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Thread: What to do when Crown Graphic RF isn't attached to lens board?

  1. #1

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    What to do when Crown Graphic RF isn't attached to lens board?

    Hi Everyone,

    I am having a great time with my Crown Graphic. I decided to try and use the rangefinder (the TOP-MOUNTED one). It isn't working -- the two images don't move at all when focusing. The rangefinder "cam" DOES seem to be in there (I lifted up the flap and looked). The problem seems to be that the wire/thin arm that runs from the rangefinder to the lensboard is not attached. I see the small silver bracket on the lens board where it should be mounted. But there is no obvious way to re-attach the rangefinder to that bracket.

    Does anyone have any advice on how to fix this?

    Have you dealt with the same problem?

    I am in NYC. Is there anywhere here that's likely able to fix this at reasonable cost? If not, is there somewhere further afield?

    Many thanks,
    Peter

  2. #2
    8x10, 5x7, 4x5, et al Leigh's Avatar
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    Re: What to do when Crown Graphic RF isn't attached to lens board?

    ???

    The rangefinder cable does not attach to the lensboard at all, nor anywhere close to it.

    It goes into the camera body where the plunger engages a bracket on the rack.

    Here's the service manual: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...55534169,d.dmQ

    - Leigh
    If you believe you can, or you believe you can't... you're right.

  3. #3

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    Re: What to do when Crown Graphic RF isn't attached to lens board?

    Thanks, Leigh.

    Sorry, I meant rack not lens board in my original post. The plunger has detached from the bracket on the rack. So my question would be: Is that a relatively simple fix? Has anyone here had this happen and remedied it themselves or had it fixed by someone?

    Thanks!

    Peter


    Quote Originally Posted by Leigh View Post
    ???

    The rangefinder cable does not attach to the lensboard at all, nor anywhere close to it.

    It goes into the camera body where the plunger engages a bracket on the rack.

    Here's the service manual: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...55534169,d.dmQ

    - Leigh

  4. #4

    Re: What to do when Crown Graphic RF isn't attached to lens board?

    Peter - When you look through the rangefinder and push on the plunger sticking out of the unattached cable, do the two rangefinder images move? If they do that is good as it is a sign the rest of the rangefinder mechanism is okay. If nothing is happening in the rangefinder window when the rod/plunger is moved in and out, you may have something else malfunctioning, and may be why it is unhooked. Or hold the cable in about the right position next to the camera front standard and focus with the knob on the bed. I'll try to dig out a top RF Graphic later today and see how the cable attaches. Some of the late Graphics didn't use an actual cable to connect the front standard to the rangefinder. There were a whole bunch of balls inside the tube instead of a cable. Be careful if you try to take anything apart as the balls can come out and go everywhere. That system may have been only on the Super Graphics.

    Len

  5. #5

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    Re: What to do when Crown Graphic RF isn't attached to lens board?

    Len,

    Thanks for the suggestion. I tried that and it didn't move the two images in the RF. That's not a good sign. I will stop by Nippon Photo Clinic or call Essex Camera to see if they think it's fixable.

    Thanks again,
    Peter

  6. #6

    Re: What to do when Crown Graphic RF isn't attached to lens board?

    Peter - I scared up a top RF Crown here and realized there are two "cables" going to more or less the front standard. The one for the RF is inside the bottom of the body "box" on the right side (when looking from the front. Same side as the leather handle). This "cable" is a smooth black plastic tube which runs up the back inside corner of the box to the top RF. The front end of it ends behind the front door hinge and comes up against a metal tab attached to the moving focusing track. I suspect this black tube is full of steel balls, but may be a solid wire cable. On my Crown, I can rack the focus track forward so the tab clears the plunger, then push in on the plunger with a finger tip and the RF images move.

    The other "cable" looks more like a real cable housing, that is ribbed around the outside like a lawn mower control cable (I started to write automobile choke cable, but not everyone remembers those). This cable starts inside the chrome body release on the side opposite the leather handle, snakes around under the bellows, then shoots up the side of the front standard ending right behind one of the knurled knobs which locks the front rise movement (same side as the body release). It appears this cable is attached to the front standard by a clip held on by the knurled knob. Then there is a bent wire going around the front to move another tab which trips the lever on the front shutter and fires the shutter.

    So which of yours is unhooked?

    Len

  7. #7

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    Re: What to do when Crown Graphic RF isn't attached to lens board?

    Len,

    Thanks for the follow up. It's the first one. It seems to be very broken. The RF doesn't move at all when I push and pull the plunger. Also, there was some very thin copper wire up near the actual RF that looked like it was in a form that it was not supposed to be in. I can't imagine anyone would fix these mechanisms for a price that falls below the cost of another Crown Graphic with a working RF. I have enjoyed shooting with the ground glass, but the beauty of these machines is to have mobile 4x5 that focuses accurately. I would go on this site's buy and sell section and offer to buy a Crown Graphic with a working RF but I will have to wait till my 30 day probation is up.

    Thanks again.

    - Peter

  8. #8
    8x10, 5x7, 4x5, et al Leigh's Avatar
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    Re: What to do when Crown Graphic RF isn't attached to lens board?

    The tube is filled with ball bearings.

    If one is not careful when working with the cam, some can be lost.

    - Leigh
    If you believe you can, or you believe you can't... you're right.

  9. #9

    Re: What to do when Crown Graphic RF isn't attached to lens board?

    I agree buying another Graphic with a working rangefinder is probably the way to go. I've always had the idea the side rangefinders are simpler and more rugged than the top RF version. The side RF can be adjusted to a particular focal length lens if you want to spend time fiddling with it. Top RF models need a different cam which is likely hard to find. Both side and top RF Crowns use the same lens board, so you can interchange lenses after getting a second Graphic. No reason not to do it! Well except maybe dealing with the person who has you on probation. I can't help you there very much.

    Len

  10. #10
    8x10, 5x7, 4x5, et al Leigh's Avatar
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    Re: What to do when Crown Graphic RF isn't attached to lens board?

    Quote Originally Posted by Leonard Robertson View Post
    I've always had the idea the side rangefinders are simpler and more rugged than the top RF version. The side RF can be adjusted to a particular focal length lens if you want to spend time fiddling with it.
    I strongly prefer the Kalart (side-mounted) rangefinder.
    I think it's a simpler and more robust design, plus it has more adjustment capacity.

    However, it can only be set for a single focal length.
    That's why the cam system of the top-mount was developed.

    - Leigh
    If you believe you can, or you believe you can't... you're right.

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