First 4x5 Camera - Crown Graphic or Tachihara : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I have been doing *alot* of rading lately on 4x5 cameras, but do not have access to see any in person, unfortunately.

I need a 4x5 camera for landscapes. I notice that I do many photos with my 35mm setup on the shorter end of the focal length range. I use my 24mm lens quite often. Rarely do I need the longer lenses, but if I do, I will just pull out my 35mm gear.

That brings up my question, either a 65mm or 75mm 4x5 lens will work for me, but which camera is the easiest to use at these focal lengths? I am also interested in the rigidity, due to wind outdoors.

I will consider any camera that breaks the $1000, as long as I can use the wider lenses. Would a Tech IV work well?

Thanks in advance.

-- Andy Biggs (, April 04, 2001


The Linhof is my preference (have a Tech III, use a V at work) but barring that, I would say the Tachihara. You will be limited with the Crown... my opinion. Cheers

-- Scott Walton (, April 04, 2001.

I have a Super Technika IV, a Crown Graphic, and a Nagaoka(just like the Tachihara, but a little lighter). The Technika is the kind of camera I'd take on an expedition to the Gobi Desert, but otherwise IMHO it's too heavy and cumberson to consider. The Crown is incredibly underated, and can easily be used hand-held. It's only real disadvantage is that lens momements are very limited and inconvenient; if you use them much then the Crown isn't for you, if you don't it's probably by far the best choice. The Tachihara can be used only on a tripod, but it is certainly the most versatile of the three. All can handle 75mm WA lenses. I do mostly landscapes, and the Crown is my personal choice in 4x5.

-- Bill (, April 04, 2001.

I wouldn't recommend the Tech IV if you are a wide-angle fan. As explaned in my Tech IV article, even using a 90 can involve some gymnastics. Although the aspect ratio is different, 75/4x5 will be closer to 24/35mm, and probably easier to use as well.

-- Q.-Tuan Luong (, April 04, 2001.

That begs the question: Can a Speed/Super/Crown Graphic handle 75mm lenses? If so, will I need a recessed lens board or bag bellows?

-- Andy Biggs (, April 04, 2001.

The Crown and Super will, the Speed probably not.

-- lsmft (, April 04, 2001.

I'd say if your're happy with 24mm on 35mm then use a 90 or 100mm on 4 x 5. I multiplied by four for length, since the narrow 4 x 5 dimension is about four times the 24mm narrow of the 35mm film. The Crown bed drops down, and I've used 65mm Rodenstock Grandagon with it. But it has to ride on the rear rail, which is not as robust as the front rail. No problem here with 90mm. Also, the 65mm no longer has the luxury of tilt, since this works with drop bed/ front rail only. You could only tilt the lens upward, which is of course, useless.

-- Jim Bausch (, April 04, 2001.


As a huge fan of the Crown Graphic, I have to say that when you get wider than 90 mm you begin to run into problems. You can go down to 65 mm but you lose rise because the standard is inside the body and cannot go up. On the other hand, how many 65 mm lenses give you much rise anyway?

You still have front tilt at all focal lengths.

-- Erik Ryberg (, April 04, 2001.

Andy, I've been shooting landsscapes with a Calumet Wood Field and a Caltar 150mm for about 8 years and I am very pleased with it. The camera is actually a Tachihara and the lens a Rodenstock. I got them both new for around $900 and thought that it was a good price entering LF. I've thought about a 90mm lens but haven't bought one yet. Reading other opinions there is a 110mm lens out there that everyone rave about. I believe it is a Symmar (spelling?) XL. Wish I had known about it before I had purchased the 150. I think you would be happy with the Tachihara. By the way the Adorama 4x5 is a Tachihara and there are some dealers that put their name on the Tachihara as well. Good luck & happy shooting. Pat.

-- Pat Kearns (, April 04, 2001.

Andy, I started into LF with a super graphic and traded up to a Tachihara. It is much easier to use movements with the Tachihara and it is lighter as well. Although the graphic is ok, I have aboslutely no regrets about the trade-up. Should you want to use a roll fim back, the Tachihara is more limited in the options available. With the super, a 90mm lens seemed to be getting close to its limits. I think that you have to have a pretty stiff breeze before this will make any difference. I also have found a shift in my lens preferences with 4X5 compared to 35mm. While this is a choice of personal preference, you may want to proceed slowly with you lens purchases til you find what you like.

-- Roger Rouch (, April 04, 2001.

Maybe this question is a little of a tangent, but how do you focus on a Crown when the bed is dropped? The rack-and-pinion focussing won't operate (much - and even then, you're straining it.) so it appears that you have to focus by unlocking the gross adjustment lock and sliding it by hand on the short rail. Of course, depth-of-field will be greater for the shorter lens, but thsi still seems an unsatisfactory way to focus. Am I missing something?

-- John H. Henderson (, April 05, 2001.

The Speed Graphic is limited to about a 75mm minimum because of the extra thickness of the focal plane shutter mechanism. The Crown, with no FP shutter, can use a shorter FL lens.

-- Ron Shaw (, April 05, 2001.

Regarding focusing the Graphic with dropped bed, if the lens is so wide you need to drop the bed, then the front standard should be riding on back portion of the rails which are behind the hinge and are not dropped.

The degree of movement required for focusing with a lens that wide is extremely small, and the rails will handle it, even with the bed dropped.

I've found you only need to drop the bed with lenses wider than 90 mm.

-- Erik Ryberg (, April 05, 2001.

I have owned all three of the cameras you mention. I find the Tachihara to be very easy for very wide lenses, the rear standard comes forward so there is no bed interference. I sold the Crown and also my Linhoff Tech V. I now have a Canham DLC45 and the Tachihara. I find the Tachihara easier to use with the wide (I have a 65 Super Angulon) than any of the other camera bodies I have used. They can all be used, with the compressed bellows, movements are restricted, but with the wides I use, so is the circle of illumination, so it is an acceptable tradeoff. If hand holding is a needed feature, as another poster mentioned, then just get an attachable grip. There are many on the market. Some may have to be modified, but that is easy. The Tech V was the reason I bought the Tachihara. The cost of a wide angle adapter was about the same as buying the Tachihara. Never regretted the purchase. I do not like to push brands since most of the cameras will do an equivalent job, but in the price range, the Tachihara seems like a good option to chose.the wind effect is monimized with the compression of the bellows. I found that the Linhoff was the most rigid of the cameras I used, but I chose not to shoot LF in heavy wind anyway.

-- Steve bein (, April 05, 2001.

Andy I just got started in large format and I own a Nagaoka (similer to Tachihara) I recomend going this way. I think you'll find the extra movements allowed by the Thachihara will be usefull and maybe crucial down the road. I too shot landscapes and such with my 24mm or 28mm lens with my 35mm camera. I have found though that with LF even a 150mm lens seems to wide at times. I would suggest you try a more normal length lens first (try renting one) befor you buy. As far as pulling out your 35mm. I have become so enthralled with the 4x5 format that my 35mm gets very little use anymore. I think you'll soon feel the same. Rob

-- Rob Haury (, April 06, 2001.

I would go with a Crown with a side Kalart rangerfinder, I think you can do most anything you want with this except alot of movements. It's used like a F5 or EOS1-V with a big negative. You can hand hold it and shoot away. There's a lot of older lenses out there that can be used on it. If it breaks, you can fix it or a older repairman will gladly do it. For $1000 you can get a nice older system, plus if you start using bulbs for flash, you'll be surprised at how much light they put out. I really think the Crowns and Speeds are really underrated, besides over 50 years ago, they were the cameras to get and they got the pictures to prove it.

John Miller

-- John Miller (, April 07, 2001.

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