View Full Version : Which wide for Crown Graphic?

19-Apr-2011, 02:53
Much to my surprise, I discovered my dad had a Crown Graphic, in very good condition, that he practically used as a paperweight!! Bellows are smooth and in good condition. So while I work up the courage, and the final bit of cash, to buy the Ebony RSW45, I'll have a go with this little thing.
The bellows are very tight, so any big wide angles aren't going to work, but I guess a 90mm with a small rear element would be fine. When I drop the bed I even get some forward tilt, which is just fine for the landscapes I am going to shoot (I usually apply a little fall and tilt). So any recommendations for a good 90mm with a small rear element? Or maybe even the 80mm XL or 110mm XL, they have pretty small rear elements, don't they? That last option would ofcourse be a bit pricey.

Frank Petronio
19-Apr-2011, 04:41
Kind of pointless to blow $1200-plus on a 110XL when the even the Ebony doesn't have the capability to use up its movements, much less the Crown Graphic.... But you know you must have it since nobody made decent pictures before they were invented ;-)

A >6 million serial number Schneider 90/6.8 Angulon (not Super-) is inexpensive and sharp (it's as sharp as anything else stopped down to f/22). It has a small image circle that matches the Crown's small range of movements. And the best part is that it will fold up inside the body just fine.

It would be a nice combination with a similar 135-150-180 normal lens for the Crown. You should give it a try before blowing a wad on the camera of your dreams and all that. For a lot of pictures it is all you really need.

19-Apr-2011, 04:46
Yeah, maybe I should look for a late version Angulon, will it have the image circle for a bit of fall and tilt? The XL lenses were actually just an aside, due to the small rear elements, I'm sure a late model angulon at f/16-22 will be gorgeous. The reason for looking for newer designs would be the improved coatings. The Rodenstock 90mm/6.8 seems to be the newer 90mm with the smallest rear element (60mm if I am not mistaken), but maybe one of the Nikkors is smaller?

Dan Fromm
19-Apr-2011, 04:57
A 4x5 Crown's lens throat diameter isn't that constraining. And remember that if the camera has a Graflok back (does it?) you can always mount a lens whose rear cell won't pass through the throat by unscrewing the cell, attaching board with shutter and front cell, and then reattaching the rear cell through the back of the camera.

When you try to use it you'll find that the forward tilt is useless with most lenses.

Frank Petronio
19-Apr-2011, 04:57
All of the f/6.8 and f/8 90mms will be fine with a Crown I am 99.999% sure. It is just nice to be able to fold the lens up inside the camera, that is worth a lot right there!

The old Angulon, wide open, will have soft corners and little image circle. If you stop it down to f/16-22 then the corners sharpen up nicely and the image circle increases. If you go down to f/32-45 then even more so. In practice, you can get a 1/4-3/8 6mm rise-shift, a "nudge" in other words. You can get all the tilt you will ever need.

There are arguments for and against coatings in your view lenses. Oftentimes the older lenses with less or zero coatings are of simpler designs, with fewer surfaces to flare, so the benefits compared to a more complex lens with coatings is a wash. In practice the uncoated lenses make pictures with less contrast than the coated lenses, perhaps a paper grade's worth. It is easily corrected in the darkroom or Photoshop to suit your taste. In fact some people prefer uncoated designs as they feel they get finer shadow detail, all other factors being equal. So I wouldn't be afraid of older lenses in good condition, their level of sharpness rivals the modern designs.... the big advantage of the modern lenses is that they are precise and perfect wide-open too.

19-Apr-2011, 05:12
@Dan, how du you mean, the front tilt is useless with most lenses, that it can't be done, or is impractical?

19-Apr-2011, 05:23
It has been a while since I handled a Crown, but I'm thinking that on my Speed, I have to park the lens back on the rear section of the focus rail, in which cased dropping the bed doesn't tilt the lens. But you still have to drop the bed to get it out of the picture.

In addition to the Angulon, the standard 90mm lens for a Crown was a Graflex Wide-Angle Optar (actually a Wollensak Wide-Angle Raptar). I don't think it is a dagor design as is the case with the Angulon, but rather an air-spaced four-element symmetrical design. They are all coated, which is a good thing. The Angulon's dagor design only has two groups of cemented triplets, so there are few air surfaces compared even to a tessar design.

The 90mm Optar/Raptar is similar to the Kodak Wide-Field Ektar. They are pretty sharp when stopped down appropriately (to f/22 at least). They are also no bigger than the Angulon and will fold up in the camera.

Rick "noting that Angulons often sell for a higher price than Optars because of the Schneider name" Denney

19-Apr-2011, 06:22
you can get a 90 f8 pretty cheap, i have one that came in an old compur 00 shutter had it cla'd and its like new, they will work on 5x7 pretty well, but you wont be able to close the camera up with it attached but it is very sharp. good luck

Dan Fromm
19-Apr-2011, 07:33
@Dan, how du you mean, the front tilt is useless with most lenses, that it can't be done, or is impractical?Getting front tilt is certainly possible. Getting what you want may not be. And there's not much front rise.

The front standard tilts backwards, not forwards. When you put the front standard (in normal position) on the dropped outer bed, you've effectively tilted it forwards. The center of the cone of rays the lens projects will move up the film. It the dropped bed gives more forwards tilt than you want, you can tilt the standard backwards; at the limit it will be parallel to the film plane. When you've done this you'll have all of the front fall the camera can give. When you have the tilt you want you may not have enough front rise to get the composition you want.

Draw a sketch of the situation and you'll see.

Similarly, tilting the front standard backwards when the bed is not dropped will move the center of the cone of rays the lens projects down the film. Again, you may not have enough front rise to get the composition you want.

Finally, if front standard is on the dropped outer bed you can't get back tilt. As I said, the best you can do is make the standard parallel to the film plane.

19-Apr-2011, 10:19
Thanks for that explanation, Dan. I will be getting another camera in the near future, just thought I would get a lens and play around with the Graphic until then. It seems that there might be some difficulties with a 90mm on this camera (except for the Angulon), maybe I should go for a 105mm of some kind?

mike rosenlof
19-Apr-2011, 13:19
I think the crown is a great way to start off in large format. Don't bother with the movements yet. First you'll get used to the idea of the film holders, the process of exposing film only when you want to, remembering to stop down the lens and all that other stuff.

Look at your photos and think about what camera movements could be used to change things. Presumably to make the photos more what you want. Maybe the crown can handle them, but probably not. It did have some movements available, but they were mostly ignored by the users. Then maybe it's time to go out and get the fancier camera.

BTW, one of those aforementioned Angulons has appeared in the for sale section of this forum. Not me selling it. I just noticed it there.

Greg Y
19-Apr-2011, 13:37
the 4 3/8" Dagor is a tiny lens with lots of coverage. I use one on my Deardorff,...i would bet it will fit just about any 4x5.

19-Apr-2011, 14:38
Tiny. Cheap. Sharp.
Tominon 105mm in a Copal #1 Press shutter from a Polaroid copy camera. The lens is front mounted on the shutter. The Speed folds with the lens attached. What's not to like? Did I mention that they are CHEAP!
I use one on my Speed Graphic. I should also use it on my Technika V.

Dan Fromm
19-Apr-2011, 16:26
Tiny. Cheap. Sharp.
Tominon 105mm in a Copal #1 Press shutter from a Polaroid copy camera. The lens is front mounted on the shutter. The Speed folds with the lens attached. What's not to like? Did I mention that they are CHEAP!
I use one on my Speed Graphic. I should also use it on my Technika V.Oh, come on, Wayne, a joke is a joke but this is too much. The lens in question is an f/4.5 Tessar optimized for magnifications above 1:1. According to Polaroid it covers 4x5 at magnifications from 1:1 up, is not recommended for lower magnfications.

23-Apr-2011, 17:05
I have a bunch of these on some polaroid cameras -- ds-34's --

SO...just for giggles, I put one on the 4x5 and got a FULL gg at infinity--didn't expect that as I thought this too would not cover...

RESULTS--vignetting at infinity until f32---IT COVERS INFINITY AT F32--partial vignetting at other apertures but does cover

if you focus closer than infinity, it's totally useable---so THERE YOU GO

if anybody wants one--check the for sale section for polaroid ds-34

23-Apr-2011, 17:52
Probably not real sharp if you're pushing right to the edge of the illumination circle, though.

I'd say you have a choice between a lens that will fold up in the camera and movements. If you're going to upgrade to a monorail and you like the length, get what you want. If you're not sure on either account, get something cheap, you can always upgrade.

If you want it to fold up, your options are going to be limited. A 90/8 will be too big. The Angulon 90/6.8 is small, and will do 4x5 stopped down without movements. The Kodak Wide Field Ektar 100mm f/6.3 will give you a small amount of movement.

23-Apr-2011, 19:11
The Tominon 105mm might illuminate 4x5, but it will be very soft outside the center of the image.

Angulon 90/6.8 and Wide Field Ektar 100/6.3 are good choices. A modern option is the Fujinon 105/5.6, very small plasmat-type lens that covers 4x5 without no or little movement (depending on version).

23-Apr-2011, 20:21
I'll be back.

23-Apr-2011, 20:22

just kept one for my 3x4 speed---I shoot 6x9 with it and this works perfectly for 6x9....HEy!!!! didn't think of that before---almost missed out on my own opportunity!

I'll tell you...all the people that have never used them say they won't work...and all the people that HAVE used them say they do work...now...who knows what they're talking about here you may want to ask yourself....