Help with Gowland 4x5

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wdemere

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Hi,

I've got some questions about my Gowland 4x5 that I'm hoping someone can please answer:

1. How do I tell if I have a graflok back (I think that is the right term) as opposed to a spring back? Is the back removeable if it is graflok? Does the gg come off when the back is removed?

2. It has a fresnel. Does the fresnel go between the gg and the lense like on a graflex? (The hood is darn cool btw.)

3. I've got two tubes. One has a groove, one doesn't. How do I hook up the one that doesn't have the groove? I can't seem to find any way to connect it to the other tube.

4. Can I use graflex rollfilm holders with this? I'm guessing a C2 rollfilm holder will work, but I don't know about those kind where you remove the back.

I like the camera so far, but it is a little tricky keeping it locked down when inserting the film holders.

Thanks,

William
 

David A. Goldfarb

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1. There are many different versions of the camera, and many of them have Graflok backs made by Singer Graflex, but with the Graflok slides removed, so it is possible that you have a Graflok back that may or may not function as a Graflok back. If you can post a picture, I or others can tell you what you've got. The groundglass is removable on a Graflok back, and there are slides for securing a rollfilm holder, if they haven't been removed. You can also see pictures here:

http://www.graflex.org/speed-graphic/features.html#GraflokBack

2. If you in fact have a Graflok back, the fresnel should be positioned between the glass and the lens, as on a Graphic camera.

3. Depending on the version of your camera, you may have the option of moving the focusing block to the front or the rear standard, or you may have to position it on the front standard. To use both rails put each one halfway into the tripod block and tighten, such that the rail with the groove is on the side with the focusing block.

If you have an option, I prefer to have the focus on the rear standard. This makes it easier to focus relatively near subjects (say, portrait to macro) and lets you position the lens at the end of the rail for wideangle work, so the rail doesn't appear in the image. Unfortunately, some versions of the Gowland PocketView are designed so the focus block can only be used on the front standard.

4. If you have the Graflok slides, then you can use Graflex, Linhof, Horseman and other backs that require removing the groundglass. If not, then you have to use the ones that slip under the groundglass.

If you don't have the Graflok slides and you want them, give Peter Gowland a call. He offered the slides as an option. He's very helpful and will often refurbish or update older cameras at relatively low cost. His contact info is on the website above.
 
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wdemere

wdemere

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Thanks! I do have the graflok back. After looking at the picture a bit I figured out to push down on the springs to release it. The metal sliding tabs at the top and bottom were confusing me. I was thinking they had something to do with releasing the back, but I can see now that they are just there to keep it in place.

I don't have the ability to move the focus to the rear standard, but I do seem to have two 10" rails instead of the 8", and the one 10" rail seems to be adequate for my 150mm Symmar-S.

My fresnel was exactly backwards (gg was between the fresnel and the lens). I turned it so that the grooves of the fresnel are on the frosted side of the gg and the fresnel is between the gg and the lens.

Thanks again!

William
 

David A. Goldfarb

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Run a focus test before putting too much film through it. You never know if it might have been modified for the fresnel to work the opposite way. I have a 4x5" Gowland front-moves and an older 8x10" Gowland, but my 4x5" is in transit for the moment, so when it arrives, I'll check the position of the fresnel.
 
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wdemere

wdemere

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I would be interested in hearing your insights on the 8x10. I'm interested in one for a light-weight field camera. I purchased the 4x5 to see if I could deal with what have been described as the "eccentricities" of the Gowland cameras. I've looked at the Phillips too, but those don't seem to be available used too often.

Thanks,

Will
 

David A. Goldfarb

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My Gowland 4x5" is back home, and indeed, the fresnel is where it should be--between the glass and the lens.

My 8x10" is an earlier version, and it looks like he's made the current one a little sturdier. I've posted about it a fair amount on lfphoto.info Q&A forum and in the "comments" section following the Gowland 4x5" review accessible from the main page of lfphoto.info. In short--once you get used to it, it's a very capable camera, and it's easy to bring in the field, and the camera you have with you is better than the one sitting at home in the closet because it's too heavy. On the other hand, if you are the sort of person who just has to have precision scales and geared movements, then the Gowland is not for you.

I love the versatility and precision of my Linhof Tech V, but unlike the Gowland 8x10" it won't make an 8x10" contact print, and unlike the Gowland 4x5", I can't fit it in one the side pockets of the ScopePack that I use to carry a 35mm camera and 600mm lens for bird photography.
 
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