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Thread: Difference between Speed and Crown???

  1. #1

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    Difference between Speed and Crown???

    I'm always seeing Crown Graphics sell in the $300+ range and Speeds usually bring $200 or less. I always thought that the speed with the same camera except with a focal plane shutter. If you didn't want to use the shutter, there was an option for releasing the spring tension and leaving it open for ground glass use. Am I missing something? I've been thinking about getting back into miniature photography (that's a joke, okay?) and am curious about that.
    Michael W. Graves
    Michael's Pub

    If it ain't broke....don't fix it!

  2. #2

    Re: Difference between Speed and Crown???

    Michael, that's right. But because of the focal plane shutter, a Speed has two characteristics that can be disadvantages sometimes. First, the body is deeper and the minimum flange-to-film distance is greater because of the thickness of the focal plane shutter. This limits the use of shorter focal length lenses to some extent. Second, because of the larger body and the focal plane shutter mechanism, a Speed is noticeably heavier than a corresponding Crown. Given that a 4x5 Crown is around 5 pounds even without the shutter, you might prefer it to a Speed if you're intending to use the camera hand-held, focusing via the rangefinder. I bought a 4x5 Graphic recently and I went for a Crown for just that reason.
    Last edited by Oren Grad; 9-Sep-2006 at 20:38.

  3. #3

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    Re: Difference between Speed and Crown???

    Michael,
    I've currently have two speeders and a crown. The crowns are slightly thinner and a little lighter but there is one other factor that gooses the price up rather substantially. The some crowns ("specials ?") had top mounted rangefinders---really neat for handheld work, I guess---I guess because none of my graphics have top monted range finders so I don't know for sure.

    Any graphic in good condition is a heck of a lot of fun!
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.

  4. #4

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    Re: Difference between Speed and Crown???

    The top mounted rangefinders are better if you are using the original lenses with the proper cams. However, if you can't find the proper cam for your lens, there is no room for adjustment outside of filing away at the cam. On the other hand, the side-mounted Kalhart rangefinders are adjustable for most of the intermediate focal lengths (90-210) so you can hang any lens you want and adjust the RF to suit.

    I never found either type of RF accurate enough for shallow depth of field portraiture (wasted a lot of film on that) but they are more than adequate for >f/11 landscapes and middle distances.

    There are also older RF systems floating around, like the Hugo Meyer, but I think the Kalhart is regarded as the best of the lot.

    Another good reason to go with the top RF is that the cameras are usually newer and in better condition. But unless you are a gorilla it is hard to hurt either Graphic -- unless you buy one from a cigar smoker. That pretty much ruins them. Fabreeze doesn't help that.

    One of the nicest set-ups I saw was a Crown with a Kalhart and a fast 135/3.5 Xenotar, plus a Linhof side grip. I should have bought that one, it was a sweet set-up.

  5. #5

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    Re: Difference between Speed and Crown???

    Just buy both. I did. HA!

    Speed - 210 mm

    Crown - 90 mm & 135 mm

  6. #6

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    Re: Difference between Speed and Crown???

    Two other points in favor of the Speed: 1) Higher shutter speed than most lens shutters will allow with 1/1000 capability. This makes the camera a better handheld shooter if that's what strikes your fancy. 2) If you get one with a functioning shutter that's in good shape, you have the opportunity to use a variety of barrel lenses that are quite inexpensive compared to their shuttered counterparts.

    I have two Crowns and one Speed and the Speed is my favorite of the three. I do tripod everything and drive to most of my shooting sites so the extra weight and thickness doesn't really bother me.

    Stew

  7. #7

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    Re: Difference between Speed and Crown???

    So there IS a difference. After reading your replies, I'm not sure there's enough difference. I'll just buy the first one of either model that comes along in good condition that isn't a skyrocket price.

    DAMN!! I just sold or traded all my 4x6 film holders, too because I didn't have a 4x5. I gotta stop being so fickle.
    Michael W. Graves
    Michael's Pub

    If it ain't broke....don't fix it!

  8. #8
    All metric sizes to 24x30 Ole Tjugen's Avatar
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    Re: Difference between Speed and Crown???

    I picked up a nice pre-anniversary Speed for only $65 recently. It came without a lens, which may have put some potential buyers off? The bellows were brand new synthetic, and the focal plane shutter works. And that's why I bought it - for use with old shutterless lenses. I've put a small iris lens mount on a lensboard, so I'm ready to shoot with all the funny little lenses I have

  9. #9

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    Re: Difference between Speed and Crown???

    I put a bid on a Speed last night. Maybe I'll get it; maybe I won't. But I want one with the aluminum lensboards, because I have three of them that came in a box of junk I picked up at an auction. And my 135mm Xenar fits into one of them. Here's another question somebody might be able to answer...

    In that box of junk was a fairly clean 203mm Ektar. But it's clearly not in the right shutter. The lens is engraved 7.7 and the max. aperture is 4.5. Is there an intelligent way to translate those f-stops in the field? One that doesn't require calculus?
    Michael W. Graves
    Michael's Pub

    If it ain't broke....don't fix it!

  10. #10
    All metric sizes to 24x30 Ole Tjugen's Avatar
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    Re: Difference between Speed and Crown???

    Michael, I've got fourteen lens boards, wood, metal, and plastic, from a similar box of "junk". I didn't manage to get rid of them fast enough, so now I have a camera to match the lens boards...

    Open up the aperture fully, then close slowly until you can just see the aperture blades encroaching on the opening. Set a mark there, that's f:7.7. I would say that it's close enough to f:8 that I wouldn't bother with further "refinements", but just tick off the rest of the stops at the same offset from the "original" markings on the shutter.

    Make visible marks instead of trying to remember in the field. I didn't, and then got all confused over the offset between a shutter for a 210mm f:4.5 and the 355mm f:9 which as really in the shutter. I've made marks now.

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