purchasing a crown graphic-does and don'ts?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by mowbray, Feb 10, 2009.

  1. mowbray

    mowbray Member

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    hi there,
    i intend to start with LF and currently looking at the crown graphics coz i want a LF camera that i can easily carry with me, without tripods.
    so i was wondering if some experienced crown users could offer some advise.
    like what i need to pay attention to when buying it...like calibrated rangefinder, light-tight elbows and other things that i might not yet be aware of.
    i definitly need a camera in good working condition coz over here in germany i won't find someone who will be able to servive/fix the toy.

    and if anyone intends to sell a crown- let me know :smile:
    in an ideal world it had a longer portrait lens, and bright working rangefinder and this multi-purpose back...whatyacallit again..grafmatic or something...the one where you could attach a 6x9 back, a polarid back, a 6sheet filmholder...

    chers,
    m
     
  2. mowbray

    mowbray Member

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    forgot to mention that i should be a 4x5....
     
  3. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    There's nothing you can't really fix yourself with a Crown Graphic. I know :smile: I have 3 Crown/Speed Graphics and two were for parts only but actually easy to restore despite looking terrible.

    Don't pay silly money they often sell for very inflated prices. Make sure nothings missing, finders etc rear sight, and that the rear rails inside the camera aren't damaged, this is the most common fault. I had to replace them in one camera and they can sometimes be difficult to find. If you're lucky then get one with a Grafloc back.

    Remember that movements are very limited so they aren't always the best LF option.

    Ian
     
  4. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    Remember that movements are very limited so they are always the best LF option.:tongue:

    Depending, of course, on the limitations of my photography.
     
  5. photobum

    photobum Member

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    Remembering back to my days in photo school, there was always one instructor who's job was to walk around all the studios. He would thoughfully look over your project. Then grab the knobs and zero out the camera. View camera pretzels were only for view camera ad's.

    All these guys made their living with Crown/Speed Graphics before they started teaching. A little goes a long way.
     
  6. Ulrich Drolshagen

    Ulrich Drolshagen Subscriber

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    Look for a Bush Pressman D IMHO. More movements, rotatable back and usually cheaper than a Crown.

    Ulrich
     
  7. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Or an MPP Mk VII from the UK. More like a Super Graphic, well not surprising really as the Super Graphics were released to compete with the far more versatile European Press/Technical cameras from MPP & Linhof.

    Ian
     
  8. nemo999

    nemo999 Member

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    A clean-looking camera is likely to have good bellows and a clean rangefinder too, which would cost a lot to have serviced. As Ian Grant has said, check the rear rails - they may not have obvious damage but it is possible to bend them slightly by being clumsy when closing the camera - the test is to lock the rear standard on the rear rail and then see if you can rock the standard backwards and forwards - any movement here will make it hard to get sharp pictures with a 90 mm lens or shorter. And yes, get a camera with a Graflok back, where the ground glass and frame are detachable and you can fit all kinds of rollfilm backs. There is a choice of two models, the earlier one has a rangefinder at the side, the newer one has it on top and it is slightly easier to use.