Monday, August 30, 2010

Graflex Speed Graphic

Graflex Speed Graphic (2)

The Graflex Pacemaker Speed Graphic is a press camera, fruit of the evolution of the press cameras made by Graflex at Rochester, N.Y., U.S.A.
The main difference to the older models is the introduction of a focal plane shutter, allowing the use of barrel lenses, without shutter. The consequent disadvantage is the limit of 65mm in the use of wide angle lenses.   
This model was built between 1947 and 1970. This example is of the later, recognizable by the integrated viewfinder range finder mounted on the top, earlier models had a Kalart rangefinder mounted on the right side and the viewfinder on top.
It's a camera with a limited range of movements on the front standard.

  • Graflex Optar, made by Wollensak to Graflex, 135mm 1:4.7 lens
  • Front Shutter - Graphex leaf shutter, full synchromatic also made by Wollensak to Graflex.
  • Shutter speeds 1" - 1/400", B, T and Open
  • Back shutter - Focal plane shutter 
  • Shutter speeds 1/30" - 1/1000", T and O (open)
  • Sports finder, telescopic wire frame in the front standard and retractable peep hole, with parallax correction.
  • Optical viewfinder with auto parallax correction and interchangeable masks, for different lenses.
  • Coupled range finder.
  • Coupled Rangelite
  • Graflock back with integrated ground glass and removable folding metal shade.
  • 4x5" exposures on sheet film in sheet film holders.
  • Body shutter release - controlling both shutters independently. 
  • Focusing, by double knurled knobs, on rails with folding infinity stops and focus lock.
  • Movements of the front standard: Tilt 20º / Bed drop 20º / Rise 26mm / Shift 19mm, 8,5mm each way from zero position.
  • Double tripod mount: Bottom for landscape and side, behind the leather strap, for portrait.
  • Dimensions:                        Height           Depth            Width
         Closed                              210mm         116mm          210mm

         Open using ground             210mm         370mm          210mm     
         glass with shades

         The same with                   230mm         360mm          210mm
          bed dropped 
  • weight: 2.6kg, with 2 AA batteries, don't laugh I'll tell you later what the batteries are for.

Graflex Speed Graphic (4)

Here on the right side of the camera are the shutter controls:
  • On top the winder/selector for the focal plane shutter
  • Right under it, the window displaying the chosen shutter speed
  • Under it, the shutter selector, Back, front and trip, used to reset the shutter
  • To the right and bellow the shutter release, almost on the same level, on the back, the flash connector
  • On the bottom that small lever changes the tension of the shutter to allow doubling or halving the shutter speed
We can see also the front standard with it's movement controls, the focusing knob and rails and the focus lock lever, close to the right focusing knob.
On top is visible the range finder with integrated viewfinder
On the left the Graflock back

Graflex Speed Graphic (5)

On the left side:

On top and also integrated on the range finder that red button activates the Rangelite, a device coupled to the range finder that emits two light beams, that when coincide on the subject guarantees accurate focusing in low light conditions. Now you know what the batteries are for.

The leather strap, under it and not visible the side tripod attachment.

Close to and on the left focusing rail, near to the left focusing knob is the focusing scale.

Graflex Speed Graphic (6)
This picture displays the dropped bed, compensated by the tilt of the front standard.

Graflex Speed Graphic (7)
This one displays the extreme extension of the bellows, this permits obtaining 1:1 macro shots.

Graflex Speed Graphic (1)

The front view:

On top: The combination viewfinder with 135mm mask, range finder and Rangelite.

The magnificent Graflex Optar 135mm 1:4.7 lens on the Graphex shutter both made by Wollensak to Graflex.

Down on the left panel the shutter release with the remote release attachment hole.

Under the lens in the middle that big key is the front standard lock.

Graflex Speed Graphic (3)

In this back view:

The ground glass with opened metal folding shades.

The sports finder with the parallax correction scale on the peep hole support.

To the right of the peep hole support, the range finder viewer and the optic viewfinder.

Laying behind the camera a sheet film holder.

I find amazing the versatility of this camera viewfinder and focusing wise. It has:
  • An optical viewfinder with auto parallax correction and interchangeable masks for different lenses.
  • A sports finder with parallax correction and auto adaptable to all lenses, except extreme long lenses. Auto adaptable because when we change the lens the distance between the lens and film changes in the same amount of the wire frame to the peep hole.
  • The priceless ground glass, both for composing and focusing.
  • Coupled range finder.
  • Coupled Rangelite.
  • Scale focusing.

    My first experiments with it were very conventional:

    Graflex - Porto
    Graflex - Porto by RaúlM.

    Graflex Speed Graphic - Porto
    Graflex - Porto by RaúlM.

    Just the sheer size of the negatives is amazing.

    Speed Graphic tiltedUsing the tilt feature the camera looks like this:

    Using this feature, that compresses the dof to a narrow band, I got this, model look alike, pictures:
    Honey I shrunk the bridge
    Honey I shrunk the bridge by RaúlM.

    My "model" town
    My "model" town by RaúlM.

    Rabelo "model"
    Rabelo "model" by RaúlM.

    Now all I want is pick this big baby, load the holders, take along a sturdy tripod and shrink my home town.

    I couldn't finish without my reflected self portrait:

    Me and Graflex Speed Graphic

    This is part of my project "I, me and my cameras"

    I'll be back to this camera. I have it for two years but I only scratched it's surface. I have to learn a lot about what I can do with it.

    Stay tuned (o; 


    Thursday, August 26, 2010

    Vest Pocket Kodak Autographic

    Vest Pocket Kodak  (3)

    I have already mentioned this camera in older posts but I believe it deserves a more in depth review.

    The Vest Pocket Kodak Autographic
    Vest Pocket Kodak  (5)
    Vest Pocket Kodak Autographic by RaúlM.

    • Single meniscus lens about 75mm 1:11
    • Three blades, Kodak ball bearing shutter, 1/25, 1/50 B and T
    • Fixed focus ~1.8m to infinity
    • 8, 4x7cm, exposures on 127 film
    • Folding bellows in trellis struts
    • Autographic window and stylus 
    • Size and weight: 67x121x30mm, 316g
    Pulling the lens plate all the way, about 70mm, it clicks and stays rigid and focused.
    Then is time to compose the image using the bright viewfinder that can be turned 90 degrees to take landscape pictures. The viewfinder mask accommodate both formats, portrait and landscape.

    Vest Pocket Kodak Autographic top view
    Top view and the bright viewfinder

    Vest Pocket Kodak Autographic shutter closed
    Shutter closed aperture 4 = f32

    The lens is behind the shutter and aperture blades. There is a choke to avoid apertures smaller than f11. This way only the central part of the lens is used, avoiding the flare, that these lenses are prone.

    In Japan this is very appreciated, so there are people that remove the choke and adapt these lenses to modern cameras to take advantage of the dreamy effect produced by the huge flare, at larger apertures.

    Vest Pocket Kodak Autographic shutter open
    Shutter opened (T) aperture 1 = F11

    The apertures are marked as 1-2-3-4.
    Being 1 = f11 the others should be 16, 22 and 32.
    In some models the numbers have a scene correspondence:
    1. Near view Portraits
    2. Average view
    3. Distant view
    4. Clouds Marine
    In these models the shutter speeds were identified like this:
    • 1/25 Clear
    • 1/50 Brilliant

    The loading of the film is made by removing the side plate and introducing simultaneously both spools.

    Vest Pocket Kodak Autographic film loading
    Loading 127 film 

    In the back there's a removable round port, to access the back of the lens, for cleaning purposes.
    In the centre of that port is the red window, used to monitor the film advance.

    Vest Pocket Kodak Autographic back port removed
    Back port removed

    Vest Pocket Kodak Autographic using stylus
    The autographic feature is the ancestor of the the quartz date backs.
    After the exposure one could open the small window and, using the iron stylus, write the date, place, whatever, in the backing paper. Then expose it, for a few seconds, to direct sunlight. When the film was processed they got their "analogue EXIF" in the space between negatives.
    This was possible with a type of film, introduced in 1915 alongside with this new feature, the Kodak nº A-127.

    Some facts about the VPK
    It was made by Eastman Kodak Company, Rochester N.Y., U.S.A., from 1912 to 1926.
    They sold about 1.750.000 units.
    The VPK was the first camera to use 127 film.
    This name it's self explanatory, it was a camera that could be carried in a vest pocket. In fact it isn't much bigger than many of the compact digital of today.
    This was the successor of the long praised collapsible large Kodak cameras.
    It's success was due to the small size and price. They sold for $6.
    This price was possible due to it's simpler construction, instead of  wood, metal, leather... of the older and bigger models the VPK was made of an aluminium alloy fastened with rivets. What explains why there are still so many, in very good condition, today.

    The first models didn't had the autographic feature and were painted in smooth black.
    The autographic model was launched in 1915 with a black crackled finish, also called Japan crystal.
    There was some special models with better, some focusing, lenses, like the Rapid Rectilinear by Baush & Lomb, the Cooke triplet, Zeiss Tessar and the rare Lacour-Berthiot Olor. Also different shutters and, some of these special models, were covered in leather.

    As it was a very portable camera, there was a lot of WWI soldiers who took them to the trenches, what was strictly prohibited. That gave it the nickname "Soldier's camera".

    Charles Lindberg used to carry one with him in his adventurous flights.

    George Mallory, maybe the first person to reach the Everest summit, had one with him when he and Andrew Irving headed to the last part of the ascent. Both died, the body of Mallory and most of the personal effects were found, Irving's body and the camera were never recovered, in it could be the proof of their feat.

    My camera story
    This VPK belonged to an aunt and godmother of my father, named Rosália, she was born in the early years of the XX century. I can't say if she used it much or even if she was the original owner of the camera. All I can say is that she gave it, at some point, to my father.
    He liked to show it to me when I was a kid, at home it was called aunt Zália's camera.
    My father used it as a young boy.
    As I started collecting cameras he gave it to me along with the ICA Minimum Palmos and the Halina X35 Super, on my birthday in 2008.

    I was very curious to see what it was capable of, so I got some Efke R100 127 film, from Fotoimpex, Berlin, and made a few rolls with it.
    The results amazed me:

    Coruña-Praia Riazor
    Playa Riazor, Coruña, Galicia, Spain by RaúlM.

    Ribeira, Porto, Portugal by RaúlM.

    D. Luis I bridge, Porto, Portugal by RaúlM.

    These are some of my favourite photos, taken with it.

    I take the chance to thank my parents for having given it to me and particularly, to my father, for the "photo infection" that he gave me when I was a little boy.

    Vest Pocket Kodak - Os meus pais que me deram a câmara
    My parents by RaúlM.

    Thank you mum and dad.

    Stay tuned (o;

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010

    ICA Minimum Palmos

    Ica Minimum Palmos
    CA Minimum Palmos by Raúlm

    Some history
    This camera has been in my family for, at least, three generations.
    My grandfather used it in his honeymoon, he passed it to my father, that never used it, he had it only for display, my father gave it to me on my birthday in 2008.

    This camera was produced by ICA A.G. between 1909 and 1926. Before that it was made by Palmos A.G. Jena, a camera company owned by Carl Zeiss Jena, since 1902.
    ICA A.G. Dresden (International Camera A.G.) was formed in 1909 by the merger of several camera companies:
    Palmos A.G. Jena, Wünsche Dresden, R. Hüttig & Sohn Berlin and Dr. R. Krugener Frankfurt a.M. 
    A few years later G. Zulauf and Co. Zurich. merged to ICA A.G.
    When Zeiss Ikon A.G. started it's operations in 1926, it was the end of ICA A.G.

    Ica Minimum Palmos
    ICA Minimum Palmos by Raúlm

    Ica Minimum Palmos Model B (#456)
    Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar f=15cm 1:4,5

    Lens shift and 90º rotation
    Helicoid focusing front element
    Strut folding camera 

    Leather bellows
    Vertical cloth focal plane shutter 1/15-1/1000
    9x12cm sheet film

    This is a very compact camera, for a 9x12 sheet camera. It presents an impressive range of shutter speeds due to it's focal plane shutter

    Ica Minimum Palmos
    Top view, shutter speeds table

    Shutter speed selection 
    Using the table, on a brass plaque on the camera top plate, we can read, on the left column, the curtain gap size, and on the top row the number that stands for the tension of the spring. 
    The shutter speeds on the table are the result of these two factors. 
    Once the shutter speed is chosen we have to read the table to determine the curtain gap size and  the tension necessary to select it.
    Using the big black round knob, on top, to wind the shutter and also to chose the curtain gap. 
    Behind the big window, covered with an acetate, there is a gear with a series of holes, identified with the curtain gap sizes. Select it by pushing and turning the knob.
    Then using the small silver coloured knob, on bottom left, and reading the number in the tiny window above it, we select the tension. It only travels clockwise.
    Ica Minimum Palmos
    Side view, shutter controls
    To reset the tension use the smaller black knob, bottom right, marked M and Z.
    The shutter release is that black protruding prong above the reset knob.

    This operation must be carried out without the plate holder or with it in place but protected by the dark slide, hence the shutter it isn't self capping.

    Composing and Focusing
    To compose the picture we can use the magnificent ground glass or the very useful, for hand held pictures, sports finder:

    Ica Minimum Palmos
    Back view with ground glass assembly and raised sports finder
    The ground glass is priceless for precise focusing.
    With the sports finder the distance has to be guestimated.

    The ground glass assembly includes a set of shades, better viewed in the following picture:

    Ica Minimum Palmos

    Ground glass shades on display

    That folds neatly, when not in use:

    Ica Minimum Palmos
    Double sided plate holder and folded ground glass assembly

    and displays, embossed in the magnificent leather cover, the ICA logo:

    Ica Minimum Palmos
    Logo displayed in ground glass cover

    Plate holders
    The camera as two plate holders one double sided, one plate on each side the other is for using with some kind of cartridge. I confess that I couldn't find any info about the latter.

    Ica Minimum Palmos
    ICA Minimum Palmos kit by RaúlM.
    The double sided plate holder is on top of the one using cartridges(?) 

    Ica Minimum Palmos
     lens default position
    Ica Minimum Palmos
     lens rotated 90º and shifte

    Shift lens
    The lens that rotates ninety degrees allows, very limited, shift movements.

    ICA Minimum Palmos in action
    This picture of my grandparents, during their honeymoon, in July of 1929, was taken with this camera:

    Help me identify the camera on the bench
    My grandparents in their honeymoon, July 1929

    I have only a copy of a print that, god knows when, someone partially colourized, with crayons.
    On the bench next to my grandmother is, what I think, a movie camera. If anyone can identify it, I would appreciate it.

    Edit - Thanks to Fulvue the movie camera was identified as a Pathe Motocamera from 1928, what adds up, this picture was taken in mid July 1929.

    This is one picture taken by me to include in my project "I, me and my cameras".

    Not a very good one, I'm afraid, but if we want we can squeeze pictures from a centennial camera, like this:

    Me and ICA Minimum Palmos
    Me and ICA Minimum Palmos by RaúlM.

    Stay tuned (o;

    Saturday, August 21, 2010

    This is a trip

    Me and Olys Trip 35
    Me and Olys Trip 35 by RaúlM.

    Olympus Trip 35
    Olympus Trip 35 by RaúlM.

    Olympus Trip 35
    Auto exposure, viewfinder, 35mm camera
    D. Zuico 40mm 1:2.8 lens
    Manual zone focus, pictograms on top of the lens barrel, the corresponding distances, in feet and meters, on the opposite side. 
    Two speed, 1/40 and 1/200", central, leaf shutter
    Selenium light meter ring, surrounding the lens. ASA range 25 - 400
    Trip 35 viewfinder 
    by Irish Light
    The viewfinder has bright guide lines, with parallax correction indicators and a very small window, on the right bottom corner, aka the "Judas window", showing the aperture and distance chosen on the respective rings, in the lens barrel.            
    Red flag when there's not enough light.
    Additive exposure counter

    The auto exposure is controlled by a needle trap. There's a small needle that is controlled by the selenium cell. When the shutter release is pressed half way, the needle rises and get trapped, by a double system, selecting the aperture and shutter speed.
    Probably to avoid diffraction effects, common in 35mm cameras, when the aperture is greater than f8, the program uses the 1/40" shutter speed from f2,8 - 8, then increases the speed to 1/200 in order to enlarge the aperture, to keep it, as possible, under f11.

    Olympus Trip 35 Program Graph
    Olympus Trip 35 Program Graph by Irish Light

    When there is not enough light a red flag is displayed in the viewfinder and the shutter is blocked.
    This is a nice feature because it also avoids shooting with the lens cap in place. A common mistake with viewfinder and rangefinder cameras.

    There's a manual mode to use it with flash. The shutter speed in this mode is 1/40".

    Although there's a familiar look with the Pen series, this is a full frame, 24 x 36mm, camera.

    The Olympus Trip 35 was produced by the millions, way over five millions, from 1967 to 1983.
    There's a thread in the  Olympus Trip 35 group on Flickr intending to make a census of the serial numbers.

    You can tell them apart by the serial number, the smaller the older or, very quickly, by the shutter release button, in the older models it's silver and black in the newer ones. The silver button model was produced until June 1978.
    If you want to know precisely when yours was manufactured, remove the pressure plate, inside the back door, you'll find a Japanese character or Latin, in the newer models, that designates the factory, a number, for the year, and a another number or Latin character standing for the month (1-9 Jan-Sept, X-Y-Z Oct-Nov-Dec).
    i.e. G9X = 79 / Oct

    Olympus Trip 35 oppened back door
    Opened back door   
    Pressure plate removed revealing the manufacture code
    If you are in doubt of the year go for the colour of the shutter release button.

    They were made in two flavours: black and chrome and all black.

    It's unjustified underrated by some and a cult camera to others.

    I have two, one with the black button (Oct / 79), that came from €bay. The other with a silver button, that I found in a flea market (Nov / 73).

    Two of a kind
    Two of the kind by RaúlM.

    Both looking gorgeous but afflicted with the same disease, frozen shutter. Luckily I found this great tutorial and brought both back to life. It's work for a winter afternoon.

    They are both very competent shooters. Light and small. It's an everyday camera.
    The only caution that I advise is to always be careful and adjust, as best as you can, the focus distance. As it likes large apertures, the DOF tends to be shallow.

    An example of what they are capable:

    Mine... Mine... Mine... RaúlM.

    I been shooting with them. Soon I'll post some pics on Flickr.

    Stay tuned (o;

    Thursday, August 19, 2010

    Me and Nikonos V

    Me With Nikonos
    Me and Nikonos V by my daughter Beatriz

    I've been snorkelling and spear-fishing, since I was a kid.
    In 1994 I took my SCUBA diving course (CMAS P2). I can't forget it, I was taking the written exam, when my son was born. At the time there were no cell phones, my sister-in-law paged me.

    For a long time I decided not to mix my hobbies.
    I had the mistaken notion that if I was taking pictures I wouldn't enjoy the dive, being too much involved in the photo activity.

    In 2004 I decided to buy a Nikonos. €Bay here I went.
    Bought a Nikonos II, a sad story for another day. Then I found a beautiful Nikonos V and grabed it.

    Nikonos V - 35mm Nikkor
    Nikonos V by RaúlM.

    The Nikonos V is an electronically controlled 35mm amphibious camera.
    The body is of a metal alloy, covered with rubber in the most exposed areas and sealed with o-rings in all the strategic places.
    The TTL light meter controls the shutter in aperture priority mode, or gives information in manual mode. With a dedicated flash i.e. SB-105 it performs flash TTL control.
    The focal plane shutter is stepless 1/30 - 1/1000s in aperture priority, quartz controlled 1/30- 1/1000 in manual mode, m90 the mechanical 1/90 speed shutter, even without batteries and B.
    It uses regular 35mm film with ISO settings 25 to 1600.
    It as a series of interchangeable lenses using the Nikonos mount, from Nikon and third party manufacturers.
    The integrated viewfinder is dedicated to the "normal" lens, the 35mm 1:2.8
    There are external viewfinders to all the other lens and also a sports finder for the 35mm.
    It's a big girl 145 x 100 x 60mm and weights 700g.

    Nikonos V - 35mm Nikkor Nikonos V - 35mm Nikkor
    Nikonos V - 35mm Nikkor Sports viewfinder
    Nikonos V by RaúlM.

    But with the camera alone you can't do much.

    So I bought, the extension tubes, for macro.

    Nikonos V - Macro tube Nikonos V - Macro tube
    Nikonos V - Macro tubes
    Nikonos V with extension tubes by RaúlM.

    Later a Nikkor-UW 28mm 1:3.5 and a SB-105 flash.

    After some digging on the €bay I got a nice Sea & Sea 15mm 1:3.5, that widened my horizons a lot.

    Nikonos V - 15mm Sea & Sea
    NikonosV and Sea & Sea 15mm 1:3.5 by RaúlM.

    Nikonos V - Complete Set
    Nikonos V gear by RaúlM.

    This kit allowed me to take the following shots:

    Cueva del Delfin (Sargos)
    Cueva del Delfin by RaúlM.

    Decompression stop by RaúlM.

    Nikonos - Begur - Furió Fitó
    I love bubbles by RaúlM.

    Bégur Furio Fitó
    I believe I can fly by RaúlM.

    Gliding by RaúlM.

    Stay tuned (o;