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Hints and Tips
|After a few enquiries by email here
are a few hints and tips for new owners of Folmer & Schwing and Graflex/Graphic cameras:
HOW DO I OPEN THE CAMERA?
Most of the cameras have a 'secret button' or slightly raised bump under the leather somewhere, which when pressed will cause the front door (or drop bed) to pop open. With earlier Speed Graphics, Century Graphics and some Graflex SLRs this bump is usually on top of the camera near the front edge and in the centre.
Pacemaker Speed Graphics have the bump on the handle side of the camera, again near the front edge but up near the top handle mount. Later Super Graphic and Super Speed Graphic versions have the door lock operated by revolving the focus wheels slightly upward thus withdrawing the track slightly from the 'lock' position in the upper body.
Series B, C and D Graflex cameras are opened by simply rotating the right side focus wheel forward until the lens itself just pushes the door open. Other older models may have a pin located underneath the front standard which is released as the standard is wound forwards, allowing the lens shade/door to pop up.
HOW DO I PULL THE LENS OUT?
All Speed Graphics have a locking system below the lens. This will look like two rings on earlier models and a centre pivoting ring or paddle on later Graphics. Either squeeze the two rings together, or centre the single paddle type, before pulling the front standard forwards along the focusing track. Make sure the track is wound back as far as it will go by turning the focus knob(s) first. When folding up the camera be sure once again that the track is wound back completely before pushing the lens back into the camera body.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT BACK TYPES?
There are three different types of backs attached to Graflex/Graphic cameras. The 'Graphic' back is a simple spring type with leaf springs fixed at the top and bottom of the camera's rear. The ground glass and hood are attached to the back itself. Double sided film holders, film pack adapters and Grafmatic film holders are slid into place between the back itself and the camera body.
The 'Graflex' back is found most commonly on the Graflex SLRs but was also available as an option on Graphic cameras after 1916. A fixed bar at the bottom and a sliding bar at the top of the camera's rear allowed specially slotted film and plate holders to be used.
One of Graflex Inc's finest inventions was the 'Graflok' (or Universal) back with top and bottom slides as well as a removable focus screen and hood, allowing the use of the various Graflex roll film holders.
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WHAT ABOUT THE ROLL FILM HOLDERS?
Roll film holders can only be used with 'Graflex' and 'Graflok' backs, not 'Graphic' spring backs. The earliest roll film holders were for the Graflex backs (see above). The film was wound vertically instead of the later horizontally wound holders. None of the film types used are manufactured today so they are good for display purposes only.
The next roll film backs to appear were the knob wound Graflex 22 and Graflex 23 in 6x6cm and 6x7cm formats respectively. These were followed by the lever wound RH-12 (6x6cm), RH-10 (6x7cm), RH-8 (6x9cm) for 120 size film, the RH-20 (20exp 6x7cm) for 220 size and the RH-50 (50exp 6x7cm) for 70mm bulk film.
These roll film backs were supplied on different size mounting plates for 2 1/4 x 3 1/4", 3 1/4 x 4 1/4" and 4x5" cameras so be sure to choose the right model for your camera.