4x5 Crown Graphic (shooting with it for the first time)

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Dorothy Blum Cooper, Nov 8, 2004.

  1. Dorothy Blum Cooper

    Dorothy Blum Cooper Member

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    I decided to work with my husband's 4x5 (Crown Graphic) while he's busy with his studies at school (a late bloomer...he's back in college at 48 :smile: With his nose buried in books and loads of tests over these newx few weeks (he's taking 21 hours this semester), I'm pretty much on my own right now with this venture.

    At any rate...I've searched here on Apug and found some information regarding the Crown's but I'm curious more than anything as to what one piece of advice (or more if you have it) would you give me when taking off on an outdoor shoot with this camera? I have some 100 (Efke & JandC) film that I'll be taking along. Suggestions, tips advice? I'm hoping to shoot some tomorrow while I'm in town (New Orleans) and on my way back across the lake.

    Thanks in advance for any advice/help/tips/etc.

    Dorothy--
     
  2. Mongo

    Mongo Member

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    The best piece of advice I ever got, and the one I now give everyone: Use a tripod.

    Judging from your personal web site, you shoot roll film. If this is your first foray into large format then another good piece of advice would be: Check to make sure the shutter is closed before you pull the dark slide. Then check again. It's probably not a bad idea to check a third time.

    If you haven't done so already, check out www.graflex.org.

    And most of all: Have fun!
     
  3. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Dorothy, be prepared...you will fall in love with it!! Or at least I have mine. Before you go out, work with the few movements you do have with the Crown, if you are shooting any buildings the rise/fall can help - took me over a year to figure this out. Also, I use a Peak loupe to focus with off of the GG, but your eyes may be better than mine. Then there are the usual things, cock the shutter, then open up the lens - then don't forget to fire the shutter before putting the film holder in - stuff I bet you know, but worth mentioning. Take plenty of film holders and how do you plan to develop the film - if Pyrocat-HD then rate the film at 100, otherwise don't know. I use FP4+ rated at 64 and stand develop in Rodinal 1:100. Let us see what you get, NO is a great town...
     
  4. Mark Wangerin

    Mark Wangerin Member

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    I use to shoot with this model as well as the Pressman. I love this platform the best.
    Eventhough I am a Linhoff user, the concept is the same. Completely manual and the dark slide is the biggest challenge to contend with. Remember to pull it before exposure then remember to replace it. As silly as that sounds, in the heat of "battle" you will come to find out what I am talking about. When you are viewing your composition through the ground glass, the tendency is to forget to close the shutter before you pull the darkslide. Then remembering to flip the dark slide to black to remind you that it has been exposed. This is an easy one to make a mistake on.
    Also, if it has not been cleaned in awhile, a good blowing out of the bellows might save the heartache of discovering just how magnetic film is to dust when the shutter releases and jars the dust loose, heading straight for the film plane. Happy shooting.
     
  5. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    Don't forget your hat, your flashbulbs and your cigar (ala Weegee). :wink:

    I don't use a Graphic, but I suppose the big question is whether you plan to use it as a view camera, focusing on the GG, or as a press camera, using the rangefinder. Styles and methods would, I'd guess, vary accordingly. Tripod with the former, not with the latter, for example.
     
  6. joeyk49

    joeyk49 Member

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    The best advise I can give you, I read on another thread...

    Carefully package the entire outfit and ship it to me. I've been drooling over them in ebay for months now, but just can't "pull the trigger" ...(or, maybe release the shutter is more appropriate).

    I have no experience with large format. I suggest you read a little and play alot AND post your photos, of course....
     
  7. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    Get a wheelbarrow to lug all the goodies in. If you get tired you can put everything on the tripod and sit in the wheelbarrow for a while. It also provides a good spot to keep your 20 or 30 filmholders while you shoot. :tongue:
     
  8. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    I LOVE it. Stand by for some Real photography now, Dorothy.
     
  9. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    1. Don't use a darkcloth in bad neighborhoods. Try using a magnifiying glass to view the screen and a loupe for focusing. There was a recent thread I read somewhere where a woman got ripped off while shooting on the street, so be carefull.

    2. Set your lens on it's board so that it's easy to read and you can adjust both the aperture and shutterspeed when at eye level. Don't mount the lens so that the aperture scale is at the bottom of the lens up against the cover.

    3. Don't forget to allow for filter factors and exposure compensation, and remember, fresh batteries in the metering device and remember to take it!

    There are more, but you'll find them out as you go. :^)
     
  10. Mark Wangerin

    Mark Wangerin Member

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    Oh yes... one more thing. Aim the lens at the scene - not away from it.
     
  11. noseoil

    noseoil Member

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    Dorothy, just a couple to add, but theme and variation only. I check to make sure the shutter is closed by using a cable release to "take" the picture after composing. A dry run, as it were, before the film gets anywhere near the camera is my best way of checking the shutter, aperture and basic shot. This has saved me some film and anxiety. Once the film goes in the camera, you have everything set and just have to pull the slide, shoot and put it back in.

    How will you meter? If you've been using a 35mm slr, by all means, take it with you as it is familiar and won't be a distraction from the Crown. If hubby has a spot meter, it might take a bit of getting used to as, the first time I used mine, it was just confusing. Added another layer to the already "mass confusion" I was dealing with, but your brain may be better organized than mine.

    I use a 4" x 5" framing device (a mat board will work with a string or stick attached for the focal length) which matches your lens is a simple tool and worth the effort. Look at the image without using the camera at all, just a simple "window" works well to see the scene first. If it is what you want, set up and shoot.

    Have fun! You will love your first sheet of film.
     
  12. Bob Wagner

    Bob Wagner Member

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    You probably already know this but with the film holder in the portrait orientation, long side up and down, and the open end where you slide the film in up, notches should be on the right. (Upper right hand corner) When I first used 4x5 I assumed landscape orientation which cause me to load the film wrong side to the lens
     
  13. doughowk

    doughowk Subscriber

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    If you like landscapes, learn front tilt because you will appreciate the results (shifting plane of focus enables both really near & far objects to be in focus). Unlike most field & rail LF cameras, the Crown Graphic is somewhat cumbersome in front tilt movement. Pull the lens out onto the front bed, push on two side latches while depressing the bed (dropping the front bed). Then raise the lens/front standard to point where parallel to back & lens covers evenly the ground glass. Then you can use the ground glass to determine how much front tilt to use. If shooting similiar scenes, I frequently leave it in this position for much of the outing.

    With so many things to do with your hands, I've opted for a pair of high-powered (3 or better) reading glasses for focussing.
     
  14. Dorothy Blum Cooper

    Dorothy Blum Cooper Member

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    You all are great! Thanks so much for the tips/advice (and humor :wink: Appreciate it all!

    I'd hoped to get out some today with the Crown, but ran out of time. If not during this week...then the weekend will be my 'get out and shoot' day(s).

    Again...I appreciate the posts to my question. Thanks to all!!!!

    Dorothy--
     
  15. steve simmons

    steve simmons Inactive

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    a Polaroid holder and some film will be a great aid in giving you instant feedback. This will shorten the learning curve considerably.

    steve immons
     
  16. mark

    mark Member

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    Steve has a great idea. I wish I had used one on my first foray. Instant gratification is great.
     
  17. Dorothy Blum Cooper

    Dorothy Blum Cooper Member

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    So that would be the 545? Would like to know more about the holder as well. Thanks again for the help!!

    Dorothy--
     
  18. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    Not trying to throw a blanket on the polaroid idea. I did it too when I got my first 4x5. But I found the polaroid film got expensive real fast. I got more out of using a roll film back for just learning the camera. There's no difference in the way film is exposed for LF. Exposure is exposure is exposure.

    You also need to learn how to develop sheet film and that can only be done by doing it. I went with the tray method. At first I thought it would be daunting but it really isn't, especially with 4x5.

    No matter which film holder you use, polaroid, roll, or sheet, they all have dark slides. DON'T FERGET TO PULL THE DARK SLIDE. A maxim we all eventually learn the hard way.