Ball Bearings in my Rangefinder : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

While focusing my trusty Crown Graphic last weekend in the boonies, I heard a "twang" followed by "tinkle tinkle" followed by a gasp. The first two where the camera, the last was me as I watched little tiny ball bearings falling out of the camera body. Apparently the top rangefinder pin near the lens stage caught on something and popped off letting spill out the little ball bearings from the tube and into the grass. Can this be repaired?

-- Steve Feldman (, September 25, 2001


Sure, just bring in all the balls to your repairman.

-- Wilhelm (, September 26, 2001.

That wasn't a good thing, Steve, but I guess you know that now. The problem is unless you find each and every ball and spacer, and get them back in in the right order, the rangefinder won't align right. Unfortunately, this is not a cut and dried thing - there were "approximately 71 or 72 balls, or 44 balls, and 42 spacers alternating with a ball at the lower end", depending on the model. Your best hope is if you have the ball/spacer model, but I note your message didn't mention that.

If you don't have them all, you might post your problem on the helpboard and somebody might be able to help you. Good luck.

-- Alec (, September 27, 2001.

Thanx for the encouagement. How can I tell which model of ball/spacer/tube I have. Here's what I know: Crown Graphic; Graflex top rangefinder. Anything more?? Thanx again, Steve

-- Steve Feldman (, September 27, 2001.

The manufacturing code might give more info - it's stamped on the bottom of the focussing rail. It gives the month and year of manufacture. The code is described somewhere on

And if you decide to discard the rangefinder, I'd kill to get the little parallax adjusting screw that is missing from my rangefinder, rendering it useless. (It is something like a #4-80 where normal #4's are a 40 pitch.) ;)

-- John H. Henderson (, September 28, 2001.

Hi Guys, Found most of my balls (and spacers too). Bought a bag (25) of 3/32" ball bearings at the local hardware store. Filled the tube to full and replaced the pin/stopper. OK, the pin moves in and out just fine and engages the black finger on the rail. BUT, What the heck does it do?? Looks the like pin gets pushed but the other end of the tube is plugged at its end. What the heck does it do??

-- Steve Feldman (, October 02, 2001.

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