An odd one WA Speed Graphic

Discussion in 'Collector's Corner' started by IanG, Aug 15, 2008.

  1. IanG

    IanG TPF Noob!

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    [​IMG]
    A couple of years ago I bought 2 Speed Graphics off ebay, sold as 2 to rebuild as one good camera, and they were cheap.

    However they were very different, this one was pre-Anniversary, the other a Pacemaker dating from the 60's. Despite being sold as such no parts were interchangeable. Both were awful, total wrecks, leatherette almost completely missing or loose.

    I began with this one first, and found a strange non standard pre-Anniversary Speed Graphic. It had been modified when new for wide angle work, it had never folded up, the top of the casing was cut away, there were no screw holes for a hinged front, nor for the struts required for one to function.

    Naked with no leatherette there was a problem with the aluminium base plate which was again non standard and ha corroded badly.

    The reality was suddenly quite different, the camera was functional, missing no parts, only the leatherette was beyond redemption, so I stripped the remainder off. Then taking off all the hardware I sanded the wood work and french polished it. I cleaned up the metal work, totally rebuilt the back, repainted metal parts and re-assembled. Somewhre in the middle I fixed the Focal Plane shutter.

    Now it's a fully functional 5x4 camera, the range finder's working but is set for a WA lens, not sure quite what yet, I'm not really too interested in using the range-finder at the moment.

    The other Speed Graphic is also re-built, re-covered and the rear track-bed replaced but it's run of the mill, this one's special.

    Ian
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2008
  2. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    That is gorgeous!!! The camera as art itself. I have an Anniversary Graphic I've thought of stripping and refinishing. I think you've inspired me.

    You should see if you can make a lens board with wood that matches the body.
     
  3. compur

    compur No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Good job!

    You don't need the rangefinder. It was there for hand-held use by press
    photogs. With a tripod you can focus from the screen like any large format.
     
  4. IanG

    IanG TPF Noob!

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    compur, this particular Sped Graphic was never a true press camera. All non standard specialist Graphics like Police & Prison versions and presumably this one were finished by outside workshops.

    Yes maybe you don't need the rangefinder, but if it works it's potentially extremely useful.

    I already use a Crown Graphic hand held but the range-finder wasn't any good until I discovered it didn't match the lens, now I've changed the 1930's 135mm Tessar lens cells and fitted 1950's coated 150mm Tessar cells the rangefinder is accurate and useful.

    Now I can focus the Crown Graphic accurately without needing to use the screen, (when hand-held), Graphic screens are quite poor & dim.

    So once I discover what focal length lens this Speed Graphic's range-finders been set for I'll fit one and check the calibration, I suspect it's around 90mm. I know how to re-calibrate it if needs be.

    Ian
     
  5. Mitica100

    Mitica100 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Gorgeous!
     
  6. IanG

    IanG TPF Noob!

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    Today I've been offered new half silvered (beansplitter) glass for the range-finders on my 3 Graphics so once fitted the rangefinders will be as good as new, for another 50-80 years :D

    Ian
     

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