Might also want to look at the Graflex Super Graphic. It has more movements than a either a Crown or a Tech III, and a rotating Graflok back.
I'd also be leery of any 50+ year old camera with a leather and not synthetic bellows (Tech III) and would specifically ask for a guarantee that the bellows be supple and light-tight or your money back.
Here's an update:
I found and bought Super Speed Graphic kit (w/ box, 18 film holders, graflite, other misc stuff) on eBay. Seller seemed knowledgeable and claims it's all in good shape. It was a little more than the Crown Graphic kit (but less than the Linhof) I was looking at but I think it will be a better learning platform.
You did the right thing there Chris.
The Super Speed was a camera that Graflex should have made years earlier than they did, it addresses the lack of movements & poor functionality of the Pacemakers (Speed& Crown) and earlier models which just couldn't compete with the MMP's and Linhof's being made in Europe.
Far better as a first LF camera, I do use both Speed & Crown Graphic's and constantly run up against their limitations :D
Yes, good call.
Let me suggest also picking up a used fuji pa45 holder and some 4x5 instant packfilm, it's pricey but will save you a lot of learning time in the long run. Instant film is very useful for checking speeds and learning about bellows factor and checking RF focusing etc.... plus you can get some damn nice prints, actually.
The Super Speed Graphic originally came with a unique lens and shutter with a top speed of 1/1000-- did yours?
The Super Graphic is by far the best choice. You don't need the special lens and shutter (although it is kinda cool to have). The only thing the Super does not have is back movements but until you need them, the Super is both a pretty good field camera and a great hand-held street camera.
Mine has the 1/1000 electronic shutter not does not have a lens board that supports it. It should be here next week.
The lens is a 150mm Schneider f/5.6, supposedly fairly recent vintage.
If all you want is a camera that you point straight at your subject like you do with whatever camera you are using now, but you want to shoot on to a bigger piece of film when you do it, I'd not hesitate to go for a Crown Graphic. As far as bang for the buck in a camera that is a "bridge" between smaller formats and 4x5, they are the best, IMO. They are well-built cameras that should last you a lifetime.
If you want to take advantage of many camera movements, I'd get a Graphic View II with a Graflok back. IMO, they are the best quality out there in an inexpensive monorail camera. For a long time (most of the time I have shot), all I had was the GVII and the Speed, and I was able to do probably 3/4 of what I wanted to do. The Sinar really opened up part of that other 25%, and the Linhof hopefully will take care of the rest.
If I wanted a camera that is somewhat of a hybrid between both of the above, I'd go for the Technika.
In the same realm as the Technika, there are also Horsemans, Super Graphics, Super Speed Graphics, and more.
My first 4x5 was a Graphic View II. My next was a Pacemaker Speed Graphic. Next a Sinar, and sold the GVII. Then, a Technika III, just recently, as a matter of fact. For quite a while (most of the time I have shot pix), all I had was the GVII and the Speed. They covered about 75% of what I wanted to do with 4x5. The Sinar opened up a large chunk of the remaining 25%, and hopefully the Linhof will finish it off.
I regret selling the lenses with the GVII, and sometimes I miss the camera itself; mostly because it was an absolute beauty aesthetically, as well as very quick, light, simple, and solid. I used to put it in a backpack all the time. Then I did the same with my Sinar. Now, I hope for the Technika to take over that role.
Don't let the Technika III's lack of as many movements as the later models scare you away. They are perfectly capable cameras. It is just not as convenient to get a front tilt as with the later models. You have to tilt the back and then shift the front to do it. The only other huge drawback is in hand held use, because you need to have each lens cammed to each camera.
I happen to have both these cameras in the room with me right now.
Originally Posted by BradS
With lenses and rangefinders fitted and ready to go, the Crown (1954) weighs in at 2.4kg and the Tech III (1953) at 2.5kg.
If you want a lumpy, bulky camera that's a knockout killer of potential muggers, heft an MPP at them.