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Getting into large format - Purchasing help

 
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Borgatt



Joined: 12 Nov 2010
Posts: 1
Location: London, Ontario

PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 5:22 pm    Post subject: Getting into large format - Purchasing help Reply with quote

I am interested in getting onto large format photography, and understand that Graflex cameras are a good starting point.

My local shop has two 4x5 press cameras available. One is a graflex crown and the other is a busch pressman.

The Graflex has been modified for passport photography. Apparently that can be removed, but it also has a large crack on the ground glass.

The bush is is better shape overall, but is missing the hood for the ground glass. Also the shutter apparently is a little finnicky, though I havent had a lot of time to play with it to find out how.

Each camera is priced at CAN$199.99

I would prefer the graflex, as I like the idea of being able to get an adapter for 120 film to practice without having to modify the camera.

Looking on ebay I see a wide range of pricing for both models, and several kits that have some value added items.

My question is are either of these cameras worth what they are priced at? If I was to try and negotiate, what would a reasonable price be for a graflex crown graphic 4x5 with crack in the ground glass?
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Billy Canuck



Joined: 04 Apr 2006
Posts: 152
Location: Calgary AB Canada

PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Mike,
I don't know the Busch Pressman, but $200 for the Crown with cracked groundglass and passport modification is way too high. You'd have to replace the camera back, which may be hard to find and relatively expensive. Does the camera come with a lens?
My advice is to look in the buy/sell ads in the various photo forums, like this ad listed in APUG (Analog Photography Users Group). This poster wants to trade his Crown, but might consider a cash offer. Here's the link:
http://www.apug.org/forums/forum380/79020-trade-crown-graphic-speed-graphic-other-4x5-camera.html
I found that with just a few minutes looking. Other places to look are the large-format forum, link:
http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=27
Another, the Nelson Photoforum, link:
http://nelsonfoto.com/SMF/index.php?board=11.0
Something else to keep in mind -- if you want to attach a rollfilm holder you need a Graphic with a Graflok back.
I was able to find a 4x5 Speed Graphic at the Nelson site, complete with Ektar lens and in good working condition for $125 plus shipping.
The photo forums are the best place to look. The people who sell know about cameras and are open to questions. The famous auction site is always iffy.
Hope this helps. Good luck!
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3219
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Busch Pressman is a nice camera BUT the lens boards are smaller, harder to make and harder to change than the Pacemaker Graphics.

$200 is about right for a retail store and if you want to support local camera stores that's fine. A replacement ground glass will be around $25 US + shipping off ebay. How has the Crown been modified? Has the back been changed out or is there a easy to remove piece added? Does the camera have a Spring back or a Graflok back? A replacement graflok back will run around $150 US off ebay and they are rare.

There should be a lens in operating shutter for the asking price also.

In addition to the links Billy provided look at the Related Web Sites link on the Home Page. The ACE Camera link will get you used camera dealers web sites links for the US and Canada broken up by region or state and the Commercial sites selling Graflex equipment is useful also.

Look around, don't leap.
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Henry



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 1442
Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania

PostPosted: Sat Nov 13, 2010 1:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Keep your eye on the 'bay for 4x5 Crowns. They come up often. Make sure they have the Graflok back and are complete in other respects (e.g., Kalart rangefinder, folding focusing hood with intact ground glass, functional lens in shutter [I would prefer the 135 mm Optar, or 152 Optar which is uncommon, in Graphex shutter]). Don't overpay, especially for a camera that is incomplete/needs work. I would settle for nothing less than a very clean example with all of the above. Take your time and the right camera *will* appear!
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