Best lens for a Crown Graphic

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by ernest_montoya, Mar 12, 2013.

  1. I just rolled out my Crown Graphic that I haven't used in years. Of the photos taken with it none were very sharp. I m looking to upgrade to a better lens. Right now I have a Kodak Ektar 127mm f.4.7 lens. I enjoy shooting landscapes the most. I am looking for a lens that isn't too expensive or more sophisticated than the camera it will be on. Would appreciate any suggestions. Thanks. The cheapest option would be a new pair of glasses.
  2. How did you shoot the 127 Ektar (rangefinder / ground glass / etc.), and can you define "not very sharp"? Unless there is something wrong with your particular lens, the 127 Ektar is a very fine, Tessar-type lens. That is, in the range of f8-f16, you should have great sharpness. The downside of this lens is that it barely covers 4x5 at infinity, but then the CG doesn't have much in terms of movements anyway...
  3. If it ain't sharp w/ an Ektar, it won't be sharp w/ any other lens. Ektars are famously sharp, even the old uncoated ones, so you either have one w/ problems or there's something off w/ the camera's focus/rangefinder/GG/front standard, etc.
  4. camera shake is another common occurrence when shooting hand held.
    Tripod shoot the lens, loupe focusing on the gg a scene with a lot of fine detail and examine the negative with a loupe.
    I can fix most problems found on this camera / lens / shutter at a reasonable cost.
  5. Check the rigidity of the front standard and the alignment of your back.
    Aside from that, try a Schneider Symmar-S in 150mm or 210mm. The old convertible ones are cheap.
  6. I m looking to upgrade to a better lens.... I enjoy shooting landscapes the most. I am looking for a lens that isn't too expensive ....
    As others have said, your existing lens may not be your problem--but it may be, especially if, e.g., during those years you haven't used it fungus has grown on the elements. If you decide to replace (or supplement) the old Ektar, and can live with ground-glass focusing, go over to and check out their "bargain" and "excellent" grade offerings in more modern lenses. The Fuji and even Nikon (Nikkor) lenses seem to be somewhat cheaper than the comparable Rodenstock and Schneider models. Maybe look at the 90mm, 120mm, and 135mm lenses. (Will a Crown Graphic accommodate a 90mm happily?)
  7. Crowns will infinity focus 65mm lens and longer, shorter depends on the lens back focus, some may work.
  8. A 150mm Schneider would be a good choice. Rodenstocks may be as well, but I am less versed on their line of lenses.
    The 150 Nikkor would be my second choice.
  9. Thanks everyone for your fine comments. I can always benefit from your advice.
  10. if you like the FL you currently have, you might look for a 127 tominon ... in a press shutter
    sometimes they sell for cheaps ( mind was sold to me on my speed G )
    i guess some have trouble covering a 4x5 sheet of film, but from my experience it will cover your negative without a problem.
    good luck !
  11. Well I had a Crown with a 127mm ektar and I thought it was pretty ordinary, particularly for landscapes where the corners have to be sharp, which mine was not at any aperture.
    I replaced mine with a fujinon 125mm, the one with the smaller filter size, which covers nearly 200mm, allows for front rise and was sharp all over at any aperture and very flare free, completely transformed the camera, and it folds up with the lens on
  12. I guess I should have asked if you were using any movements when you shot the Ektar. That particular lens barely covers 4x5, and won't do well if you use any significant movements. If you want a better lens, and that Ektar you have is a good one if you use a hood and yellow filter for B&W, then I would suggest another Ektar, the 203. I had one on my Crown, and went shooting one day w/ a photographer that had a very expensive Sinar camera w/ Nikkor lens. We shot slide film, and when we got the transparencies back from the lab he couldn't tell his shots from mine. For what it's worth, I was able to focus a lot better w/ a reflex viewer on my Crown.
  13. The 127 Kodak Ektar was not intended to be used on 4x5, it was originally designed for the 3x4 Graphlex cameras, press photographers wanting something a little wider than their 150 or 135s started using the 127 and didn't care about the corners as they were just concerned with what was in focus in the center, their subject.
  14. Without drawing any comparison to other suggestions here, it is worth noting that Kodak also made a 152mm f/4.7 Ektar with coverage of 182 and a 135mm f/6.3 Wide Field Ektar with coverage of 229. Examination of your lens with a low power magnifier should reveal scratches or fungus. This lens would have been hard coated and is safe to clean with lens tissue and lens cleaner.

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