Graflex Ads in LIFE Magazine

October 8, 1945 LIFE Magazine ad for the famous Graflex camera line.

Toronto. In the mid last century, Graflex made use of various magazines such as LIFE to promote its cameras as professional instruments used by professional photographers. My friend George Dunbar has been supplying me with a steady supply of these old ads.

This ad is just such an example. From the October 8, 1945 issue of LIFE magazine, it touts the value of using a Graflex camera for fast professional shooting. In the mid 20th century films were slow and relatively low resolution so a larger size camera and film was a definite asset vs. the few high end 35mm cameras and cine film then available.

If you were a professional, you used cut film cameras. Massive beasts that required training and anticipation of a picture to capture a decent shot correctly framed and exposed. The tiny films of the 35mm and 120/620  roll film cameras of the day were primarily the domain of the amateur.

After the war ended, rapid advances in camera and lens technology and with faster, higher resolution films, 35mm and 120 roll film began to take over in the professional arena. These smaller cameras had interchangeable lenses and faster speeds allowing very shallow depth of field to “isolate” the subject. For over two decades, cameras by Leitz, Zeiss, and Kodak had promoted the concept of creating large high quality prints by enlarging tiny films. The flood of Japanese cameras from the 1950s on helped to accelerate the transition to smaller, lighter cameras that could dance circles around the bigger slower instruments like Graflex.

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