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Buy and Sell Photo Equipment: Excess gear by participating members. Pictures please! ITEMS FROM NON-CONTRIBUTORS ARE DELETED.

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Old December 22nd, 2011, 10:16 PM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is offline
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Alamogordo, New Mexico, USA
Posts: 8,634
Default FS on eBay: Graflex Century Graphic 2¼”×3¼” with Graflite flashing unit

As part of our program to liquidate most of our vintage camera collection, I have recently put up for auction on eBay our Graflex Century Graphic 2¼”×3¼” press camera, equipped with a Graflex Graflite flashing unit (flash gun). The opening bid is $225.00.

Here is the link to the e-bay listing:


Here is a description of the camera, adapted from that used in the eBay listing (so please excuse some of the "advertisement" information), which was in turn largely extracted from our museum catalog entry for this item.


This is a Century Graphic press camera, 2¼”×3¼” format size, made by Graflex, Inc. Rochester, New York, in April 1964 (serial number 531948, date code D4A). It is sometimes called the "Century Graphic 23", the 23 referring to the 2¼”×3¼” format size, a convention used for the models of the Pacemaker series itself.

The Century Graphic is a lower cost version of the Pacemaker Crown Graphic, only made in the 2¼”×3¼” format size. The economy comes principally from the fact that the case is made of injection molded thermoplastic material (dubbed “Mahoganite” by Graflex) rather than the customary mahogany, and from the fact that the back foundation is molded integrally with the case.

Like the Crown Graphic, the Century Graphic does not include a focal plane shutter (as is found on the Speed Graphic). Rather it is expected that an in-the-lens shutter will be used.

The Century Graphic was introduced by Graflex, Inc. in 1949, and was made until 1973, when Graflex (then the Graflex Division of Singer Corporation) ceased operations altogether.

This camera carries the identifier “Special”. We do not know the significance of that. (It may refer to the configuration with this particular lens.)

The camera proper can be folded into a convenient "box" package for transport (the front standard is first moved to a "parking" position at the far rear of the track, after operating a releasing lever).

Viewfinders and rangefinder

The camera includes the standard a “sports” (open) viewfinder, comprising a peep sight at the camera back and a rectangular viewing frame mounted on the lens standard, both retractable. It also includes a “tubular” (telescope-like) viewfinder, with calibrated parallax correction. It can be removed. The camera also includes the optional side-mounted Kalart coupled rangefinder.


Focusing is controlled by a rack and pinion extending bed system with a knob on each side. There is a scale for focusing by distance, with markings from 4' to infinity; a vernier system is used to provide easy reading of distances beyond 25'.

Infinity stops are provided to allow the front standard to be located in the proper position on the focusing track when the camera is unfolded and the front standard advanced from its “parked” position in the case. The infinity stops can be folded out of the way when it is required to shift the front standard farther forward on the focusing track to allow focusing at an extremely short distance.

Graflok back

As for all Century Graphic cameras, this camera is equipped with an integral back of the “Graflok” type. On this type of back, the focusing plate (which carries the groundglass focusing screen and retains a standard sheet film holder) can be easily removed. Then, another type of film holder (such as a holder for 120- or 220-type roll film) can be mounted, held by sliding retaining plates.

The focusing plate includes an Ektalite Fresnel field lens to enhance the brightness of the groundglass image.

There is a full metal hood for the ground glass (unfolds when the cover is opened). The hood and cover assembly can be easily removed when desired.

A Lisco Regal 2¼”×3¼” cut film holder is included.


The camera offers a modest set of “movements” for image control: front (lens) rise (but not fall), tilt (upward only), and shift (side to side). It also provides bed drop, which, among other things, can provide the equivalent of back tilt, and can also be used to keep the bed out of the field of view of a wide angle lens.


The camera is currently equipped with a Graflar 101 mm (4") f/4.5 lens in a Prontor SVS shutter, size 0. It is conjectured that this lens proper was made by Rodenstock. The lens is mounted in a removable lens board of the "drawn" type, with a labyrinth light seal all around. Both top and bottom lens board retainers are releasable.

The lens is a “short normal” lens at this format size, giving a horizontal field of view corresponding to that of a 43 mm lens on a full-frame 35-mm camera.

The shutter offers speeds from 1/300 sec to 1 sec plus the bulb mode (but no time mode). Flash synchronization is provided for M-class flash lamps and X-sync for electronic flash. There is provision for self-timer operation (enabled with the “V” [from the German word vorlauf, “before-run”] position on the sync selector). There is no explicit provision for holding the shutter open or fully opening the aperture for ground glass focusing. The sync connection on the lens is via a "PC" sync contact.

The aperture can be set from f/4.5 to f/22.

The shutter is provided with an exposure value (Ev) setting system. (Ev is a measure that takes into account the joint effect on exposure of shutter speed and aperture.) The Ev corresponding to the shutter speed and aperture settings is displayed. Further, when the “EV coupler” is engaged, the photographer can set the desired exposure in terms of Ev and then, using the shutter speed ring, shift among shutter speed-aperture combinations that all give that same exposure. The range of Ev is Ev 2 through Ev 18.

The shutter had a broken main spring when acquired. The shutter was repaired, cleaned, lubricated, and adjusted by the firm of S.K. Grimes of Woonsocket, Rhode Island in mid-2007. However, since then (probably owing to lack of any exercise) the mechanism has become sticky, and does not operate reliably (especiially at the slower speeds).

The shutter has a screw fitting for a conventional cable release.

The flash gun

The item includes, fitted to the camera, a Graflex Graflite Jr. “flashing unit”, comprising a No. 2770 2-cell flash handle and a No. 2749 5” reflector/socket, accommodating bayonet base flash lamps such as the No. 5 and Press 25. An unfired No. 5 flash lamp is included.

A sync cord is included (PC to "household" type, coiled).


Copies of the original manuals for the camera and the flashing unit (from PDF files) are included. Fascinating!


The camera is in extremely good mechanical and cosmetic condition. The ground glass is clean and without scars. The bellows is supple and in very good condition. There are no known light leaks (but absolute absence of pinholes is not guaranteed; I have never shot the camera). The rangefinder is operative.

There are no visible anomalies in the lens glass.

The film holder is in "like new" condition.

The flash unit is very good mechanical condition and good cosmetic condition.


The camera itself was purchased at auction, complete, from Tobey Sanford of Poughkeepsie, New York in May, 2007. It has been in my possession since.


This is an extraordinary example of a very unique, beautifully-designed member of a famous camera family in a convenient small format size.


Best regards,

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Old December 24th, 2011, 08:34 PM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Alamogordo, New Mexico, USA
Posts: 8,634

I have aborted the eBay listing for this camera. I think it will receive better attention after the Christmas holiday. I'll advise when it has been relisted.

Happy holidays all.

Best regards,

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