Monday, April 1, 2013

Shooting with a Graflex Speed Graphic 4X5 Camera

Well I splurged not too long ago and bought what I figure is the ultimate camera for me, a Graflex Speed Graphic Press Camera. I uses 4X5 sheet film in film holders and if I keep my eyes open I might even find a medium format film or instant film back for it.

The camera was in very good shape and fortunately film was available locally here at Photo Service in Montreal on Notre-Dame street.
This 10 pound monster is just amazing. 4 viewfinders, 2 shutters, tilt shift capacity, the ability to swap lenses and a great self defence weapon. Seriously, if some idiot is dumb enough to want to steal out of my hands, I can just whack him with it and send the guy in a coma!

Very first shot taken at 1/200, f/8 on a sunny day. Hand held using the incorporated rangefinder and the wire frame view finder.
Right now I have only 2 film holders, so only 4 shots. I have 2 more on the way but it still makes only an 8 shot camera for now and after that it becomes dead weight. I intend to use this beast for its original purpose, documenting events. This is not going to become a tripod queen. It will be used on a tripod as well for landscapes and long exposures but I want to tap into all that it has to offer. This thing can do it all from pinhole, portrait and action. It just takes longer to prepare and you don't have a thousand shots at hand.

2nd shot, this is my house. Same set-up as in the previous photo. The wire frame viewfinder is very practical since it permits you to keep an eye on your surroundings while framing your shot. This is how I managed to see the cyclist coming and held off until he was in the frame.
I figure this will make an even better photographer with the limited amount of shots and the needed set-up time. The after process is also tedious. Since I don't have a canister for 4X5 negatives, they are processed in trays in total darkness. Quite an experience.

I'll keep you posted on the next shots that I will take with this fantastic camera.

Take care

Gerry :)