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I'm buying a used camera tomorrow. What should I look out for?

post #1 of 2
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It's a Graflex Graphic view 4x5 with one of the older 90mm f/8 Super angulon lenses. The seller has never used it, so I need a way to determine whether or not everything is working, but I'm not 100% sure what all to check. So far, I've gathered that problem areas for a camera of this age are: light leaks in the bellows, lens fungus, shutter and aperture blades becoming stuck, and the focusing mechanism being loose. What else should I inspect, and how should I do so? Thanks.
 
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GhettoBook
(13 items)
 
Pink EEE PC
(6 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
258x Omron MY4N relay @ 4 Hz plywood um, blinky lights? 4096 bit core memory 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Machine code FTW! 100+ LEDs lots of switches some huge 24V transformer 
CaseAudio
plywood CLICK CLICK CLICK 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Q9000 @2.0 GHz HP DV7 2270us Mobility Radeon 4650 4GB DDR3 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
40GB Hitachi DVD-RW drive Debian + W7 Home premium x64 23" AOC panel 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Undecided 500 Whr Lithium ion homemade out of ABS sheet Wacom Bamboo touch 
Mouse Pad
N/A 
CPUGraphicsRAMHard Drive
Atom N270 Intel GMA 1GB DDR2 160GB 
OSMonitor
Ubuntu 12.04 10.1 inch 1024x600 lcd 
  hide details  
Reply
post #2 of 2
With this type of camera, check to make sure that everything works. Take the lens and stop it all the way down and see if any blades stick. If you can look at the blades (use a loupe or magnifying glass) any signs of oil or other problems? Blades should be clean and stop down & pop back open "snappy"

The graflex is a medium - large format (depening on back, there are some medium format roll backs for it) How do the folds in the bellows look? Any spots, rips, tears, etc? Roll it all the way out (with in reason) and check it over. If it's one the funky red ones, it's easy to see wear spots on the bellows - the black ones are a little harder.

How the motion on the rail (does it come with a rail?). Everything smooth? No sticky spots or rough spots?

Basically take a good look over everything and see if there looks like 1) any physical damage - which sounds unlikely if its never been used. and 2) if there has been any storage damage - which might have happened. These things like to be used and sometimes when they sit in a closet (or worse a garage) things happen to them.

Now, they are beauties. You'll enjoy it if its a good one. Best of luck.
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