View Full Version : Advice on Graflex Pacemaker Crown Graphic

19-Jan-2010, 14:49

I am thinking of buying a Graflex Pacemaker Crown Graphic (New to LF and need a reasonable camera to start with) with a 135/4.7 Schneider Xenar to shoot landscapes as well as portraits. I would like to know if there is a reversible/adaptor that was made for this camera or would you have to screw it on its side onto the tripod for portraits ? Also, is it essential to get a Harrison pop-up tent to load the film on ?

Would appreciate your advice and suggestions.

Robert Hughes
19-Jan-2010, 14:57
Welcome Ihdowek. I'll leave the reversible adapter question to a Graflex owner, as my Busch Pressman "D" has a rotating back. Seems to me that most Graflex cameras have mounts for both landscape and portrait orientation, don't they? As far as loading film, any decent size black bag will be quite sufficient. I don't even use one - I load my film in the bathroom nowadays.

19-Jan-2010, 14:57
There is a 1/4" mount underneath the leather handle/grip.

19-Jan-2010, 15:15
It might logically seem that having to turn it on its side would be a problem, however it turns out that (for portraits and most landscapes) after using it that way for a little while it is no problem at all. Very much like learning to shoot a 35mm camera just by turning it vertically.
The only time there is a significant problem is if tilts, shifts, or swings are needed, which (practically) cannot be done with a Graphic in portrait orientation. But in my opinion if you need these movements, then you should be thinking about something other than a Graphic. I have a Crown Graphic and a Linhof Technika, and prefer using the Crown for portraits and most landscapes.
Oh, yeah, and welcome to the asylum.

Jack Dahlgren
19-Jan-2010, 16:23
Bill and Mike gave the answers to most of your question. No a Harrison tent is not required. You can load film in any darkroom or changing bag. I use a closet at night or the darkroom to load and unload film holders. Never owned a changing bag and I don't shoot often enough to make one necessary.

Frank Petronio
19-Jan-2010, 17:30
A Harrison is really nice though. But you can wait until night and stick some towels or tape around a bathroom or basement or even a closet to load film. Wipe the loading area down to eliminate as much dust as possible. The enameled top of toilet can work well.

Just allow your eyes 30 seconds or so to adjust to the darkness and look for light leaks. If anything can cast even the faintest shadow, it is too bright. Anticipate cars pulling down the driveway, etc.

Yep having two tripod holes simplifies and lightens the Crown. Just unbuckle the side hand strap to make it easier to mount onto a tripod.

Wayne Crider
19-Jan-2010, 18:21
You can go a couple of other ways. Either put quick release plates on both sides for quicker reverses or consider a Super Graphic which has the rotating back and cams for rangefinding. If you go with plates you loose the strap unless you go Velcro.

Ivan J. Eberle
19-Jan-2010, 18:31
The Graflex Super Graphic has more movements than the Crown Graphic, is aluminum bodied rather than wood, takes rangefinder cams for different lenses, and also has a rotating Graflok back. These can sometimes found quite reasonably-- I bought a nice one for $250 from a member here on the LF Forum a few months ago.

Frank Petronio
19-Jan-2010, 20:02
Yeah except the RF isn't as good and they break easier and the electronics go to hell ;-)

19-Jan-2010, 20:20
Yeah except the RF isn't as good and they break easier and the electronics go to hell ;-)

C'mon Frank... be nice. Neither of these is true for mine. Please don't jinx me!

Paul Bujak
19-Jan-2010, 20:37
How about a Speed Graphic? It has a focal plane shutter that permits use of barrel lenses like those Petzvals we talk about so much ? It's somewhat heavier than the Crown but more versatile, IMHO. It's got the two tripod mounting holes and everything.

I'm still learning all the nuances of my Speed but I like it.


19-Jan-2010, 21:48
I have quick release plates mounted to both sides of my Crown Graphic.
Its not as convenient as a rotating back but it works and you get used to it fast.
I removed the rangefinder, release, cams and the part that keeps the front standard from moving left to right.
The added benefit is that it fits in my bag now.
I bought a few extra flip stops and marked them for my lenses.
It was much easier then using the RF and trying to find cams for all of my lenses.

If you do get the Crown with a 135mm, i would send the shutter in for a CLA.
The shutter was far off the mark on the slow speeds and a bit off the highs.
Carol at Flutots CLA'd them and they are great now.

15-Feb-2010, 17:05
Hi All,

Thanks so much for all your advice. I just received my Crown Graphic Special with xenar 135 mm so I will see how I get on. I bought it on Ebay and seems to be in pretty good condition. I am new to Large Format so will keep you posted...

Ciao for now !

17-Feb-2010, 09:51
I will be travelling to Lanzarote soon and was wondering if I could use with my Crown Graphic Special the Fuji Quickload system or similar to make it easier to shoot for a whole day.

Also, my camera came with a 135/4.7 Schneider Xenar in copal 0. How is that different from the synchro-compur lens with the same specifications ?

I will be starting a portrait project (torso and head) shortly and would welcome your advice and views on what is the best way to shoot portraits with this camera:

-what sort of dof range did you get with this lens ?
- is there another lens you could recommend for portraits that is tack sharp and would have a reasonable zone of sharpness for a head and torso shot 2-3 meters from the camera ?

All the Best,

17-Feb-2010, 13:58
If you have the holder & film you can use quickloads. The Lens is identical but the shutter probably more modern, easy to use as it has a Shutter preview lever, but you still need to open the aperture,

I'll be using a similar camera tomorrow hand-held, witha a 150mm Tessar lens, and like you the weather should be good.

Plenty of sharpness for portraits I'll be working 1/100 possibly 1/200 @ f16 or f22 with film rated at 200 EI.