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  1. #1
    mfobrien's Avatar
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    Turning a Crown Graphic into a Field camera

    Last night, I decided that all of the "bells and whistles" on my 4x5 crown graphic were not needed for its use as a fild camera... so I spent a considerable amount of time removing all of the pieces needed for the Kalart Rangefinder (complex!), and the external flash bracket, as well as the little quick sight on the back and the body-mounted shutter release. I decided to cover the holes for now, at least with black gaffer tape. Now I have a camera that no longer has strange protrusions and fits in a bag a lot easier. I know it lacks a lot of movements, but for landscapes, I think it will be ok, esp. since the camera was a freebie. It has an Ektar 152mm lens on it. Now I have a very simple camera that I think has been pared down to the minimun needed. Has anyone else done this? I know some Graflex afficianodes might be horrified, but I'm not worried about the value of the camera.
    Mark O'Brien -
    At the home of Argus cameras...Ann Arbor, MI
    http://www.geocities.com/argusmaniac/

  2. #2

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    cough ... splutter ... sobs away in the corner

  3. #3

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    I never use the rangefinder on my Crown Graphic. I do use rangefinder on Century Graphic especially with roll film back, which points up possible problem if you ever wanted to add a roll film back to your camera. The Graphic cameras were frequently used hand-held ( see threads on reporter who still uses Speed Graphic hand held); but as field camera all the focusing aids other than ground glass are superfluous.
    van Huyck Photo
    "Progress is only a direction, and it's often the wrong direction"

  4. #4
    mfobrien's Avatar
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    Yeah, I thought about the rollfilm back, but then I realized that the one I have is 6x7, so if I'm going to shoot that, I may as well use my Pentax 6x7, anyway. I think the camera that really shines with the rollfilm back is the mini-graphic 2x3.
    Mark O'Brien -
    At the home of Argus cameras...Ann Arbor, MI
    http://www.geocities.com/argusmaniac/

  5. #5

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    I converted my Crown Graphic to a field camera too..

    here are some pictures.. I sold it.. and i kind of miss it now...

  6. #6

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    I did a similar thing to very old 4x5 speed graphic. I stripped all the leather off, removed all the metal parts, which had considerable oxidation and completely refinished the wood and brass. It's actually kind of pretty. I've used it in the woods a time or two, isn't too heavy though it is a little bit limited in movements and such. I tried to overcome some of that by adding a cabinet hinge arrangement for control of the drop bed. It is a little bit cumbersome and so is still a work in progress, but I have a soft spot for old fashioned and do-it-yourself stuff. My wife even said "that's about the last thing I would have thought a person would do to make better pictures but it looks kind of neat" - an overwhleming compliment considering the source. I dare say you can't get into large format any cheaper, except for the old Calumet I bought off Ebay for $45

  7. #7

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    BTW: I removed the focal plane shutter too, it worked but not consistently and I decided not to put it back in when I rebuilt it. I was very impressed by the elegently simple design

  8. #8
    jbj
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    Hi. Yes, I also have a crown graphic and removed as much as possible to pare it down in both size and weight. It is a nice camera for the price and landscape/field work. For me the movements are adequate: front shift, rise, and pseudo-front tilt (drop the bed, raise the lens and then can get a small amount of forward tilt). Mine has the Xenar 135mm lens and it is very sharp.
    No intentions of hand-holding mine nor using the rangefinder so I'm pleased with the results.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by jbj
    For me the movements are adequate: front shift, rise, and pseudo-front tilt (drop the bed, raise the lens and then can get a small amount of forward tilt).
    Did I read somewhere of turning the front standard hardware around so that the front standard tilts forward instead of backward? I've never owned a Graphic (rather surprising, actually...), so have never had the opportunity of testing that idea. But forward tilt would be much more useful in a field camera application.

    -Will
    My Verito page

    Anyone can appreciate a fine print. But it takes a real photographer to appreciate a fine negative.

  10. #10
    Dave Parker's Avatar
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    Hi Will,

    Yes it is a pretty simple thing to change the front standard to have forward tilt.

    I have done on many Crowns with great results.

    Dave Parker
    Ground Glass Specialties

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