The Graflex I nearly bought

Toronto. George Dunbar sent out a few more Graflex ads from the late 1940s. One ad struck a chord with me.  In 1960 my main camera was the Exakta VXIIa. I was interested in getting a camera which made a larger negative, so I dropped into my local camera shop, Camera Craft in Barrie. Joe Waterer had a few cameras to show me. He was keen to offer me a 2-1/4 x 3-1/4 inch model B Graflex (like the one in the ad) as one option.

I was put off the Graflex by its antique look and its incredibly awkward shutter. Its focal plane shutter had a long curtain with various widths of slots and various tension springs. A table on the side of the camera showed which slot and which spring to use for a given shutter speed from 1/1o to 1/1000 second.

After looking over the camera I turned it down. Joe then showed me a Japanese knock off called a Rittreck IIa in Canada. It had a modern shutter and came with both 6 x 9 cut film holders and a 120 roll film back. With care, I could use a 2 1/4 square enlarger to print the centre of the rectangular negatives.

I bought the Rittreck but only made a few photographs with it as the Exakta was far more convenient to use –  and looked more like a high end professional or advanced amateur camera to me.

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