Posts tagged ‘Crown Graphic’

Nikon Back

I love doing new things that require a bit of planning. As previous posts show, I have started up photography again and been a bit successful with it. I recently had a photo chosen by the Torontoist to display on their site. If you want to see the photo go here.

Anyhow, that bit of news is not what I want to write about here. In browsing Flickr I discovered a Flickr friend had produced an image using a Canon 5DmkII mounted on a Widepan sliding back attached to a Linhof 4×5″ Technika V camera with a Wollensak 11.5″ lens (see the image here) . I loved the color the lens produced and I also was attracted to the challenge of doing the same thing using my Crown Graphic. I decided I would try to attach my Nikon D80 to the camera. The fun was in the planning.

I needed a mount for the camera and Stan, at International Camera (now closed) gave me an old Nikon lens that had the mount I needed. I took the lens apart and voila, I had the adaptor. My next problem was to decide how to mount the adaptor to the Crown Graphic. I let the problem sit for a few weeks and one morning woke up with the solution. I would go to the art store and pick up a foam board that I could cut to proper dimensions and mount the adaptor on. While looking at the foam boards I saw a 5×7 canvas that artists use to paint on. It was perfect, two glued together would be just the right thickness for the Graflox back on my Crown. I bought some flat black paint and three boards and the total came to $11.

I measured the film holders and applied the measurements to the canvas, cut the canvas, found the centre location for the adaptor and cut the required hole for it. Everything worked like a charm. Actually, I was going to mount the adaptor with the lens barrel but decided to use an extension tube as a spacer for the camera and mount the adaptor fluch on the back. Here is the pre paint (I need to paint the Nikon back black) results……………

Initially I mounted the camera using a 36mm extension tube for a spacer but I couldn’t focus the camera to infinity. I stopped down the lens to f32 and this photo resulted……….

This was my very first picture using the Nikon on my Crown Graphic. Although totally out of focus I was really happy about it.

I exchanged the 36mm tube with a 20 mm one and these are the shots I took with it……….

All the above shots were with the focus on infinity so I had to test a macro shot using the same setup.

Since the Graflex uses bellows there was no reason why I couldn’t get as close as I wanted to my subject. Anyhow, the results of a closeup………………….

The lens on my Crown Graphic is Schneider Kreuznach Xenar 135 mm, a “normal” lens for 4×5. I don’t know what the focal length is when my Nikon is mounted on it but I suspect it must be around 500 or 600 mm. It was a fun project and now I need to find another one. Hmmm, maybe build a camera using an old Minolta zoom lens as a start.

May 10, 2010 at 8:25 pm 1 comment

Learning Curve

Sitting in Manic , Alex is marking and I am reviewing the photo session I just had with my Crown Graphic 4×5. It was quite the eye opener when I shot an “easy” setup using the roll film back. All I wanted to do was test the camera and film back. I got out the manual, loaded the film into the back then went and took one shot. I put the camera away and went to do something else. I guess I was going over the process in my mind because all of a sudden it dawned on me that the way I loaded the film couldn’t be right. I went and pulled the dark slide back on the film holder and sure enough, the yellow paper backing was facing the lens. I checked in the manual again and there, in black and white was a little 6 word phrase I totally missed, “with the black side facing outward”. The Minolta Autocord has the yellow paper on the outside but I can guarantee I’ll never make that mistake again. Anyway, the whole roll was scrapped because I couldn’t figure out how to save it. The next roll I loaded was a roll of black and white film. This time I reread the manual AS I was loading the film. Once it was all in and closed up I picked up the camera, put it on a tripod and headed out to the balcony. I wanted to test the shutter and apertures and make sure the camera and film holder were completely light tight. I also wanted to check the range finder to see if it was properly synced with the focus. The first shot was the range finder check…………..

As you can see it passed. The light tight test also passed as there was no flaring in the image at all. I selected my next scene and proceeded to shoot again. When I went to wind the film to the next frame I couldn’t remember if I had removed the dark slide for the last shot. That happened a few times so I just removed it completely. I took pictures of the same scene and varied shutter and f stops to check for consistency.

The frames are all pretty well consistent. I would shoot and then I would wonder if I had advanced the film. I had eliminated the dark slide confusion and had discovered the advance film problem. On this camera, using the 120 film back, the shutter and film advance are two separate functions. Once I had the film developed, I found one blank frame where I had left the slide in and three double exposures where I had forgotten to advance the film.  This made me realize I would have to come up with a procedure and make sure I follow it every time I use the film back. So, the process will be; 1 ) load film into holder making sure you do not advance to first frame, 2 ) Place film back on camera, 3 ) If frame counter is greater then one, skip to 4 otherwise advance film to frame number one  , 4) Remove dark slide,  5 ) Compose scene and focus camera, 6 ) Determine exposure settings and set aperture and shutter speed, 7) Take photo, 8 ) Wind film to next frame, 9 ) If finished, replace dark slide and remove camera back otherwise return to step 5.

Here’s my Crown…………………..

You really have to slow down with this camera. Just wait until I start shooting with the 4×5 negatives…….I’ll tell you all about it when it happens

February 11, 2010 at 3:48 pm 1 comment


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