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xxxl.a.m.fxxx
11-Oct-2011, 02:49
I am currently looking to buy a large format camera, being a student I have limited funds looking to spend around the 500-600 mark including preferably 210mm lens. I am stuck weather to buy a monorail set up or a fold-able model like the crown Graflex. I am planning primarily to do a series of portrait shoots for a university project hence the need for a 210mm lens, however my personal photography involves much urban exploration so preferably I need something which isn't too heavy.

Any advice or recommendation would be most appreciated.
Cheers.

unixrevolution
11-Oct-2011, 05:44
I am currently looking to buy a large format camera, being a student I have limited funds looking to spend around the 500-600 mark including preferably 210mm lens. I am stuck weather to buy a monorail set up or a fold-able model like the crown Graflex. I am planning primarily to do a series of portrait shoots for a university project hence the need for a 210mm lens, however my personal photography involves much urban exploration so preferably I need something which isn't too heavy.

Any advice or recommendation would be most appreciated.
Cheers.

Well, from my limited experience, the two types of cameras you name here are very different indeed. The Monorail is going to be the cheaper option, most likely...I managed to snag a good Monorail camera on eBay for just $211 USD. The monorail will also let you make full use of lens movements, with huge amounts of tilt, swing, shift, rise and fall on both standards.

However, the monorail will likely be extremely heavy and cumbersome. I would never take mine more than say, 100 yards from my car, for example, without extremely good reason. They don't pack well, they disassemble but that's going to make your setup times unbearable.

The Crown, on the other hand, will not have nearly as large a set of movements. I have a Graphic camera, a Super Graphic, selected because the Super has the largest set of movements of any of the Graflex press cameras. The Crown does have some movements, but they are much more limited. Rather than speak from my own experience (which is very limited) about the super, I'll just refer you to this:

http://www.largeformatphotography.info/cameras/pacemaker/

A review from someone using a Crown as a field camera.

That said, the major advantage to the Crown besides being about 20x less difficult to carry around (a folded-up Graflex 4x5 can fit in an SLR shoulder bag, rather than a steamer trunk) is that if it's RF equipped, it can be used handheld, which makes a huge difference. Of course, you can't handhold it if you're using it as a view camera, but the option is there, whereas with the monorail handheld use is just about impossible (I won't say that it's completely impossible, just nearly so, and always a terrible idea. Don't do it.)

I gravitated towards a Monorail for the control, to get the most out of Large Format. I later got the Super as both a handheld instant-film camera and a field camera for when the Monorail is just too unweildy. The combination is working well for me so far.

For your Particular needs, I would honestly have to say a Crown (or Super!) Graphic would be the best bet. With Portraiture you won't need much movements, and for your Urban exploration, the movements of the Crown should be plenty, unless you just need a metric ton of rise.

Looking up the movements for the Crown Graphic, compared to the super, it has just 1" of rise, rather than the 1.125" of the Super Graphic, and has no swing whatsoever (the Super is the only one with swing movement). But it has 20 degrees of tilt rather than 15, and similarly 20 degree drop bed rather than 15, and a huge 3/4" of shift rather than the paltry half-inch I have.

Honestly, I think the Crown is enough for you to be very happy with. Get a Crown and a good 210/5.6 lens and get shootin!

banjo
11-Oct-2011, 10:57
I have & use a Super Graphic // Super Speed they are the same camera just a different lens!! I like & use a Kodak 203mm Ektar & have a Kodak 135mmWF
that I have not yet had the chance to use

unixrevolution
11-Oct-2011, 11:16
I have & use a Super Graphic // Super Speed they are the same camera just a different lens!! I like & use a Kodak 203mm Ektar & have a Kodak 135mmWF
that I have not yet had the chance to use

The Super and Super Speed Graphics are indeed identical...I do want that Rodenstock 135 with the 1/1000 shutter though. But the Crown is much different.

How are those Ektars? I love the medium-format 100mm Ektar on my Kodak medalist, but haven't gotten the chance to try one of the LF lenses. How's the coverage on 4x5?

Alan Gales
11-Oct-2011, 11:41
A 210mm can make an excellent portrait lens. If you want to do head shots or head and shoulder shots you might prefer something longer like a 300mm. I don't know what the bellows draw is on a Crown Graphic. I would think you would be better off with a monorail if using a 300mm for portraits.

You can pick up used Cambo/Calumet monorails cheap. The entry level ones are very light weight but of course bulkier than a Crown. A lot of times you can find them with 210 lenses. For a little more money look at Sinar also. I purchased my used Sinar P with Schneider 210mm lens for right at $600.00 U.S. off of Ebay in beautiful condition.

Ivan J. Eberle
11-Oct-2011, 12:31
Heck, you could doubtless buy a Sinar F monorail, a 200mm Caltar IIN AND a decent Super Graphic all for 500-600, if patient.

cyrus
12-Oct-2011, 08:06
I think it would be best for a student to use a monorail to get the full benefit of movements and perspective control. Also I don't think a Graphic has the bellows draw for a 300mm lens.

BrianShaw
12-Oct-2011, 08:16
I think it would be best for a student to use a monorail to get the full benefit of movements and perspective control. Also I don't think a Graphic has the bellows draw for a 300mm lens.

I concur. For "urban exploration", however, this could be a heavy and somewhat cumbersome rig.

This might not fit your (OP) budget, but for the breadth of work you anticipate I would (and do) use both types of cameras.

unixrevolution
12-Oct-2011, 08:42
The belliws draw on a Super is 325mm, so barely adequate for a 300 if youre doing landcapes, and a no-go for Close-ups. I dont know if the Crown is any better but ud guess not. I still think the crown would suit, mostly, but if you can affird both, get both!

I ha e adapter boards so all my Graphic lensboards fit my Toyo. Its a nice arrangement.

ghe67
12-Oct-2011, 15:14
I would suggest an MPP MK 8, it's a great camera, for me is just a little less than a Linhof.
If you don't need a rangefinder it would be a better choice.
I have had a speed Graphic and a Busch Pressman D and even if they are great cameras I've sold them without regret.

Giorgio