotti took w/ these bulky, heavy and slow to use cameras.
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Old 12-06-2016   #10
EdSawyer
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"I have a 3x4 graflex that's been adapted for 4x5. It shoots a 4x4 1/4 negative on 4x5."

I built one of these too. I put an RZ67 prism on it (has about 60% of the frame covered) so it works like a big RZ but shoots 4x5. I also built a new front standard for it so I can easily mount larger lenses. Very handy for handheld usage.
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Old 12-06-2016   #11
mich rassena
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EdSawyer View Post
"I have a 3x4 graflex that's been adapted for 4x5. It shoots a 4x4 1/4 negative on 4x5."

I built one of these too. I put an RZ67 prism on it (has about 60% of the frame covered) so it works like a big RZ but shoots 4x5. I also built a new front standard for it so I can easily mount larger lenses. Very handy for handheld usage.
I'd like to see this. Sounds like an awesome system. I'm also curious how to adapted a 4x5 back to the smaller camera.
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Old 12-06-2016   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oftheherd View Post
I bet it would draw a crowd. Did it use the same film holders as are used today?
Unfortunately, the old RB uses the early "Graflex"-type Film/Plate holders, they're slightly wider and have grooves along the longer edges and the light-trap ridge is inverted compared to the standard "Graphic"-style holders.
They're harder to source.

Luckily my camera came in a large case with 7 double-sided holders.

Taken at Bateman's House last summer. The lens is a 7-1/2" Ross lens
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Old 12-07-2016   #13
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Couple threads about it:

http://www.largeformatphotography.in...=1#post1058026

http://www.largeformatphotography.in...=1#post1181131

I have a 4x5 Super-D I may convert like this (prism for viewing, etc.). I want to find a combination of prism and magnifier that allows a small pentaprism like from a 35mm camera to cover the 4x5 focus screen. It might be doable.

-Ed



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Originally Posted by mich rassena View Post
I'd like to see this. Sounds like an awesome system. I'm also curious how to adapted a 4x5 back to the smaller camera.
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Old 12-07-2016   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EdSawyer View Post
Couple threads about it:

http://www.largeformatphotography.in...=1#post1058026

http://www.largeformatphotography.in...=1#post1181131

I have a 4x5 Super-D I may convert like this (prism for viewing, etc.). I want to find a combination of prism and magnifier that allows a small pentaprism like from a 35mm camera to cover the 4x5 focus screen. It might be doable.

-Ed
Neat project. Thanks for sharing the links. The conventional viewer that comes with the Graflex SLRs has always put me off, so seeing your solution that problem was a revelation. Now I want to try it myself.
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Old 12-08-2016   #15
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Glad to help out. The stock viewer is nice in that it folds up completely, but I find it hard to use without a +2 close-up lens as a magnifier. I built a small panel with one of those 52mm +2 closeup filter in it, to hold the viewer open at the top and also provide magnification. It's a bit clumsy but works well, though has to be removed and stored separately (would be nice if it folded into the stock viewer but I haven't quite figured that out yet.)

The prism is a better solution in all ways of course, but heavier and without 100% coverage. the RZ67 prism is the biggest I could find coverage-wise. (the Fuji GX680 doesn't have a prism viewer).

The 3x4 to 4x5 conversion is not too bad, though film coverage is only about 4x4.25 or 4.5 at best. It can take a lens of about 180-190mm as a minimum without modifying the mirror. I use it with a Pentac most often, or a Nikkor-T 270mm. (the 3x4-4x5 converted one with the prism). Theoretically it should be possible to add power (4LR44) and a tiny bit of other electronics to the RZ67 prism and have the TTL metering actually work, but I haven't attempted that yet.

Good luck with a DIY conversion - it's not that hard, if you are handy.
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Old 12-08-2016   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EdSawyer View Post
(the Fuji GX680 doesn't have a prism viewer).
Mine positively had one. Not that it saw much use. And I suspect that it had less coverage than the RB67 prisms as the latter actually had a 6x9 camera core at heart (even though the rotating frame restricted them to 6x8 film at the very maximum).

There also were even bigger Porro heads for the Makiflex (9x9 camera) as well as for the 4x5 Arca Reflex - rare, but the last one would be trivially adaptable.
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gx680
Old 12-09-2016   #17
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gx680

Are you sure it was a prism and not just a mirror-based viewfinder? I had one at one point (the version III one), but it's not a prism (the one I had at least), it was still reversed L-R.

RB prism coverage: calling it 6x8 is even a stretch, the max film holder for those was only 57x78 I believe (the so-called 6x8 holder). It wasn't really a 6x9 (e.g. 9x9) camera, from what I can tell.

I haven't ever seen a prism for the Makiflex - do you have any pics or info on that?

I actually have an Arca Reflex 4x5 (and yeah they are crazy rare). It has a couple different viewers but never had a prism. There's a fold-up RZ67 style vieiwng hood, and also a fixed hood with adjustable eyepiece (for angle) but no prism. I looked through all the parts in the Arca Oschwald catalog for the reflex and there's nothing there resembling a prism, sadly.

Thanks
-Ed


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Originally Posted by sevo View Post
Mine positively had one. Not that it saw much use. And I suspect that it had less coverage than the RB67 prisms as the latter actually had a 6x9 camera core at heart (even though the rotating frame restricted them to 6x8 film at the very maximum).

There also were even bigger Porro heads for the Makiflex (9x9 camera) as well as for the 4x5 Arca Reflex - rare, but the last one would be trivially adaptable.
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Old 12-09-2016   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EdSawyer View Post
Are you sure it was a prism and not just a mirror-based viewfinder? I had one at one point (the version III one), but it's not a prism (the one I had at least), it was still reversed L-R.
You might be right there.
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Old 12-09-2016   #19
Nokton48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EdSawyer View Post
I haven't ever seen a prism for the Makiflex - do you have any pics or info on that?

DSC05617 by Nokton48, on Flickr


Hello again Ed,
Here are my viewfinders for my Makiflexes. On the third to the right, is the Plaubel Makiflex Finder. It is a front surface mirror unit, very light in weight


The RB prism is way brighter and easier to see with through my Makiflexes
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Old 12-09-2016   #20
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Check out Frank Ockenfels using one with an Aero Ektar(?):
http://www.camerabag.tv/frankockenfels/
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Old 12-12-2016   #21
EdSawyer
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I am stripping down and refurbishing another RB 4x5 Super-D right now. I will look into putting an RZ67 prism on it probably. I'd love to fabricate some sort of x-y positioning rails to allow sliding the prism around on top of the ground glass to see the whole negative area, but not sure if that's feasible with my limited skills and whatnot. It would ideally have to be some sort of low-profile set of rods and sliders with bearings, and that sort of thing is not too easy to find I'd think.
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