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  1. #1
    altair's Avatar
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    Aligning Crown Graphic optical viewfinder?

    Hi all.

    I recently took some photos using my 4x5 Crown Graphic, handheld. It was mainly to test out the accuracy of the Kalart RF and to experience how shooting LF handheld would feel like (fun!). Anyway, it turned that the focusing of my Kalart RF coupled with the Optar 135/4.7 lens that I have is more or less spot on. That's great. However, it seems that my top mounted optical viewfinder (the one that's used for composition) is out of whack. I'd frame my subject nicely the way I want it & after processing the film it turns out the top of his/head was cut off and the subject would be off-center to the left.

    I'm not sure what's wrong. As far as I can tell, my front standard is straight. And it seems the optical viewfinder is fixed pretty tightly to the camera body, i.e there's no play or movement whatsoever. So, what can cause it to be out of alignment? And how can I get it re-aligned so that I can use it to compose my handheld 4x5 shots accurately?

    For reference, my Crown looks as per below.


  2. #2
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    I prefer to use the wire finder when I use my almost identical Crown Graphic hand held, I do the same with my Super Graphic.

    The eyepiece on the optical finder has a distance scale and rotates to allow for parallax ideally you need to set the camera up on a tripod and using the focus screen check out the optical finder.

    Ian

  3. #3
    altair's Avatar
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    Ian, when you say wire finder, do you mean the 'sports viewfinder frame' or the 'sports viewfinder eyepiece' (I'm referring to a Pacemaker Speed Graphic manual here)? I tried googling 'wire finder' for Graphics and I think the closest match I got was kinda similar to the sports viewfinder frame, but with very thin wires making an X-shaped cross in the center.

  4. #4

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    I don't see a mask in your optical finder. Notice the little slot in the front top of the silver metal frame at the front of the finder, that permits a cropping mask to be slid down in front of the glass. There are different ones for different lenses. I bet if you compare the wire frame view (which should show basically the right amount) to the optical finder view you will see that the optical finder is showing a lot more area than the wire finder. You need to find the right mask for your specific lens. There are many masks, for different lenses, and different lenses with different roll film holder combinations.

    If this isn't the problem, and I don't know for sure if you do need a mask for that lens, then the tilt of the finder is wrong. I really doubt this is the problem, but if it is, you can slide the finder out of its shoe (there's a little locking tab to depress on the side) and shim under the shoe until things are right. But I really doubt this is the problem.

    The ultimate authority on what will be on the film is the ground glass. If you have to realign things, do it at infinity, on a tripod, using the ground glass as a reference.

    Or, maybe you just had the parallax set wrong, as Ian points out.

    edit: Ian means the swing-up eyepiece on the stalk at the top back of the body, combined with the sports finder wire frame which is on your camera in the picture still nested/telescoped down into the top on the front standard. To get that up, hold the very top things on the front standard and pull them up all the way (There are little knurled tabs on the side to hold onto, I think). Being a film size hole that follows the lens, with a tiny hole over the film--sort of like the camera in reverse, the sports finder field of view will be good with any lens, and you correct parallax by sliding the eyepiece at the back up and down.

    http://graflex.org/speed-graphic/viewfinder-masks.html
    It appears that you need a #4 mask:


    (Pacific Rim has the mask, and this photo is on their site)
    Last edited by mdarnton; 01-21-2012 at 07:37 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  5. #5
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Yes the front and rear parts of the sports viewfinder. Be aware that the front part has click stops for parallax correction. Sorry to confuse you on some of my other cameras they are literally just wire finders.

    I don'tb think the optical finder needs a mask for a 135mm lens.

    Ian

  6. #6

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    Hello;
    Go to graflex.org and do some research. Instructions for adjusting the Kalart rangefinder is there and the correct mask to use on the optical viewfinder. You may have to do some refitting to get the optical finder to work correctly. As other forum members have said, tripod and ground glass is your friend. Have fun, Steven.

  7. #7

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    What Ian Grant said. I've been using Graphics handheld for decades, and after a short while using the optical finder I found the pull-out sports finder was way better and easier. The sports finder also adjusts for parallax, there's no need for masks and you can compose with both eyes open, framing a little loose, a good idea using any kind of rangefinder camera.

  8. #8
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tessar View Post
    What Ian Grant said. I've been using Graphics handheld for decades, and after a short while using the optical finder I found the pull-out sports finder was way better and easier. The sports finder also adjusts for parallax, there's no need for masks and you can compose with both eyes open, framing a little loose, a good idea using any kind of rangefinder camera.
    Best of all it also works withe different lenses and rise/fall, and tilts and shifts.

    Ian

  9. #9
    altair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mdarnton View Post
    I don't see a mask in your optical finder. Notice the little slot in the front top of the silver metal frame at the front of the finder, that permits a cropping mask to be slid down in front of the glass. There are different ones for different lenses. I bet if you compare the wire frame view (which should show basically the right amount) to the optical finder view you will see that the optical finder is showing a lot more area than the wire finder. You need to find the right mask for your specific lens. There are many masks, for different lenses, and different lenses with different roll film holder combinations.

    If this isn't the problem, and I don't know for sure if you do need a mask for that lens, then the tilt of the finder is wrong. I really doubt this is the problem, but if it is, you can slide the finder out of its shoe (there's a little locking tab to depress on the side) and shim under the shoe until things are right. But I really doubt this is the problem.

    The ultimate authority on what will be on the film is the ground glass. If you have to realign things, do it at infinity, on a tripod, using the ground glass as a reference.

    Or, maybe you just had the parallax set wrong, as Ian points out.

    edit: Ian means the swing-up eyepiece on the stalk at the top back of the body, combined with the sports finder wire frame which is on your camera in the picture still nested/telescoped down into the top on the front standard. To get that up, hold the very top things on the front standard and pull them up all the way (There are little knurled tabs on the side to hold onto, I think). Being a film size hole that follows the lens, with a tiny hole over the film--sort of like the camera in reverse, the sports finder field of view will be good with any lens, and you correct parallax by sliding the eyepiece at the back up and down.

    http://graflex.org/speed-graphic/viewfinder-masks.html
    It appears that you need a #4 mask:


    (Pacific Rim has the mask, and this photo is on their site)
    Thanks very much for your reply.

    I'll check into getting the #4 mask as you suggested. Although as you pointed out, using the sports viewfinder frame & eyepiece could be easier. Thing is, I've just realized the sports viewfinder frame on my Crown is stuck. Somehow the top part won't come up from it's 'base', even though I've gripped the knurled part on the sides tightly & pulled up with all my might

    And yes, thank you for the suggestion of checking framing by using the GG with the camera on a tripod. Silly me, haven't thought of that.

    One question though, you mentioned one corrects for parallax when using the sports viewfinder frame by sliding the eyepiece at the back (on the stalk) up or down..correct? How do I do that? The eyepiece on my Crown just swings left or right, it doesn't slide. If I swing it to the left, it then nestles into the groove made for it at the top of the camera back.

  10. #10
    altair's Avatar
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    Thanks Steven.

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