Superb 1945 GRAFLEX SPEED GRAPHIC, Coated Ektar lens, Roll-film back & Freshly Serviced! CLA'd!
Cleaned, Lubricated & Adjusted. Ready for immediate use!
This is a miniature Graflex Speed Graphic produced in the USA from 1938 until 1947, (when it was replaced by the lower spec & less expensive Graflex Crown Graphic). Designed as a smaller, handier version of the big 4x5, this camera featured a 6x 9 format (2 ¼ X 3 ¼ inches). It was a fine quality, professional camera shared many features of its ‘big brother’. During WWII these cameras were used by newspaper reporters, war correspondents and the military. The only real difference is that the military version featured a metal identification plate to indicate it was government property.
The serial number (370895) indicates that it was produced in late 1945 or early 1946. The Graflex was an expensive camera and the quality shows. Its body is carefully constructed and it is fitted with a number of high quality components. Additionally it also is fitted with a Kalart coupled rangefinder, a very convenient feature when you don’t have the time or the inclination to focus on the matt glass. This rangefinder makes focusing quick and easy and never leaves you guessing about distance or focus.
This camera has two shutters, a focal plane shutter built into the body and a leaf shutter up front. The focal plane shutter allows you to use “barrel mounted” lenses (i.e. shutterless lenses) and this gives you the advantage of being able to experiment with many vintage lenses. So perhaps you can finally use that Pinkham-Smith, Goerz Dagor, Velostigmat, Petzval or Voigtlander Heliar that’s been gathering dust in your collection.
This camera was intended to be used with sheet film holders. However if you remove two screws from the matt glass, it comes off quickly and easily. It’s then possible to install a Graflex roll-film back. (They were produced in 6x9, 6x7 and 6x6 for 120 and 220 film). Additionally it is also possible to use Mamiya roll film holders as well.
It’s my understanding that Graflex made a kit to hold a roll-film back onto this model but now-a-days owners just make their own. If you check the internet you will find plenty of simple DIY suggestions.
This Graflex is in exceptionally fine condition. The bellows are supple and completely light tight. The rangefinder image is bright, easy to see, easy to use and accurate.
The body shutter works well release button doesn’t trigger the front leaf shutter but does work for the rear, focal plane shutter. If you want to fire the leaf shutter, just push the front release lever on the shutter. (You’ll probably use a cable release if you’re using this camera for fine art.)
The camera has been carefully cleaned, lubricated and adjusted. The Supermatic leaf shutter works also smoothly and all speeds (T,B & 1 sec - 1/400th) are appropriate. The slow speeds buzz along smoothly and the fast speeds are clean and snappy. The focal plane shutter in the body works as it should. The curtains are light tight. It winds and fires smoothly. It functions far better than most examples I’ve seen. However because of its age nature and large size, I can’t guarantee its reliability over time.
The serial number of the lens (ER1917) dates it to 1945 and it’s probably the original lens that came with this camera. The lens is an early example of the coated 4.5 /101mm Ektar lens. (The coating has a lighter color and it does not have the “L” in a circle for ‘Luminized’.) The Kodak Ektar lens met the highest professional standards of its era and still performs extremely well today. The lens is very clean and clear. There are no scratches or polishing marks and is capable of producing beautiful photos with modern color and black & white films. .
It comes complete with two used, double sided 6x9 sheet film holders and a used Graflex 6x7 roll film back for 220 film.
All in all a very lovely camera. Very enjoyable camera too, if you’ve been looking for a fine example to convert to roll-film.