It's a very convenient and affordable camera. I mostly use barrel lenses, so I appreciate it for the built in shutter. Old speeds had more shutter speed options and bigger wooden DIY lensboards. Newer pacemaker ones had more movements and often graflok backs, so there's benefits to different speed graphic models.
Old folks love to chat about the camera when you use it. Everyone recognizes it from historic photos/movies. Some cameras beat a speed graphic for movements, sturdiness, bellow length, bling, but the speed is so convenient and good at basic 4x5 photography and for barrel lens use.
Thanks for all the comments guys, it seems like I have made the right decision, I think they were also selling an 8x10 with a 6x9 roll film back on it, but I wanted to go with a 'small' large format as 5x4 film isn't that much compared to an 8x10 or larger size. Like I said I may get another large format camera - of the view camera sort, which might be an 8x10 to be taken out on special occasions etc but I wanted to start with something a bit more basic, and it seems that having an inbuilt shutter is rather useful, I could in theory make my own barrel lenses as well. What is pretty cool is that it comes with a lens (which also has a shutter) so I can have either which is good :D I've just seen the same lens being sold on its own for £150, so i'm happy that the camera isn't 'just' 2 standards with some bellows inbetween lol :P
I watched a video on youtube that showed a speed graphics with a very old barrel lens showing all the key features, which got me hooked :)
I currently have a gap in my collection for a 35mm folder as I now seem to have a MF folder - a Bessa, and a LF folder - the Speed graphics :)
Edit - here is the video that got me hooked! I've just realised how small the camera is compared to the negative watching this video again, quite a robust and compact design.
A great Made in America camera to be proud of.
I got my first speed in 1966 while in high school and a crown in the early 70s. I still use both, the rangefinder on the speed no longer works, for field camera although somewhat heavy due to the focal plane shutter but still easy to carry and shoot with a monopod. I usally shoot with a 210 but also with a 127. The crown is lighter, I keep the 135mm so I can use the rangefinder, ideal for shooting to infinity with the sports finder hand held or on a monopod is a snap. Bushmans are also a great buy.
Anyway, years after I got the Century and sold my Miniature Speed Graphic (surplus to requirements), I spent $80 for a 2x3 Crown with a 105/3.7 Ektar 'cos I wanted the lens. The Crown had a wrinkled bellows so I got a $10 2x3 Crown parts camera with Graflok and a good bellows. The $10 wonder turned out to be too nice to scrap. So now I have four, should sell the Crowns. The 105/3.7 Ektar has to go too.
I still fantasize about shooting 6x12 and a 4x5 Crown seems nearly the ideal camera for me (perhaps not others) to shoot 6x12 with. But the last time I was up in Woonsocket Adam convinced me that the shorter lenses I wanted to use on my hypothetical 4x5 Crown couldn't be made to work on one. My move to 6x12 is still stuck in the fantasizing stage.
I don't want to shoot anything else larger than 2x3 so have no reason to get a Graphic larger than 2x3. As mentioned, I have more 2x3s than I need. For me the disease has run its course.
I love my crown! My sis got an old speed for free but it needs a tune up.