Mystery Septums for "Graflex Film Magazine" : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I have a couple of Grafmatic film holders. While cruising EBay, I found a set of 24 septums for a "Graflex Film Magazine", and I placed the winning bid.

On receiving them, I found that they did not fit my film holders. While the same length and width, they are slightly thicker. The septums for my Grafmatics have a fairly deep indentation (3/4" long by 1/2" deep) at the loading side of each septum to identify the film type and to extract the film from the septum. My mystery septums have a 1" long by 1/8" deep indentation at the center of the loading end for extracting film.

Does someone know the device for which these septums were designed? Are these for an older Grafmatic?

(I don't see any reference to these particular septums at the Graflex site (, and for lack of a password, I couldn't leave a post.)

-- neil poulsen (, September 23, 2001


I looked at those and other septums on eBay and fortunately, they had a picture. It was obvious from the picture that they were not the same septum that goes in a normal Grafmatic.

I have the Grafmatic repair manual and there is no mention of this other (and strange) septum.

Sorry I can't be of help.


-- Jim Brick (, September 23, 2001.

Graflex offered 12 (and sometimes 18) shot Magazines primarily for the reflex cameras. Film exchange was done by pulling on a lifting device, grabbing a septum via a leather bag and repositioning it to the rear. The are more commonly called "BagMags". They're not very fun to use, don't age well and don't fit standard Graphic (or Graflok) backs.

I would guess that production ran from around 1905 to 1950. They were replaced by the far superior Grafmatics which were more auto"matic" and, as you found, the septums are different.

-- Steve Artz (, September 23, 2001.

Don't knock the BagMags. For almost 50 years I saw them described in "Graphic-Graflex Photography," and presumed they were something out of the dark ages. Then, a couple of years ago, I bought a 3 1/4x 4 1/4 Super D Graflex. They never made Grafmatics for this size, so I reluctantly bought a couple of BagMags From Lens and Repro. Love 'em -- they're GREAT!

-- Wilhelm (, September 23, 2001.

Yes, Bagmags are often misunderstood. To get them to operate properly, they need to be used per the instructions which I believe appears on the Graphlex users site. It's important that the septums not get bent and that they are inserted the correct way around to prevent jamming. I have 4 of them which I use with a 4x5 Super D and find them very handy for shooting events where there is no time for film holders. The guy I bought all of this from made a living for forty years using Bagmags. As for the Graphlex vs. the conventional type film backs, I wish the Graphlex style were the established standard. The holders are twice as fast to change and are held tightly (and flatly) against the camera.

-- Robert A. Zeichner (, September 23, 2001.

To Wilhelm and Robert, I wasn't really knocking the BagMags - I own several myself, as well as Graflex reflex cameras. However, to get BagMags to operate properly, they must first be in excellent condition. If you are fortunate enough to find a decent one then, with care, it will work fine. My point was just that the Grafmatic is a superior device. Otherwise, Best Wishes

-- Steve Artz (, September 24, 2001.

Small film sheaths, such as described, were sold for many years, to enable sheet film to be used in old plate-holders. This may be the origin of these 'mystery septums'.

-- Pete Andrews (, September 25, 2001.

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