View Full Version : Speed Graphic and Cambo SC combination?

Daniel Buck
09-28-2007, 02:32 AM
I have been doing more thinking and I have come up with what I think might work for a nice way to use barrel and home-made lenses on a Cambo monorail camera. I've been advised that Speed Graphic cameras are often used with barrel lenses because of their built in focal plane shutter that is independent from the lens. I'm not hot on the idea of using a press camera, but I'm thinking maybe I could attach the rear part of a Speed Graphic (focal plane shutter, and film back) to the rear standard on my monorail Cambo, and use the cambo bellows and front standard.

I could pick up a spare rear standard to be permanently attached to the speed graphic, that would probably save some time/research figuring out a way to make the Speed Graphic removable from the standard (as I would probably never need a press camera). The entire standard would just slip off the monorail. All the work done to the speed graphic standard combo could easily be taken off the monorail as one piece and replaced with the original standard and re-use the same bellows at any time if I wished switch back and forth to the original rear standard.

I think the hardest part to figure out would be what's the best way to mount the speed to the rear standard (possibly just a simple screw mount to a rail that is attatched to the standard?), and how to mount the bellows click to the speed so that unmodified cambo bellows could be attached to the speed graphic just like an ordinary Cambo rear standard would, with the click of a switch.

I'm going to start working out some designs in 3d to help visualize the project a bit better.

Anyone ever heard of this being done before? Using the rear part of a Speed Graphic on a monorail camera? I don't know much about speed graphics, would it be simpler to try and take out the focal plane shutter and mount it to the filmback of a normal monorail standard, instead of mounting the entire back 1/2 of the speed graphic JUST to use get the focal plane shutter?

Would love to hear thoughts on this, particularly if anyone has heard of this being done or attempted before. Or if anyone could see problems arising (as I have never used let alone held a Speed Graphic before)

09-28-2007, 02:55 AM
I have heard of bad FP shutters being removed from SG's and the result beign a lighter SG body, but I have not heard of transplanting the SG shutter.

The SG shutter has a lot of mechanical stuff attached to the body. Knobs to wind the spring tension and something to trip the shutter, more like a slide switch than a release button.Some have two speed knobs which combined give 24 speeds. Kind of like a 10 speed bike. The levers and controls have to be mounted on the handlebars or it's really hard to use the features

Maybe it would work or maybe it could work with a single speed.

Basically, if the front SG standard (easy) and drop bed (not sure) were removed, you have a hollow Speed Graphic...consider that the rear standard since it has no rear movements. You can look inside and see the shutter curtain, a little wider than the narrow dimension of a 4x5 negative...maybe 4.5" the internal measurement of the SG body is a little wider yet, but not sure if wide enough to humor a view camera back, which I imagine is substantial enough to take a 4x5 back, Graflock or otherwise.

If you're patient I could take measurements and photos of my 4x5 SG, since it's apart anyway...that would help you envision the possibilities or impossibilities...maybe this weekend, assuming there actually IS one this week.

Daniel Buck
09-28-2007, 03:13 AM
yes, I would be interested to see what the speed graphic looks like with out the bellows, standard, and bed. It might be possible to remove the revolving back off my cambo and 'tape' the Graphic right up to the rear standard itself! This would actually be alot simpler, and I wouldn't have to worry about a slick way to attatch the bellows to the Graphic.

Daniel Buck
09-28-2007, 03:43 AM
Here's the back of the SC disassembled (which is nice and easy, takes 10 seconds, haha!)

The rotating back goes onto the standard, and the glass goes onto the rotating back (just so that we are on the same field of play here!) If I remove just the glass, I'm not sure there is going to be room to put the Speed Graphic "back" onto the rotating back, the metal tabs (what's the proper term for them?) would probably get in the way, I could remove them, and that would give a more flat area to place the Graphic.
If I remove the rotating back all together, I have a nice flat area to work with, approximately 6.5 inches square and flat. The graphic could even over hang the 6.5 inches on the standard, and could just be taped up to prevent light leaks.

Now that I'm thinking about it, being able to rotate the back would be nice. So I might try and see if I could get it to go onto the rotating back, heck I could even sacrifice a rotating back and screw/bolt it to the graphic.

Now that I'm thinking about this with the parts taken off, I don't think much will need to be 'designed' at all, it should just sit flat right on the back of the standard. Even black tape would work for a test run to hold it on there, I could permanently screw it and caulk it to a standard or rotating back later on after I know it works. I was originally thinking that I would have to remove the rear standard off of the parallel polls, and figure out a way to mount the bellows directly to the speed graphic. That's would surely be the hard way around! The bellows already snap to the standard, so I might as well just mount the graphic to the standard!




09-28-2007, 04:29 AM
OK, looks better than I anticipated.

I'll see what I can do this weekend.

Tom Persinger
09-28-2007, 07:55 AM
you going to take apart a speed graphic for us murray ;)

for what it's worth, I'd probably just go with a Packard Shutter...

Jim Jones
09-28-2007, 09:15 AM
I agree with Tom -- a Packard shutter would be fine for slower shutter speeds, and easy to mount on a lens board. If you go the Speed Graphic route, there were different styles of focal plane shutters. Before 1948 the Anniversary and pre-Anniversary models had the (theoretical) 24 shutter speeds from 1/10 to 1/1000 second. The body can be shortened to about 2" from front to film plane. After 1948 the Pacemaker series had six speeds from 1/30 to 1/1000 second. Its shutter release linkage may make shortening that body more difficult. Some information on the Graphic and Graflex cameras is at http://www.graflex.org/. An Anniversary model with a poor bellows should be quite inexpensive. The Pacemaker series are generally more desirable, and apt to cost more.

A Speed Graphic body might also be mounted between the bellows and front standard. It could also be mounted on the rail in front of the front standard and connected to the lens with something like a compendium lens hood. This modifications won't limit the use of wide angle lenses as does mounting the Speed Graphic on a standard.

You may find a fully functional Speed Graphic useful to supplement your Cambo. Modifications can expand the Pacemaker's limited front movements. I find press cameras more convenient for some photography, and monorail or flat bed cameras more versatile.

Daniel Buck
09-28-2007, 11:57 AM
I've considered a packard shutter, but there are two problems with that.

#1, it's speeds are limited (1/25, and 'bulb') I would like the faster shutter speeds of the focal plane shutter because I'm building large aperture lenses

#2, with the shutter built into the camera, I don't have to worry about how I mount my lens creations to the camera. As long as they are mounted, the camera will work. If I had a packard, I'd have to figure out how to mount the lens to the packard shutter, and how to do so in a manor that would let me take the lens off and put another one on there, which will be frequent with my lens experiments. And also, I would need a large packard shutter, due to the large aperture lenses I'm building.

Tom Persinger
09-28-2007, 02:08 PM
good points daniel, and while i can't solve the lack of speeds on a packard this guy did a great job of solving the mounting issues: http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=23098

keep us posted as you pursue, sounds interesting!

09-28-2007, 06:34 PM
My 4x5 already has the bellows off. It/they are taped up with khaki fabric tape and, you know me, I'm debating the point of putting the spare bellows I have on there. The old one has more character.

I think I know where it is. Last time I labeled the box.

09-28-2007, 11:28 PM
I'm with Jim on this one, and in fact have a SG I have to drive a few hours to pick up for exactly the same purpose, building a shutter box. with the shutter mounted between the front standard and bellows, you still have on axis movements, ability to use leaf shuttered lenses, and have a wide variety of barrel lenses, probably the best compromise.


btw, Murray, let me know if you find it, might give me a ray of hope, I labeled the box with 4 more of those lenses and still haven't found the damn thing.

Daniel Buck
09-28-2007, 11:34 PM
The rear standard can be easilly removed (less than 10 seconds!) so mounting the SG to the rear standard will mean if I want to go back to an open standard with no shutter, I can just remove the standard with the SG and put the original one back on. It's going to be a pretty specialized setup, but easilly removed and set back to normal :-) Just need to get an SG now :-D

09-28-2007, 11:54 PM
Excellent Concept!
A Packard shuter can't deliver a 1000th of a second, but a Speed can!

A Speed Graphic body as the front standard of a camera!

09-28-2007, 11:57 PM
Apparently a focal plane shutter well in front of the focal plane has some kid of issue.

It works, but something gets distorted.

I'm not sure, but it may only be with motion.

Daniel Buck
09-29-2007, 12:10 AM
well, it seems like it's going to be easiest to keep the shutter and back together, (can't be for sure yet, as I don't have one) that would also not limit the use of wider lenses. It's going to be fun :-)

10-11-2007, 02:31 AM

Attached files http://f295.f295.org/uploads/img_0678_905.jpg (http://f295.f295.org/uploads/img_0678_905.jpg) http://f295.f295.org/uploads/img_0677_6566.jpg (http://f295.f295.org/uploads/img_0677_6566.jpg)

10-11-2007, 02:32 AM
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10-11-2007, 02:33 AM
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Daniel Buck
10-11-2007, 02:36 AM
Thanks for the images! Where exactly is the focal plane shutter on that camera, is it right close up to the back glass? If so, it looks like I might have to cut off the parts of the camera that are extending forward (the 4 'walls' that make up the sides of the camera, and the top and bottom), either that or make sure that I'm using longer focal length lenses that will make up for the extra distance added to the film from the structure of the camera. I assume most of that is one piece, the body doesn't detach from the glass and shutter?)

10-11-2007, 02:42 AM
I have the measurements you can't see out in the car - I'll update later.

Opening is roughly 6-1/4" high x 5-7/8" wide. I forgot the depth.

This is a 6-speed model I think - 1/1000-1/500-1/250-1/125-1/60-1/30+Open

You can see in image 678 it's about 75 mm to the metal flange in front of the ground glass (which is deeper than the not-shown curtain shutter.).

I don't think I'm going to make it any clearer by saying anymore without real measurements.

What you're seeing thru the ground glass back is the folded up cloth viewing hood. It's a 30's spring back (cheaper than a Graflok) on a later SG - not sure what model...I thought Pacemaker but dunno.

I can't imagine what someone did with the RF that they couldn't have done without a saw (?!?)

Jim Jones
10-11-2007, 07:34 AM
The butchery on the top of the body may have been done to permit using the rising front with wide angle lenses. I've done that, and worse, to Speed Graphics. They are so inexpensive that they can conveniently be modified for many special purposes. For example, a Pacemaker front standard can be modified and installed on an Anniversary model for front swings and tilts.

10-11-2007, 04:46 PM
The Butcher of Graflex sounds far more ominous thanThe Butcher of Green Hills.

front opening with bellows removed 6.25" tall 5.75" wide (maybe a hair narrowed with the drop bed hinges, which you'd probably remove.

2-1/8" from front of body to '1st metal step'
3" to '2nd metal step'
3.25" to shutter curtain, which I apparently didn't include. Looks like I didn't include depth to ground glass, but I assumed you didn't need that.

Hopefully what I'm referring to as 'steps' is evident in the 'depth' ruler shots.

Hope this helps. "Precision' is with metal ruler. I think the measurements were 'right on' the ruler marks, without rounding to nearest mark. So it's optically close, but don't assume because I said 3.25 it's +/-0.005" :O)

Jim, I wish they were cheap when I look for them. If I had a speed with a working shutter but everything else bad (???) I'd consider hacking it down like Daniel's proposal.

Come to think of it, some people might think mine is ugly but it's the only 4x5 one I have that is useable (bellows, standard, focus rack ,etc).

Daniel Buck
10-11-2007, 05:53 PM
Thanks again Murray! I'm excited to find one now, and see how I can make it work :-)

10-13-2007, 12:51 AM

Do you want to know the focal plane 'window' dimension and the shutter slit width? (I mean the long dimenion, not the selectable shorter one)

Daniel Buck
10-13-2007, 01:17 AM
I'm not quite sure what that is Murray, so I'm not sure :- haha!

10-13-2007, 02:07 PM
I was heading in the same direction, until a Sinar F fell into my lap for silly cheap, I figure the $300 I'll spend in time, getting a speed grpahic, etc. could just as well be spent on a sinar shutter, then it's barrel lens heaven. So, I'm going to be selling at least my 2 toyos (45E and 45F, with lots of accessories) and buying a Sinar C, then just wait for a P front standard to surface, that will give me a P for the studio and an F for dragging out and about, plus lots of permutations.


Daniel Buck
10-13-2007, 02:28 PM
How does the sinar shutter work? Would it work for large aperture lenses? (apertures up to 4-5 inches across)

10-13-2007, 08:03 PM
I'm not sure, I haven't liberated $300 from the financial comittee yet.