I just purchased a new TOY!!!!!

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by havoc, Apr 4, 2004.

  1. havoc

    havoc Jedi something or other

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    I just got my hands on a nice Crown Graphic 4x5 camera. It comes with a nice case, the press flash with 5 bulbs, and 5 Film holders. I am completely new to LF and would love any advice i can get. I have been the the LF site that is sited elswhere on the forum and it has helped. But real life experiences would be ultimatly more valuable i think.

    A question on the flash for Matt or whoever could prolly answer it. Do the bulbss only last for one shot? I will prolly never use it but i am curious.

    The cam also comes with the standard Ektar 127mm or 137mm can't remember which.

    I am told there is few forward movements on this cam, but i was wnting if you can do a forward tilt at all? I know it will do a forward rise, but i am sure that a forward drop will be more useful in my photography. If not its cool, i guess i can drill a tripod hole in the top and flip the camera on its top for the right tilts.

    Anyways i am really excited to get into this type of photography, it should teach me alot...
     
  2. oriecat

    oriecat work in progress

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    You might be better with this in general photog. I don't know if Matt even reads this forum, I think I've seen him here like once.
     
  3. havoc

    havoc Jedi something or other

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    OK i guess can a moderater move this to general photography questions please?
     
  4. Chase

    Chase I am now benign! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Done!

    Photogoddess and I actually had a chance to use a 4x5 for the first time last night (neither of us had had a chance to use one before). It was a lot of fun, even if we both looked like a couple of noobs there for a few minutes! Thankfully, she had a polaroid back that we were able to learn with.

    Definitely a different sense of accomplishment when using that cam as opposed to firing away with my DSLR! If only the film was less expensive :)
     
  5. havoc

    havoc Jedi something or other

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    Yeah i hear that. I can't wait to get my hands on it though. I recently read an article about a photojournalist who took one on the democratic campain trail earlier this yr. He used only his Graphic 4x5 and got some amazing shots. Though all the other journalists were laughing at him for carrying around this beast and only snapping 4 shots to their 200. He got some shots that no DSLR or Medium format could do.

    Oh BTW, thanks for moving the thread Chase :)
     
  6. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Great camera. I have an Anniversary Graphic and a Super Graphic. The Crown is a model in between. I'm not sure exactly what movements the Crown has, I know it's more than the Anniversary (pretty much front rise and a drop bed is all) and less than the Super (pretty much all front movements). There are a couple of guys on this forum that have Crowns; P Bailey for one, I can't remember who else.

    Check out www.graflex.org for lots of info.

    Flash bulbs are good for one use only. Even though I'm a crusty, old film geek, even I'm too young for flash bulbs. I have a big box of all different kinds, and I've never used a one. Your shutter probably has a PC post for modern electric flash units. If it has switch labeled "M" and "X" put it on "X" for electric flash and "M" for flash bulbs.

    Now that you're the proud owner of a Speed Graphic you must look up and check out the photography of Weegee.

    I can't remember if you've got your own darkroom, Havoc, or use a school darkroom? Anyway, one cool thing about LF is that you could make contact prints with the most minimal of darkrooms; no enlarger needed.

    You mentioned some equipment, here's the short list of stuff you really need to shoot this camera:

    tripod: it's got to be sturdy, this is a very heavy camera compared to a 35mm SLR

    standard cable release

    lens hood

    film holders

    darkroom or film changing bag: to load/unload film, a light tight plastic bag from a box of paper or film comes in handy for storing exposed film until you are ready to develop

    light meter: you could use a camera with a built in light meter

    dark cloth: anything that blocks most of the light that can be wrapped around the camera and your head. My buddy uses a thick shirt; he sticks his head through the collar backwards, and wraps the body of the shirt around the camera.

    notepad for exposure notes

    something to carry it all in; I use a backpack

    You sure don't need film to look through the camera, and get the hang of how it all looks and operates.
     
  7. Mitica100

    Mitica100 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Congrats on the 4x5! It's a good camera and you'll have lots of fun with it. Matt covered every angle about what you need so I won't be redundant here.

    One thing to learn though, is all the lens movements, rise, shift and tilt. Learn what they can do for you and how to use them. I use tilt for correcting perspective when shooting taller buildings from ground level.

    The Ektar 127 is a good lens, should do you good! In time look for some Zeiss lenses, even if they're the older uncoated type. They're still ultra sharp and wonderful. Also, some Schneiders, perhaps a WA lens, although they're pricey.

    Good luck with all this!
     
  8. havoc

    havoc Jedi something or other

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    Great thanks, lots of great advice there. I am going to a fabric shop to get some cloth this week. I have a pretty shitty tripod, but its all i got at the moment. I will look into a longer shutter cable to help prevent me from accidentally shacking the camera with it. If the crown doesn't have a forward drop i guess i will just flip it on its top and use it that way. Making a small tripod hole on the top can't be too difficult to do. I will have to look into a lens hood, i forgot about that.

    Does anyone know about the maximum and minimum lens lengths i can use with it. I understand that i can't use really long or really wide lenses with it, but i wish i knew what my limitations were.

    i am very exicted about this camera. It should teach me alot about composition and hone my technical skills.
     
  9. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Min and max focal length have to do with how close and how far you can get teh front standard from the film plane. With my Super Graphic my Schneider 90mm seems pretty close, I can't imagine being able to get much wider. Maybe 75mm? I have a 265mm, but the rails are just too short; probably my max there is about 250mm. The Crown may not be the same as the Super, but probably pretty close.

    You can also build/buy modified lens boards that are recessed or give more extension. I need to build one that gives me just a little more extension for that 265mm lens.
     
  10. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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  11. havoc

    havoc Jedi something or other

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    Ah great info guys thanks alot.
    Oh BTW Matt, i love the quote from Ruth Bernhard, My photo teacher studied under her for awhile, (which i think is to say he took a few of her classes when she was holding seminars) Anyways he shows us alot of her work, its absolutley amazing. He had us write letters to her as a class for her birthday last yr. She is like 93 yrs old and still lives in San Francisco.

    He still stays in contact with her, from what he says she loves to read and answer questions from other photographers now that she is too old to go out and photograph herself. I watched a video about her where she was taking about how she is so sensitive to light that she could feel it on her skin, even if it was a cold light source.

    Anyways, i don't see her mentioned all that much as a famous photographer, even though i think her work is amazing, and i was suprised to see you have a quote from her.
     

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