View Full Version : Horseman HF or Crown Graphic for 6x12

Tom Davis
5-Mar-2005, 18:42
A newbie question: I'm considering entering LF with a 6x12 dedicated camera landscape shots in large Japanese gardens like Portland, Oregon's Japanese Garden. I've done research and it appears that the two best "least expensive" options are a Crown Graphic or Horseman HF body with either the Horseman or one of the Chinese 6x12 backs. I have Kerry's View Camera Magazine article on using a Crown for this. Does anyone have any input on the Horseman HF? I do have a source for a user HF body but at $650 it strikes me as a little expensive if the Crown will be almost as good. Hopefully someone who has owned by the HF and a Crown could comment here.

thanks much in advance,


Armin Seeholzer
6-Mar-2005, 02:15
The Horseman HF (Handy Field) is the RRoyce and the Crown is the VW.
The HF has back movements tilt and swing same also on the front including shift on the front and bed dropping for lenses like my 75 mm Nikkor. The Horseman is in the same quality like a Linhof Technika.
The Crown has no back movements as far as I know!
Good luck, bud you always get what you pay for!

6-Mar-2005, 06:34
If you're looking at the Shen Hao back you might be better off getting it from the factory and ordering a 4x5 camera from them at the same time. The money you'll save on the back will help pay for any shipping. Might even cover some of the camera cost.

Jim Rhoades
6-Mar-2005, 07:22
I'm sorry to read that my Crown Graphic is only equivalent to a VW. Now I wonder how many Rolls Royce's have fought their way up Mount Suribachi. Quality indeed! Semper Fi, buddy.

tor kviljo
6-Mar-2005, 12:14
I think You have found a very practical approach looking at the chrown-graphic. This camera is /have been a OK LF starter for many of us, but I found it a pain to use regularly for 4"x5" due to non-rotating back & limited movements - rise almost dissappearing when tilted 90 degrees for a vertical shot. However, used as a 6x12 camera it should be close to perfect: rather cheap, allways (-nearly) used horizontal, a small but usually adequate amount of front tilt & rise + VEEEERY CLEVER - a wide-angle focussing track inside camera-body & linked to main focussing track making it possible to use superwide lenses, baseboard tilted down & lens on inner track but you doing the focussing easy as usual due to the clever linkage between outer & inner track! Using 6x12, interefering from the bed is also less probable with a superwide lens. I would go for the Chrown-Graphic and save a lot of money: your use for the camera fits its features much better than most of us (fourbyfivepeople) - which only gets irritated having to turn that damn machine on the side!. By the way: if You are a sort of handy & like nice-looking photo-gear (who dosn't? but who admit it..), know that the Speed & chrown (except the weired mahognite-version of the baby-graphic) have pure mahogny body beneath the usually worn leather-cover. Remove leather & use som time woodworking + two coats of warnish & it starts to look good. Bed is metal, however.

Tom Davis
6-Mar-2005, 12:27
Thank you, Tor, you make a strong argument for going with the Crown, though I'm also doing more research now on the Shen Hao with its panoramic back.


Ted Harris
6-Mar-2005, 15:26

Don;p tabandon your interest in the Horseman. It is a solid, tough, full featured field camera. It's only drawbackis that it has limited bellows extension. The longest lens you can use is a 240mm. OTOH it is one of the best with wide angle lenses. It is among th elightest field cameras and, AFAIK folds up to the most compact size oif any (perhaps barring the Gowland). I used one as my main field camera for 16 years and foundit quick to setup, a joy to use and very very rigid and precise in its movements. As others here know, the only reason I am not using oen now is that I had some nerve problems with my index finger and the small knobs were driving me nuts. I have used it with the 6x12 back with no problem, especially a delight since I could also use a 75mm lens with no recessed lens board and still get movement.

It is a great if little seen camera. Oh yeah, it is also solid as a rock and will take a real beating.