Graflex Graphic View I & II : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I've noticed an interesting lack of commentary, positive or negative, on these two 4x5 monorail models by Graflex. Considering their pricing on the used and internet (e.g. ebay) market, and the wealth of lenses that are readily available AND inexpensive AND usable on the many hand-held Graflex press cameras - this seems bizarre. Why especially if you are not trying to either "keep up with the Joneses" or make your living a this?

I am the happy owner of an Army Anniversary Speed Graphic [in terrific condition] with lenses from 90mm to 270mm. I shoot landscape for the most part, and can put the camera and most accessories in a Jansport backpack, yes, the kind kids tote to school. And, I've had some very good sucess with architechtural photos, though limited.

Because I am relatively new to this - 2 years- and it is only a hobby; not by bread and butter, I may be missing the point. But, I don't see why so many posts argue for entry/mid level monorail cameras that cost about $1000-2000, not to mention that one (1) lens for that camera will cost half as much. My Ann. Speed Graphic with orig. Haliburton case, 15 Fidelity and Riteway holders, Polaroid back, three lenses and spare lensholders cost less than $1000.

Any illumination you can provide would

-- Hailu Shack (, April 12, 2001


My first 4x5 camera was a crown graphic -- it was a good camera, but movements were limited compared to my current monorail or press camera. I also used a Graphic View II and liked it -- I replaced it because I wanted a monorail with more rear movements and interchangeable bellows and the graphic was getting a little "beat" -- some of the knobs didn't lock as well as I would like -- but other than that it was great.

I hate to say it, but there seems do be a certain measure of snobbery opperating in most of these online forums. I don't think trading up my $200 Graphic view for a used Cambo made me a better human being or a more brilliant photographer -- it just allowed me to used wide angle bellows -- which helped make the decision. I regret selling the 4x5 Crown -- I liked the camera very much (compact, lightweight, fun and easy to use despite limited movements) -- but I had another press camera and needed money for some computer upgrades, so the Crown ended up on ebay.

-- gleep wurp (, April 12, 2001.

Hailu: I haved used the Graphic View II for years and like the camera very much. The model II has center tilts, which seems to be the major difference between the two. I am quite fond of mine, and use it a lot. It is kinda rickety until everything is locked down tight. Mine, and every one I have seen, has a problem with the gears slipping or jumping the gears on the focusing rail. It is aggrevating, but doesn't affect the ability of the camera to make good pictures. You need to tighten the collar on the focus drive before making a negs so that everything tightens up on the rail. In my opinion, it is a greatly underrated camera. A great many pros used the camera in the old days.


-- Doug Paramore (, April 12, 2001.

Thanks, Gleep and Doug. The last line of my post should have read "Any illumination you can provide would be appreciated". I too have noticed some apparently basic, full range movement Cambos (i.e. the SC's) at very good prices, meaning way under $1000. Yet, from reading various posts here and elsewhere, Cambo has, or had, a tendency not to lable their camera bodies with the model name/number. So while they models are self-evidently different one may not have a clue to 'which one' it is. If I could use my lens/shutter combinations in Cambo lensboards then I might be persuaded to make that move - looking toward the SC's. [A Cambo lensboard at +/- $45 (on their site) seems like a gouge to me]

-- Hailu Shack (, April 12, 2001.

A 1955 Ford is a competent conveyance. But then you have to deal with sticky carburetor floats, 12 miles to the gallon, lack of new parts, and a general level of technology that has been surpassed. And 70 MPH really seems like pre-take-off hop on a runway. And you have to fiddle with it all the time to have it keep getting you down the road. That's OK for a few that choose it, but most people don't want to and many can't fiddle with something old and keep it going. I wish for the day when I could put in my order for a NEW 5X7 Ebony, but like you I just do the best I can with what I can afford. J

-- Jim Galli (, April 12, 2001.

Hailu -- I only switched from Graphic View II to Cambo because I was shooting photos part time for catalogs...a used camera (I believe it is an SC-2) with lots of extras came up for sale at a very good price so I jumped on it. I soon learned that a 127mm lens I liked to use on my Crown Graphic did not have enough coverage to accomodate much movement -- some of your lenses for your Speed Graphic will probably suffer the same problem. So, unfortunately, because I have wanted to be able to take advantage of the larger image circle, I have been forced to upgrade my lenses as well. Since this has turned into more of a business for me, I can at least justify the expenses to a certain extent. Just wanted to warn you -- it may cost a bit more than just replacing the camera itself!

SK Grimes can make custom "switcher" boards which allow you to mount lenses on type a camera boards onto type B cameras if you can't find an existing accessory to do that.

-- gleep wurp (, April 12, 2001.

You might want to see Graphic View pages on the Graflex web site.

-- John H. Henderson (, April 16, 2001.

I have been a Graphic View II booster for quite some time and I, too, can't figure why it is the poor stepchild of the 4x5 set. It has everything the other more expensive monorails have except bellows length. That being said, it can do any contortion they can. And there's just something special about that Art Deco styling and the silky smooth feel. It feels just right. Go for it!!


-- Wayne Campbell (, April 16, 2001.

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