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Thread: I've accidentally started my LF journey with best camera for me ... or have I?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    I've accidentally started my LF journey with best camera for me ... or have I?

    Hi, I must admit, that 2 years ago I bought just the cheapest 4x5 kit available on ebay. It was Graflex Crown.
    Today I admire ingeniousness of its design. However, I'm curious if there is even better camera for me?

    Here is what I like about Graflex:
    * low weight (~5 pounds / 2.2 kg)
    * very fast to setup and to pack back
    * ability to store small lens inside folded camera
    * no need for dark cloth

    What is bothering me:
    * no front forward tilt for wide angle lenses and very limited for moderate wide angle

    I've been researching for new and better camera. It must be lightweight (less than 5.5 pounds), fast to setup and pack, allows for thick grafmatic holder, have GG folding shade (I forgot the correct term) so no need for dark cloth, and finally it should be stored with one of my lens I have (Fujinon 105/5.6 small version, Caltar 150/5.6 and Fujinon 240/9) installed. And, of course, it must have forward tilt for all lenses, including wide angle ones (I'm thinking about 75mm).

    I couldn't find anything. Any suggestions?

    JaZ

  2. #2

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    Re: I've accidentally started my LF journey with best camera for me ... or have I?

    busch pressman d 4x5

  3. #3

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    Re: I've accidentally started my LF journey with best camera for me ... or have I?

    If you drop the bed one more click, below straight out, you get a forward front tilt + drop that can then be zeroed back by using back tilt and rise. Then from there you can set the appropriate tilt and drop you want, and he bed will be out of sight of wider lenses. Not many other press cameras have the internal short track of the Pacemaker Graphic series.

    There is also the modification, which I haven't messed with, of filing out some of the tilt mechanism to give a bit of forward tilt, or reversing the internal part of the standards so the tilting sector faces forward rather than back.
    Thanks, but I'd rather just watch:
    Large format: http://flickr.com/michaeldarnton
    Mostly 35mm: http://flickr.com/mdarnton
    You want digital, color, etc?: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stradofear

  4. #4
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: I've accidentally started my LF journey with best camera for me ... or have I?

    A Crown Graphic is really a fine camera, especially for how cheap they sell for. I modified one of my smaller 2x3 Crowns for front tilt, and it was easy. I didn't have to file anything. I think I remember reading that some cameras you do, some you don't. Production tolerances maybe? If you don't use rear tilt, I suggest that, but if you do (due to dropping the bed) you are out of luck. I have two 2x3 cameras, one I converted one I didn't. I used to carry both when I was shooting with a few different lenses and switch the back between them, which worked well but was annoying - and ultimately I generally stopped using it that way.

    By the way, with the bed dropped my old Crown was able to use a 58mm XL lens at infinity with no encroachment into the image. That's pretty good for that type of camera. My most common lens though was a 90mm, which seemed to be just wide enough that it would be at the "hinge" of the rail, making it impossible to use properly with the drop bed + tilt method described above, IIRC.

    Anyway, a Crown was my first "field" camera but I quickly upgraded to a Chamonix which fit my style more. It's not a big solid box like a Graphic though and in fact I rarely fold mine up. I just leave it on the tripod and carry it there. It can use any wide-angle you throw at it, with movements, though limited with ultra-wides (58mm and wider). Of course you could also go Shen-Hao, which is very similar.
    Bryan | Blog | YouTube | Instagram | Portfolio
    All comments and thoughtful critique welcome

  5. #5

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    Re: I've accidentally started my LF journey with best camera for me ... or have I?

    You can reverse the front standard to allow it to tilt forwards for landscape work....I have one like that (I didn't do the mod myself, don't know how but it is supposed to be not that difficult). Great camera.

    --Darin

  6. #6
    Drew Bedo's Avatar
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    Re: I've accidentally started my LF journey with best camera for me ... or have I?

    Back in the early 2K years, View Camera nagazine ran two articles on modifying the front standard of a Crown Graphic for tilt and swing. The tilt modification involved reversing the front standard I think. a friend of mine did it in maybe ten minutes while I watched one day.
    Drew Bedo
    www.quietlightphoto.com
    http://www.artsyhome.com/author/drew-bedo




    There are only three types of mounting flanges; too big, too small and wrong thread!

  7. #7
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: I've accidentally started my LF journey with best camera for me ... or have I?

    I found a video of the process when I did it, and it was easy to understand once you saw it. Written explanation was confusing. But I can't find it now. YouTube is great but it's hard to find content sometimes.
    Bryan | Blog | YouTube | Instagram | Portfolio
    All comments and thoughtful critique welcome

  8. #8
    jp's Avatar
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    Re: I've accidentally started my LF journey with best camera for me ... or have I?

    A couple years ago, I made up a little video on flipping the front standard:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAoHIZl9MR0

    If your crown has a graflex back, any holder can be used with it. It can also have a metal folding shade. Some graflexes have metal shades, others have 3 sided flip down/up shades with cloth sides.

    I really like graflexes. I'd use a crown, but I need the builtin shutter of the speed graphics as I have a taste for old and non shuttered lenses.

  9. #9

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    Re: I've accidentally started my LF journey with best camera for me ... or have I?

    Graflok back, jp, not Graflex.
    Thanks, but I'd rather just watch:
    Large format: http://flickr.com/michaeldarnton
    Mostly 35mm: http://flickr.com/mdarnton
    You want digital, color, etc?: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stradofear

  10. #10

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    Blue Jay, CA
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    Re: I've accidentally started my LF journey with best camera for me ... or have I?

    I have many other cameras but I don't consider my Crown a starter anything. I use if often especially when on trips involving air travel. It does a lot of things well and I use it with a 3 lens outfit; modern 135 lens that folds up in the camera, late model 90 angulon, and a 210 repro claron. Whole thing weighs less than a high end digital slr. When properly adjusted, the rangefinder is extremely accurate for the 135.

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