A new Graflex SLR?

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I've been looking at the old Graflex 4x5 SLR system and an idea came to me: Why not build a new/modern version of this great old camera? In fact the new version might be very close to the original camera, with Graflok back etc. but with maybe the additon of some rise, fall tilt and swing. Built to the standard of, let's say, a Walker Titan? Would such a camera need a focal plane shutter or would an in-lens shutter work as well? What do you think.

-- Arthur Gottschalk (Arthurwg@aol.com), June 06, 2000


The big, old Graflex's were mainly good for portraits. Even today no one makes a retrofocus wide angle lens which could be used with that big mirror -- KA CHUNK. I have both a 4x5 and a 3x4 Super D, and love 'em, but I don't thnk there's any market for a new one. Look at the price of a Fuji 6x8, and double it, or worse. Gasp!

-- Bill Mitchell (bmitch@home.com), June 06, 2000.

The modern camera that comes closest, to my mind, is the RB-67.

-- Tony Brent (ajbrent@mich.com), June 06, 2000.

I'm contemplating building my own wooden camera, and the thought of a reflex camera for portraiture is intriguing. I'd like a nice "salon" camera with lots of front movements for kewl field-of-focus tricks, in a 5x7 or 8x10 format for contact prints. The point being to re-create the feel of old, pre-war glamour photography.

So! A light-tight "box", 8 or 11" sqaure, with a electronically driven viewing/focusing mirror aiming at a 7 or 10" square of ground-glass mounted on the -side-, rather than the top. Horiz and vert framing lines etched on the glass, and a revolving, glassless back.

Compose, focus, and when the proper moment arrives, hit a button. The camera causes the mirror to swing out of the way, blocking the light from the glass, and then it trips the shutter. (Quick return mirror isn't neccessary for obvious reasons.)

It is kind of rube-goldbergian, but no more so than the old Gowlandflex large format TLR from Peter Gowland.


-- Matt Gabriel (mgabriel@crosswinds.net), June 07, 2000.

Actually Peter Gowland did make a 4x5 SLR for portraits. You could try him as he occassionally has some of his old stuff sitting around. By the way, the last time I visited him, he had a great collection of his cameras, but was shooting pin ups with a Hasselblad.

-- Stephen Kundell (skundell@pol.net), June 18, 2000.

Hmmm. This string still alive? I'm building such a camera now. Actually a radical modification of a RB series D. For portraits only, though. No front movements. Goal is vibration-free operation with auto diaphragm open and close, X-synch. Only steps nec between shots to be advancing film (or changing holder), cocking shutter, and re-focussing. 210mm Componon for 6x7, 14" Commercial ektar for 4x5. Actually, either lens will work with either f

-- Roger Stevens (Mandoblast@aol.com), November 17, 2001.

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