Graflex 4" x 5" cameras as field cameras : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I currently own a rather heavy LF camera and am looking to purchase a more lightweight LF camera for field work. I understand some of the Graflex cameras take 4" x 5" film. Can anyone suggest a specific model suitable for field work (i.e. with front tilt)? Thanks.

-- Greg Virgona (, December 12, 1999


Check, December 12, 1999.

OK, something got messed up there. Let's try that again. Check, December 12, 1999.

I give up. Check Look at Super Graphics. I'm going into hiding. DJ

-- N Dhananjay (, December 12, 1999.

Try looking for a Crown graphic. Or alternativly get either an MPP micropress (apparently it takes graphic boards) or a microtechnical camera, go for a Mk7 or Mk8 to have the international back. For more details go to

-- David Kirk (, December 12, 1999.

I believe the Super Graphic is the only model with front tilt - I think 15 degrees plus another 15 with the bed dropped. The site should have more on this. The other models like the Crown can get front tilt by combining back tilt and bed drop, but I would guess it's less than the Super. The Super also has 25 Degree swing (as I recall) and a rotating a graflock back. As such it gets a little higher price than the other models - probably $300-450 on ebay. Mine weights in at 5.75 lbs. with lens and seems to be build like a tank. I've been happy with mine but am an amateur without much to compare it to. If I were doing it over again I would at least consider an ultralight monorail.

-- Roger Rouch (, December 12, 1999.

"The other models like the Crown can get front tilt by combining back tilt and bed drop"

It has been decades since I used one but I don't remember tilts on the camera's back.

-- Bob Salomon (, December 12, 1999.

Sorry if I mistated that. I meant to say that by dropping the bed and tilting the lens standard back to the degree you want the standard tilted forward, but not all the way, you can effectively have the lens tilt forward. Hope that makes sense.

-- Roger Rouch (, December 12, 1999.

The problem with getting front tilt this way is that you can only use longer lenses. I think even a 135 is too short, because when you drop the bed the whole assembly moves forward. It makes much more sense to reverse the front standard so you get easy front tilt. It is not difficult to make this modification - all you need is jeweler's screwdriver. I could never understand why those cameras came with upward tilt.

-- Erik Ryberg (, December 12, 1999.

Greg I can really recommend an MPP, I've got the Mark 8 body type c and it is wonderfull to use. I had a Speed Graphic years ago and it to was a good camera. Whatever you choose, get the best camera and enlarger lens you can afford.

-- Steve Nicholls (GL1500@CHARIOT.NET.AU), December 13, 1999.

Some of the MPP models also have rear tilt and swing, which can be useful. However, these cameras were designed as hand-held units, rather than tripod-based with movements. When I'm using a tripod, I prefer a lightweight monorail: there's no awkward folding/unfolding to do, and movements are very easy.

-- Alan Gibson (, December 13, 1999.

The Crown Graphics are good cameras but they don't have many movements. As Roger said above, you can get some tilt by dropping the bed, raising the lens board back to center, then adjusting the tilt as needed. A wood field camera might work better if you really need all the movements, and a very light monorail like the Calumet Cadet would also work. Actually, the Calumet could be bought new for just a little more than the Graphic.

-- Bill Moore (, December 13, 1999.

As I posted earlier,I have a MPP Mk 8 body type c and it has very good forward and rear tilt of the lens, significant front rise, left and right lateral movement and I think the front standard can be turned off axis. The rear of the camera is very similar to the Linhof with 4 posts for a variety of rear movements. The back is fully revolving with tripod mounting on two face of the body. I find it to be a pleasure to use because of the metal fold out focussing hood. As for folding and unfolding, the camera with 150 Symmar attached folds in about 5 seconds flat. I borrowed a friend's monorail and found it very awkward for field work.

-- Steve Nicholls (GL1500@CHARIOT.NET.AU), December 14, 1999.

Additional point about using the MPP. If you use the studio users' trick of mounting it so that it is upside down, you can maximise the movements at the front. Though a point to note, if you want to use a polariod back with a Mk7, if you use the 545 you may need to file or grind a bit off the wings at the back, or you could just remove the ground glass.

-- David Kirk (, December 14, 1999.

You might also look around for a Meidian (mod.B). It has front shift, rise and tilt like the Graflex. Is built out of Alum. and has a rotating back like the late mod. graflex. Additional lensboards can be made from 3/32" Plywood (4"x4", same size as old Calumet Mod.400). In addition, the back is mounted on four pins that extend out about 1"-11/2" to give you rear swing and tilt. With the back extended you have about a max. of 14" of bellows draw. Only problem is it has a spring back that only accepts sheet film holders.

-- Beau Schwarz (, December 16, 1999.

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