cheap metal 4X5 Field Body : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I have a Rodenstock-Sironar 180mm lens currently mounted on an Omega view-D. I do the majority of my photography in the field - landscapes, floral portraits, whatever..I'm tempted to buy a Crown Graphic I've seen on ebay as a "field" camera. How dumb is this? I understand the limitations of not having rear standard movements but I need something to pack. Will not having a rotating back be a complete pain? Will the Rodenstock mount OK? My next lens will probably be a 90mm. I just can't afford the nice wood bodies right now - WAY too much invested in 35mm, 6X7 and now 4X5 gear..but ain't it fun? Thanks.

-- Anthony (, December 01, 1999


The Crown is actually wood -- the only Graphics which is all metal is the Supergraphics.

That said, if you do mostly landscape, a Crown will work fine. It can be mounted on its side for vertical alignment, and there are easy modifications to give it full front tilt and swing (rise and shift are built in).

-- John Lehman (, December 01, 1999.

Yes, the Crown and Speed are wood. They are very tough and rugged (you would think they are metal if you didnt know otherwise). The Crown and Speed both have forward and backward tilt as well as rise/fall and shift. Your 180mm should work fine, as well as the 90 when you get it. The cameras have tripod sockets on the handle side as well as the bottom, so verticals are easy even without a revolving back. Not having rear movements isnt much of a limitation for nature photography.

-- Ron Shaw (, December 01, 1999.

ANTHONY, vertical use is only a moderate pain. It's no sweat at all if you don't carry it with the strap in place. JOHN, could you please give more details about the adaptation for forward tilts and swings? Thanks, Mitch.

-- Bill Mitchell (, December 01, 1999.

You dont need to adapt anything to get forward tilt on the Crown or Speed. Just drop the bed, and the backward tilt becomes forward tilt.

-- Ron Shaw (, December 01, 1999.

Anthony... I purchased a 1954 Linhof Technika III within the last 6 months for $300. This camera was in nice shape and has to be the best folding 4X5 camera I have ever owned. I have owned 3 of the wooden field cameras and while they are light weight, the models I had were not very precise. I would highly recommend a used Technika III. The Technika IV gets to be very expensive. Good luck!

-- Ron Lawrence (, December 01, 1999.

I have a Busch Pressman model D. All metal body, compact and fairly light when stripped of rangefinder, sportsfinder, etc. Very rugged and solidly built. Rotating back, drop bed, tilt pivot at bottom, shift, rise. Works very well as field camera. Smaller than graphics and in my opinion, better. I see quite a few on Ebay.

-- John Laragh (, December 05, 1999.

If you can find one, the older Toyo Field Camera would be an excellent choice. This camera is a 5X7 but most (I think) were factory configured to be 4X5's, as is mine. There is a article about this camera in the 5X7 section of this site. The camera has no back movements except tilt. It has no front shift, but it does have a front swing, rise and fall, and tilt. It has a rotaing back and takes the old Graflex lensboards.

I would say that any lens that takes less than a #3 shutter should fit and I use it with 65, 90, 150, 210 and 300 mm lenses. I can use the 65 (the old 65 f8 SA) without a recessed lens board, although I do drop the bed to keep it from being in the shot. And I have enough bellows to focus the 300 (the small Nikkor 300 f9 M) to about two meters.

One correction I'd like to make to the on site review of the Toyo is that the bellows is more like 16 inches than 14.

It's a simple, tough, and well made camera and each day that I own it I realize what a happy chance it was that I got this instead of something else.

-- David Grandy (, December 05, 1999.

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