The use of the old classic tube lenses gives you unknown creative possibilities reaching far beyond those of the standard lenses. You may wish to make a choice out of the hundreds or more beautiful classic tube lenses. They are relatively cheap and often for sale. Choose one of them for your specific wishes and create a new fascinating photographing world. Wake up your Speed Graphic, grab some sheet film, mount your favorite lens and off you go...
There is no need to alter your precious Speed Graphic. You'll just need an original Graflex lens board and drill a hole which fits the lens diameter, or you may decide to make a special lens board, like the one above. Using this type of lens you may prefer to focus on the ground glass, so there is no need to change the distance scale or even the Kalart range finder adjustment. However, if you want to take pictures of sport events, meetings or news photography you'll feel the need to use the Range Finder. In that case you'll have to refocus the Kalart.
Polly, our Fox Terrier snapshot by the 7 inch Aldis barrel lens, mounted on the Pacemaker Speed Graphic.
100 ASA ADOX f= 2,8 1/500 sec
How to readjust your Kalart rangefinder
for use with big barrel lenses
(not top- mounted Rangefinder.)
Your Pacemaker Speed Graphic is normally equipped with a 135 mm lens. The rangefinder and the infinity stops are set to this lens. Changing the lens has automatically consequences for the setting of the infinity stops and the adjustment of the rangefinder.
To readjust the rangefinder, make sure the sliding track is in its "home" or infinity position. First of all relocate the infinity stops. To do that you'll have to loosen the little screws on the hinged infinity stops and slide them some inches to the front, thus giving space to the lens standard to pull it out as far as needed to bring it in focus. While pulling it out carefully watch the ground glass. The image should be sharp on a building at a distance of one mile. Lock the standard in this position. Now slide the infinity stops back to the front standard and fix them in that position by the screws.
If your rangefinder was set correctly with the former lens, this setting should also be correct for this lens as far as it is for the infinity position. To readjust the other positions you'll have to remove the rangefinder housing by unscrewing the four screws. Be careful touching the mirror or the prism, they easily come off due to dried out cement or glue. On the back of the rangefinder there is a back scale. By loosening the screw in the direction indicated, you'll be able to move the indicator in position 17. Focus the camera by the rangefinder on a flat subject 15 feet away from the camera. Make sure the image on the ground glass is absolute sharp in focus. If not, try another position back or forwards until the rangefinder indicates the "in focus" position. To readjust the 6 foot adjustment, set the front scale on position no. 8
For more details about adjusting the Kalart Rangefinder
Lens boards can be made out of 1 mm aluminum. Aluminum is preferable as it is light and easy to handle. Drilling and sawing in it is relatively easy and the metal finish fits perfect to the Speed. As you can see on the picture, it is almost "original made by Graflex"
A home made lens board exist out of two different sized lens boards creating a light trap that falls exactly between the two ridges of the front standard.
However if you do not have the skill to build one yourself, but you’d like to join this fantastic challenge to photographic creativity, please let me know and I'll see what I can do for you.
Front Lens board Light-trapped lens board Front & Inner Lens board
Lensboard ready to receive special lenses
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