View Full Version : Graflex Crown Graphic - downsides for newbie?

one dog dan
29-Dec-2010, 23:48
So... what wouldn't I be able to do? I can't afford much more right now, and, since I'll just be learning, do I really need anything more?

Basically- what will I not be able to accomplish image-wise? I've read a few posts and articles, but I thought some other folks might be kind enough to chime in.

Thanks all!


Steve Barber
29-Dec-2010, 23:57
It would help if you described why you want one and what you want to do with it. Asking what you cannot do with it is a very broad, open-ended question.

Jack Dahlgren
30-Dec-2010, 00:55
So... what wouldn't I be able to do? I can't afford much more right now, and, since I'll just be learning, do I really need anything more?

Basically- what will I not be able to accomplish image-wise? I've read a few posts and articles, but I thought some other folks might be kind enough to chime in.

Thanks all!


You will be able to shoot handheld with a rangefinder and a focal length that the rangefinder is calibrated to. You will be able to shoot 4x5 film or roll-film with an appropriate back. You will be able to apply very limited movements on the front standard - primarily rise and tilt, but limited shift and I'm not sure if there is front swing on a crown..

You won't be able to make any movements at the rear. You won't be able to make more extreme movements at the front. You won't be able to use lenses that are particularly long or short.

That is about it.

30-Dec-2010, 03:42
You can shoot hand-held without using the range finder. Just focus with the screen

I've used a 75mm Super Angulon with mine, and regularly use a 90mm and very occasionally a 240mm and I'd be able to use my 65mm as well. So no restrictions with lenses hand held or on a tripod.

However as Jack says the range of movements is very restrictive, no front swing just rise/fall and front tilt, with a little shift and then only in landscape mode.

With the camera on it's side (portrait mode there's no movements at all and with an LF camera that can be quite restricting for landscapes etc..

Having said that my Crown Graphic's been a useful camera for hand held work for the past 3-4 years, but I prefer to use my Wista for tripod work.

The Super Graphic is another alternative and overcomes the Crowns short comings. I'm about to begin using mine this weekend. They can be found for reasonable prices.


30-Dec-2010, 04:57
Making the front and back standard parallel to what your are shooting corrects the keystone effect on images with vertical lines. Think of railroad tracks converging in the distance or a building that has the sides leaning, usually, towards the center of the building. This type of correction is how the full range of movements are used with large format cameras.

You need both front and rear movements to correct the image on the film. Digital and roll film cameras with Perspective Control type lenses do not allow for rear movements which limits their correction capabilities when the image is created.

Wiki explanation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/View_camera#Advantages

30-Dec-2010, 06:54
I had a Crown Graphic as my first camera (which was something like 8 months ago). I wish I had bought something more flexible, I quickly noticed I wanted more movements.

Any camera will teach you about the downsides of large format, dealing with holders, film/development costs, the numerous ways of ruining a shot etc. A camera with decent movements can teach you more about the advantages. Of course, if you are going to be hand holding the camera a lot (few do), the movements are not much of an advantage...

Bob Kerner
30-Dec-2010, 07:58
Dan, I'm just re-starting my LF journey, having tried many years ago and giving up out of frustration. The first and most important thing to know is that this format takes some time to get familiar with. The camera does not work anything like an SLR or P&S. So whatever camera you decide on, be prepared to commit some time and film to the process.

There are two broad schools of thought here. One school says a Crown is perfect because it's simple, nearly unbreakable and cheap. Cheap is good since all the other bits and developing are not cheap, particularly if you plan to scan and digitize. The major advantage to the press camera, as I see it, is there are very few adjustments to worry about to make an acceptable picture. If you look through the image-sharing thread there are oodles of nice pics made with these "simple" LF cameras.

The other schools is this: to learn the craft properly, one needs to understand the movements and use them to effect...and you can't do that if your camera doesn't have them. The different tilts and back adjustments are very important if you'll do landscape work and I think not having them will EVENTUALLY be a handicap. That doesn't mean you couldn't start with a Crown, see if you like it and then find a monorail or field camera.

I bought a Crown and kept it for three days while my field camera was being repaired. Fantastically easy to use compared to the other camera and a helluva lot more durable, but I very quickly realized it's limited for shooting landscapes. I sold it...though now I wish I hadn't because I can see it's ease of use as an asset for shooting portraits and "run and gun" shots where a bunch of movements aren't needed. My hunch is that many members here have a Crown tucked away in addition to their field camera for just this purpose. Different tools for different tasks.

As others have said it depends on what you are shooting. I'd say skip it for architecture and landscapes; perfectly serviceable for portraits. The good news is with today's market you can buy one, test it/see how you like it, and re-sell it at no significant loss. Don't buy the first one you see. There are a lot of beaters out there that will cost you more to repair then to wait for a good one or to get one from a reputable seller like KEH or Midwest.

Welcome and good luck,

Frank Petronio
30-Dec-2010, 08:23
No, what you want to do is to run up your high interest credit card debt and get a wooden field camera like everyone else. Then you can put a $100 silver mylar Gore-tex darkcloth over your head and fiddle outside in a cold photographing receding railroad tracks with front tilt and tall buildings with lots of front rise. You can be just like everyone else and spend half-an-hour jerking ~around~ figuring out which knob to loosen and consulting your Palm Pilot and making notes....

Or you can just go get a Crown Graphic and make pictures fluidly and without pretense.

The peer pressure on these forums is stupid. If the forum told you to go jump in the lake, would you?

Here's my advice:

Adding to that, once you master the basic aspects of shooting large format, do yourself a treat and buy yourself a $150 to $350 classic metal monorail camera, such a Calumet, Cambo, Toyo, or Sinar. Don't get your panties in a knot worrying about backpacking it or how much it weighs. Instead, take advantage of its nearly unlimited and obvious direct movements on both the front and rear standards in every direction. This will make learning how to use camera movements much easier because you'll be able to see and feel what you're actually doing.

Do this in phases... if you shop correctly, you can buy both a professional Crown Graphic and a metal monorail outfit for a fraction of the price of a hobby camera made from Chinese toothpick wood. Later on you can decide whether you want something more specialized and you easily swap out these camera and break even or even make a small profit.

If going against the grain and ignoring the forum's "group think" disturbs you then you can take comfort in knowing that a million old-school photographers made good livings shooting professional photographs using limited, awkward cameras like Crown Graphics and monorails. Many, if not the majority, of the most famous and artful photographs in history were made with such clumsy, unattractive cameras.

And have a nice chuckle at the expense of the dorks who come onto this forum dying to blow $5000 on some Ebony outfit that "will last forever" and "be the ultimate" only to see them selling it because they were too busy-lazy-dumb to figure out how to use it.

But what do I know? My photos suck.

(Damn, I love these questions....)

Dan Fromm
30-Dec-2010, 08:43
Frank's advice about jumping in the lake is good. Jump in the lake, if one is handy, or take a cold shower.

Unless you're very lucky your first LF camera will be the wrong camera for you. This has been true of nearly everyone on this forum. Until you start shooting you won't really know what you want to accomplish or what equipment you'll need. You can theorize forever but doing that won't stop you from buying the wrong camera.

Get what you can afford, use it, and then you'll have a much better sense of what will suit you. One advantage a Graphic that hasn't been mentioned here is that they're easy to sell. Many of us buy gear, use it, and resell what doesn't suit.

Good luck, have fun,


p.s., I have a couple of 2x3 Graphics and a classy heavy 2x3 Cambo monorail. Ignorant barbarian that I am, I use a Graphic most of the time.

Bob Kerner
30-Dec-2010, 09:38
One other thing that I've not seen mentioned is that monorails are backpack-able, if that's what you are going to do with it. No less of an accomplished nature photog than Jack Dykinga used one, an Arca F according to his website, and there are a few other "big name" shooters that use monorails in the field. There's a lot of mysticism about wood field cameras and how they pack up light and made from fine woods. They are lovely (I bought into the hype twice!) but you can make a great photo without all of that.

It's been mentioned at least three times, a good way to approach this is to think of it as a long term rental. Buy something, shoot with it and re-evaluate your needs. I have a one of the fancy-wooden-box cameras and am finding it to be fiddly; things don't really lock into place. When I tire of it, I will resell it and get a monorail and try that...which is exactly where many members here told me to start!!!!

Start thinking about lenses. What focal lengths are you likely to work with, etc. The nice thing about LF is that you can move your lenses with you from camera to camera simply by swapping a lens board. Pick one focal length and learn it inside out before buying a second lens.

Jim Jones
30-Dec-2010, 10:54
If you see a good buy on a Crown Graphic, grab it. Eventually most of us outgrow the Graphic for some photography. I have both Graphics and monorails, and use whichever best fits the job.

John Kasaian
30-Dec-2010, 11:29
Graphics open up the opportunity for handheld LF! :D There have also been some very nice landscapes taken with Graphics. It you want more in the way of movements, look for a Super Graphic or get an old metal monorail(Calumet 400 or Graphic View. I bought a primo GV2 for all of $80 a few yars ago.)

30-Dec-2010, 12:39
the only downside to the crown graphic
is the lack of a focal plane shutter ...

30-Dec-2010, 13:02
You'll learn more and faster if your first LF camera is very limited. You will in short order learn:

1) your limited camera may just turn out to be perfect for your photographic style, reducing the money drain for more and fancier.

2) You'll learn rapidly what movements are missing

3) If you have ALL the movements, you'll spend forever fiddling with them, and never really anchor yourself to a style.

4) Having too many movements will eventually kill your desire for LF photography and you will sell your $2000 many movement camera for 25 cents on the dollar.

I've had crowns, super graphics, Tachihara, Wista wood field, Toyo 45A and 45CF, along with 2 or 3 light monorails. The Super Graphic which has a couple more front movements than the Crown, met all my movement needs found in all the other cameras.

My camera budget is $500 per camera. I'd be insane to spend $3000 for a camera that will give me what satisfies me in a $500 camera.

30-Dec-2010, 13:23
the only downside to the crown graphic
is the lack of a focal plane shutter ...

I've been afraid to say that since all of the Crown zealots feel that its the very advantage.

Personally, while the Crown has been "talked up" on virtually every camera forum and the prices go up and up and up... I got to buy a "minty" Anniversary Graphic for cheap and have the flexibility to use barrel lenses too. :D

Kevin Crisp
30-Dec-2010, 14:35
I've got two Canhams, a Deardorff special, an Ikeda [formerly Frank's], and a Crown graphic. If I had to have just one LF format camera to use for the rest of my life I'd pick the Crown. My most used movement is front rise, followed by front tilt. It can do those. And the Kalart rangefinder can be adjusted to be very accurate. It is extremely well made, rugged, and portable. I use it on a tripod and handheld. With a multi-coated 135 mm modern lens in Copal 1 folder up in the camera it is fast to use. It easily fits in a 35mm shoulder bag with three lenses.

I don't miss the rear curtain shutter of a Speed. The Speed is thicker and little heavier but they are so similar this isn't much to argue about.

So I guess what I'm saying is it's really useful, and not a starter camera in the sense that something more extravagant and complex and flexible will make it obsolete. It does what it does really well.

John Koehrer
30-Dec-2010, 15:45
two cents.........I see the Graphics as an oversize 35mm camera. Back & lens are frequently parallel but, you get a big negative.

For landscapes without movements a Mamiya 7 is just as good. Better lenses than most you see on the Graphic, but smaller neg.

Monorail probably give the most bang for the buck as long as you don't want to "run and gun"

john biskupski
30-Dec-2010, 16:40
As said in many ways above, choice of camera is a questions of horses for courses. You are choosing a press camera, that basically says it all, for photos on the move, hand held or not, without time/need for movements, and often using the advantage of having rangefinder focus. The limited movements you have are some help when you really want some rise, tilt or shift, and when you have time to focus on the gg.

No complaints with the range of focal lens you can use, from medium wide angle (using the drop-bed) up to 380mm Tele-Optars for portraits and long shot landscapes.

What is missing from the Crown (not the same as what you might or not miss) is essentially a) more generous front movements, b) front swing, c) rear movements, and as someone mentioned, most of us have another camera squirreled away for those purposes (be it a monorail, or a little field camera).

I would say go with the Crown for starters, you will soon see if you enjoy the challenges of LF photography with that. The extra movements thing is something extra that you can progress to later. Enjoy the big negative.
What you are missing with the Crown is

30-Dec-2010, 23:04
two cents.........I see the Graphics as an oversize 35mm camera. Back & lens are frequently parallel but, you get a big negative.

For landscapes without movements a Mamiya 7 is just as good. Better lenses than most you see on the Graphic, but smaller neg.

Monorail probably give the most bang for the buck as long as you don't want to "run and gun"

Fuji GX680.... MF 6X8... movements....long bellows....WA bellows..... wide selection of EBC coated lenses..... Great Glass = to-perhaps better than Mamiya.... Great supply in the used market.... Can purchase a basic complete kit for $500 to $700.

Worth consideration, but not selling well, thereby keeping prices real.

31-Dec-2010, 01:45
for a lot of thing I shot the Super Graphic works for me
But for wide its a Calumet CC402


Robbie Shymanski
31-Dec-2010, 05:31
The Crown is a great starter for LF. It is one of those cameras that all have some experience with, love or hate. They are great for beginners because they teach you very well on what you want/need in a LF camera. Personally, I have found using them to be limited due to the awkwardness of no rotating back. I like vertical shots. But it is a great backpacker. An SA 90, a bag full of holders (a couple Grafmatic backs), a Tilitall, and you are off shooting. That may be all you'll ever need.
No has really mentioned the other plus of a Crown is a Graflock back! Personally, I wouldn't use a 4x5 without one. But then I am going through a phase of discovering the potential of all the nifty roll and instant backs that make use of the Graflock.

Ivan J. Eberle
31-Dec-2010, 05:45
The only thing I can think of that a Crown does better than a Super Graphic is use very wide angles with rack focusing. For normal-ish lenses, the SG is better in most every way. Though I will admit a Crown is more aesthetically pleasing.

Frank Petronio
31-Dec-2010, 09:12
The latest Crown I've been using has been stripped of the RF and VF and even the strap. It makes shooting verticals easier not to fiddle with the strap. It packs easier too.

I'm all for shooting large-format handheld if you shoot f/16 with a handle mount flash... but I like shooting portrait distances with a wide-open lens and the rangefinder simply isn't designed to do that so I chucked it.

Bob Kerner
31-Dec-2010, 11:33
Dan, did we answer your question?

As you can see, there are many passionate views on where to start. I just ant to make sure we actually answered your question.

31-Dec-2010, 13:57
two cents.........I see the Graphics as an oversize 35mm camera. Back & lens are frequently parallel but, you get a big negative.

For landscapes without movements a Mamiya 7 is just as good. Better lenses than most you see on the Graphic, but smaller neg.

Monorail probably give the most bang for the buck as long as you don't want to "run and gun"

This is a more concise expression of what I have been wanting to say.

To me, a hand held 4x5 provides no more image quality than a good MF camera hand held.

If you buy an inexpensive, expandable monorail like a Cambo, a Toyo, certain Omegas, a Horseman, or perhaps better, a Sinar F; along with a capable lens like a convertible Symmar or a longer tessar, it will make all movements readily available. And if studio or architecture photography is not your primary bag, it could be the only monorail camera you ever need.

Frank Petronio
31-Dec-2010, 14:52
A good medium format negative, not 6x4.5, but from a top-tier camera like a Mamiya 7, a Fuji GW690 or GSW690... can look pretty great. I used to use a Fuji 6x9 and have a ISO 100 6x9 neg that passes for ISO 400 4x5 in a 16x20 wet print, pretty amazing.

BUT if you have a digital workflow, scanning that 6x9 well is a lot harder than scanning a 4x5. And even an average mediocre 4x5 scan will outperform all but the best scans of a 6x9.

I wouldn't really compared the two unless I had at least an Imacon or Coolscan 9000 to scan the 6x9 with. Scan 6x9 and 4x5 on your Epson flatbed and you'll get a 6x9 file that is pretty much HALF as good as the 4x5 ;-)

If you're critical, 4x5 is actually cheaper and easier than 6x9 in terms of making nice, large prints.

31-Dec-2010, 15:08
I would not disagree with any of that Frank.

Jim Graves
31-Dec-2010, 18:56
A Crown Graphic is the PERFECT way to start when you're on a budget.

Frank Bunnik
1-Jan-2011, 04:37
Forward tilt without the awkward way of first putting the front lid of the camera in the down position, then tilting the lens all the way back and then sliding the front standard back on the rail (and probably also adding some rise), then focussing and aplying forward tilt can easily be achieved on a Crown.

What you do is you unscrew the 2 knobs that lock rise on the lens standard. When these are removed, you can slide the lens standard out of the U shaped front standard. You then slide the front standard off the rails, turn it around, turn the locking knob of the front standard (which is now facing backwards) back to the front again, slide the front standard back on the rails and the slide the lens standard back into the U shaped front standard. Screw the 2 rise knobs back on and now you have forward tilt as a standard (of course you no longer have any backward tilt but most of the times forward tilt is what you need).

When you have the rangefinder on the camera and use the rangefinder, you have to remove (by unscrewing it) the knob on the left side of the front standard (as seen from the front) that locks the tilt since this will interfere with the knob of the rangefinder mounted on the focussing rail (maybe only if you have a side mounted rangefinder). This is no problem since there is a second locking knob on the right side of the frontstandard and as long as you don't use very heavy lenses (a 5,6 210mm in a Copal 1 is no problem at all).

This is a simple 5 minute job for which you need minimal tools (pliers are all you will need).

What you need to understand is that the Crown was never built as a field camera. It was a press camera and people now use it as a field camera. For that purpose it has limitations. Used in vertical mode by turning it on it's side, you have no tilt at all. However, it is a very cheap 4x5 camera of excellent quality. It can focus a 65mm super wide angle on a standard flat lens board. It is light and makes a good backpacking camera. You are not limited to lenses of the 1950's and 60's since you can mount most modern lenses as long as you have a lens panel with the right shuttersize. Focus on the groundglass.

If you can live with it's limitations, you can get yourself an excellent 4x5 camera set with modern lenses for much less money then what an Ebony camera body will cost you. If after some time of using the camera you would want a camera with more movements than the Crown, you sell the camera with little or no loss and you can use your lenses on any other 4x5 camera, just change the lensboards.

1-Jan-2011, 08:30
I've experienced vastly better tonal graduation, resolution and overall feel with hand-held 4x5 than with medium format.

Have folk who are saying there's no difference actually tried it, or is this just forum talk?

Frank is right, although I have used the RF for successful hand-held portraits, including indoors with natural window light. Try HP5 pushed to 1600 at f/8, 125s with a ~135mm lens. At 10 feet, you get more than a foot each side of the subject of acceptable focus. You will get much better results on a tripod, but it does work hand-held, which is what these cameras were designed for, of course.

Then there's the cost. A Mamiya 7 is certainly a nice camera, but it will be a multiple of the cost of the Crown, and I'd guess more likely to fall apart. My CG is 60 years old and will likely outlive me. I've heard of people not being able to get Mamiya 6's fixed at all, due to lack of parts and shoddy construction. Also, anything with electronics will definitely fail eventually, possibly with no fix.

Scanning MF really sucks unless you have an Imacon, whereas 4x5 scans beautifully on a consumer flatbed.

I've had a wooden folder 4x5, which was very nice, but I did not need all the movements and it was a pain to setup. The CG just goes in my normal backpack & pops open ready to shoot (no attaching lenses, assembling the font standard etc.). It's not any more trouble than my Hasselblad. You don't need a darkcloth -- just use the viewing hood.

I can't think of any downsides, really, unless you want to use barrel lenses.

Frank Petronio
1-Jan-2011, 08:39
Except it is so cheap you don't need to sell it ;-)

The cool thing about large format right now is that you can get a Crown for rough duty and also a high quality, full-movement, metal monorail for careful work for a fraction of the cost of a compromised and delicate field camera.

What's a Shen-Hoa cost, $650? For that I can get a Crown Graphic with a nice 135 lens for $250-$300. Plus I can get a Cambo, Toyo, or other nice monorail for $150 to $200; a 210mm Schneider-Rodenstock-Nikkor-Fuji for $200 to $250. Usually you can find an outfit someone is selling with accessories, holders, etc. and just stack it all on a $80 Tiltall. Carry the camera in a plastic ice chest. Pick up a 90mm just to round things off if you must, but for less than $1000 you're basically shooting with state-of-the-art (or just next-to) gear.

That's one of the appealing things about this sort of photography. When I was a student and bought my first $200 darkroom set (Beseler 4x5 enlarger, wooden sink, etc.) I could make a print just as good as Ansel Adams. Not saying that I did, but there were no equipment or technical hinderances keeping me from doing something in the same league as the masters... only my skill and talent.

Bob Kerner
1-Jan-2011, 09:00
For that I can get a Crown Graphic with a nice 135 lens for $250-$300.

I'm going to hire you as my personal shopper!

Yes there are bargains out there but there's also a lot of beaters. During my three day foray with a crown, I discovered that part of the shutter cocking mechanism was bent, the lens board had a drill hole in it and the "ground glass" was actually a piece of plexi that someone drew gridlines on it with a red marker :(( And I paid $450 before returning it. It was listed as "EX" mind you.

I'm actually looking for a replacement for it, despite the rough first experience. Although I do landscapes and urban stuff, I also want to be able to whip the camera out and take a portrait, without fussing with standards and wondering if my toothpick box will fall apart.

Dan, if you're still reading your thread, take the advice about a monorail seriously. I disregarded it and wish I didn't. Only after I bought my woody did I realize that monorails offer geared focusing and tilt etc and that makes them considerably more precise if you're into using all the movements.

1-Jan-2011, 09:17
the only downside to the crown graphic
is the lack of a focal plane shutter ...

Depending on how you use it, that isn't always a downside. On a positive note, it will weigh less.
Most of my exposures are slow, so I can get away with barrel lenses and a cap for a shutter.

Frank Petronio
1-Jan-2011, 09:30
If you want a good monorail, Michael is a well known and very honest seller, and this is a bargain:


As for Crowns, all the caveats apply, I do not know these sellers and you could get screwed, but I would personally throw a bid on these myself. Just don't come after me if it doesn't work out (and ask questions here so others can learn, I don't want direct emails with camera questions unless you want to buy prints or otherwise give me money, lol).




Most of the Buy It Now cameras have inflated prices and rarely sell for the $500+ they are asking for. Of course if you find a good seller with lots of detailed info and good pictures, it is usually worth paying more since you will know what you're getting is good. I've offered less for the Buy It Now cameras and gotten them for a significant savings too.

The risky ones are "my Grandfather's and I know nothing about cameras...." with blurry cell phone pictures. But those can also be the best deals. Think of it as a gamble....

The top rangefinders with the Xenar lenses are the latest models but I wouldn't be afraid of a older one with a side Kalhart and Ektar or Optar as long as they look clean.

In most cases the cameras have not been messed around with and are good. Avoid ones that are missing the metal focusing hood or have modifications to the backs, new ground glasses, etc. The most common issues are dust (ie get some ArmorAll and wipe it off) and gummy old shuttters. If the shutters are slow, send them to Frank Marshman, Camera Wiz, ph 800-471-8133, he is the best and most reasonable.

I think you can get warrantied decent Crowns from MPEX, KEH, etc. and also ON THIS FORUM.

Dan Fromm
1-Jan-2011, 11:11
Frankie, the gurus on www.graflex.org recommend Lemon Pledge, advise against using ArmorAll on Graphics.

Frank Petronio
1-Jan-2011, 11:33
ohhh... I always used AA on bellows, I figured the rest was bomb-proof

Sirius Glass
1-Jan-2011, 20:10
the only downside to the crown graphic
is the lack of a focal plane shutter ...

You beat me to it! No buying shutterless lenses on the cheap to play with. :eek:


2-Jan-2011, 03:20
The Crown Graphic with Xenar 135/4.7 lens available at KEH is at 430$, in "bargain" condition. Looking at completed auctions over at eBay, it seems you get to pay a fair bit for a good Crown from a decent seller (working rangefinder, Graflok back, working lens).

Choosing another camera than a Crown Graphic does not have to mean buying a wooden field camera. I paid 410$ (which includes 20% VAT) for a superb condition MPP Mk7 with a Xenar, a camera that can do what a Crown does (and can be used with the same simplicity if desired), but it is all metal, has a rotating back, better movements including back tilts and is better built. The Technika III, of which the MPP is a clone, and Meridian 45B do basically the same and can be bought in the US at very reasonable prices.

9-Apr-2011, 06:07
However as Jack says the range of movements is very restrictive, no front swing just rise/fall and front tilt, with a little shift and then only in landscape mode.

With the camera on it's side (portrait mode there's no movements at all and with an LF camera that can be quite restricting for landscapes etc..

Why would there be no movements on its side? The camera has the same movements, just rotated 90 degrees.

9-Apr-2011, 06:12
They are great for beginners because they teach you very well on what you want/need in a LF camera. Personally, I have found using them to be limited due to the awkwardness of no rotating back. I like vertical shots.

You could just mount the camera on it's side. It has two tripod mounting holes.

Douglas Henderson
9-Apr-2011, 09:24
My first 4x5 was a Crown graphic in near mint condition. It is the only 4x5 I've ever used in the field and I have hauled it all around--backpacking in the Sierra Neveda, Beartooths, Yellowstone and places in between. The build quality is top-notch USA and mine looks no more used now, 24 years later, than when I bought it from a Shutterbug ad.

I took a lot a 4x5's using two mainstay lenses--an older Schneider Symmar 135mm and a new (in 1987) Rodenstock 150mm Sironar-N. I never found any limitations taking landscapes within sane constraints. And this after only discovering earlier this year that the bed can be dropped.

The camera clams up tight with a lens mounted. It fits precisely in some medium size camera bags. The view screen cover adequately works as a dark screen and the graphloc back lets you go straight to medium format and roll film. I've never felt I needed anything better than a Crown graphic--modest price, ease of use and lots of stunningly good results.

Jim Jones
9-Apr-2011, 13:24
An inexperienced Graphic buyer should be aware that the original lenses on these cameras covers little more than the film area, even when no front movements are used. A lens with greater coverage is desirable when using the rising front or tilts.

Wade D
9-Apr-2011, 21:50
I recently bought a Crown Graphic in fair condition for very little money. As said above the standard lenses for it barely cover the negative with no movements. The lenses that I already have will cover far more than the camera movements allow. My favorite is an ancient 5x7 Rapid Rectilinear.
The Crown was the best choice for my budget. The movements may be meager but are sufficient for the type of photographs I plan to make.