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I finally found something to improve. See XL Hybrid WA adapter.
by Bob Hutchinson
I've been using and enjoying the fine Graflex XL cameras and lenses for a while and have never modified anything on them. There is little to improve. I'm not saying that the camera design has no flaws. Just look at the focusing system - 100% crap. Worst design ever on a professional camera.
After I discussed the fact that I have never modified the XL with Ken Swanson in Virginia I prepared an attack plan.
Bob Standard Handle
& accessory shoe.
My basic is - handle on the right side of the camera - additional tripod adapter on the left side for quick 90 degree reset for vertical shots. The above XLS with fine 58mm f5.6 Grandagon and Mamiya viewfinder has one of the first wooden handles I put on an XL.
Tripod adapters for
I carefully laid out and marked for the mounting holes two adapters. Filing and fitting is the order here to have a close fit with cutout for the camera top cover.
After removing the hardware from the Bogen adapters I marked for four pilot holes (8-32 tap drill) with the tick (automatic center punch) and drilled in the drill press. Using a 1" "can't twist" clamp I positioned the adapter at the proper place on the adapter plate, tightened good, placed in the soft jaws of the vice and dimpled the plate with tap drill four places for 8-32 flat head machine screws. Repeated for second adapter.
Tapped #8-32 four places each adapter. I then countersunk back side of the plate for the flat head screws.
Time-Out for Home
As usual I could not find the proper length 8-32 flat head screws so I bought 1" and cut and ground them to about 3/4" and mounted all.
I marked the plate and impressed a nice radius on the underside of the plate where the interference occurs with the belt sander end roller to allow for focusing ring clearance. More try fitting, it all fits and works. I then marked to remove excessive aluminum from the adapter, clamped in the vice and hack sawed the material away. File work and disc sander work to make things pretty. I placed the plates flat in the vice with just a few thousants above the soft jaws and put nice pattern finish to the plates with the orbital sander with 100 grit paper.
Done - ready for
compound Mamiya grip
Little item, Big
I dissembled the top cover from my two XLS bodies and using a #2-56 tight clearance drill I drilled out the three rivets holding each shoe to the cover and discarded the shoe and springy thing underneath. I have found the later accessory shoes found on the Mamiya press cameras and on all of their grips to be superior for this purpose.
In a manner similar to other accessory shoe improvements I have made on other cameras I cut and squared two 1/8" x 3/4 x 1 3/4" pieces from hardware grade aluminum bar stock. Using new #2-56 flat head stainless machine screws I mount the shoe to the little bar as accurately as possible so the sides of the shoe are parallel to the bar. See the shoe portion of the Stubby article.
It is difficult to explain how wonderful this arrangement is. This finder for the 65mm Mamiya Press lens is big, bright and real life like. Moving it back one inch provides real comfort in viewing. This finder has marks for 6x7 and 6x9 and internal cleaning is very easy. This finder, like the Koni and Rapid Omega finder (6x7) for the 58mm and 60mm lenses is perfect or the 58mm f5.6 Grandagon lens. This Grandagon XLS and 6x9 back provide an angle of view equivalent to 24mm lens in 35mm format.
In all the years I have been doing this stuff I believe this is the finest wide angle 6x9 outfit that can be assembled for small bucks. And the bucks are small compared to a new Horseman or other new outfit. This complete camera can be assemble for less than $1,000.