Graflex Pacemaker versus Anniversary

This page gives a short overview to distinguish between the Pacemaker and the Anniversary Speed Graphic as well as the compatibility for use with the 7" Aero lens.

When not familiar with the Graflex range of Press Cameras and not having both cameras next to each other on the table, it could be hard to distinguish between the Anniversary and the Pacemaker.

There are however some eye catching differences between the Anniversary and the Pacemaker Speed Graphic. 

We'll confine ourselves to the Post war Anniversary which is more common than the pre war Anniversary.

Anniversary Speed Graphic

On the left the Pacemaker Speed Graphic with aluminum lens board and on  the right the Anniversary with black wooden lens board.

Picture above shows the Post War Anniversary Speed Graphic. The most significant detail is the wooden 4x4 inch lens board.

Further black lens standard, shift and rising front, no tilt. 

The Anniversary was equipped with a Kalart rangefinder, however there is no feature to match the rangefinder with another lens. For focusing with a different lens than the standard one,  the rangefinder would need calibration or the photographer should focus on the ground glass or even on a lens related focusing scale next to the track.

One slide lock on top of lens board. Focal plane shutter controlled by the famous pre war 6 tension winding mechanism.

This very reliable mechanic, combined with the 4 slit focal plane shutter, gives the photographer the choice of 24 different exposure times. Twice as much than its successor the Pacemaker, which provide only 8 different exposure times.

The Anniversary has a Spring Back which can not be exchanged with a Graflok back and thus excludes the use of a Fuji back or Polaroid 550.

However, the Polaroid back 545 as well as the Kodak Readyload packet Film Holder fits between the Spring Back and the camera house.

The Anniversary camera is suitable to be equipped with the JoLo44 lens board for the 7 inch Aero lens.

The Anniversary lens board outer dimensions are 4x4 inches (101 x 101mm). The lens opening is 47mm. The light stop is 89 x 89mm wide and the step is 3mm deep.

This lens board will fit Graflex Anniversary and Pre-Anniversary Speed Graphic as well as Burke & James 4x5 press and view cameras. Because of the design of the light-stop on this board, it will not fit 4x5 Graphic View cameras.



How to distinguish between the 

"Top Mounted" and "side mounted "Pacemaker Speed Graphic.

Comparing to its predecessors, the Pacemaker cameras, were equipped with new desirable features. To start with it has a build in release knob which controls the front shutter as well as the focal plane shutter. Further more: Metal front with stainless steel U support with metal light trapping. Precision made magnesium backs and focusing panels. Four sided metal folding focusing hood. Hinged Infinity stops allowing free forward movement of front standard. Optical viewfinder with vertical and horizontal parallax correction. Build in focal plane flash synchronization. Sealed window shows focal plane shutter speeds. Tilting front.  Stainless steel open sports frame finder with parallax adjustment. Interchangeable aluminium lens boards. Provision for use of focusing scales with wide angle lenses. Last but not least: In 1947 the horizontal Graphic or Graflex back was changed into the International Graflok back. This international back became world wide standard in the next decennia for all 4x5 film cassettes. You can use all sorts of film holders such as the Fuji, Polaroid 550, Polaroid 545 Kodak Readyload and all 4x5 film holders on this camera back.


Side Mounted

4x5 Pacemaker Speed Graphic

The Pacemaker Speed Graphics (1947-1973) continued to provide the rear focal plane shutter but with less shutter speeds (1/30 to 1/1000 + T) than previous models such as the Anniversary and has a simplified speed selector mechanism. The Pacemaker has a Graphex front shutter with an Optar 135mm lens, both made by Wollensak.
The side mounted Kalart rangefinder was officially replaced in 1955 by the top mounted Graphex rangefinder.

The Pacemakers were the last Graphics build along the familiar lines. There were two types: The Pacemaker Speed "Side Mounted"  and "Top Mounted".  There are "side mounted" Pacemakers equipped with the Spring Back and others which are equipped with the Graflok back. Originally like all the pre-war Speed Graphic cameras, the Pacemaker Speed Graphic was equipped with a Kalart Rangefinder, mounted on the side of the camera next to the winding key. There is no feature to match the rangefinder with the lens when changing lenses. For focusing with a different lens than the standard one, the photographer should focus on the ground glass or even on a lens related focusing scale next to the track.

The Kalart rangefinder can be calibrated for a certain lens, but that operation demands high technical skills

and takes more than an hour to accomplish.



Photos above  show the Pacemaker Speed Graphic with the Side Mounted Rangefinder


Its successor, introduced in the late 1950's was the so-called "Top Mounted" Speed Graphic. It had a Graphic Rangefinder especially designed for the Graphic cameras (Speed and... Crown) placed on top of the housing. The principal feature of the new rangefinder is that it is instantly adaptable to any of the 9 standard lenses of different focal length. Each interchangeable cam is matched at the factory to the lens with which it will be used. Changing cams was relatively easy by exchanging the cam in the tube that couples the interchangeable lens to the rangefinder. Never the less in both cases the lens standard should be placed against the infinity stops of the related lens. Some cameras had more than one distance scale to enable working with different lenses. Beside the interchangeable cam, one would need for each lens a matching distance scale. Further more for each lens a couple of infinity stops which should be fixed on the right spot of the focusing track. The Top Mounted Speed Graphic camera is always equiped with the Graflok back.

Unfortunately there exist not such a cam for use with the 7 inch Aero lens.



Photos above show the Pacemaker Speed Graphic with the top mounted rangefinder.

________________________Good to know whether your Speed Graphic is suitable for use with the Kodak Aero lens.____________________________

Note: For use with a Kodak Aero 7 inch lens it is irrelevant

whether your camera is equiped with a Top Mounted or with a Kalart Side Mounted Rangefinder.


However it is very important to know for sure that your camera is definitely a 4x5 camera and thus compatible with the Aero lens.

You must know that there are 3 different film size Pacemaker Speed Graphic cameras.

Be sure to buy the right one to fit the 7 inch Aero lens.

The 4x5 inch camera is the one on the right side. The build in release knob is situated one length from the bottom of the camera house.


To be sure your camera is a Speed Graphic and not a Crown Graphic!


The Speed Graphic is equiped with a focal plane shutter which can be loaded by the winding key.

You need the focal plane shutter because the Aero lens misses a shutter of its own.

The Crown Graphic on the right photo lacks this feature and is not compatible with the Aero lens.



The Graflok back versus the Graflex Spring Back.

The Graflok Back.

Accepts only attachments with the raised lock rib light trap. The spring loaded focusing panel pulls back to accept all Graphic sheet film holders and is instantly removable to permit the attachment of Graphic Roll Film holders by means of the Graflok slide locks.

This international back became world wide standard for all 4x5 film cassettes. You can use all sorts of film holders such as the Fuji, Polaroid 550, Polaroid 545 Kodak Readyload as well as Roll film holders by on this camera back.

The later models Speed Graphic with the Kalart side mounted rangefinder can be found equipped with the Graflok back.

As from 1955 the Pacemaker Speed Graphic with the top mounted rangefinder was standard equipped with the Graflok back.

The Graphic Spring Back.

Accepts only Graflex sheet film holders which have the raised lock rib construction and which slide into the back beneath the focussing panel.

To use the thicker accessories such as the Grafmatic holder, some spacers might be necessary to give more space between the focusing panel and the camera back.

On the left Pacemaker Speed Graphic Camera equipped with the Graflok and on the right Pacemaker Speed Graphic with spring-back.

Note: Two chrome spring clamps and two chrome slide locks on the Graflok back (photo left)  to allow to pull back the focussing panel while the spring back is fixed to the camera body (right photo).

On the left Camera with Polaroid Pack Film Holder. On the right with mounted Polaroid 545 holder hold by the slide locks.

On the left mounted with the 6x6 Roll film holder and on the right mounted with the Grafmatic back.

Note: The Grafmatic as well as the Polaroid 545 also fits to the spring back.

Remove the focussing panel of the Graflok back by depressing the two knurled chrome plated supporting arms and slide the panel slightly to the right where it may be lifted off.

To reattach the focussing panel, fit it to the back and slide to the left, until the arms catch beneath the hooks at the top and bottom.

Home Jo Lommen Cameras.