So I retuuuurned the Rolleiflex. Sppppeeeed Graphic content.

Discussion in 'Medium Format & Large Format' started by cigrainger, Jul 7, 2007.

  1. cigrainger

    cigrainger TPF Noob!

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    Oh boy. So I got the Rolleiflex from KEH. NOT in the condition I was hoping. I took a chance with BGN condition, and while the taking lens was in GREAT condition, the viewing lens just wasn't up to snuff. The focusing screen was just horrible, and while that can be replaced, I was pushing my budget for the Rollei and I'm not about to fork out to get all the dust out of the viewing lens if that's even possible.

    Anyway... I was driving around actually just looking for some good film when I came upon some used equipment in mint shape, and, travelling around the area, realized that there is a goldmine of great used equipment in my area. I realized I had paid too much for the Rolleiflex.

    I shopped about -- there was a Hasselblad Zeiss Planar 80mm f/2.8 T* for $180 -- just cleaned and had the shutter serviced and the glass was perfect, and the guy had some A12 backs too. I thought hey, that's a steal, I should get this. Ends up only one place in all of central Florida has a 500C/M body, and he was only selling it in a kit. Meh.

    Thennn I came across something else that I've been lusting after for a while. A baby speed graphic. Small enough that hand holding isn't an arduous workout, but with a roll film 6x7cm back and *gasp* bellows and movement. Not to mention the wonderful 101mm f/4.5 Ektar lens, the fast focal plane shutter, and the nice coupled rangefinder. All in wonderful condition. Easily better than any Speed Graphic I've ever seen.

    I'm so stupid when I took my test roll, I shot with the bellows extended WAY too far. I had the infinity locks down and didn't read the manual.

    Anyway... So I snatched it up... Got a Gossen N100 light meter and a new Giotto tripod and 3-way head... ALL together I paid $440 out the door.

    I'm about to go drop off my test roll that I took AFTER I read the manual. I'll try to post pictures but my laptop is dead and I'm about to head back to Edinburgh.

    My only qualm is it doesn't have the ground glass, only the roll film back.

    Anybody know where I can find the baby Speed Graphic graflok mount ground glass other than eBay? I couldn't find any on ebay. Nor on KEH. I really can't use the movements properly without it obviously, and I would love to be able to use the movements for architectural and landscape/cityscape shots around Edinburgh.

    I'm heading to Dublin with it on Monday. I have 3 rolls of Delta 100, 2 rolls of Ektachrome 100, 2 rolls of Portra 160, a roll of Velvia, and a roll of Provia, all 120. I'll try to use at least one of each, and post comparisons. I'm also going to try to snag a roll of the new Provia 400X if I can find one in 120.

    Anyway -- any advice, input, tricks, information, etc etc about Speed Graphics welcome. Sorry for such a damn long post.
     
  2. montresor

    montresor TPF Noob!

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    I too have a Baby Speed, though it's really just a parts camera or a fixer-upper. Given my own paltry budget, I think most likely the former. The rangefinder has come half-uncoupled, and the springs on the in-lens shutter on the (otherwise clean) Ektar are pretty much blown out. The focal-plane shutter, however, looks pretty good, at least to the unaided eye.

    Regarding the ground glass, you really aren't going to need it for the 2x3, since 2x3 sheet film is a difficult-to-obtain and not-cheap specialty film, assuming you can even still get it, now that J & C is out of business; and you'd also need to get the film holders (which you can probably pick up cheap on evilBay). Loading sheet film and processing it is something to do only if you're a dedicated darkroom or committed large format guy; better to use the rollfilm back and save yourself the trouble.

    Wondering, by the way, if you need to have your rangefinder re-adjusted. I would think it would have indicated that your pictures were going to be way out of focus if you had extended the front standard past the infinity stops.

    Anyway, welcome to the Island of Lost Graflex Souls. Once you play with one of these pups, you're addicted for life! They're ergonomically delightful, brilliantly intuitive, and packed with clever and fun operational surprises. I've got three -- the aforementioned 2x3, a field-modified 4x5 Crown Graphic, and a WWII-era (no chrome) civilian 4x5 Speed. Now lusting after a 4x5 Graflex RB Super D, and a fully-working 2x3, either Speed or Century Graphic, as long as it has the Graflok back to take the 6x9 rollfilm back that came with my parts camera.

    Lots of info found here:

    www.graflex.org

    and, more generally, here:

    www.largeformatphotography.info
     
  3. cigrainger

    cigrainger TPF Noob!

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    Thanks! I got my test roll back and everything works great -- the rangefinder focus is dead on. The only reason I would want the ground glass is actually to frame my shots a bit better on the tripod, see the shifts, and see the focus on the extended bellows. I would still use the rollfilm back, just using the dark slide to take it off between shots. I just am not sure I trust the optical viewfinder for precise framing, and the rangefinder won't help for closeup focusing or tilt/shift.

    I have the 6x7 back -- I'd love to find the 6x9 back, but the ground glass is more important to me right now.

    I am already addicted, its wayyy too much fun. The weird looks I got from a six year old at the Dublin zoo as I tried to quickly get the exposure and focus exactly right for a closeup of a rhino on slide film were priceless. Although there were times.. like around Christ Church Cathedral... when I had the camera all folded up and I think people thought it might be a bomb...

    I'm going to have to invest in a film scanner and start developing black and white at home. I've been meaning to for a while. I went through four rolls in Dublin in 2 days, using a digital for all but the most important shots, and development/scanning will not be cheap.
     
  4. cigrainger

    cigrainger TPF Noob!

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  5. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    Yes. That's the one.
     

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