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Graflex National series II favori envoyer Print
Photos by Sylvain Halgand text by Sylvain Halgand. From the collection of Sylvain Halgand
France Version française

Chronology of the Graflex brand  New window

Manufactured in Etats-Unis from 1934 until 1941.
Index of rarity in France : Rare (among non-specialized garage sales)
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Inventory number: 1957

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Graflex National series II

This camera is a small gem. And even if some American nickname it  " Lunchbox " by comparing its shape to that of schoolchildren and workers sandwich boxes, it is still a very interesting device to all points of view.
First important information : it is a small device . We are used to Graflex  with large dimensions , and it has, in addition , similarities with the large size RB . Yet it is the opposite : small and relatively light . It uses 120 film format ( 2 1/ 4 x 2 1/2 ), which allows to fix ideas about its size.

Following a recipe that will be used later on the Mecaflex , the top cover, smooth, lifts and reveals the controls and the ground glass for focus ( this is a single-lens reflex) . This latter is protected by a foldable conical visor. Under the cover is a very clever exposure calculation table. To the left of the cone is the film winding button (you must first press a button to the right of the cone), a lever to push down the mirror and a button to lift it. The mirror can not be moved if the flap that hides the lens has not first been opened. there is also the screw to connect a cable release .
 On the right, there is chrome plated wheel graduated  S, 2,3,4,5,6,7,8 and 9 , . It is the views counter. S indicates the position of the last frame of the film. The big black knob on which is inscribed 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 is the speed setting . To know what the numbers are meaning, we must look at the correspondence table attached to the cone. 1 = 1/30 , 2 = 1/50 to 9 = 1/500 . Turning this knob cock the shutter .
The trigger activates the curtain and the mirror simultaneously.
The focusing is done by turning the chrome plated ring that surrounds the lens. The aperture is also adjusted on the lens.

Finally, the lens is interchangeable , but the process to change it is not obvious. At the base of the lens is a chrome ring that is in fact  a clip . This one is withdrawn by moving it vertically . the lens is then unlocked .

The series II was produced from 1934 to 1941 . The first series had been released from 1933 to 1935. The differences between the two series are minimal : mask on the views counter window and position of the mirror shift lever.

Graflex National series II

Graflex National series II