Grafmatic Film Back : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I have a 4x5 Grafmatic film back that I would like to use for travel photography to save space over conventional holders. My question is does anyone have sucess in using these? The only time I tried, I got quite a few spots on the film from dust/debris. I suspect it is caused by havig moving parts in the film holder (I don't have dust problems with conventional film holders). If I can't get the thing to work dust free it's useless to me. P.S. before anyone mentions the obvious, I carefully cleaned the holder and septums before loading.

-- David Rose (, September 24, 2000


I use Grafmatics all the time. I love them. I know what you mean about the obvious answer to the question of dust spots. There is quite a bit of light trap material in the Grafmatic... are you sure you cleaned that? Is is also possible that the movements of the Grafmatic create some static electricity that you don't have in the single holders? That might attract the dust to the film. I'm not sure about that. Please don't give up on these holders. If you can get the to work to your satisfaction, they will make traveling with 4x5 a lot more fun.

Good luck.

chuck k

-- chuck k (, September 24, 2000.

I've used them with success and failure. Never noticed a dust problem, but sometimes they jam. My septum are nice and flat, so I haven't been able to figure out why I have this occasional problem. Personally, I don't like my film real estate being taken up by a number wheel imprinted a usually unreadable number. For color transparency work, I also found post shooting film management awkward having to carefully seperate out the film for processing and holdback. For a while, I was using them for color negative where push/pull processing isn't an issue. At this point, when I'm shooting for $, I'll only use conventional film holders and Quickloads.

-- Larry Huppert (, September 25, 2000.

The grafmatic back is a wonderful machine. Just be very careful with your cleaning and storage. My backs are alway carefully cleaned before and after use and stored in Zip Lock bags. I know you didn't want an obvious anwer,but these backs are very hard to clean as they seem to collect dust everywhere internally. The back may have decades worth of dust sitting in side, in places you can't see,so use canned air and a vacuum. I actually even washed a set of septums. The guys at Lens at Lens and Repro know how to remove that number counter thing, but I understand that it's a pain to do.I have two backs and tend to use the one without the thingy. Maybe , if we're very lucky someone will manufacture new clean backs. Good luck

-- Wil Hinds (, September 25, 2000.

The dust problem isn't limited to graphmatics. I had terrible dusting from a secondhand DD slide, which turned out to be the felt trap full of dirt. I dismantled it and cleaned the felt. Likewise with the Graphmatic, it's probably the light-trap material that's the culprit, although mine has never given me any problems.
I've seen Graphmatics where the number wheel has been 'nibbled' off with tin snips or similar, and although it doesn't look pretty, it doesn't affect the working, if it's done carefully.

-- Pete Andrews (, September 25, 2000.

Thanks for the info, guys. By the way, since it was mentioned more than once, you can remove the number wheel fairly easily (without tin snips). Just take the housing apart by removing all the screws you see and pulling it apart. You will find a metal plate over the number wheel. Remove the two screws that hold it in place, remove the wheel, put the plate back on and put the housing back together. Thanks again DER

-- David Rose (, September 25, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ