Speed Graphic

Speed Graphic

Produced by Graflex in Rochester, New York, the Speed Graphic is commonly called the most famous press camera. Although the first Speed Graphic cameras were produced in 1912, production of later versions continued until 1973 [http://www.graflex.org/speed-graphic/graphic-models.html Graflex Graphic Models ] ] ; with the most significant improvements occurring in 1947 with the introduction of the Pacemaker Speed Graphic (and Pacemaker Crown Graphic, which is one pound lighter but lacks the focal plane shutter). It was standard equipment for many American press photographers until the mid-1960s.


Despite the common appellation of "Speed Graphic", various Graphic models were produced between 1912 and 1973. The authentic Speed Graphic has a focal plane shutter that the Crown Graphic and Century Graphic models lack. The Speed Graphic was available in 2¼ x 3¼ inch- 3¼ x 4¼ inch and the famous 4 x 5 inch. Because of the focal plane shutter (backshutter), the Speed Graphic can also use barrel lenses.

The Speed Graphic was a slow camera. Each exposure required the photographer to change the film sheet, focus the camera, cock the shutter, and press the shutter. Faster shooting can be achieved with the Grafmatic film holder, which is a six sheet film "changer" that holds each sheet in a septum. [ [http://www.graflex.org/speed-graphic/grafmatic/ Grafmatic Sheet Film Holder ] ] Photographers had to be conservative and anticipate when the action was about to take place to take the right picture. The cry, "Just one more!" if a shot was missed was common. President Harry Truman introduced the White House photographers as the "Just One More Club."Buell, Hal. "Moments: The Pulitzer Prize-Winning Photographs".Tess Press (2005).]

Famous users

Perhaps the most famous Speed Graphic user was NYC press photographer Arthur "Weegee" Fellig, who covered New York in the 1930s & '40's.

The 1942-1954 Pulitzer Prizes for photography were taken with Speed Graphic cameras. A few winning photographs after 1954 were taken with Rolleiflex or Kodak cameras. 1961 was the last Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph with a Speed Graphic, which taken by Yasushi Nagao showing Otoya Yamaguchi assassinating Inejiro Asanuma on stage.

In 2004, American photojournalist David Burnett used his Speed Graphic with a 178mm f/2.5 Aero-Ektar lens removed from a K-24 aerial camera to cover John Kerry's presidential campaign. [ [http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/08/technology/circuits/08schiesel.html?pagewanted=1&ei=5088&en=c2c5650d56297840&ex=1275883200&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss Which Camera Does This Pro Use? It Depends on the Shot] . New York Times.] [ [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/photo/essays/vanRiper/040226.htm CameraWorks column] . Washington Post]

Graflex manufacturing history

The company name changed several times over the years as it was absorbed and then released by the Kodak empire, finally becoming a division of the Singer Corporation and then dissolved in 1973. The award winning Graflex plant in suburban Pittsford, New York is still standing and is home to the MOSCOM Corporation.

Graflex model history

Post 1940 Graphic style cameras may be considered usable cameras,rather than antique or collectible cameras. The Speed Graphic wasmanufactured in a number of sizes, 4x5" being the most common, butalso in 2.25x3.25" 3.25x4.25" and 5x7". [

cite web
title=Speed Graphic FAQ file, section 23
publisher=R.I.T. Photo Forum


External links

* [http://www.graflex.org/ www.Graflex.org] : Dedicated to promoting the use and preservation of Graflex Speed Graphics and other classic and large-format cameras
* [http://www.largeformatphotography.info/speed-graphic-FAQ.html Graphic/Graflex FAQ] on LargeFormatPhotography.com
* [http://www.xs4all.nl/~lommen9/Hoofdpagina/indexverv.html The Speed Graphic and the Aldis lens]
* [http://graflex.org/speed-graphic/ The Graflex Speed Graphic FAQ] on Graflex.org
* [http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/09/arts/design/09weeg.html?hp&ex=1149912000&en=25641e44cd752654&ei=5094&partner=homepage 'Unknown Weegee,' on Photographer Who Made the Night Noir]
* [http://www.icp.org/weegee/ Weegee's World: Life, Death and the Human Drama]
* [http://www.amber-online.com/gallery/exhibition46/index.html Weegee Photographs]
* [http://www.leegallery.com/weegee.html More Weegee Photographs]
* [http://www.temple.edu/photo/photographers/fellig/titl.html Weegee Working Out of his Car Trunk]
* [http://www.xs4all.nl/~lommen9/graflex/index.html Enter the world of Graflex]
* [http://www.xs4all.nl/~lommen9/aero/index.html The Speed Graphic and your personal lens]

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