Using a Crown Graphic - a few questions

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by mooseontheloose, Jan 25, 2010.

  1. mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

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    So I'm ashamed to say that I've had my lovely Crown Graphic for over a year now and have not used it in all that time. (teachers are busy!) But I'm going to rectify that this week as I am now temporarily unemployed for a few months and have the time to really play with it. I've pulled it out and have been going over it, really thinking about what I need to do to shoot properly with it. I've done some research about Crowns (and other press cameras), but most information about large format largely ignores press cameras (due to their limited movements), and specific information about the camera just focuses on various parts of the camera, or shooting film with it. But there's so much more to it that that -- I haven't found any real information to help me with the following problems:

    1. I have a top-mounted Kalart rangefinder on the camera which seems to be working and calibrated to my lens (135mm Optar). I know where the battery compartment is, but can't seem to open it -- pressing on either side of the 'door' does nothing, or both sides together, trying to slide it, etc... Am I missing something here? Although it's working I'd like to get in there to make sure there's no corrosion since I have no idea how long the battery has been in there.

    2. I've just figured out (from a few posts and one guy on youtube) that once you open the camera you should pull the camera out to the infinity stops. Is that right? Is that only for the rangefinder calibration or is it necessary for making the best use of the lens?

    3. If I don't extend the bellows beyond the length of the 6' focus marker, do I need to worry about bellows extension exposure? Do I need to worry about it if I extend the bellows to the end of the bed? If I do, is the measure from the ground glass, or the infinity stop?

    4. Finally, the side shutter release (the one that would allow me to do 'press-style' photography) will not depress the shutter button fully -- it only goes about halfway. Is there a way for me to fix this simply, or will I just have to rely on the lens shutter?

    I've had some very limited experience with view cameras in the past, but not enough to help me with this. I'd appreciate any help people can offer.
     
  2. jbbooks

    jbbooks Member

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    http://graflex.org/

    1. Depress one end and use a very small screwdriver to push the cover towards the depressed end, releasing the pushed end.

    2. The infinity stops are for extending the lens to the point where the camera is focused at infinity and allows the rangefinder to focus properly with the proper cam. With the camera focused at infinity and the rangefinder calibrated properly, the distance scale can be adjusted, if necessary, to correctly indicate distances at less than infinity.

    3. http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=7574

    4. Look at the threaded extension of the cable end and the linkage for the means of adjusting the length of .
    movement of the lever that trips the shutter.
     
  3. jbbooks

    jbbooks Member

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    A little more on the cover. If it is in place, it is held there by spring pressure against the battery or a small wood block that was supplied with the camera in place of the battery. You can press the whole cover in slightly and, when you do, you can push against the edge of one end with the screwdriver tip.
     
  4. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    Posted wirelessly..

    3. The quickest way to figure bellows extension I have found is to use the following equation. Exposure adjustment = extension length squared / focal length squared. Example: you have a 6" lens extended to 11". Your exposure adjustment would be 11 sqd / 6 sqd, or 121/36. This would be about 3.3. Increase exposure by 3 to 3.5 stops.
     
  5. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Chris- I think you're grossly overcompensating for bellows extension. At 1:1 bellows extension, exposure compensation is 2 stops. At 1:2, it is 1 stop. IE, if your 6" lens is extended to 12", you apply 2 stops exposure compensation. At 9", it is 1 stop.
     
  6. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    Actually, I thought I was as well when I read it. I did have the correct equation, didn't I? But I double checked the math and it can't be right. So I retract the previous statement and, in absence of literature, I will go back to sleep now. ;p
     
  7. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    light falls off in the camera at the same ratio that it does outside. It's an inverse square relationship: +2x the distance equals -4x the light.
     
  8. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    Got it. 1.4 the bellows extension. One stop. 2 the bellows ext. Two stops. 2.8 (roughly) the bellows ext. Three stops. And so on. Duh.
     
  9. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    1) Sometimes old batteries have leaked & make removal of the batt. cover difficult.
    2)Extending the lens to the stops allow the rf to work with that lens.
    3)from the infinity stop. The stop marks the FL at infinity so any extension is calculated from that point.
    4)The side shutter release engages the shutter's release lever As David says, it's adjustable.

    The easiest way I've found to deal with bellows factor is with memory(mine). Flying camera has it when he says 2X FL = 2 stops, 1.5X = 1 stop. Anything between can be estimated. If you're going beyond 1:1, you will be better off doing the math. Depending on the film will need to allow for reciprocity effect.
     
  10. jbbooks

    jbbooks Member

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    Regarding number 3, perhaps this is more responsive to your question:

    On mine, the length of the bellows extension is easiest to measure by measuring the distance from the rear edge of the camera body, where the film holder face rests when it is inserted, to the face of the shutter dial. Again, on mine, with an Optar 135mm in a Graphex shutter with the lens focused at infinity, that distance is as close to 135mm as makes no difference.
     
  11. Lopaka

    Lopaka Member

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    To put it another way, with a 135 lens on 4x5, bellows distance doesn't begin to matter until you get closer than about 3 - 4 feet from your subject. At 3 feet, it's about 1/2 stop.

    Bob
     
  12. mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

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    Thanks everyone for the quick replies!

    I've been running around all day so haven't had a chance to go over the Crown Graphic again with advice in hand, but I'll try to do so tomorrow.

    As a quick note -- I do know how to calculate for bellows extension, my question was -- is it necessary with these kinds of cameras? It seems strange that press photographers would worry about something like that while shooting on the fly (or maybe they just depended on the latitude of the film?), and the bellows doesn't seems to extend a lot compared to standard LF cameras, so i was just curious. I guess my problem is worrying too much about a problem rather than just testing it (!) and knowing for certain. I do appreciate all the answers however.
     
  13. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    1. I know nothing about the top-mounted RFs. They are too "new school" for me. :wink:

    2. The infinity stops do make sure that your rangefinder and the lens (and your distance scale) are all in synch. They are not necessary when using the ground glass (though you might as well use them).

    3. It depends on the lens. IMO, you should just make a bellows extension factor chart ahead of time, rather than doing the math for each shot. It should show the distances at which exposure adjustment becomes necessary. That way, all you need to do is take a measurement, and see where it falls on the chart. (Hint: if you use your infinity stops as your reference point, and always use the same lens, you can make a "Mamiya-esque" bellows extension scale on the bed with a Sharpie or a pencil, or two strips of painter's tape if you do not want to mark the camera itself.)

    4. Mine doesn't go all the way in either, but it fires the shutter. All it does is connect to a cable that moves an arm that is clipped onto the front standard, which contacts the shutter release on the lens. It is unlikely that you will feel any sort of "positive engagement" from the body shutter release button like you do with most cameras. (Mine gets kind of "squishy", but fires the shutter just fine.) I'd check to see if it fires the shutter once you cock it.

    P.S. Just FYI, there are cable release threads in front of the body shutter release. The cable release physically depresses the button (just like your finger would do hand held) when it is attached here.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 27, 2010
  14. Lopaka

    Lopaka Member

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    Simple answer - not unless you are shooting very close, that is table top, or macro.

    Bob
     
  15. Colin Corneau

    Colin Corneau Subscriber

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    Bob's right re: bellows extension.

    If you're worried or want to double check, check out JBrunner's site for his handy dandy bellows extension calculator.
     
  16. mopar_guy

    mopar_guy Subscriber

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    Graphics with the top rangefinder: Graphic Rangefinder.
    Graphics with the side rangefinder: Kalart or Hugo Meyer Rangefinder.
     
  17. herb

    herb Member

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    You are right about not worrying about the settings on most images. We used Crowns and Speeds just like one uses a 35mm these days. Shot weddings and sporting events on the fly with a big bag of holders on one hip and a big bag of #2 flash bulbs (think 60w) on the other hip.
    We did graduate to film packs, which lessened the load, and if you could afford one, a big electronic flash(heavy)

    I don't miss that.