Mini Speed Graphic

Miniature Speed Graphic
Yashica-12 (with Spiratone close-up lens kit)
Kodak Tri-X 400
Rodinal 1+50

The Graflex Miniature Speed Graphic takes 2¼”x3¼” sheet film. Can you even get sheet film in that size anymore? Cursory Googling isn’t turning up any. Not that I could make time right now to learn this camera and the ins and outs of sheet film anyway. It and a short stack of sheet-film holders make a lovely display item on the fireplace mantel.

About three years ago a longtime camera collector contacted me to ask if I’d take a portion of his collection. He was preparing to close his studio and move halfway across the country as he retired. A year later, a giant box full of old gear arrived. This Speed Graphic was in it.

If you’re still out there reading, my generous benefactor, I apologize for not getting to your cameras sooner. I have shot the Kodak Retinette II (here) and the Kodak No. 2 Brownie, Model F (here). I’ll work through the rest in 2020, I hope.

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22 responses to “single frame: Miniature Speed Graphic”

  1. eppaar Avatar

    Ilford makes 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 sheet film. There is also a back that takes 120 film. They are available on Ebay.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I wonder why my searching didn’t turn up the Ilford film? But good to know I can get a 120 back for this — that increases the likelihood I’ll shoot this camera.

      1. Edwin Peter Paar Avatar
        Edwin Peter Paar

        The 120 back will only work with Graflok backs. They were standard on all post war Speed Graphics and many older cameras were updated. If there are movable slides on the back your camera has been modified. Otherwise you are stuck with sheet film.

  2. J P Avatar

    I know almost nothing about these, but find them to be the coolest of cool old cameras. I hope you find some film to run through it.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Maybe one day. The previous commenter said I could get a 120 film back for it, which would make this more viable for me.

  3. Andy Umbo Avatar
    Andy Umbo

    Ilford still slits film “to-size” once a year, so if you’re sold out, you might have to put in an order…I got an e-mail from Freestyle last time telling me the dates for getting your orders in. You can get anything, like “full plate” (6.5 by 8.5). As much as I love Tri-X, this is why I changed over to all Ilford black & people who are supporting us in the film community.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’ve shot more Ilford this year than ever before and it’s fine, fine stuff. I just put a roll of FP4 Plus through my Nikon N90s, pics to come, watch this space!

  4. Christopher May Avatar
    Christopher May

    In addition to Ilford, you can get Freestyle’s house brand, Arista, in 2-1/4×3-1/4. Check it out here:

    There are also roll film backs available for the miniature press cams. A Graflok back will give you more options of these. Even if your Speed Graphic has a plain spring back, you can pick up an Adapt-a-roll 620 for these cameras. This is what I use with my Busch Pressman C. You can use 120 on the supply side but you will need a 620 spool for the take-up side. Note: the plastic FPP 620 spools don’t work as well as traditional metal 620 spools. Make sure you request to get your spool back if you send it out for processing!

    Here’s an example from my Busch Pressman C with Kodak Ektar. Those big negatives can hold a LOT of information!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thank heavens for Freestyle! Thanks for linking me to that. A rollfilm back would make this a camera I’m more likely to use, however, so if/when I get around to trying this camera I’ll look for one of those first.

  5. Marc Beebe Avatar

    Gave away one of these complete with roll film back last year. As well as a Bush Pressman … and so many others.
    If I’d kept them all I could have written up one camera a month – for about 54 years. I won’t even live that long.
    I just hope some people like you end up with all those cameras and continue to get joy out of them.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Someday I’ll have to give all of mine away too. My sons won’t want them.

      One of the reasons I sold or gave away so many cameras over the last couple of years is because those were the cameras I wasn’t going to use regularly and others might as well enjoy them — and then after I’m gone my sons have less crap to sort through.

      1. Marc Beebe Avatar

        That is very sensible. I think I got a knock to the head cleaning out Dad’s place as I see no reason for hanging on to anything I don’t use/enjoy regularly now. And I realize I have a lot of superfluous stuff anyway already. Some of what was at his place was mine that I didn’t have room for here. That’s quite the wake-up call.

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          I think I’ve said it to you before but I was a pack rat until my first marriage ended and I lost most everything. It was surprisingly freeing, and since then I’ve tried to travel light. When I started collecting cameras again I found myself amassing a large collection, most of which I had no interest in shooting again.

          When my parents retired and sold my childhood home they had 38 years of stuff in it. Bless my mom’s heart, because it was a huge job, but she got rid of sooooo much stuff so they could downsize. She really saved me an enormous job after their deaths.

  6. Eric Risse Avatar
    Eric Risse

    There is also a suydam 120 roll back (make sure you get the right One suydam made them for many different backs) that fits these cameras but you need to remove the ground glass to mount it. I Use the adapt a roll 620 on mine so I can still focus with the ground glass.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      There’s just so much to learn here! I’m not wise to the ways of these Speed Graphics. Thanks for adding your knowledge to the conversation.

  7. Steve Mitchell Avatar

    Jim I acquired a Speed Graphic recently too, unfortunately it did not come with film holders, and the ground glass was damaged in transit, so it is sitting on my shelf as an ornament for now until I figure out what to do with it. Still getting to grips with the medium format cameras I have been given :)

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      If you do get that beast in working order I look forward to seeing images from it on your blog!

      1. Steve Mitchell Avatar

        You can count on it!

  8. analogphotobug Avatar

    What a find! I didn’t know they made a smaller format. Our lovely neighbor (who also gave us his darkroom) Eventually gave us hie Burke & James 4X5 Press camera. We need to use it more. But Press cameras are fun!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I didn’t know about the smaller format either until this camera showed up at my door!

  9. Rich Arland Avatar

    James……any time you would like to relinquish that Mini Graflex just send me and email and I’ll be right there! Seriously, I have a friend who’s father was a professional newspaper photog and Mike would like to have a Speed Graphic (any size) for his collection. Just sayin’


    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Lol, if I ever decide to part ways with it, I’ll let you know!

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