'The Class of '44'

Joined
Dec 28, 2006
Messages
1,214
Location
Sydney, Australia
Fellow veterans of WWII...

1944 combat Speed Graphic with a 1944 Kodak Aero-Ektar 7" f2,5...
black_speed_aero_900.jpg
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I reckon these two have a bit of catching to do... one can only wonder where the Black Speed has been and what the '44 Aero has seen... a thought that is intriguing and overwhelming at once. Maybe it is good that things can't talk...
 
Joined
Aug 23, 2007
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El Cajon, CA
Envy, envy. I would love to have one of those puppies on my old Speed. Mine is a 1936 pre-anniversary Speed. Looks good, can hardly wait for the pictures.
 
Joined
Dec 28, 2006
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Sydney, Australia
Michael,

The Aero-Ektar is not that expensive, you can pick-up a nice sample for well under $200USD.

I was fully intending to have the Aero overhauled before using it... I was fully intending to buy a 'proper' lens-board from Jo Lommen... I was fully intending to exercise patience and make sure the Black Speed/Aero was set-up properly... I was intending...

Well, good intentions or not, there was no way I was not going to wait for anything! I just headed into the workshop and mounted the Aero... Now!!!

I used one of my 'home-made' lens-boards, the original mounting ring with modifications, and about an hour of my time and returned from the workshop with the Aero-Ektar mounted on the black Speed Graphic. While I am probably biased, I am convinced that the Black Speed with the Aero-Ektar has to be one of the most gorgeous cameras I have seen in a very long time...

black_speed_aero_mounted_900.jpg
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I get a tingling of the spine every time I pick up the Black Speed... 65 years young, veteran of the greatest conflict known to mankind and still capable of producing better photographs than I am able to compose. And getting more handsome with age, if only I could be so lucky!

mounted_aero_front_view_800.jpg
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I will spend some time tomorrow calibrating the range-finder, then it is off to load up the Grafmatic 45's with some Tri-X and burn some silver!

I really must spend sometime in the darkroom and do some printing so I can show-off some photographs taken with the Speeds. But I doubt I will get any printing time until the end of October, so I am just letting the negatives pile up! Scan will be posted, I promise...
 
Joined
May 14, 2008
Messages
2,799
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California
Beautiful combo...absolutely stunning.
Be very, very careful inside that rangefinder. All those tiny screws are brass and they twist off very, very easily. Don't ask me how I know...:redface:
 
Joined
Aug 23, 2007
Messages
5,742
Location
El Cajon, CA
Awesome combo Lynn, I'm really looking forward to the results. I have seen this lens pop up on the 'bay from time to time, the only reasonable priced ones looked like they spent the war (WWII) in New Guinea, thus eeven they were overpriced.

I made my lensboards for my Speed with some 5-ply birch plywood. Used a table saw to cut them to size, adjusted the blade for the rabbett on the sides and used a hole saw to cut the center hole. Worked like a charm, two lensboards for under $5.
 
Joined
Dec 28, 2006
Messages
1,214
Location
Sydney, Australia
Beautiful combo...absolutely stunning.
Be very, very careful inside that rangefinder. All those tiny screws are brass and they twist off very, very easily. Don't ask me how I know...:redface:
Tim,

How would you know? :rolleyes:

Thanks for the warning! I 'think' the range-finder is close, calibration can referred to as tedious at best!

We shall see...

Awesome combo Lynn, I'm really looking forward to the results. I have seen this lens pop up on the 'bay from time to time, the only reasonable priced ones looked like they spent the war (WWII) in New Guinea, thus eeven they were overpriced.

I made my lensboards for my Speed with some 5-ply birch plywood. Used a table saw to cut them to size, adjusted the blade for the rabbett on the sides and used a hole saw to cut the center hole. Worked like a charm, two lensboards for under $5.

Michael,

There are a few on eBay again, it goes in runs, feast or famine. There was a fellow in California that was selling Aero's that were brand-new, for all intents and purposes, for around $250USD. I bought my from a private seller in New Zealand, who is a friend of a friend of a friend.

As for lens-boards, the best timber I had on hand was some thin Tasmanian Oak, similar to Armerican Red Oak, of which I made a half-dozen boards, just as you described a few weekends ago.

That's a beautiful combo. Love the look of the lens on the body.

Thanks, Ray!
 
Joined
May 14, 2008
Messages
2,799
Location
California
Just remember that brass screw that loosens the 8/5 meter cam is LEFT HAND THREAD. It takes just the slightest over tightening to break out the flathead slot. It has a nice arrow to guide you in loosening, but if you have to make multiple adjustments, it's easy to get in a hurry. Don't ask me how I know...:tongue:
 
Joined
Dec 28, 2006
Messages
1,214
Location
Sydney, Australia
Tim,

I have it nailed! At least my last run of focusing from infinity to about 3', the ground-glass and range-finder agreed every at every distance.

The 2 screws that allow adjustment of the close focus were driving me mental, as tightening and loosening them was changing the point of focus. So I had to overshoot, then tighten down, then recheck focus. But thanks for the advice, you are right the screws are really fragile and all adjustments must be made with care.

Now time to shoot some film. I almost caved in and bought a new scanner the other day... and I just may have to renege on my promise to only contact print my 4X5 stuff. I suppose that since I am wanting to shoot color negative and some color transparencies at some point, I will need a scanner as I will not contact print those photos.

Hmmm...
 
Joined
Dec 28, 2006
Messages
1,214
Location
Sydney, Australia
Locked and loaded! Ready to hit the streets...

black_speed_aero_grafmatics_900.jpg
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A pair of Grafmatic 45's loaded with Tri-X 320, Sekonic meter for the times that 'Sunny f16' does not work... a point-n-shoot with a big difference.

I am off to take some photographs!
 

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