How to adjust the Kalart Range Finder

to synchronize with the Aero 7 " Lens

Press photography demands quick focusing, which you can't achieve by wasting much time ground glass focusing, so you have to rely on your beautiful designed Kalart Rangefinder. Equipped with a normal 127 or 135 mm lens it is usually not a problem to adjust the rangefinder. A 7 inch Lens, however is a bit more complicated as you have to relocate the scale of  the  front and rear adjustments, inside the rangefinder. Apart from that you have to readjust the infinity focus distance of the lens board.  On this page I'll try to help you calibrating your Pacemaker Speed Graphic with the Kalart Rangefinder. However to recalibrate the top mounted Speed Graphic you'll only need a special factory made cam to readjust automatically the range finder on all distances.

First of all turn the focusing knob until the track is back into its home position and check whether the distance scale points to infinity. Mount the Kodak Aero into the front standard and open the Focal Plane Shutter on  position "O". Swing the front standard lock out straight. Now while watching the ground glass, try to bring the front standard into the infinity position by moving it fore and backwards along the track using  the Aero lens hood as a grip. To focus, a far away church would do fine. Once found the perfect infinity position of the lens, lock the standard, check the object image again on the ground glass with a magnifier and replace the infinity stops on this location.

Set the rangefinder for infinity

Kalart Black Housing

If the range finder is set properly the two images in the rangefinder are coincide and there is no need to make any changes on the infinity adjustment.

However if the range finder image does not coincide, you may first try to adjust the eccentric screw mounted on the track near the camera standard. The cam, connected to the rangefinder prism, follows the movement of this screw , thus also the movement of the track and the lens board. The prism projects the image of the subject on the beam splitter thus resulting in two visible images, one of the beam splitter itself and the other of the prism.

 Turn the eccentric screw with a coin to avoid damage. Each time a bit of a turn, but always in the same direction. After each turn, you'll have to bring back the track, by turning the focusing knobs, in its home (infinity) position, to  check whether the images in the rangefinder are coming closer together. Repeat doing this until the images coincide. Now you have found the right infinity adjustment . If you do not reach this goal, leave the eccentric screw in its best possible position and concentrate on the prism adjustment screw. Hopefully you did manage to set the rangefinder to infinity and you can skip the next procedure.


Remove the Range finder housing and place the camera in a dimmed room  in front of a window and eventually close the curtains of the rear window. Looking through the range finder's beam splitter (a)  you're able to see the two distinct image areas. One in the mirror and the other one in a  smaller and lighter colored square projected on the same mirror or beam splitter. When checking the Range Finder at a short distance between 4 and 8 foot, make sure that the upper window of the Range Finder is on equal height as the subject.

If :

the sliding track is moved by the focusing knobs and all the way back into the camera body in its home position,

 the Front Standard is locked against the infinity stops,

the camera is focused on a subject far away and you can see only one image of the subject in the beam splitter,

you see a very sharp image from the subject on the ground glass,

Than your range finder is adjusted and set for infinity!


15 food adjusting

You succeeded to adjust the infinity adjustment and now its time to adjust the Kalart Rangefinder scale to synchronize with the Kodak Aero Lens on 15 foot distance. Studying the Kalart manual, the approximate point of adjustment of the long scale (rear scale) is #17  for 6 3/8 inch. Loosen the screw (b) one turn clockwise and slide the scale on #17 and tighten the screw again anti clockwise.    

Now, while watching  the images on the beam splitter,  focus on a subject on 15 foot distance by  turning the focus knob.  If the two images on the beam splitter are coincide stop focusing and check the image on the ground glass. If the image on the ground glass is not sharp, than  focus until the subject image on the ground glass is sharp and than while watching the beam splitter image, change the position of the rear scale until the images coincide. You'll have to repeat this until ground glass image and range finder image is correctly adjusted.


Adjustment scale on the back side.                            On the left Prism on the right the Beam Splitter

The camera is focused by turning the focus knobs on the drop bed. The range finder mechanism will be operated in such a way as to cause the centrally located image to move vertically. When the image in this area exactly coincides with the image in the larger area, the rangefinder will be in correct adjustment for that subject on 15 foot. Check again on the ground glass.

6 foot adjusting

The same procedure as above but now you have to adjust the front scale. The arrow has to point to #8


Check and double check

Try again the infinity focusing and if you'd find a abbreviation, start again with the procedure but this time without altering the range finder prism and the infinity adjustment of the front standard. As I wrote before, it can take a bit of time until you're satisfied.

Lateral Coincide

Sometimes the images in the rangefinder are vertically on coincide, but you see a lateral abbreviation.

You can solve this problem by positioning the lever until the images match together.

while positioning the lever, loosen left screw.

Kalart Aluminum Housing

To adjust the earlier aluminum Kalart range finder, follow same procedure as the later Kalart black range finder.

As the adjustment scale is on the outside of the housing, there is no need to open the range finder.

The Anniversary Speed Graphic was equipped with the aluminum Kalart.

The Speed Graphic and the Kodak Aero     How to calibrate the Graphic Top Mounted Rangefinder          

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