Graflex Camera

5 ways to focus the Graflex camera

Graflex Gound glass - Polly

Focusing on the ground-glass

No doubt,  the best way to focus is focusing on the ground glass. Your Pacemaker Speed Graphic or Pacemaker Crown  graphic can be used like a view camera, however with some restrictions. The Pacemaker Crown or Speed Graflex is for all a press camera, but it has some extra advantages, like rising, tilting and shifting the front standard, thus allowing the photographer professional architectural or portraiture photography. Even table top and still life will be possible.  For bringing these disciplines in practice one needs the use of a ground glass. The Pacemaker Graphic is equipped with a ground glass, protected by a removable collapsible viewing hood. Once opened, it protects the ground glass against direct sunlight thus giving the photographer the opportunity to study his subject and check the composition and sharpness of the image as it will appear on the film. As the Pacemaker Speed has two shutters, both has to be open. The focal plane shutter on Open and the front shutter on Time. You might prefer to open the diaphragm to focus and then by closing the diaphragm, you will be able to determine the area of sharpness or depth of field which will be included at a given diaphragm opening.
Before focusing, always move the lens-board to the infinity stops which are mounted on the drop bed of the camera.
Focusing on the ground glass demands the use of a tripod. 

Focusing with the range-finder.


Another, far more easy and faster way to focus, is by looking though the rangefinder, mostly mounted to the right side of the camera. However the newer models of the Pacemaker has a top mounted rangefinder, which also includes a focus spot bulb for use in dim light. Looking though the range finder you'll notice that it only shows  you a small part of the total image the tubular finder on top shows you. You'll see a bright spot in the center of the round image which is a little colored. Now try, by turning the knob on the drop bed to merge the double image to only one . Practice some time and check  your focusing by  reading the distance figures on the focusing bed. You better also check it with the ground glass image. You may do that on several distances to convince yourself that the rangefinder works properly. Now check the figures on the distance scale if they indicate the right distance.  

Focusing by setting the distance scale. 

Left photo: Scale indicates Infinity set. On the right photo: Scale indicates 10 feet.

The easiest  method  however is just turning the knob on the focusing bed, until the figures on the scale on the left side shows the distance to the subject you want to focus.  So, if the distance is 8 feed, then bring the line beneath the "eight" of the moving part of the bed , in line with the opposite "eight" from the bed.  To be sure the adjustment is correct you'll check it now and then by comparing the rangefinder with the distance table on the focusing bed and the image on the ground glass.

There are different kinds of focusing scales some of them have a number on the back. The 135 mm would be 30881 - 7 to ll

To make sure if you have the right scale for the lens you're working with, test the position of the infinity stops. Pull the lens standard against the infinity stops. Diaphragm all open. Set Exposure Time on "T". Open shutter.

Open Ground glass hood and check the image on the ground glass for its sharpest focus. Check the distance scale. This should indicate the infinity set. 

Focus on a near by subject with the knobs on front of the bed until the estimated distance is shown on the distance scale. Check the ground glass is the subject is in focus.

Repeat this with several distance settings. Now you are sure you can rely on your distance scale. 

Focusing with a "spotlight"

On the 1955 and later Pacemaker Graphic you'll find a top mounted range finder, with a built in battery house  and a  3 volt bulb. The bulb is placed in de beam of the mirrors from the range finder. If you push the little red button on the left side from the top mounted range finder, you'll see,  two filaments, in fact the projection of the filament of the electric bulb,  on your subject. By  turning the focusing knob you'll see the  two filaments moving. If these two filaments are merged, the distance to your subject is just fine.
The Kalart "Focuspot" which can be mounted on each Graphic with a Kalart rangefinder, works on the same principle.

Focusing with the sports finder.


As the word says, this is a finder for fast focusing especially designed for sport and press work. The eye piece on the rear and the hinged or collapsible open frame finder at the front standard enables the photographer to focus with one eye on the subject trough the sports finder and with the other eye open, watching the whole scene without missing  anything. However the distance adjustments has to be set on a certain subject and the depth of field must be known. The open finder exists out of two parts. . Pull the lower section upwards first, thus providing access to the knurled finger grips on the upper section, which can be pulled upward as far as possible. The finder is fitted with click stops, indicating parallax adjustment settings. The open frame finder has three settings: 6 - 15 feet and infinity 


Composition of the subject matter may be accomplished by any one of three different methods with the Graflex cameras- ground glass, optical view finder and open frame finder. However, optical and sports finder should not be relied upon to give a critical indication of the amount of subject. 

The optical viewfinder needs the right mask to match with your lens. 

For 4x 5  film size and 127 - 149 mm lens, use mask # 4.

For 4x5 film size and 150 mm - 162 lens, use mask 3

For 4x5 film size and 163mm - 171 mm lens, use mask 2 

  Jo Lommen camera