Graflex- real or replica?

Star Wars Chick

Sr Member
I am SURE this has been covered somewhere on here but I for the life of me cannot find where. I did use the search as well and came up with nothing. So, if someone can either point me in the direction of a thread or help me out here, I would appreciate it. I am wanting a real one, not a replica but I really have no idea if there are any differences between the two anymore other than a new one looking brand new. I have seen some possible "real" ones that have minimal damage or wear on them currently but I am suspicious as it seems there was a time a few years ago when I had the urge to look that all the real ones were pretty beat up and it was tough to find a near mint one. Now it seems it isn't so hard and that worries me.


Sr Member
It does look like the last topic on this fell off the board.

Unfortunately, replicas are getting better and better all the time.

Some things to check are:

-The writing around the base. there are a few variations out there such as "folmer-graflex" or "graflex" and a patent number.

-there are some differences in the base around the contact pins

-Battery corossion

-the real deal is plated brass, if there are any scuffs or scratches, you should see the brass underneath. I don't know if any of the replicators have gotten this correct yet.

Sorry for the lack of pics, but I may have some on my machine at home. I'll see if I can get them up in the next day or so. Till then, I'm sure someone with a more deffinitive answer will step in.



Well-Known Member
Look at the brass pins that are near the top. No matter what condition a genuine Graflex is in, those will always look tarnished or worn. Also, the real Graflexes have litte hexagonal shaped washers around those pins. I'm pretty sure the replicas don't. Of course, if you are inspecting it in person a clear indication of whether or not its a genuine Graflex is too look inside. You will see corrosion from the batteries and it will smell funny.


Well-Known Member
Originally posted by joatrash@Jan 25 2006, 10:47 AM
My Larbel replica has the hexagonal washers under the pins.
I didn't know that. I don't think the replicas currently coming out of China have that, though. Luckily a Larbel Graflex is easily distinguishable by the PB logo in the trademark stamp on the bottom of the tube.


Well-Known Member
the new Parks ones have the pins with the hex base, so that is out.
you can't always count on corosion in the battery compartment either, sometimes batteries just don't leak....

The easiest 2 ways to tell are to look at the end for a patent number and the condition of the pins - as stated, the pins will almost always be tarnished on a real Graflex. Of course, the overall condition is a good indication too, if there is too much shine or next to no scratches then it is probably a replica...

I know I need to get my hands on at least 1 replica for a DV ROTJ conversion, so I have been tempted to sell off one of my originals...still thinking on that one though B)


Probe Droid

Master Member
Forget about the outside. Crack em open and look on the inside. The insides aren't finished and will show lots more telltale signs of age. Run your fingers along the inside of the tube to see if they pick up any battery debris, rust, etc. Also the springs in the bottom half were plain metal. They will show wear after 60 years, even if the flash was barely/ever used they would be a little rusty.

franz bolo

Sr Member
Every time I see this topic it makes me mad that the other thread fell off the board. It had a ton of good info on it.

I asked for it to be archived, but it was deemed unworthy. :cry

Getting a full list of all replicas, then adding traits for that replica is a good way to start.

Here are a few:
Biskit, Parks, Graflex Reborn, Larbel.

The finish on the Biskit ones is real shiney and the tube is thicker. I believe I have a Biskit, but not 100% sure.

Some replicas have a screw that holds on the Bunny Ears and not a pin.



Sr Member
I've gotten a better camera since the last thread, so I'll try and take some decent pictures of my real graflex. I also have a 2 cell that may have similar text (except for the "2 CELL" stamped on the bottom) around the base. I'll see what I can get.


Darth Lars

Master Member
I don't have a real Graflex, but I remember a few things from threads as these. Please correct me if I'm wrong...

Parks has a screw holding the "ears" in place, instead of a bolt.
The bolt holding the "beer tab" could have concentric machine marks. Replicas often don't.
The bottom of a real Graflex should have a more rounded edge than on some replicas, and not be too perfect.
Real Graflexes could miss the patent number.
Larbel has "by" replaced with "pb" for "Plasma Blade".
Parks has a dark red button. Real ones can be either dark or bright red.

There are differences between clamps also, when it comes to text and stripe positioning, how the sidebars are bent and the finish of the lever and the shape of the head of the lever pin, but these are difficult to keep track of. I think real lever pins have smaller heads than those of most replicas.


Sr Member
Pics, as promised

First up, a pic of the my 2 cell bottom.

Notice the top line reads "Manufactured by Graflex, Inc."

Pic of my 3 cell bottom

Top line reads "Made by the Folmer-Graflex corp"

Insides of the 2 cell


Top view

Thanks to WC for hosting


James Kenobi 1138

Master Member
I've got some real and replica Graflex's....... I could, you know, come over and show them to you if you want....... ;) :love

Darth Detroit

Sr Member
The older Graflex replicas are easier to spot, but the newr ones coming out like a Parks, or a good Larbel, well, you really have to look.