Advice on Crown Graphic and a 90mm lens : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I am an Australian photo grad student studying in Minnesota since last September, when I started to play with a Crown Graphic and a 90mm Calumet which I borrowed from a dusty shelf in the art department. I have grown very attached to this and am thinking about buying a similar used rig for a trip to South America this summer. What I need is a cheap, portable durable 4X5. I feel very comfortable with the Crown which seems to be right for me both pricewise (a VERY important consideration for me) and I am also stuck on the wide angle as well. Maybe you can give me some advice? - What do you think apout the Calumet compared to to other wide angle lenses in terms of price, performance and suitability for the Crown? - Can you suggest where to look for a cheap used Crown and a wide angle lens. Do you know somebody else who I could contact? - While I am at it I should also ask you about my pet peev - the problem that the image disapears as soon as I shove in the film holder. The Crown I am using has an old Kalart rangefinder which doesn't help me much even if I did know how to adjust it for the 90mm lens. Is there any other rangefinder solution which would let me see more or less what is going on when I am about to fire the shutter? - Is it possible to get either a roll film or polariod back that fits on the Crown? Is this a stupid question? - Finally, have you or do you know of anaybody who has travelled with a Crown or similar camera in a backpack? The question that concerns me most is what is the best way to store and change sheet film for five weeks. I am thinking about just taking some sort of changing bag and storing my exposed negs in the same black plastic lined bags in the T-Max sheet film boxes they come in till I get back to my darkroom, though I am not sure how factors like humidity, heat and delay from exposure to development time will effect the film. Maybe I should just stick with my 35mm - but the 4X5 negs are so much more beautiful! Do you know anybody who has tried something like this. Hope to hear from you, Peter Lowe

-- Peter Lowe (, March 04, 1998


if you liked your outfit, there is no reason to look for something different.calumet lenses are made by reputable manufacturers (like rodenstock), and are a good deal. midwest photo exchange, lens and repro have a large used lf stock. a slip-in rf back (like the calumet c2) and a polaroid back work on almost all cameras. i don't think your sheet film would be more affected than film in rolls or canisters. film boxes work fine for carrying unexposed and exposed film. i've done month-longs road trips this way. the only thing i would be worried about is the weight of the equipment, which might be a drag in an undevelopped country. is the

-- Quang-Tuan Luong (, March 04, 1998.

One further thought on the issue of traveling with sheet film. You might want to consider using Readyload or Quickload film if the emulsion you want is available in that form. Its expensive, but it avoids the need to find a dark and dust-free environment to load and unload film, as well as the inconvenience of doing so. I tend to use conventional sheet film when I'm at home and use Quickload when I'm on a trip. When I'm on the road shooting a lot of film, its nice to be able to avoid loading film every night.

-- Rob Rothman (, March 05, 1998.

Check out That site is dedicated to Speed Graphics, Crown Graphics and other cameras Graflex produced. It has an extensive FAQ and links to places you can buy Graphic equipment, and even an article on a planned auto-focus Speed Graphic (check the publication date).

One option to consider is the Grafmatic back, which holds six sheets of 4x5 film and shuffles them as you move the dark slide. Seems like magic to me, but it works. Graflex also produced 6x7 and 6x9 backs for the Speed and Crown Graphics.

As far as the image disappearing when you shove in the film holder; Welcome to 4x5, that's how they work and why we don't use them for sports.

-- Darron Spohn (, March 05, 1998.

I use a Speed Graphic and use it backpacking, and have had no problems. The Crown is a bit lighter, so even better. I have a Poloroid 545 back that I use with it on occasion, and yes, there are rollfilm backs available as well. should give you the info you require. I have gone for 6 months or more with film in the holders (chrome) with no obvious problems, even in the desert southwest. These great old cameras are rugged and well made, and should serve you well, and will probably be 'found' and dusted off by someone else after you and I are pushing up daisies.

-- Ron Shaw (, March 05, 1998.

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