Speed Graphic



Continuing my adventures in film, I purchased a 4X5 Speed Graphic, Press Camera with money I got for my birthday. I wanted a 4X5 that was more portable, but since field cameras are still pricey, I started looking at press cameras, and decided I liked having the choice of using either the leaf shutter in the lens or the focal plane shutter in the body, and having the option to hand hold the camera.

I ended up with this particular camera because the seller guaranteed that everything worked, and he accepted my offer for the amount of the money I received for my birthday. I got it Wednesday, checked the shutters, the movements, the rangefinders, and indeed everything worked. It was pretty dirty, including the lens, so I took the camera and lens apart, and cleaned everything inside and out. Spunk helped and then participated when I photographed the camera — he wanted to point out the camera’s features and how it works. I looked up the serial numbers on the lens and the camera and it’s a Wartime model produced in 1945.

Thursday morning I went out and took four photos, processed them, and then printed two of the negatives before we went to Thanksgiving dinner at Laurie’s parent’s house in the early afternoon. I used Kodak Tri-X 320, but had the light meter set at ISO 400 and processed the film at ISO 400. I used the leaf shutter in the lens set at 1/400 sec and hand held the camera for the shots. The lens, at 127mm, is fairly wide-angle for a 4X5, therefore, in each photo I was trying to get as close to a group of cranes, and then a group of ducks as possible. The cranes and ducks flew so I snapped the photos of them taking flight, producing my first 4×5, hand-held actions shots.

Cranes taking flight. ƒ/22, 1/400 sec, ISO 400




Ducks taking flight. ƒ/8, 1/400 sec, ISO 400




14 thoughts on “Speed Graphic

  1. I am enjoying watching your collection grow! Wonderful images!
    I’m also enjoying seeing Spunk grow; he is a really beautiful cat.

    • Thanks, Susan! White the Speed Graphic is larger than the 6X7, it’s a lot lighter. Spunk is growing and wants to be part of everything. Spunk noticed Sean had a flashlight in his coat pocket when Sean was standing by the counter. So Spunk put his paw in Sean’s pocket and turned on the flashlight.

  2. Those images are so fantastic. I have great respect and admiration for the art of film photography. I love there are die hards around who keep it alive. Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Thanks, Nita! I think it’s more than just die hards. Film seems to be making a bit of a comeback. I’m basing it on watching prices and available of large and medium format film cameras over the past several years, and talking to the owner of the store in town where I buy some of my darkroom supplies and film.

  3. I think you need to send Spunk to photography classes, he seems very interested…
    The camera looks great and the photographs are beautiful!

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