Reloading Grafmatic Backs : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Hello all, and thanks for having such a great forum! I have inherited two empty Grafmatic backs from an old field camera. I have read in the archives that some of you seem to still be using these. I know that they haven't been available for quite awhile, so what gives? Are you reloading them? And if so, are there any on-line instructions as to how to do this? Can an idiot do it?

Thanks for any help, I would love to use these, they seem like a great idea.

-- DeputyDawg (, June 21, 2000


They are great, and keep the film flatter than regular holders. Here's the manual:

-- John Lehman (, June 21, 2000.

There are six (6) septums inside the Grafmatic cassette, each of which holds a single sheet of cut film, which must be loaded under dark conditions. With the unit in it's fully closed position turn the counter on the back to any number 1-6, but not on "X". Put your right index finger in the pull-loop of the dark slide, and with your thumb press the chrome lever towards the pull-loop. Now, holding the main body of the Grafmatic with your left hand pull on the pull-loop so as to slide the entire septum holding cassette out of the main body, but it will come to a stop before it is pulled all the way out. Release the Chrome lever your thumb has been holding in. Now grasp the sides of the septun holding cassette with your left hand. Push the pull-loop back in, which should take a few millemeters only, and you will hear a faint click and the chrome button will pop back to its original position. The dark slide is now free to be pulled open. Hold the Grafmatic so that the opening for the film is UP, so the septums don't spill onto the floor as the dark slide is slowly opened. The top ends of the six septuns will pop out of the Grafmatic cassette. Grab them on the sides with your right hand and gently slide them out as a single unit. You will notice that one end (the bottom) of each septum is open and has a circular cut-out. That is where the film identification notches go when you slide the film into the septum. The loading proceedure is just reversed. Try to hold the septums only by the edges. Insert the septums into the cassette as a bundle (film identifying notch ends first), push down on the protruding (spring loaded) ends, and slide the dark slide over them, then push the entire magazine together. The unit is now light- tight and you can work in the light. Turn the number on the back to "1". From this point, do the rest of this with the Grafmatic attached to the camera, and the shutter closed. Pulling out the dark slide feeds the first sheet of film, ready to make a picture. This may be done with the dark slide in or out. You will note that when a sheet of film is "open" to the light, a red dot appears on the back of the Grafmatic. To close the Grafmatic, push the dark slide in and pull the pull-loop while holding in the chrome botton next to the pull-loop. Then push the whole thing back in and it is light-tight (no red dot showing). To expose the next film just pull out the dark slide. Repeat this process untill the sixth film has been exposed and returned to the cassette. At this time the dial on the back of the Grafmatic will be in the "X" position, and the dark slide is locked into the cassette. It is time to reload. Suggest you do it the first time in the light. It will take 20 minutes to do the first time in the dark, after than less than five.

-- Bill Mitchell (, June 21, 2000.

Be carfull with them. The septums bend. And it is easy to put them in backwards. Be carefull.


-- Dean Lastoria (, June 21, 2000.

A small shortcut - when loading the film in the septums, hold all the septums as a group in one hand. Load a sheet of film in the top septum, and move it to the back of the pile until all 6 septums are loaded. If you do it in this way, it's faster and your not fishing around for the loaded septums when your done.

Grafmatics are interesting, but I've given up on them. I found sheet management in the post exposure phase too complicated and prone to error. I always shoot atleast two identical sheets/scene (and sometimes 2 additional with +/- bracket), and develop one sheet while holding back the rest. Keeping track of all this in a Grafmatic is too much trouble.

-- Larry Huppert (, June 21, 2000.

The Graflex web site has the original users manual for the Grafmatic.

-- Tony Brent (, June 22, 2000.

Thank you one and ALL! This is the most knowledgeable AND pleasant forum going!

-- DeputyDawg (, June 23, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ