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Graflex Century 35

 

 

The technical stuff:

Camera type: Rangefinder

Lens Type: Kowa

Shutter Type: Seikosha MX 1 - 1/500

 

An interesting camera this one is. I saw it on ebay and liked the look of it, I must have been the only one, because there were no bids against me and I won it for a small fee. A very unusual piece, at least in this country, probably common as dirt in America. This is a rangefinder branded with the name of Graflex, they of the famous American press camera the Speed Graphic. Presumably commissioned for the American domestic market, made in Japan by Kowa, and called the Century 35. I can't find much info for this one so I will have to use my powers of deduction to identify. I'm guessing late 50's, by the style, coupled rangefinder, quite possibly made during the American occupation. Sturdy build, quite heavy but this gives it stability, however it's nicely balanced and quite a joy to use. I took this out on the road along with the Praktica MTL's and sadly it shows. Because the first MTL I used was the 50 which wasn't the most accurate light meter I've used and so the first shots were poorly exposed. On the up side when I took it to Bibury I had the 5b which did a much better job of metering and the exposures are much better. As for the rangefinder, this was hopelessly out according to the calibration, I have a test point in the workshop which I know is exactly 7 feet but this was reading around 10, but after adjustment gave a pretty good account of itself, note the close up shot in the park. There is however a minor flaw in that the film advance has a tendency to slip, but the shutter doesn't unlock, so you end up with one and a half turns and this has caused a few images to be ruined because of inconsistent gaps in the negative, this causes the scanner to pick up in the wrong place and 1 image gets spread across 2 frames. This problem has now occurred again with another camera so it seems that its not the camera at fault but the shop scanner. The negative itself is OK but will need to be rescanned manually to retrieve the shots.

 

 

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