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  1. #1

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    First LF Camera: Crown Graphic or a Linhof Super Technika III

    I am looking to get in to LF photography, because I think it will give me the benefit of slowing down my photography which should be beneficial and trickle down to other formats.

    Right now I am looking at a couple of kits. One is a Crown Graphic 4x5 and the other is a Super Technika III. I'd like to keep it under $1000 for the whole setup, including the developing equipment and film.

    Of these two, which one would be a better starter? I've heard the Super Technika is a better camera, but the price is about $300 higher, so I am not sure if it is justified. Is there anything else I should be looking at?

  2. #2
    keithwms's Avatar
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    Well, I think the crown is an excellent first LF camera and one that you will keep and continue to use even if and when you do decide to get another.

    A good crown with decent lens and working rangefinder should cost ~$350 +/- $50.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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  3. #3
    PhotoJim's Avatar
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    I had a Pacemaker Speed Graphic as my first LF camera and I replaced it with a Shen Hao field camera, which is not expensive but is orders of magnitude easier to use. Something else to consider.
    Jim MacKenzie - Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

    A bunch of Nikons; Feds, Zorkis and a Kiev; Pentax 67-II (inherited from my deceased father-in-law); Bronica SQ-A; and a nice Shen Hao 4x5 field camera with 3 decent lenses that needs to be taken outside more. Oh, and as of mid-2012, one of those bodies we don't talk about here.

    Favourite film: do I need to pick only one?

  4. #4

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    I have a couple of nice Crown Graphics I'd be happy to sell you, but have you considered something like a Graphic View? I use my Speed when I need a shutter in the body, but otherwise I prefer the movements of my GV-II to the limited ones of the Pacemaker.

    Dan

  5. #5
    Seabird's Avatar
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    I'd think seriously about getting any Technika that is older than a model IV. As I understand it, the IIIs have fewer movements on the front standard, and use less readily available lensboards.

    If you cant do a Tech IV within your budget, then I'd lean towards the Crown Graphic.

    More useful details about differences between the Tech models can be found here:

    http://www.cameraquest.com/techs.htm

    You might also find this article comparing Techs and Graphics (from the same site) interesting:

    http://www.cameraquest.com/techgrap.htm


    Hope this is of assistance

    Carey Bird
    http://members.iinet.net.au/~cbird/index.html
    Last edited by Seabird; 08-13-2009 at 10:49 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  6. #6
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    I'd only get a Tech III if it comes with one or more cammed lenses. The serial number on the top of each cam should match the serial number on the lens, and the serial number on the bottom should match the body. Without cammed lenses, it's still a nice, sturdy, precise metal field camera, but the possibility of using the rangefinder adds a lot of options that you don't have with other nice wooden or metal field cameras, like handheld shooting or more dynamic portraiture, where you can check focus using the rangefinder with a filmholder ready to shoot.

    You don't need to have all lenses cammed, but having one or two lets you take advantage of that option.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  7. #7

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    The Linhof III that I am looking at it has a matching cammed lens which is something I definitely want.

    My understanding was that the Linhof had a little bit more movements available than the Graphic, and I have heard is better made, so that is why I was leaning that way.

    Fotoguy, send me some pics and details of what you have. I am really looking for something that is "ready to go" out of the box (ie, doesnt need to be serviced right away) and comes with a few film holders.

  8. #8
    BradS's Avatar
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    Tech III a better camera than a Crown Graphic ?!?!?!?

    I guess it depends on what you what to do with it. Many who've owned and used both will say that the Crown is better for hand held work, for example...simply because it is lighter. Both have their strengths and weaknesses. I don't think either is absolutely better than the other. They are each excellent in their own respective areas.

  9. #9
    EASmithV's Avatar
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    Personally I would get a Crown Graphic, but if you can find a Speed Graphic, it's even better.
    www.EASmithV.com

    "The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera."— Dorothea Lange
    http://www.flickr.com/easmithv/
    RIP Kodachrome

  10. #10
    Mike Wilde's Avatar
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    The Tech would be nice, but the Crowns can be had very cheaply at times. My Crown Graphic came complete with the old OEM case, OEM lens, and two spare lens boards for $CDN 120. It had a worn out lower tripod bushing, that I replaced with a 1/4-20 flange nut from Home Depot for a whole $0.83, and a fair bit of patient fiddling to get the old one out and the new one in.

    The nice thing with this rig is it is nice and light to backpack with, with about 6 film holders and a a smattering of bits - light meter, a few filters, notebook, etc. all handily fitting into a day pack. I have built a divider for a small backpack out of foam core board and packing tape to keep things in their place, and avoid too many sharp corners digging into your back when you carry the load.

    If I know that only moderate movements are needed, or if I am to do on location portraiture, then I give up on using the range finder, and put a 210mm symmar lens in the camera. It will just close with this lens.

    With this lens I ground glass focus. If I am doing portraits I 'string distance focus', by setting focus on the end of a string clipped to the front of the camera base. I have the sitter hold the string to their nose, back up til the string is taught, and know In am in the right focus range. I have a bit of cardboard mask that I have calibrated the size of to slip over the pop up finder to compensate for the narrower filed of view.

    Yes, a cammed set of lenses for a field camera would be nice, but my work arounds work for me. I do not yet have the desired 90mm lens. When that comes, the limitations of the Crown might make me move on. Until then, if the situation is knowm I wheel out my cambo monorail, and have movements galore. It is not as portable assembled, buy can be disassembled to fit a backpack, however there is quite a bit of set up and break down for every site you move between.
    my real name, imagine that.

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