4X5 Lives - All hail the Speed Graphic

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David A. Goldfarb

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Boy, wait until he discovers what that thing on the side with the two holes in the front can do. Then the fun starts!
 

KenM

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David A. Goldfarb said:
Boy, wait until he discovers what that thing on the side with the two holes in the front can do. Then the fun starts!

Eh? Could you enlighten me? I'm a Speed Graphic neophyte, so I'm not sure what the two holes are for. Or were you referring to the Rollei? I'm so confused!

And that story was great! Glad to see a bit of the 'old' technology still being used. Any sort of print we can get is a good thing these days, with Kodak going through their restructuring...too bad that most people viewing the cover won't know it was taken with a 4x5...
 

juan

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He's referring to the two holes on the front of the rangefinder - and commenting on the photographer's seeming problems with focus in the article.

I've shot my Speed handheld in a fast moving situation. I was very surprised at how difficult it was to keep in focus. Too much time shooting with easily focused TV cameras, I guess. But I would think focusing on a politician giving a speech at a lectern would be simple - if one knows how to use a rangefinder. I'm glad to see someone, though, is still using Graflex cameras as they were intended.
juan
 

David A. Goldfarb

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Juan has it. The great thing about a rangefinder camera is the rangefinder for situations like the one's he's shooting in. Otherwise, why not just shoot 8x10"?
 

Alex Hawley

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jdef said:
I have a Crown Graphic, and for shooting a moving target, it's hard to beat a flashbulb, hyperfocal focussing and the sports finder, ala Weegee.

Jdef has it right for hand-held shooting. The range finder is fine for a slow moving or stationary object.

That was a great little article. Thanks EricR. Graphics Still Rule!!
 

ian_greant

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great article. I'm gonna have to go looking for some of his photos.

Rather timely I'd say as just this last weekend I decided (with some coaxing from Eric and Erna) to try using my old speed graphic handheld for a while.
I've got a few sheets to develop. If they look good I'll probably use it for a shoot I've got this weekend (as well as my Rollei)

Cheers,
Ian
 

Ole

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At last - someone else using real cameras!

Dead Link Removed

The weight and momentum of a moving Technika 5x7" should not be underestimated.
 

David A. Goldfarb

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Zone focusing, a small aperture, and flash are the thing for something that is really moving around, but many of these shots are of candidates giving speeches, moving enough that it's helpful to be able to check focus with the rangefinder, but not so much that zone focusing is necessary, and he's using mostly wide apertures to isolate the subject.

On the other hand, that picture in the article shows the lens tilted way back for even tighter selective focus, so in that case, groundglass focusing is the only option.
 

glbeas

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EricR said:
Check out this article. A newshound has packed away his digital camera and found success. And guess what he was using? An old Speed Graphic! This should make Ian Greant happy.

http://digitaljournalist.org./issue0402/dis_burnett.html

FWIW I drppoed him a note and helped him with information on grafmatics, seems he had one but didn't know enough about using it. Hopefully he will be able to get some more good pictures with less restriction from being weighed down with filmholders. He seems to be a nice guy.
 

David A. Goldfarb

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No reason not to use a monopod with a press camera as one might with any other kind of camera, if that's the most convenient thing.
 

ian_greant

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Ole said:
The weight and momentum of a moving Technika 5x7" should not be underestimated.

All hail Ole!!

...but we want to know how manly you really are.. Just how many film holders do you really carry at once? :wink:

Cheers,
Ian
 
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If you want fast focusing for a Graphic do this -

1 . Take the cover off the collimation hole on the top of the viewfinder.

2. Get a cheap laser pointer and tape the on button down.

3. Using electrical tape, tape the laer pointer so it shoots DOWN into the viewfinder. Adjust it so that you see two dots on the wall from the viewfinder. One from the bottom "hole" and one from the top "hole".

4. To focus, just rack the lens until the two dots line up next to each other or appear as one.

Voila! Tack sharp focus at wide open apertures (assuming proper viewfinder colimation), and it is fast too.

Plus it looks wicked.... :smile:
 

fingel

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Hey Robert,
That is a good idea, although it might not fly following presidential candidates around. Could you imagine what the secret service would do if they saw 2 red dots show up on the forehead of the guy they were protecting? :smile: It wouldn't be pretty.
 

glbeas

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But then you would need to concoct a cam linkage to go with your lens as wel as a cam. Fun huh?
 

ian_greant

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bitchin!!! I've got one of those Kalart spots on my speed but hadn't been bored enough to try to figure out what it was or how it worked....

guess I'll have to clean up the old contraption, get some power to it and just have me a good old time! :wink:

Cheers,
Ian
 

doughowk

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Here's a continuation article on the news photographer who switched to a Speed Graphic. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/photo/essays/vanRiper/index.htm
I recently added a Crown Graphic to my photo tools, and have been making stupid mistakes with it. Each camera has its own idiosyncracies even within the Graflex 4X5 offerings. Ed Weston, in his Daybooks, uses a Gaflex in a fashion similiar to a digital snapshooter - for those quick shots of Tina sunbathing, etc.. It's sobering to think of a Graflex as a hand-held, easy-to-use camera.
 

David A. Goldfarb

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If it's any consolation, Weston was using a Graflex SLR, not a Graphic press camera.
 

doughowk

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A Graflex SLR in 1924? Quote from "A personal Way of Seeing" tour:
Weston’s preferred apparatus was an 8 x 10 view camera, tripod-mounted, which he used for landscapes and still life. But as films were slow and exposures long – often three to four hours or more –he used a 3¼ x 4¼ Graflex for portraits and nudes. This smaller and more mobile hand-held camera allowed him to work more quickly. His favourite lens was a ‘slow rectilinear costing $5.00’, though he remarked, ‘of course I have no objection to the finest apparatus procurable, and a fully corrected lens is sometimes a necessity’. However, he chose not to use a light meter, explaining that ‘I dislike to figure out time, and find my exposures more accurate when only felt’.
Though a 3X4 Graflex is smaller than a 4X5, any Speed Graphic is not light.
Btw, does anyone know what enlarger Weston used ( Steve Anchell, in recent Camera Arts article, mistakenly said Weston only used a lightbulb for all his prints)?
 

David A. Goldfarb

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Yes, a Graflex SLR in addition to his 8x10" camera. If I remember correctly, there is even a picture of him using it in v. 2 of the Daybooks. To enlarge his 3x4 and later 4x5 negs for contact printing he made enlarged negatives with the 8x10" camera. He did not use an enlarger. As far as I know, Weston never used a Graphic press camera.
 
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