Crown Graphic Help

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by reverend jay, Feb 13, 2009.

  1. reverend jay

    reverend jay Member

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    I was given a Crown Graphic today from my father who found it while cleaning out a house. It is in excellent condition and everything seems to be working great on it......at least it was.
    I went to open it tonight and (I'll try and explain this as best I can) the plunger for the rangefinder got caught somehow on the actuator down by the rail. It popped out of it's hose that runs up to the rangefinder cam. Anyway about 500 tiny ball bearings spilled out of this thing. Naturally now the rangefinder no longer works the way it was intended and I am really bummed.
    Can this be fixed....or is it even worth it since I will most likely only ever use the ground glass?
    I would think that all it needs is the hose that runs from the rail section up to the viewfinder. Has this ever happened to anyone?
     
  2. blokeman

    blokeman Member

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    Yes it has happened to me but I don't know what to do about it. It happened with a borrowed Graphic from Uni years ago & I just returned it without saying anything!! At least now I know it is for the rangefinder cam!
     
  3. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    It is definitely worth fixing. Shooting 4x5 handheld, RF focussing is a good thing.

    Fred Lustig can fix it. Google for him and give him a call. He is in Reno, Nevada.
     
  4. reverend jay

    reverend jay Member

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    Yeah I heard he was the man with the plan.....Do you know if he is still doing repairs because I can't find anything recent on him.
    Has anyone used his services recently?......I'll try and call him next week with a number I came across
     
  5. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    So you are missing the cam, is that all?

    Are you sure you really need the RF? It's a pretty shitty RF, honestly. Tiny little hole. Look at the bed and you will see adequate markings for getting a good focus, and then you can just use the RF hole or the funky wire frame to compose. One of the strengths of the CG is that you have no less than three ways to compose and focus. The RF method is actually the most irritating (to me). I wrote all kinds of extra hyperfocal distance markings on my CG so that I wouldn't have to futz with the cam every time I switched lenses.

    If you want/need really good focus while making use of the tilt and rise and such, or working at close focus, that RF is not the right way to get it anyway. You would resort to the ground glass for that.
     
  6. reverend jay

    reverend jay Member

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    It's not really the cam that is bad at least I don't think.........It's the tube that the cam fits into that is a combination of a spring load and the ball bearings that spilled out. I agree that I would probably not be using the rangefinder but there may be times where I would like to have it. I'm not sure how hard the tube would be to replace or even find for that matter. I'm just mad because the guy who had it before me managed to use it with no problem for 50 years an I managed to break it in a couple hours.
     
  7. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Well, it's up to you to decide whether it's worth fixing... I'd say no. The reason why the crown was so popular with press photographers was that if you know how to use the hyperfocal marks then it's basically a quick point and shoot, and whatever errors you have in focus are minor at the newspaper-sized enlargements (basically just contact prints) they were doing. The RF was never intended to be a precision device IMHO. For that reason, some folks just remove the kalart. When I first got my CG I though the RF was pretty cool, but that wore off after about 3 shots, when I decided to "go blind" and focus using the markings.
     
  8. reverend jay

    reverend jay Member

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    I imagine I will 95% of the use the ground glass because anything that requires any kind of speed I will be using my medium formats. I've never been much on rangefinders so I don't imagine getting it fixed will be a priority.
     
  9. kompressor

    kompressor Member

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    This happend to mine CG to. But put the back, thats all. Balls and squares side by side. Mine is working perfect after i fixed it my self. But it takes an hour or so:smile:
     
  10. MVNelson

    MVNelson Subscriber

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    Ha, ha, ha,! I had a good laugh about your predicament. Mind you The exact same thing happened to me a month ago so I laugh with you not at you. I kind of agree that the Rf method with this camera is the least useful and I actually got better focus and aim with using the hyperfocal method when hand holding (which was rare). I actually repacked the dang thing and after a jam drained the gergillion beads back out and that was that! I wonder about the engineer that came up with something like that anyway.... BTW wity a little work you will be amazed at how easily and quickly you can set up use this lightweight pretty compact 4X5 camera.


    Miles
     
  11. reverend jay

    reverend jay Member

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    I may try and fix it myself by putting all the bearings back in but I'm not 100% sure how the plunger goes back in. If anyone has a pic of a working unit I would love to see it. I'm wondering if the little cap that is on the plunger (for lack of better word) that holds the bearings in, needs to be glued on or something. I'd love to have it working 100% again because it is one hell of a find. I have about 5 or 6 film holders, I even have the Graflex multi film holder that holds like a 10 pack of film. I have the original flash along with the original Graflex Vulcanoid case. The guy that had it was an engineer and very meticulous. Perhaps they should have called him when they were designing the rangefinder cam assembly because it sounds as if this happens a lot to folks.
     
  12. Robert Brummitt

    Robert Brummitt Member

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    I had the same thing happen to me long ago. I was photographing my landlady when I heard tiny pings on her hard wood floor. It took awhile to sweep up those suckers and I ended up giving the camera to a red haired lass who I had romanic hopes for.
    She got the camera and I got zilch!
     
  13. Robert Brummitt

    Robert Brummitt Member

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    Oh well, It was fun going out to photograph once in awhile with her!
     
  14. MVNelson

    MVNelson Subscriber

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    funny what happens when you loose your "bearings" ..... I wouldn't put glue anywhere near the bearings cause they actually move fluidly and anything messing that up will jam ....
     
  15. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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  16. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    Yes, Fred is definitely still repairing Graflex Press cameras...at least he was when I spoke with him just before Christmas. He had some health issues a few years back but, seems to be doing quite well now. Give him a call...and let him talk...just be patient and don't interrupt - he hates that :smile: . He can make your Graphic as good as new.
     
  17. reverend jay

    reverend jay Member

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    I'll give him a buzz........thanks for the advice
     
  18. k_jupiter

    k_jupiter Member

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    Ya see that box hanging off the starboard side of yer camera?

    If you remove it, you save weight. If you don't, you don't.

    I took the 127 Ektar off my Speed a week after I got the camera in 1986. Put the Fuji 150 6.3 on it and never bothered to recalibrate the range finder. If I am going to shoot "action" photography, I have about 25 cameras more suited to it than a Speed. If I am not shooting "action" the ground glass is the way to go.

    And so I do.

    tim in san jose