If you don't need the RF I would seriously look at the Shen Hao wooden camera's.
I have the HZX-IIA and will be building a PTB54 myself.
They are cheap, well made and have more movement than a Linhof III or Graphic plus the added advantage of rear standard focussing if needed on the HZX and a bed that is not in the way with vertical wide angle shots if set-up propperly.
You will get yourself a more versitile camera !
If you need even more movement have a look at the mono-rails, with Sinar as the ultimate Lego box: build the camera you need.
This page discusses the strengths and weaknesses of the Tech III at length:
and this one compares the Technikas with the Crown/Speed Graphics:
The main thing that jumps out for me with most of the early folding metal press/field designs is that they weren't designed to accept modern lenses because these didn't exist yet. Ergo, the ubiquitous and cheap but excellent 210 f/5.6 Plasmats won't fit inside some with the camera closed, rendering moot the folding camera advantages of speed of set-up and lens protection inside the housing. So you're stuck using old Tessar designs. Further, many have very limited moves (early Technika IIIs, no forward tilt, no bed drop!) Too, most early press cameras and even the Technikas aren't well suited to wide angles.
After a year of patient Googling and Ebay searching, I found a Meridian 45B that covers all these bases well.
Most folding flatbed cameras won't accept a 210/5.6 plasmat closed. Fortunately, it's quick and easy to change lenses on a Technika.
There's always the 203mm Ektar. It easily folds inside a Crown Graphic.
Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb
I love my Crown Graphic - it's great fun to use it hand held with the rangefinder. I even use it for street photography at times. Yes, movements are limited, so you may eventually want another camera. All the same, I'm keeping my Crown.
Sounds like the Crown is the winner. Does anyone use one with a Graflite?
I have used my crown with 4x5 polaroid (now fuji-roid, ahem, fuji instant film), 4x5 sheet film in normal holders, fuji quickloads, and with 6x9 and 6x12 rollfilm backs. I haven't tried the septum-based quickfire things. When I needed to go quickfire I just went to rollfilm with it.
I'll just make a point that may be blazingly obvious to everyone but perhaps not to others: the crown (and speed) are press cameras. They were never meant to compete with a fully-featured view camera. It just so happens that the crown can be used as a pretty good field camera as well. It's actually quite nice for landscape, I can furnish some examples: here and here. Because it can be focused by RF, I find the crown very nice for infrared.
Also, of course, the phrase "f/8 and be there" is usually attributed that most famous user of a graphic press camera, Weegee. If you know what the hyperfocal distance is of your lens on the crown, you can refer to the markings and scale focus very well or just wing it and have quite adequate DOF for Weegee's kind of work. Minor focus errors usually don't matter at all with the standard lens, because for press photography, the enlargement factor is going to be pretty small from a 4x5 neg. What would wind up in print would be around the size of a 4x5 contact print. So "f/8 and be there" actually works quite well with a press camera if used as intended.
On the subject of the speed graphic, now that is something very very powerful for shutterless brass lenses. But I (and many others, I am sure) have hand-shuttered various shutterless lenses on the crown and it's no big deal, 1/25 is easy.
Yes, often. But not a Crown... an Anniversary Graphic.
Originally Posted by chrism
All things being equal, I'd go with the Linhof if I had the $$ to spare. Other than both cameras are hand holdable, I feel there simply is no comparison----the Linhof will give you "more" (albeit at a price, especially in terms of wieght and complexity) That said, the Crown is a superb camera for what it is, and a real bargain in my book. Both will serve as a learning platform and both can (have) been used to take very exceptional photographs.
Since you want to explore lf, I'd go with the Linhof and it's additional movements, however if you want a 4x5 point and shoot, the Crown will do everything you'll ask of it, for far less expense and wieght than the Linhof.