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Pacemaker Speed Graphic/Lensbaby Query
Q. Can you impart any information you may have on the Pacemaker Speed Graphic 4x5 camera? Secondly, do you have any information about a device called a Lensbaby? I understand it to be some kind of a shift lens retailing at $96 in Canon/Nikon mount.
A. The venerable Pacemaker Speed Graphic, made from 1947-'73,
was one of the last large format models offered by Graflex. Some of the first
Graphic cameras were large format single lens reflex models that date from the
early 1900s. The Pacemaker was offered in Speed, Crown, and Century versions
in three film formats: 21/4x31/4, 31/4x41/4, and 4x5". They all have interchangeable
aluminum lensboards, a rangefinder on top of the body, a body shutter release,
and extensively used chrome trim. The Speed model has a rear focal plane shutter
with an unusually fast (for large format) top speed of 1/1000 sec, but the Crown
and Century only had the typical blade between the lens shutter in the front.
These were some of the first to use the versatile Graflok back which could take
either cut film holders or be removed and replaced with a rollfilm back.
The 50mm Lensbaby is an unusual interchangeable lens, which has a flexible body that can be bent in any direction to alter the location of the plane of sharp focus to create view camera effects on 35mm SLR cameras. The original version that lists for $96 is now offered in mounts compatible with most all 35mm SLR camera systems. A brand-new 50mm Lensbaby 2.0 features a full stop faster f/2 lens, which can produce even more pronounced altered focus effects. It lists for $150. There are no internal aperture adjustments, you must insert a ring (similar to a washer) to set the desired aperture. It's a bit tricky to use as you have to hold one finger from each hand onto the front of the lens to compress and tilt it until you get the desired focus and effect, then make the exposure while holding the lens tilted using Aperture Priority exposure. You can get more information about it by contacting the firm at: Lensbabies, 135 SE Main St., Ste. 201, Portland, OR 97214; (971) 223-5662; fax: (971) 223-5301; www.lensbabies.com; e-mail: email@example.com.
Handheld Slide Viewer
Q. We need a method of viewing color slides. Do you know where we could get a handheld viewer, battery operated, to view old slides?
A. One excellent source for a wide variety of photo accessories is Porter's Camera Store in Iowa. On page 89 of a recent catalog I found a number of illuminated single slide viewers ranging in price upward from $4.90. Larger models that accept a stack of slides with a manual advance mechanism to put the new slide in place start at $36.99. Of course, they also offer smaller models that require you to hold the 2x magnification viewer up to a light source. You can obtain more information from Porter's Camera Store, PO Box 628, Cedar Falls, IA 50613; (800) 553-2001, (319) 268-0104; fax: (800) 221-5329, (319) 277-5254; www.porters.com. I'm sure some local photo dealers also still offer slide viewers.
TTL Short Course
Q. Could you give me a quick explanation as to what TTL is?
A. TTL refers to "Through The Lens" metering. Normally this relates to TTL exposure metering that will set the camera to the correct shutter speed and lens aperture for the ISO film speed and lighting conditions. As to TTL flash, better cameras also offer TTL metering for flash exposures both with built-in pop-up flash units and hot shoe flash units attached to the camera's hot shoe. TTL with flash will set the proper flash sync shutter speed (typically 1/125 sec or slower) and the proper lens aperture for the flash-to-subject distance detected by the camera's autofocusing system. What it all boils down to is fully automatic picture making both in existing light situations and when using a flash.