Pacemaker Speed Graphic Acquisition

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jd callow

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I received last night from a very good friend a Pacemaker Speed Graphic, a 135 Optar, Kodak 203 ektar, shades for both lenses, 120 roll film back the lever variant, a grafmatic (with extra septum), 10-15 wood film holders, starwars flash attachment, a variety of old documents (supermatic shutter instructions, a flash slide rule a ‘The Weston Sytstem of Emulsion ratings’ dated 1946) and original Graphics case. So I am a happy guy. I suspect the camera is has not been used in 20 plus years. It took me the better part of an hour to get the shutter loosened up and running smoothly. Although, the speed governor will move forward and back the gearing is stuck on high (there appears that whatever was used to push the gear down has lost it’s tension). This is only slightly bothersome. What is a problem is that the tension in the springs on the Graflex back have lost their tension. There is enough pressure to hold the film holders in place, but not enough to securely close the back once it has had a holder in it.

This brings me to the first of several questions.
1) Any ideas on how to get tension back into the springs?
2) A fellow APUGER is lending me a barrel lens (bless his heart) and I will need a lens board. There new and old boards available on ebay as well as via traditional venues. I was wondering if anyone had any comments.
3) The bed and RF are set up for the 135mm. I have read that the type of RF I have can be adjusted for any lens. Has anyone done this? The 135 would be last lens I would use.
4) Any handheld shooting techniques that anyone would like to offer would be greatly appreciated.
5) I have read most of Graflex.org, but would be interested in anything anyone would like to add.
 

BradS

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Hi John, In spite of the concerns you've highlighted, sounds like a very nice kit. I don't know how you could get the tension back in the springs but, it seems like replacement springs might still be available. The entire ground glass holder is certainly available. As lens boards go, I have purchased several new from Midwest Photo Exchange. The predrilled variety are very convenient. If your rangefinder is the kalart variety, take the metal cover off and the adjustment for other focal length lenses will be self apparent. Finally, handheld techniques....f/8 and be there! Have fun!
 
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jd callow

jd callow

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Thank you brad. I agree it is a nice kit. One I hope to use withbarrel lenses and some hand held street shooting. I am interested in gettting a 75mm-90mm for street, reset the RF, infinity stops and focus scale for the shorter lens. The barrel lenses will be for studio and portraiture where I'll use the ground glass.

jdc
GaussianNoise said:
Hi John, In spite of the concerns you've highlighted, sounds like a very nice kit. I don't know how you could get the tension back in the springs but, it seems like replacement springs might still be available. The entire ground glass holder is certainly available. As lens boards go, I have purchased several new from Midwest Photo Exchange. The predrilled variety are very convenient. If your rangefinder is the kalart variety, take the metal cover off and the adjustment for other focal length lenses will be self apparent. Finally, handheld techniques....f/8 and be there! Have fun!
 

removed account4

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hi john

really nice camera!
i have a pacemaker and use it all the time. i like the range of lenses you can stick on there - i've used everything froma 58mm brass barrel to a 15" tele-raptar. for hand held shooting i tend to use the sports finder since my kalart rangefinder is kind of taking the olde dirt-nap. i have gotten kind of good at guesstamating focus & shooting at a somewhat f8 + so if i am off at least something is in focus! i use the sportsfinder if i am using one of the lenses it is marked for ... and guessing otherwise. i have always wanted to get the masks for the viewer, but never know the numbers or what they stand for ...... i guess if i were a bit more with-it i'd be scouring graflex.org or emaiing jc welch ( equinoxphoto - he writes the graflex quarterly?) cause he tends to have masks ... or is it pacificrimcamera that has that stuff.

guess i am thinking aloud and in need for my post dinner coffee-slurp.

good luck with the camera & have fun buying scuffed up elements & folders & brassies for almost nothing and putting the FP shutter to work!

-john
 
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jd callow

jd callow

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Your reading my mind. I'm watching a handfull of mystery barrel lenses as I right this. Tr-x pushed to 640 or 1000 or whatever it takes to get to a reasonable shooting speed for hand held. What I realy need is a wide lens, inbarrel or with a small rear element. My Nikkor 75sw is too big and the SA 58xl is too short and big.

I got your PM and will set up an ftp area for the contraband.

The site that mgb74 pointed out has the Pacemaker service manual. I'll put it up at the ftp point.
 

waynecrider

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Graphic parts

Sound like you may need to pickup a parts camera. There was one on Photonet last week. I usually spend about $40 to $50 max for them.

Fred Lustig out in Reno NV use to do, and probably still does alot of Graphic repairs. He also has parts. You can get his address thru Graflex.org. Do a search.
 

r-brian

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I recently picked up a Pacemaker Speed also. The springs on the back were stiff, won't open or close. Soaked them with Liquid Wrench and WD40. They work fine now, open easily and spring back like they should. Try oiling them and see what happens. Probably just stiff and dirty from lack of use. Now that my Speed is all cleaned and serviced, its ready to sell.

Brian
 

David A. Goldfarb

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Sounds like a nice kit. For handheld 4x5" (and I'm guessing you're not using flash if you plan to use barrel lenses and the focal plane shutter), I like Tri-X or J&C Classic 400 at EI 640 in Acufine. You might be able to get an honest EI 800 with HP5+, but I prefer the look of Tri-X or Classic 400.
 

Bruce Osgood

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mrcallow said:
3) The bed and RF are set up for the 135mm. I have read that the type of RF I have can be adjusted for any lens. Has anyone done this? The 135 would be last lens I would use.

5) I have read most of Graflex.org, but would be interested in anything anyone would like to add.

At Graflex.org did you see
http://www.graflex.org/speed-graphic/kalart-adjustment.html

Adjusting the Kalart Rangefinder. If you don't have the Kalart then this is of no used.
 
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jd callow

jd callow

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Bruce,
I read the bit on adjusting the Kalart on the website and I do have that rangefinder.

David,
I think it might be a good fit. Getting comfortable using it hand held will be the trick. The barrel lenses will be used on T exposures with flash or natural light. Both styles will allow for the FP shutter. Syncing is out of the question though. I also like the look of Tr-x pushed and will probably go in that direction. I might also try pushing 400nc to 800 (2-stops in dev in that I think it is really a 200iso film).

Brian,
I may try the WD40. Although, the problem is not that the spring is tight, but that it isn't.

Thanks Wayne -- I was thinking similar thoughts.
 

jimgalli

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Congrats John. That 240 will take the entire lens panel and be blindingly bright. You'll need sunglasses under the dark cloth. I'm ho-hum about 135 Optar's but the 203 shouldn't be a slouch. jg
 
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jd callow

jd callow

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jimgalli said:
Congrats John. That 240 will take the entire lens panel and be blindingly bright. You'll need sunglasses under the dark cloth. I'm ho-hum about 135 Optar's but the 203 shouldn't be a slouch. jg
Jim,
I owned the 203 in a non sync'd shutter it was great! I sold it because it wouldn't sync. I have not read good things about the 135 and the focal length is next to useless for me.

Yeah, I am hyped about putting that 240 on this camera. I suspected that it would eat up the entire lensboard, but I don't care it will be strictly for studio usage.
 

Will S

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mrcallow said:
I received last night from a very good friend a Pacemaker Speed Graphic, a 135 Optar, Kodak 203 ektar

If that Ektar is the F7.7 you have a very nice lens there. If it is coated, even better!

Good luck,

Will
 

MattCarey

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A couple of notes:

1) the 203 (commercial?) ektar is rumored to be best wide open.

2) you mention the springs on your graflex back--but you have a rollback and other toys. Do you mean the springs on the graflok ground-glass back? That would be hard to tighten up.

3) if it is a graflex back, the springs are mainly big flat pieces of metal. You should be able to take a few screws out and bend the spring. I have a similar problem on my new toy. I have yet to take action, as there is always the chance of breaking a brittle piece of metal.

4) I recently went through the adjustment on the Kailart on my mini-speed. I don't think of this as something I would want to do often. To me, it makes more sense to put some extra distance scales on the rails. Use the rangefinder to find the distance, then dial in the distance on the new scale. Basically, use it as a non-coupled rangefinder for the extra lenses. You probably want to get the rangefinder set for something more useful than the 135 Optar, but I don't know if you will want to change the rangefinder every time you change lenses.

5) A good option someone noted is a hand-held rangefinder from a hardware store. These have a laser pointer so you can locate your subject and read back the distance to the (now blind) subject. Use this and the ground glass to calibrate the distance scales (or to make new ones). Then use the hand-held rangefinder uncoupled with the new distance scales you have made. The distance scales can be as simple as tape with sharpie marks.

Home depot has the "Strait-Line 50 Foot Sonic Laser Tape" for $30 on their website.

Matt
 

dr bob

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Good acquisition! About the back, there is a "Bob Watson" I think, who sells parts and repairs Graphics. Try:

RWatson767@aol.com

I can't depend on this address as I haven't used it in a year or so.

In days long past, I used to hand hold a Crown Graphic using the "sports" finder. I found it to be quite accurate for candid shots. It requires distance estimation which really isn't too hard after a few tries. Good luck.
 
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jd callow

jd callow

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MattCarey said:
A couple of notes:
Do you mean the springs on the graflok ground-glass back? That would be hard to tighten up.


Yes I do mean the GG back.

MattCarey said:
I recently went through the adjustment on the Kailart on my mini-speed. I don't think of this as something I would want to do often. To me, it makes more sense to put some extra distance scales on the rails. Use the rangefinder to find the distance, then dial in the distance on the new scale. Basically, use it as a non-coupled rangefinder for the extra lenses. You probably want to get the rangefinder set for something more useful than the 135 Optar, but I don't know if you will want to change the rangefinder every time you change lenses.
No I would set it up for one lense and possibly create scales for others. I don't have scales on my Sinar it has not kept me from shooting.

MattCarey said:
A good option someone noted is a hand-held rangefinder from a hardware store. These have a laser pointer so you can locate your subject and read back the distance to the (now blind) subject. Use this and the ground glass to calibrate the distance scales (or to make new ones). Then use the hand-held rangefinder uncoupled with the new distance scales you have made. The distance scales can be as simple as tape with sharpie marks.

Home depot has the "Strait-Line 50 Foot Sonic Laser Tape" for $30 on their website.

Matt
This would seem the way to go for calibrating the Rangefinder.


Thanks for the tip Dr. Bob. because the GG back is all one piece and easily replaced I will try to get it back in shape (fail) and then replace it in whole.

I received the 240 Heliar today (Thank You Jim Galli along with a set of very nice postcards shot by Mr Galli thank you twice). the lens is about as wide as a synchromatic shutter. Large but should fit on the lens board. I may need to add some ballast to the rear standard though. :wink:

Its interesting how these things all come together at once.
 

BradS

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mrcallow said:
Any handheld shooting techniques that anyone would like to offer would be greatly appreciated.

Oh, you were serious about that? (Marisa T. in My Cousin Vinnie)

Here's one that I've used with some success....Sit on the ground and plant your feet in front of you about shoulder width apart, knees up and together. Hold the camera in your left hand and steady it on top of your knees. Now, your right hand is free to operate the camera, load film holders, etc...

My Crown Graphic is sans rangefinder. Using the above technique, I can focus on the g.g. and tighten up the abs! You look kinda silly doing it but, it works very well.
 
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jd callow

jd callow

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A quick update for those who may care. R-Brian was correct with regards to the GG springs. I gave each spring a squirt of WD40 and within minutes of exercising the springs the tension returned.

This leaves the speed select mechanism as the only non fully functional (stuck in fast) aspect -- which is certainly not a show stopper.
 
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