geeky,  hobbies,  photography

World’s Largest Hasselblad

Graflex RB Super D SLR 3x4 camera
Graflex RB Super D SLR 3x4 camera

Amazingly, visit a couple of people have actually asked me what ever happened with the Graflex RB Super D 3×4 large format SLR Marisa gave me some time ago. Good grief, prostate you people are actually paying attention to me?? 😉 Ahh, but seriously, it’s a good question.

To tell the truth, I’ve run two rolls of film through the RB Super D already, in fact, the first one was developed maybe a month after I got the camera (and 120 6×6 roll film back). So where is it? Wellll… it’s finally been long enough that I don’t feel totally stupid saying what happened with it… When I picked it up from getting developed at Photolounge, the entire roll was blank. I mean, all that was left was the substrate, no evidence of a picture. I left, totally confused, trying to figure out what happened. Maybe the giant reflex mirror wasn’t swinging out of the way of the exposure fast enough? Did I really forget to remove the Dark Slide from the 120 film back every time?

No, it was much more stupid than that. I finally figured out I’d loaded the film backwards, with the paper backing facing the lens. I’d been very meticulously exposing plain ol’ paper the whole time. A pretty stupid mistake. One big reason I didn’t catch it while shooting is that the 120 film back doesn’t have a little red frame counter window on it; it advances the film one frame at a time, mechanically counting off the right number of turns to advance the film the right amount. (Remember that detail for later.) With no little red window, I couldn’t see the film was installed backwards.

Anyway. After I finally got to the point where I could even look at the camera without feeling shame, I ran another roll through it, this time loading the film properly.

The results are very nice, actually, but there’s just one problem. Here is a scan of the 120 film:

Roll of 120 film from the Graflex
Roll of 120 film from the Graflex

Notice any problem? Right. The frames are overlapping. Remember how the 120 film back automatically advances the film? Well, this one isn’t advancing it enough, by less than 1/4″. It makes clicking noises as you turn the advance knobs, so I started to think about all kinds of work-arounds I could do involving counting the clicks to do it correctly. I told Alvin about all of this, and he said “why don’t you just wrap some tape around the spool, so it winds more on every turn?”. Why don’t I, indeed?

That Alvin, he’s a smart guy… Anyway, I calculated how much thicker the spool needs to be to move the film about 1/4″ further each frame, and wrapped enough packing tape around the spool to do that:

Spool wrapped in tape
Spool wrapped in tape

We’ll see how that goes, next roll of film.

Anyway, here are the results. Not quite 6×6 due to the overlapping frames, but here you go:

Chain
Chain
Lady on 13th
Lady on 13th
DOF Test
DOF Test
Creative Disguise
Creative Disguise

Good stuff!

2 Comments

  • Max Alvelais

    Thank you for sharing your experiences with the Graflex.
    Hope to see more photos with that camera, and more stories with it.
    Please update the link on Flikr to the actual blog on the camera (if there is one).
    Best regards from México.

  • Rebekah

    Hi there I was very excited to see that you can actually use a camera like this. I’ve always wanted one for as long as I can remember and have since finally found one almost identical to yours on eBay. Sadly at this time I am no where near ready for such a large purchase as much as I’d love to get it. Please keep updating us with your pics. Absolutely love seeing the way the pics are turning out. Thanks for sharing.