question about a Graflex Crown Graphic : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I have just recently attained an old Graflex Crown Graphic 4x5. Over the last week or so I have slowly tried to figure out this camera since I am a newbie to large format. By exploring sights like this I have gained an enormous amount of information. More than I would have ever gotten from any manual. But one part about this camera still eludes me. After searching for a few days on the Internet and after even talking to a friend of mine who has built his own 8x10 view camera there are some numbers on the front of the camera (when it is extended) that we can't seem to figure what they are used for. Like I said, when the bellows are extended (and as you focus the lens) there is an arrow in the upper left corner that slides along pointing towards other numbers and the infinity symbol. Finally my question: what are these numbers corresponding to and how do I use them to take a better exposure? At first I thought they might have reference to how the camera is focused, but when I set it on infinity the image displayed on the ground glass was anything but in focus. Any help from anyone who may have a Graflex would definitely be appreciated.

-- J.Berryman (, May 04, 1998


The numbers are a focusing scale; if the lens is properly extended for infinity focus with the scale at infinity, the numbers will show the distance for focus as the bed is extended. There should be folding stops on the track to stop the lens at the correct distance for infinity focus. If the lens has been changed, the scale may no longer be accurate (it varies for each focal length).

-- John Lehman (, May 04, 1998.

Yes, these are for focusing, and are in feet. They do need to be calibrated for a specific lens. My Speed Graphic has two of them, I guess for two different focal length lenses at one time in its life. Neither one corresponds to any of my lenses now. I dont use them (I focus on the ground glass). The only time I used it was to set my infinity stops. (set focus so the infinity marks line up, move lens board in or out until something at infinity is in focus, then set my stops at that location).

-- Ron Shaw (, May 04, 1998.

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