speed graphic

speed graphic

I sent my speed graphic to jo lommen in the netherlands for a shutter service… I have been trying to make a decent post about the speed graphic for a long time – I never managed it because I always wanted to take some good clean backstage photos of a shoot and I never did invest the time in it, since I much preferred trying to get a good photograph with the speed graphic, instead of getting a good photograph of it. so, I will have to make a post about my favourite large format camera using a picture of my previous speed graphic, the anniversary model, and hoping to update the post when my current pacemaker model comes back.

the lens fitted on the anniversary is the leitz hektor 150mm/f2.5, a projection lens meant to be used with the leitz pradovit medium format projectors. its image circle barely covers 4×5, but I like the vignetting and the really soft corners it produces. you could actually say that I choose to destroy all the potential of the large format film surface by using such a low resolution funky lens, and you would be right. however, it’s the final image that matters, not its resolution or its sharpness. I consider technical perfection the most boring aspect of photography, if it can’t capture atmosphere.

and boy, can it capture atmosphere… this camera/lens combination is ideal for open space full body portraits (it is considered wide-angle in large format, after all), which I tend to do a lot, always using horizontal framing (photojournalistic habits die hard)…

speed graphic portrait

speed graphic portrait

speed graphic portrait

speed graphic portrait

speed graphic portrait

speed graphic portrait

speed graphic portrait

speed graphic portrait

…it can also do tighter frames, where it still retains the vignetting/soft corners combo. it’s easier to focus properly when moving closer because you get to see a bigger image of your subject – proper ground glass focusing needs a dark-cloth, a loupe and patience and I only have two out of three…

speed graphic portrait

speed graphic portrait

…and then you have other barrel lenses, then ones considered “short portrait lenses”, in the >200mm range, losing a bit of light due to smaller apertures but gaining in sharpness and resolution. my most used ones are the leitz diaron 250mm/f4 and the industar-51 210mm/f4.5 (this one actually has a aperture diaphragm, as opposed to the leitz lenses which you can only use at their maximum aperture). they are both great performers for close-ups and, since they have a much bigger image circle than the hektor, you also lose the vignetting and the soft corners…

speed graphic portrait

speed graphic portrait

speed graphic portrait

speed graphic portrait

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