Is Crown Graphic any good? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I have located a Crown Graphic In excellent condition. I want to know if this would make a good field camera.

I have a Grover but it is a bit heavy for field use.

What's the verdict?


-- William E. Lindsay (, October 07, 1999


bill - the crown graphic is a wonderful camera. i have used these cameras in all sorts of situations over the years, and they have always proven themselves to be sturdy, professional pieces of equipment. for the money, they are very hard to beat.

-- jnorman (, October 07, 1999.

It depends upon your intended use. Since you already have a Grover, are you accustomed to using camera movements? The Crown's are nearly non-existent, other than limited rise and more-limited fall with a dropped bed. If you want a real field camera, I'd look elsewhere. For general 4x5 use, the Crown is hard to beat - I love mine - but not for field work.

-- Alec Jones (, October 07, 1999.

I agree with Mr. Jones. It depends on your intended use. I have a speed, and never use the focal plane shutter, so it's just about the same. Movements are limited, but you can probably manage the combination you want - especially if you turn the camera on its side, or even upside down.

The rangefinder on mine is adjusted well for the lens. I use it mostly as a handheld Polaroid camera. It's great for that, and that's all I use it for since buying a nice monorail.

-- mike rosenlof (, October 07, 1999.

I have several Crown Graphic Cameras, and they are very easy to use in the field, Especially hand held, most of the time, for foliage shooting, and chasing trans in New England.

-- Bill Jefferson (, October 08, 1999.

I use a Speed Graphic all the time, and find it does most everything I need. The Speed and Crown are the same, except the Speed has a cloth focal plane shutter, which I dont use. Since the Crown does away with this, its a bit lighter and more compact than the Speed. The Speeds and Crowns do have front rise and fall, for architectural subjects (19mm), as well as front shift, and forward and backward tilt. Forward tilt is used for the extreme DOF in landscape shots. I think they make great cameras. Check here for a lot of good info on these cameras:

-- Ron Shaw (, October 08, 1999.

The Crown Graphic is great. I took mine all over for years. Eventually, however, I found that it wasn't so great at wide apertures. The film is not quite aligned to the same plane as the ground glass. I measured it using a trick I found in Photo Techniques. It ran sometime last year. I suspect that film used to be thicker. Anyway, at smaller apertures, and to learn your way around a 4x5, it's great. Don't stress about the movements, for now.

-- Bryant Urstadt (, October 08, 1999.

Just for the record, sounds like Bryant had one of the Graphics which did not come with the Fresnel lens originally. The backs have a spacer to place the ground glass in the right place on the non- Fresnel cameras. Someone probably added a Fresnel and didn't know the gap had been taken up already. Or, someone flipped the surfaces of the glass and Fresnel. I have seen them that way several times. Fresnel goes in front, glass in back to actually focus on, with rough sides together in the middle. When assembled correctly, these cameras are stunning for nighttime photography with a good lens.

-- Chris Wray (, October 12, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ