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Thread: Crown Graphic, Speed Graphic: focal plane shutter...

  1. #1

    Crown Graphic, Speed Graphic: focal plane shutter...

    hello--

    Doing homework before LF equipment purchase...

    interests: BW exclusively, street photography, night photos as well...

    A dealer has a CG, excellent condition, for around $400, with Schneider Xenar 135 4.7

    no focal plane, of course...having noted that,

    Q: have you Speed Graphic owners used the focal plane shutter to any extent? I understand there is the possibility of more lens options therein--i.e., barrel lenses, etc. Please define 'barrel lens' (as, e.g., they pertain to the Speed Graphic). If it is deemed a particular useful feature, I might do well to wait until I can locate a Speed Graphic...

    also...if I wanted the option of a close-up portrait capability, what type of lens would be needed? Might the Schneider lens noted above suit that purpose? My untutored sense of the matter understands that lens to be the rough equivalent of a 35mm slr 50mm 'normal' lens--correct? In which case, another lens would be needed. Please advise...

    Best,

    Dean

  2. #2
    アナログ侘・寂
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    Re: Crown Graphic, Speed Graphic: focal plane shutter...

    A Speed Graphic is a bit heavier, but, on the other hand, you get the possibility of using "barrel lenses" - i.e. lenses without shutter: old brass lenses, etc. - heck, you could glue a magnifier lens to a lens board made of cardboard, and experiment

    A Speed Graphic, due to its focal plane shutter, is therefore much more versatile camera than a Crown. With the Crown Graphic, you must use lenses in shutter. The advantage of Crown is that you can use shorter FL lenses than on a Speed. Crown can be used with 65mm lens, if I'm not mistaken, while the shortest you can go on a Speed Graphic would be something like 75-80mm.

    As for the focal length, for portraits you could use anything from 150mm to 210mm. 135mm is somewhat wide for portraits, probably not what you are looking for. 180mm wold be a much better option for portraits.

    A good source for info on Graflex-made cameras (Speed Graphic, Crown Graphic, etc.) is www.graflex.org.

    On my site, I have shown some things you can do with a Speed Graphic - with barrel lenses, close-up adapters, etc.

  3. #3

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    Re: Crown Graphic, Speed Graphic: focal plane shutter...

    Dean, as Denis wrote, go to www.graflex.org. As he didn't right, read the FAQs. "Speed Graphic" includes a number of vintages with different features, if you buy any old Speed Graphic you may not get what you expect. As long as you're going to read FAQs, read the FAQs here too.

    Go to ebay.com, look at concluded auctions for Speed Graphics (pay attention to format and model) and Crown Graphics (pay attention to format). Then you'll have a crude idea of the going rate. I don't follow 'em, suspect that $400 is on the high side, but not unheard of, for a 4x5 Crown in good order.

    Denis advised you, but not as explicitly as possible, about the range of lenses that can be used on 4x5 Graphics. The 4x5 Pacemaker Graphics' (these are the latest ones, made from 1947 -on) limiting dimensions are: minimum extension, Crown/Speed: 52.4 mm/66.7 mm; maximum extension, Crown/Speed: 317 mm/323 mm. The longest lenses normally used with both are 380 mm (15") telephoto lenses.

    I have a 2x3 Pacemaker Speed Graphic, 2 2x3 Crowns, and a Century Graphic (2x3 Crown with plastic body and minus a few features). I use my Speed's focal plane shutter with a few lenses in barrel, much prefer to use lenses in barrel mounted in front of a leaf shutter. This because the Pacemaker Speed Graphic's slowest timed shutter speed is 1/30.

    Adapters to hold lenses in front of a shutter can be expensive. Going this way rarely makes economic sense unless one has several lenses that will fit the same adapter.

    Denis has done some cute things with his Graphic and lenses. So have I with mine, see http://www.galerie-photo.com/telecha...2011-03-29.pdf

    If you read my lens diary, you'll see that I have a heap of lenses in barrel. I don't regret getting them but can't suggest too strongly that anyone who wants to get a barrel lens think very hard about the alternatives. The alternatives can be much less expensive. I'm talking about modern lenses (all anastigmats). Pre-anastigmats are another story entirely.

  4. #4
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    Re: Crown Graphic, Speed Graphic: focal plane shutter...

    A useable Crown or Speed Graphic should cost much less than $400, depending on where you are located. In addition to graflex.org, a great source of information is Graphic Graflex Photography by Morgan & Lester, or by Morgan & Morgan in later editions. Get at least the 8th edition for side rangefinder Crown and Pacemaker Graphics. Perhaps the 11th edition includes top rangefinder models. When planning for LF photography, budget for film holders, darkroom equipment and supplies, and a sturdy tripod.

  5. #5

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    Re: Crown Graphic, Speed Graphic: focal plane shutter...

    I think a Speed Graphic is much more versatile than a Crown...unless you want to use very short focus lenses. But for good "drawing", a 6 or 7 inch is much better. As far as slow speeds go, I use "T" on the focal plane shutter. Very easy to learn how to time your exposures by using words that take a finite amount of time to say. For example "one chimpanzee" is about one second. "click-uh" about a tenth, and so forth. Learn to use "T" while looking through the ground glass. Use enough tension to get a good action from the shutter. Don't use more tension than for a clean exposure...too much tension causes shutter "bounce".

  6. #6

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    Re: Crown Graphic, Speed Graphic: focal plane shutter...

    The 4x5 Speed weighs over a pound more than the Crown, and is considerably more awkward to hold. The advantage of using "barrel mount" lenses disappeared many years ago, when between-the-lens shutters became reliable, inexpensive, and except for top speed essentially replaced the need for focal-plane shutters. I 've owned both and recommend that you forget the Speed.
    A 10" Tele-Raptar lens works wonderfully for portraits. The other reasonable/cheap option is to use your 135mm lens and get a roll film back.
    Wilhelm (Sarasota)

  7. #7
    photobymike's Avatar
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    Re: Crown Graphic, Speed Graphic: focal plane shutter...

    The Speed is limited on the wide angle lens use. There are some lenses that need to be closer to the film at infinite than the focal plane shutter would allow.... i have owned a few Graflex cameras and i have never seen one with a shutter that worked right. i am sure there are some out there. Also it is hard to find a Graflex that has a good range finder. I would go with a kalhart rangefinder because that does not use a cam and can be adjusted. I used to shoot weddings with Graflex but have sold them all and now use Hasselblad. The lenses are better...really really better. The there is the back.... there are problems with the backs, the glass, and the fresnel .... anyway after years of using Graflex i really liked the spring back. It holds the film holders tighter.... yea ok you cannot use 2 1/4 film holder ..ahh yes you can....there are many holders that will work with the spring back ...... oh and one more thing..... distance scales ..there are about 25 scales for the 135 lens alone.... so if you can find a Graflex that is factory original that has not been messed with you have found a gem...

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    Re: Crown Graphic, Speed Graphic: focal plane shutter...

    Re limits with short lenses, the minimum flange-to-film distances are:

    4x5 Pacemaker Crown Graphic: 52.4 mm

    4x5 Pacemaker Speed Graphic: 66.7 mm

  9. #9
    photobymike's Avatar
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    Re: Crown Graphic, Speed Graphic: focal plane shutter...

    Sooo Dan a 65mm lens might work at infinite on a Speed Graphic?

    lol lol just to be clear

  10. #10

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    Re: Crown Graphic, Speed Graphic: focal plane shutter...

    I'm intrigued, do you want to do "hand held" street photography?

    I'm currently enthralled by my Crown Graphic, using its rangefinder for hand held instant (Fuji FP100C) photography. I've got a 135mm lens on it, and so far, finding it a bit wide for portraiture.

    Key thing to me is that the rangefinder and lens are properly calibrated, and I'm not using the ground glass for focusing and composing. In a way, I don't feel that I'm in full "large format" mode yet.

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