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Questions on Speed Graphics and Aero Ektar lens
Old 01-14-2016   #1
bmattock
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Questions on Speed Graphics and Aero Ektar lens

I have an unmounted, unmolested Kodak Aero Ektar 178mm f/2.5 lens which is currently unused. I have been doing a lot of research into what to do with it, and it appears that the best bet is to do as David Burnett did and mount it on a Speed Graphic.

So I think I will be shopping for a Speed Graphic sometime in the next couple of months. But I don't know much about the various versions of Graflex 4x5 cameras. I would appreciate any advice about what to look for and what to avoid, so I don't get the wrong model or options, etc.

Also, I see a lot of links on the web for various companies that were apparently engaged in the business of converting Speed Graphics for use with the Aero Ektar, but it seems most or all of them are no longer in that business.

Does anyone know who might still be engaged in that business?

Thanks!
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Old 01-14-2016   #2
f16sunshine
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A speed has a built in focal plane shutter.
Other models such as the Crown for example have only the leaf shutter in the lens.
The Ektar lens has no shutter so, you need a Speed graphic to use it.
The Later "super speed graphic" is what I would look for. It has a 1/1000 shutter that you will want to shoot the a.e. Lens.
Make sure the shutter is working when you get it so you don't have to start with a repair.


https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed_Graphic
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Old 01-14-2016   #3
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You want a Speed Graphic, not a Crown Graphic or "Super Speed Graphic" (these lack focal plane shutters and as the Aero Ektar has no internal leaf shutter you'll be relying on the focal plane shutter).

The side mounted Kalart rangefinders can be adjusted with a set of screwdrivers to work with the Aero Ektar; the top mounted Graflex Rangefinders will need an appropriate cam made to work with the Aero Ektar; the Meyer Rangefinders have fixed cams and if it isn't made for the 178mm focal length you're out of luck.

You can, of course, focus using the ground glass.

The earliest Speed Graphics had a small lens board that may limit your ability to use an Aero Ektar; but the Anniversary Speed Graphics and Pacemaker Speed Graphics are all fine.

I'd get a Pacemaker Speed Graphic -- they're the more recent ones, they're plentiful, and they're fine cameras.
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Old 01-14-2016   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f16sunshine View Post
A speed has a built in focal plane shutter.
Other models such as the Crown for example have only the leaf shutter in the lens.
The Ektar lens has no shutter so, you need a Speed graphic to use it.
The Later "super speed graphic" is what I would look for. It has a 1/1000 shutter that you will want to shoot the a.e. Lens.
Make sure the shutter is working when you get it so you don't have to start with a repair.


https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed_Graphic
The shutter on the Super Speed Graphic is a leaf shutter (albeit a fast leaf shutter) not a focal plane shutter.

http://www.graflex.org/speed-graphic...tml#FocalPlane
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Old 01-14-2016   #5
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Excellent information, thank you! Sounds like the Pacemaker Speed Graphic is the one to aim for, with a side-mounted Kalart rangefinder.

Now, does anyone know who still makes the necessary conversion hardware? Are we talking just a lens board, or is anything else required to handle the weight of this monstrous lens? Believe me, this lens weighs a ton.
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Old 01-14-2016   #6
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You could also contact Jo Lommen to see if he still has lens boards available:

http://lommen9.home.xs4all.nl/aero/

If not, it's really just a matter of getting a lens board and making a hole the right size. There may also be some grinding away of baffles inside the camera so the lens will physically fit -- all something anyone with a dremel tool (and lots of bits and time) can manage.
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Old 01-14-2016   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JHutchins View Post
You could also contact Jo Lommen to see if he still has lens boards available:

http://lommen9.home.xs4all.nl/aero/

If not, it's really just a matter of getting a lens board and making a hole the right size. There may also be some grinding away of baffles inside the camera so the lens will physically fit -- all something anyone with a dremel tool (and lots of bits and time) can manage.
Thanks for the link! It appears the lens boards will be available again in Feb of 2016. Guess I need to start saving my nickels. I really appreciate the info!
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Old 01-14-2016   #8
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Good to hear that Jo Lommen will be making things available again. In the interim, S.K. Grimes has never stopped making conversions available. Their way of doing this is to use a stock lens board plus a threaded retaining ring on the inside and a spacer on the outside. It's still around $200 though, plus you might have to wait if they don't already have any made up. The machining is nice, though.
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Old 01-14-2016   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Cloetta View Post
Good to hear that Jo Lommen will be making things available again. In the interim, S.K. Grimes has never stopped making conversions available. Their way of doing this is to use a stock lens board plus a threaded retaining ring on the inside and a spacer on the outside. It's still around $200 though, plus you might have to wait if they don't already have any made up. The machining is nice, though.
Thank you!

I saw this:

http://lommen9.home.xs4all.nl/orderform/new/paypal.html

"New batch will be available as from the 10th of February 2016"

That seems hopeful. Sounds like I need to actually have the camera first, however. So that first, then this.
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Old 01-14-2016   #10
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You can do some pushups and curls in the meantime, to get ready.
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Old 01-14-2016   #11
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One thing to keep in mind if it matters to you... The slowest shutter speed on a Pacemaker Speed Graphic focal plane shutter is 1/30. There is also the T setting.

An Anniversary Speed Graphic will give you more options for slower speeds but it's also a little more clunky to operate.

The Pacemaker focal plane shutter is less complicated mechanically though and newer, so might be easer to find one already working and keep it maintained.
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Old 01-14-2016   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JHutchins View Post
The shutter on the Super Speed Graphic is a leaf shutter (albeit a fast leaf shutter) not a focal plane shutter. http://www.graflex.org/speed-graphic...tml#FocalPlane
Right.. My mistake. Mis-remembered.
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Old 01-14-2016   #13
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And, just my opinion, but the main reason to shoot that lens is to shoot it wide open, which means that the in focus area is razor thin. You can get some beautiful results, but the rangefinder, Kalart or whatever, no matter how carefully you dial it in, is almost useless. The ground glass is the only reasonable way to go, if you care about having a specific area in focus.
Which means a tripod. A heavy tripod. Just something to consider if you haven't already.
There is a Flickr Aero Ektar group which I find pretty inspiring sometimes.
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Old 01-14-2016   #14
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Contact this guy, he has done lots of modifications for Aero Ektar, including one for P67:https://www.facebook.com/thebokehfac...type=3&theater
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Old 01-14-2016   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfogiel View Post
Contact this guy, he has done lots of modifications for Aero Ektar, including one for P67:https://www.facebook.com/thebokehfac...type=3&theater
Cool, thanks! I had given some thoughts to the notion of somehow mounting the Aero Ektar to my Bronica C.
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Old 01-14-2016   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmattock View Post
Cool, thanks! I had given some thoughts to the notion of somehow mounting the Aero Ektar to my Bronica C.
Nah... Shooting the AE on 4x5 is the reason to bother with this project.
Otherwise just get a 180 2.8 sonnar for 6x6 or Pentax 165 2.8 for p67.
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Old 01-14-2016   #17
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I built about 10 Aero Ektar / Speed cameras for clients. The market has fallen out on them though so I stopped

It's pretty easy to do though, if you just want a basic conversion. Any local machinist can make you a threaded retainer ring and bore the hole in the lensboard larger. Then you just have to modify the front standard slightly to fit the lens (if it's a Pacemaker Speed, if it's an Anniversary with the larger lens board, you don't) - this can be done with a rasp. That's pretty much it.

If you want to shoot handheld and calibrate the RF...well have fun with that. Too much to write on how to do that. It's a pain. Make sure you have the Kalart side rangefinder and not the top mounted RF.
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Old 01-14-2016   #18
Larry Cloetta
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f16sunshine View Post
Nah... Shooting the AE on 4x5 is the reason to bother with this project.
Otherwise just get a 180 2.8 sonnar for 6x6 or Pentax 165 2.8 for p67.
Ya. You can put a Polaroid back on the Graflex AE setup and shoot Fuji instant film; it's fun, but the film is just too small. It's the stuff on the periphery of the image circle that's interesting, and you'll only get this with 4x5. That's how it seems to me, at least.

The Pentax 165/2.8 lovely in its own right, another reason to buy a whole new system. Sigh.
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Old 01-14-2016   #19
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The Anniversary is definitely the one to go for if it means you can get away without modifying the standard: that lens is BIG. I have one somewhere but have never used it because it fits on so few lens panels. Consider also a front-of-lens shutter (especially Thornton Pickard) with cameras that don't have FP shutters.

Presumably you also know that the rear glass is radioactive -- enough to make an autoradiograph in a few days when rested on Polaroid film -- and that the T/stop is likely to be surprisingly small because of the yellowing/ browning on the glass.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 01-15-2016   #20
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The Pacemaker speed with the Kalart is the best option. I have one I converted. You can calibrate the RF to be accurate at all distances wide-open if you are careful and patient, but expect to spend 2-4 hours to do so, it's a fiddly process. I like the Jo Lommen boards, they are the best option. No machining necessary to the front standard on the pacemaker speed, in my expereince. The lens will fit as-is, just barely.

Another option is the Graflex RB cameras. They will focus closer than a speed/kalart combo, but generally won't get to infinity focus.

-Ed
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Old 04-08-2016   #21
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I was aiming for a Pacemaker speed with the kalart but had to settle for one with the top rangefinder. I was under the assumption that Anniversary models needed the front standard opened to accommodate but the pacemaker did not. I guess I was wrong because I cannot get the Aero Ektar to squeeze inside of the opening without clearing out what seems to be a minimal amount of space.

I may remove the top rangefinder completely as I do not plan on using it. I'm looking to use a cambo type viewer and the only two lenses I will have on here are the AE and a Dallmeyer Pentac.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EdSawyer View Post
The Pacemaker speed with the Kalart is the best option. I have one I converted. You can calibrate the RF to be accurate at all distances wide-open if you are careful and patient, but expect to spend 2-4 hours to do so, it's a fiddly process. I like the Jo Lommen boards, they are the best option. No machining necessary to the front standard on the pacemaker speed, in my expereince. The lens will fit as-is, just barely.

Another option is the Graflex RB cameras. They will focus closer than a speed/kalart combo, but generally won't get to infinity focus.

-Ed
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Old 04-08-2016   #22
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Ya Know,

If it was me, I would put it on an SLR Graflex. I have a major knee-jerk reaction for these cameras. Used to collect them. High speed lens LF needs an SLR. It's hand-holdable. The lens is the expensive part. Sometimes I miss my Super D.

Like this one in the classifieds:

http://www.rangefinderforum.com/phot...ro-ektar/cat/4
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Old 04-13-2016   #23
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The AE won't clear the mirror on any of the RB Super-D cameras if the focus distance is much further out than about 5-6 feet. The minnicks-modified ones have the mirror shortened and the mirror-box rebuilt to allow infinity focus with the AE on the SuperD. The AE on a speed graphic is a nice combo, a bit front-heavy but still doable. Minimum focus distance with the rangefinder calibrated to it is about 5-6 feet, not able to do tight head-and-shoulders portraits with it that way.
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Old 04-13-2016   #24
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why not asking Burnett himself? you can find him on twitter @davidb383 .
He's pretty social and kind.
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new lens boards for the Aero Ektar
Old 06-13-2016   #25
Marc3
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Smile new lens boards for the Aero Ektar

A series of aluminium lens boards for the Aero Ektar 178mm and the Pacemaker Speed Graphic is currently available on eBay
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Old 06-13-2016   #26
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Heres a picture of the board:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg LR-IMG_3132.jpg (16.8 KB, 8 views)
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Old 06-14-2016   #27
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Looks like a knockoff of the Jolo board...
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Old 06-14-2016   #28
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Quote:
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A series of aluminium lens boards for the Aero Ektar 178mm and the Pacemaker Speed Graphic is currently available on eBay
Thanks! I appreciate it.
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