Example of "soft" hand held image

Example of “soft” hand held image


Night time image with a tripod – clearer

Example of daytime image with a tripod

Example of daytime image with a tripod

So I’ve shot a few rolls with the Graflex 22 camera I picked up a few weeks ago.  I found it has more of a learning curve than other cameras I’ve used (range finders/ (D)SLRs)  Probably the biggest issue has been focus.  While I can get away with slower shutter speeds on my other cameras the Graflex is very susceptible to motion blur.   Even when I have it at a faster speed (and it only goes to 1/200) it’s not as sharp as the Yashica 35 electro.  It could be that I’ve, for the most part, have gotten used to the range finder on the Yashica I haven’t quite gotten focusing on the ground class of the Graflex.  It’s also possible with such an old camera the link between the focusing and the actual lens is not 100%.  It’s a TLR (Twin Lens Reflex) so the focusing lens is not the same as the actual lens the film sees.

So the next step was trying to resolve the softness issues.  Since I suspected motion blur I shot a test roll using the tripod.  The results were improved.  This was nighttime shoot so I shot another roll during the day…again with the tripod.  This confirmed the original tripod results.   At the impetus of APUG suggestions I ran a few tests on the camera itself.  I looked out through the shooting lens though a makeshift (CD case top with scotch magic tape) ground glass and checked the focus.  I also examined the lens and confirmed that it is clean.  On suggestion was to calibrate the lens but there are no adjustments on the graflex lens so that proved to be not applicable.  Even though it can’t be adjusted, I used a SLR (my Nikon FG)  to look at the same “ground glass with an “X” drawn on it”, though the graflex lens  to see focus.  It appeared in focus.

The conclusion is that this is mostly motion blur and when I tripod can be used it should with this camera.  When using it without a tripod it must be on faster speeds (1/100 or faster) and one must take care to steady the camera and have a steady pull on the shutter to minimize motion. This was not an expensive camera and is much more sensitive to motion than is typical of modern cameras or higher end cameras even of that day.

  • Grady

    Thanks for sharing! I am not familiar with this camera but I do have several vintage cameras of the same period. I dare not try to run film through them due to their age as I am sure, I would get results similar to yours.

    You have to consider that the shutter mechanisms are worn and not at precise and that the lense surfaces are not as polished as they used to be. Polishing the lenses would probably help a lot but you camera will probably never be in spec as it was when it was newer.

    You top picture definitely looks like motion blur and it looks like the camera is still in good shape. I think you should continue to use it but use a tripod and if there is a place for you to put a cable shutter release on it, do!

    Awesome and keep film alive!

    • wendy_author

      Thank you so much Grady…you’re actually my first real comment. Yes, I did get a lot better results with a tripod. I ran some 50 iso film though it the other week and ran either into exposure or development issues with the new film/developer. Thank you again.