Coverage / image circle needed for Graflex Crown Graphic 4x5

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by arijaaksi, Feb 15, 2019.

  1. I've been searching the Internets with no success. Can anybody, please, help me with this: How much coverage/ image circle do I need for a lens with Graflex Crown Graphic so that I can use all the movements the camera provides? The only info I can find (and can also demonstrate) is that e.g. f4.7 Xenar 135mm allows no movement and --say-- f4.7 Optar 135mm allows "some movement". I also know, that 4x5 without movements needs 6.5 inches (165mm) to barely cover 4x5 with no movements. But, how many inches / mm do I need to cover the 4x5 of my Graflex AND handle the movements the camera provides? 200? 250? I could the use e.g. this to find a suitable lens.
  2. Dustin McAmera

    Dustin McAmera Yorkshire

    I think the 4x5 Pacemaker Crown Graphic has an inch (25.4 mm) of front rise and three-quarters of an inch (19.05 mm) sideways shift. Pythagoras says if you move the lens all the way up and sideways, it's 31.75 mm off axis. So I think if you add that to the radius (or twice that to the diameter) of your image circle, you've covered the linear movements available. So your 200 mm is about right. I'm not going to try and get my head round tilt; there isn't much of that anyway.
  3. Thanks!!! But it actually is the tilt I'm after. :)
  4. Depending on how much tilt you are using, I would recommend a Plasmat design such as the Symmar. A 135 may work, but you would be better off with a 150 or even a 180 lens for maximum tilt. The original Symmars are inexpensive, and the newer Symmar-S are a little more expensive. Rodenstock, Fuji and Nikon all used to make similar lenses. Check on Ebay for examples, there are some very good sellers from Japan with reasonable prices. For example I just bought a 80 degree 250 Fuji f/6.7 for about $135 including shipping, it will cover 8x10, it is in a Seiko shutter that may need cleaning as the slow speeds are off a bit.
  5. Tilt? Crown Graphic? Wash your mind out with soap. The only usable movement on Pacemaker Graphics (Crown, Speed, 2x3 Century) is front rise. Before you blow up at me, be aware that I have several Pacemaker Graphics. Yes, combining rear tilt with dropping the bed will get forward tilt. It is usable only for a narrow range of focal lengths and focused distances. Shift on these cameras is a sick joke.

    The smallest image circle that will cover 4x5 is approximately 150 mm, considerably less than the 165 mm you calculated. Somewhat more is preferable to get better image quality in the corners when shooting with the lens centered. The gate is actually 90mm x 120 mm.

    Now, about using the rise. My little Graphics are all 2x3ers. They have 19mm front rise. Measure your 4x5er's front rise in mm. By Pythagoras' theorem, the diameter of a circle that will cover the gate with full rise is 2* sqrt(3600 + (95 + rise)^2).
  6. The Schneider XL series of lenses are designed to provide a larger image circle to achieve a larger range of movements. These are extremely expensive but with the downturn in large format photography they can be much more affordable on the used market. They go from superwide to normal focal lengths.
  7. I shot various versions of 4x5 Graphic cameras for some years. I'd agree that the movements on them are more vestigial than functional.

    Of course, my favorite Graphic was the combat model enclosed in a wooden case.

    There is a number of 4x5 and other view cameras on eBay for a cheap as $100 most around &200-300 and up. If I were going back to larger format, that's where I would go and get the full flexibility of the format.

    The Combat Graphic in a newstory​
  8. AJG


    I agree--if you're going to bother with the expense and hassle of 4x5 you might as well have a full choice of movements that you get with a view camera rather than the compromise that a Speed Graphic represents. The Graphic is lighter and can be used with a lighter tripod or even handheld under the right circumstances but I can't see the point of 4x5 today without the direct back movements that you get with a monorail design.
  9. I've never used a monorail, but tend instead toward wood frame field cameras(although I do have a Speed Graphic and have taken some images I love with it).

    Field cameras generally don't offer the full range of rear movements as a monorail, but do generally at least offer some front rise and fall, and often a bit of rear shift. The front standard will generally give you quite a good range of rise, shift, swing and tilt.

    There again, it's all about compromise, and I'm happy to give up the full range of rear movements in exchange for a camera that folds up into a reasonably compact and lightweight package.

    If I did more than just the occasional studio work on 4x5, I'd absolutely have a monorail as I agree that there's no reason to NOT have one these days if portability isn't a concern.

    It's all in application, though. My most used field camera is not much larger than my Pacemaker Speed(when both are folded up), and probably weighs about the same(if not a bit less). It works for me, but then I want to use my field cameras in the field.

    I know folks love their Technikas, but I have a hard time stomaching the weight+size of a technical camera these days-there again I'd rather carry a field camera into the field, and use a monorail in the studio. The price that Technikas and other technical cameras still bring, though, even compared to high end monorails like Sinars, would indicate that I'm in the minority with this opinion though.
  10. The TechniKardan 45 and 45s are folding monorails with back and front movements!
  11. AJG


    The movements that I have used the most with 4x5 are back movements, specifically back tilt for close up landscape work. When I first went shopping for a 4x5 in the early 1980's, field cameras that had much in the way of movements like the TechniKardan Bob Salomon cited above were way out of my price range or hadn't appeared on the market yet. I started out with a Toyo 45F which I still have, a pretty solid, 9 lb. monorail and designed and made a cloth case for it that made it reasonably portable. I later moved to a Toyo 45G that weighs 12 lbs. but also has more rack and pinion controls and is absolutely solid when things are locked up. At one point I had a project that required 4x5 transparencies of small jewelry (rings, bracelets, etc.) so I had a 30 inch bellows made and bought some more monorail. It was difficult, requiring multiple strobe pops so as to be able to shoot at the equivalent of f/256 due to magnification/DOF requirements, but the Toyo worked very well.
    As you probably know there are adapter boards so that you could easily take lenses on field camera boards and mount them on a monorail. If I shot a lot of 4x5 these days a Sinar P2 would be very tempting at today's used price levels.
  12. Front movements, back movements - same thing.
    Swivelling the whole camera on a tripod head can orientate the camera back exactly the same as any back movement you can imagine. All you then need to do is arrange the lensboard vertically to achieve the same geometry.

    Back movements make the job a little quicker and easier in some cases, but there's nothing inherently different between changing the angle and centring of the lens-axis-to-film-plane by using either front or back movements.

    What does make a difference is the placement of the tilt/swing axes. Centred on the lens or film plane, or offset. Sometimes axial is better, sometimes not. View and technical cameras rarely give you a choice of both, but better monorails often do give you a choice of tilt axis.
  13. Sorry, back tilts and swings will change the shape of the subject. Front tilts and swings do not change subject shape.
    Both front and rear tilts do Scheimflug for plane of sharpness control.
  14. AJG


    For the close up landscape work that I've done, the slight distortion from back tilt was exactly the effect that I wanted--it gives more apparent depth to the image along with the Scheimflug control of depth of field. The other benefit of back movements over front movements is using the center of the area covered by the lens, helping to insure the best possible sharpness and evenness of illumination. If you're using a lens with limited covering power this can be helpful.

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