Crown Graphic and Schneider : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Hello... First I would like to thank you all for all the answers and help in the past...This time I would like to have your opinion before writing the check.. :). I always like to have a 4x5 field camera (for landscape) and I'm getting tired of hauling my monorail when I go outdoor... after consulting the LF board and archives I went out and search for an used Linhof or Toyo..but phewww they are expensive... I always believe that a good photograph come from the mind, the eyes and the skills of the photographer... then come the lenses... and then camera body... So I came across this offer: a Crown Graphic in near mint condition with a 135mm lens (sorry forgot the brand) for a very reasonalbe price. The seller try to sell me as a package with a Schneider Super Angulon lens 65mm F8...since I don't know much about this two items, I would like to have a couple question..

1. How much this package worth (suggested price is $800.00) 2. Any feed back on the Crown Graphic? 3. The Schneider Super Angulon lens 65mm a good lens? 4. Do you think this package make sense...? I mean it's a GO or wait and searching more...?

Thanks you all for any comments....

-- dan n. (, January 21, 2002


If you check Ebay, Crown Graphics in good condition run between $200 and $350 with a Graphex Optar 135mm or Schneider Xenar 135mm. I have seen used F8 SA 65mm lenses listed anywhere from $375-$500 at various dealers, (Midwest, Lens and Repro etc) depending on condition and shutter. the price he is giving sounds a little bit high unless everything is excellent ++.

All that being said, A Grpahic is not a field camera in the true sense of the term. if you are used to using a lot of movements in the field with your monorail you may be dissapointed. There is very limited front tilt and rise and a drop bed, although I do not know if it is enough to prevent problems with 65mm. No rear movements, no revolving back.

I have a Speed Graphic which I bought used a few years ago and refurbished the rear shutter. I use 90mm and a 150mm lens and like to carry it around and use it as a "point and shoot" the way it was designed for. But I also use it on occasion for other work, especially in very bad weather. Like you, my other camera is a monorail, but I have adapted to carrying it in the field. These cameras are very rugged (and also heavy) but fun to use and a good tool in the right situations.

Hope these thoughts help.

-- james Chinn (, January 21, 2002.

Hi Dan,

My primary 4x5 camera is a crown graphic. I use the 8x10 more these days, but have used the crown quite a bit. I shot a 65 super angulon on it many times. It is very difficult to focus this lens, and a pain in the neck to use, but you can do it. The crown graphic will focus a 65 mm super angulon at infinity. You will get no movements, however, becuase the bellows will be all the way inside the camera, which prevents you from using any rise and, if I remember correctly, any tilt, either. However, this lens does not offer a big enough image circle for movements on 4x5 anyway, so that isn't such a big limitation.

There are a variety of 135 mm lenses out there and in my experience they are all good! The Schneider Xenar is commonly found on these cameras. This is an extremely sharp lens, but offers a very limited image circle. The 135 optars of various make have larger image circles and are also good performers. If the shutter is working well, I think you will probably be happy with any of the 135 lenses, at least at first.

As for the cost, it depends. I bet if you shopped around you could put that kit together for a little bit less. The 65 mm super angulon is what is really running the price up. But if you need a lens that wide, that is your least expensive option, and if this deal lets you inspect the gear and comes from a local person you trust, that is worth some money over the ebay roulette wheel. (I have had really great experiences on ebay, but generally I know exactly what I am buying).

A note on the crown graphic. Many of these cameras came with only upward tilt. I can't really figure out why. It is easy to take the standard off and reverse it so you get downward tilt. Not something you do every time, but something you do once, and leave it that way. They are solid, tough, useful cameras for most photography. They offer no shift or swing and no back movements, but my style anyway rarely uses these anyway -- I generally stick to rise and tilt, and the crown has plenty of tilt and just enough rise for most circumstances.

Good luck with your pictures, and be sure to check out

Erik Ryberg

-- Erik Ryberg (, January 21, 2002.

Check out a Super Speed Graphic, you get the full set of front movements,(forward and back tilts) and a revolveing back. It is all aluminum. Note beware of the 1/1000 shutter. They are highly collectable but the early ones have a reputation for blowing up. The electric shutter release requires special boards but you probably wouldn't use it anyway. They usually bring about $400 on Ebay

-- Neal Shields (, January 21, 2002.

The Crown does not have the foward tilt thatis so needed for landscape work, Only hte supergraphic has that, and the super has a revolving back too, The crown is a press camera and should come with the fedora and the "PRESS" label to put in the hat band. The 90mm is really the shortest practical length, and then you have to drop the bed and use the back tilt to get the lense board vertical and on center again. FOrget the 65mm, you will get the bed in the pic if you use any movement, for the same price you cna get an early linhoff III and get better movements and get into a system that can grow, then when you want the better body you just get the linhof master 2000 and you are up to date.

-- ED (, January 21, 2002.

I don't wear Ed's suggested headwear, but I do use a Crown a lot, with a 90 mm lens, and I have never had to drop the bed to use it. The Schneider 90 mm angulon was a very popular lens with this camera, and the press photographers weren't dropping the bed to use it.

-- Kevin Crisp (, January 21, 2002.


I have a crown graphic in front of me. Not only that, I also have one of those dial angle finders carpenters use. I am going to do an experiment with my camera and the dial gauge. First, I am going to measure the angle of the front standard and the ground glass with the front standard in the normal position. Then I am going to tilt the lens board forward, as one would do who wished to get the foreground in focus in a landscape photograph of distant mountains, and calculate the amount of forward tilt. My hypothesis is that this experiment will show that the crown graphic has some amount of forward tilt. Here goes.

RESULT: The front and rear standards are at 89 degrees. It appears my table must not be perfectly level.

Now I am going to tilt the front standard as far FORWARD, (i.e., pointing down) as far as it will go, without disturbing the angle of the camera itself.

RESULT: I get 71 degrees.

CONCLUSION: I conclude from my experiment that this camera has downward tilt of approximately 18 degrees.

I don't own a 65 mm super angulon anymore, but I do have many photographs I took with it focused at infinity on this camera. Hm, maybe I should conduct another experiment, and see if I can detect the bed of my camera in those pictures.

-- Erik Ryberg (, January 21, 2002.

I think Ed is getting his models mixed up. Using a Super Graphic you have a harder time using superwide lenses than on the Crown. The Crown body is shallower. Ed when you said "The 90mm is really the shortest practical length, and then you have to drop the bed and use the back tilt to get the lense board vertical and on center again." there is no back movement on the Crown. I've never used a 65 on my Crown but about all that you can do is drop the bed. The front standard will be on the rails in the body with a 65, and if you remove the wire frame finder it will give a little rise though the lens won't allow much if any. The other possibility is to remove the front bed if you are only going to use a 65mm lens. It won't be in the way then! Go look at . Pretty much all you'll ever need to know about these cameras is at that site

-- Henry Ambrose (, January 21, 2002.

Go look at:

Sorry I left it out the first time.

-- Henry Ambrose (, January 21, 2002.

In discussions of this type where the merits Pacemaker Graphics (both Crowns and Speeds)as field cameras are considered, the comment is frequently offered that the Graphics lack sufficient movements (type and extent of movement) to be serious contenders.

I call attention to the examples published in Steve Simmon's book "Using the View Camera". At least 80% of the Simmon's examples photographed using a field camera of any make employed camera movements well within the capability of the Pacemaker Graphics or used no movement at all.

-- Ed Balko (, January 22, 2002.

Just to throw another twist in the thread, both the Busch Pressman and the Burke & James Press have front tilt in both directions, revolving backs, are armor plated, and usually cost half as much as the Super Graphic (plus the Busch is much more compact).

-- Chauncey Walden (, January 22, 2002.


In answer to the tilt up only on a Crown: For down tilt mount the camera on its' side tripod hole and turn the tripod head on its' side. Voila! down tilt! BTW the camera is up-side-down. (The image, however, is still up-side-down). DARN!

Yes, I REALLY DO HAVE a fedora with a press card in the band. With the hat, a photo vest, the Crown with a frying pan flash and a cigar, I'm ready for anything. Now where's the smoke filled boxing ring? Or at least the pool playing dogs.


-- Steve Feldman (, January 22, 2002.

Hi Dan, Just thought I'd jump on the Crown Graphic bandwagon also. I have many LF camera's in an array of formats. Just to give you a little incentive of the neat little things you can do with this camera, here is what I did. I removed the top mounted Graflex range finder and mounted a two way bubble level on the top left of the frame. Also removed the shutters built-in cable release, and rear mounted sport finder peep hole. Now simular to what Ed mentioned above, I removed the front standard bracket only and slid it off it's tracks and reversed it and reconnected it to the front standard. You now have foward "slightly" off axis tilt. You do not need all that much tilt in the field anyway. On a Crown Graphic you have front shift by depressing the little silver tab at the center bottom base of the front standard. It will end up facing to the rear when you reverse your front standard brackets. You now have a stripped down, light weight 4x5 field camera. I use a two lens combo, a Schneider 121 Super Angulon and a Rodenstock 210 Sironar-N. The rear element of the 121 SA just barely fits through the front standard opening. I do not have to drop the bed when using the 121SA. Price wise Dan, I paid about 400.00 when I purchased my Crown, but it came as a complete kit. Came with 127 lens , 7 4x5 film holders, old light meter and case. Hope this helps.

-- Dan Kowalsky (, January 22, 2002.

Correction... I met to say " As Erik mentioned above", not Ed.

-- Dan Kowalsky (, January 22, 2002.

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