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  1. #1
    bvy
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    Crown Graphic - Focus Lock Lever

    I've acquired a Graflex Crown Graphic and have spent the past few hours online trying to learn all about it.

    One thing I'm just not getting is how far to extend the bellows before locking it in place with the locking lever. Once I do that, it seems I can use the focusing knobs to focus, but where do I lock it? This one has a Graflex Optar f/4.7 135mm lens.

    I think this focus lock lever on the right side of the rails has something to do with it, but it doesn't lock or stop anything from moving. It loosely swings out perpendicular to the rails and forward. Am I doing something wrong, or could it be broken?

    Thanks.

  2. #2

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    There should be stops on both rails, called "infinity stops". You should pull out the front standard to that location and lock it there. If the infinity stops are correctly set then your rangefinder will work correctly (if it is adjusted correctly). It sounds like maybe your camera does not have the infinity stops.

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  4. #4
    Ken Nadvornick's Avatar
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    As Brian said, also keeping in mind that the infinity stops are tiny little guys nestled down within the focusing rails that are designed to flip up and down.

    When flipped down the front standard will pass right over them. This allows the user to maintain multiple sets of configured stops for multiple lenses. My second Crown came with two sets of stops. I'm about to acquire a second lens for it, so this will work out well for me.

    Ken
    "They are the proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away but when you come back they’ll still be there looking at you."

    — Diane Arbus, March 15, 1971, in response to a request for a brief statement about photographs

  5. #5
    bvy
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    Thank you both. I got it now. The infinity stops were down, and they're set more than halfway back. I missed them because I was pulling the front standard out too far, forgetting that this was a wider lens.

    And the focus lock lever seems meant to keep the focus from slipping when pulled out and tightened.

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    frankengraphic

    I have a Crown Graphic that I am building from spare parts and I think I have everything together and need to do just one more chore to get it to working. (Attach the back with screws.) I bought the lens separate from the body so I do not know if the focus stops are the right ones for the lens I have but that is for another day. Good luck.

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  8. #8
    Ken Nadvornick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bvy View Post
    And the focus lock lever seems meant to keep the focus from slipping when pulled out and tightened.
    That's what I use it for. Because of the shallower depth-of-field for the longer lenses of this format, anticipation can be much more important.

    I often visualize the composition, pre-focus and lock, then wait for the action to occur. If I don't lock, the motion of repeatedly raising and lowering the camera to my eye can subtly move that front standard, which is all that's needed with this format to mess up critical focus.

    Ken
    "They are the proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away but when you come back they’ll still be there looking at you."

    — Diane Arbus, March 15, 1971, in response to a request for a brief statement about photographs

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by bvy View Post
    Thank you both. I got it now. The infinity stops were down, and they're set more than halfway back. I missed them because I was pulling the front standard out too far, forgetting that this was a wider lens.

    And the focus lock lever seems meant to keep the focus from slipping when pulled out and tightened.
    What do you mean wider lens? Because if it's not the 127 or 135 that came with it from the factory, the stops and the rangefinder are worthless. You won't have a single picture in focus.

  10. #10
    shutterfinger's Avatar
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    The front standard lock should prevent the front standard from moving on the yoke. The focus lock should prevent the yoke from moving even when attempting to turn the focus knob.
    Both of the locks work loose after years of use and need readjustment. I have found focus lock sleeves bent out of shape from the focus knob being forced with the lock lever set.
    The yoke and front standard should not move with both locks set, a lens with board attached to the front standard, bed at 90°, and the camera turned so that the bed points toward the floor.

    162mm is considered "Normal" focal length for 4x5 whose diagonal is 162 mm. 135 mm and 127 are medium wide and were common on the Crown and Speed as press photographers were the main users and needed to get in close to get the shot for the newspaper.

    The infinity stops can be adjusted for a wide range of focal lengths. I modified my Super Speed to RF focus with a 10 inch/254mm non telephoto lens.

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