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Tips for working hand-held (Crown)
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MonkeyBrain



Joined: 05 Nov 2011
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 10:44 pm    Post subject: Tips for working hand-held (Crown) Reply with quote

Hi all, I'm finally getting my Crown Graphic system up and running, with the intention of working hand-held and fast (or, at least, as fast as possible for 4x5).

First issue I've come across is that I'm used to working with a medium format camera which allows me to both take all the weight and press the shutter with my right hand, whilst focusing and giving extra support when necessary with my left. So the left-hand strap/handle with focus and shutter together on the right will really take some getting used to (and anyway, it strikes me that focus and shutter on the same hand will be a really slow way of working no matter how familiar it might become).

Anyone got any tips for modding my Crown closer to how I'm accustomed to working?

I will be using either daylight or electronic studio flash, so I have no need for a camera mounted Graflite flash, but it occurred to me that I might find the addition of the graflite handle (minus flash on top) a real help: hand-grip on the right, shutter release button on the grip, focus with the left. Is there any reason why using the grip without the actual flash on top wouldnt work? Which model Graflite should I get (I see there are some - called "mini" I think - which don't seem to have the red shutter release button, so presumably they'd be of no use)? Is the graflite grip secure enough to use as the only handle (while the left hand focuses) or would I be better advised to continue holding the camera by the leather strap on the left if I dont want to see it crashing to the floor?

Does anyone have any other tips for speeding things up? I've already invested in a couple of grafmatic backs. What else could I do to get this system running as close as possible to a 35mm kit, only with a nice big neg? I dont need any of the movements. Just fast focusing, fast film change, and 4 x 5 negatives.

advice/suggestions/experiences very much appreciated...
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3232
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 11:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Left hand between strap and body with fingers inside the front edge of the body between the body and bellows. Clock the shutter so that the trip lever can easily be operated with your right index finger (or thumb) while your palm in under the bed.

All repositioning of the camera is done with the left, focusing, film changing done with the right.


Lock the graflok sliders against the grafmatic when you first put it into the camera. Relieve the focus panel spring tension when inserting/removing film holders by pulling outward on the insertion end of the focus panel. Pulling outward on film holders while under a focus panel (spring or graflok) will eventually cause separation at the top seam of the film holder.
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MonkeyBrain



Joined: 05 Nov 2011
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 12:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, had a funny feeling you might be first to reply. Thanks a lot...

Actually though, the way you describe is exactly how I'm using it now (it's the logical way I guess)...I just dont find it very comfortable/fast.

I can put up with the discomfort I guess, and I suppose I'll get used to supporting most of the weight with my left arm soon enough too, but focusing and pressing shutter with the same hand is a real issue. In fact, it seems like madness: I don't see how there can ever be anything much less than a second's delay between getting subject in focus and pressing shutter...by which time the subject (or I) may have moved considerably. Focusing with one hand while the other hand is on the trigger means being able to shoot instantly the moment focus is sharp. This could be done if I switched to focusing on the left whilst holding the camera and pressing the shutter on the right.

Thanks for the tip on Graflok springs. I was already a little concerned about that, and while I've tried to be gentle inserting the grafmatics it didnt occur to me to pull outards instead of back. Will need to try this with the camera in order to see precisely what u mean by this, but I'm sure it'll become clear with the camera in front of me.

btw, I just PMed you re: beam splitter.

Thanks again
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3232
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 5:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Hi, had a funny feeling you might be first to reply. Thanks a lot...

When I respond to a post 95% of that response is based on whether I have sufficient knowledge that may be useful to the poster, 4.5% on whether the question is in the correct fourm section, and .5% on who is posting.
Quote:
I can put up with the discomfort I guess, and I suppose I'll get used to supporting most of the weight with my left arm soon enough too

I taught myself to use my other hand almost as well as my main one. The only thing I do not do with my other hand that I do with my main one is write.
Quote:
but focusing and pressing shutter with the same hand is a real issue

Focus using the thumb and forefinger with the other three fingers along the outer edge of the bed with the side/palm under the edge of the bed. Loosen the shutter lock nut and clock the shutter so that the trip lever is an easy reach by sliding your hand back from focusing without lifting your hand from the bed. Some shutters will require you to remove the index pin (screw) from the rear of the shutter case. Check the position of the other shutter controls and flash contacts for accessibility. Some shutters can be a challenge and a trade-off position is usually the solution.
Quote:
Thanks for the tip on Graflok springs

The grafmatic can be pulled out of position and film fogged when cycling the grafmatic if the graflok sliders are not locked against the grafmatic. I have encountered standard film holders that leaked light at the darkslide end assembly seam from previous users pulling back on the film holder without first reliving the spring tension from the focus panel when removing them.
Quote:
it didnt occur to me to pull outards instead of back

Pull the focus panel, spring or graflok back, from its normal seated position enough that the film holder just fits between the focus panel and camera back. Once the holder is 1/4 to 1/3 the way into the camera release the focus panel. Pull in a similar manner to allow the film holder to easily be disengaged from the light trap grove when removing.

Quote:
btw, I just PMed you re: beam splitter.

I've deleted most of those PM to free up space.
This is the type of doodad I was probably refering to:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Mini-Silver-Aluminium-650nm-5mW-Red-Ray-Laser-Light-Pointer-Pen-Beam-Keychain-/300646921231?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item45fff3f40f
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MonkeyBrain



Joined: 05 Nov 2011
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

45PSS wrote:

This is the type of doodad I was probably refering to:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Mini-Silver-Aluminium-650nm-5mW-Red-Ray-Laser-Light-Pointer-Pen-Beam-Keychain-/300646921231?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item45fff3f40f


Thanks, but I've got that doodad. My question was about the 50/50 beam splitter mirror. Is this the right kind of glass?

http://www.glassperfection.com/beam-splitters.html

Or, failing that, this?

http://www.ebay.it/itm/Laser-diode-50-50-beam-splitter-yag-Argon-DPSS-1-2-X1-/160730686768?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item256c4ba530

Have you ever used the Graflite?
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3232
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The ebay link should be equal to the Edmund's that vanished.

Quote:
Have you ever used the Graflite?

Very little, no longer own one.
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MonkeyBrain



Joined: 05 Nov 2011
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 9:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ok cool. I might risk it again...
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3232
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another tip before I die for the night,
Zone focus, sunny 16 expose, frame, shoot.
There are (or there were) several good DOF calculators available as freeware or shareware that worked for large format film sizes. You can calculate the Depth of Field for each aperture or find the hyperfocal distance at any aperture. Compile and print on an index card that you put on the darkslide clip of the groundglass cover.
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MonkeyBrain



Joined: 05 Nov 2011
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ive got the camera in front of me now, and I think that what you are advising about removal of film backs is what I was doing anyway: i.e. pulling the focus screen backwards to release tension, then sliding the film-back out (as opposed to just wrenching the back out with brute force). As my springs are pretty high in tension it never occurred to me to do otherwise.

The tip re. locking the graflok backs in place is very handy though. Hadnt realized this was possible.

your last tip re. zone focusing is not really applicable to my way of working, but could be handy for anyone searching info in the future.

sleep well.
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peter k



Joined: 26 Dec 2009
Posts: 167
Location: Sedona Az

PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
... pulling the focus screen backwards to release tension, ...


I don't have a graflok back but a spring back, and never thought about it, but this is a heads up suggestion.

Thanks..
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tsgrimm



Joined: 04 Apr 2004
Posts: 158
Location: SE Michigan

PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 7:04 pm    Post subject: Beam Splitter Back in Stock Reply with quote

The Edmund's Beam Splitter is back in stock.

http://www.scientificsonline.com/mirror-type-beamsplitter.html
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Henry



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 1443
Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania

PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

45PSS wrote:


Quote:
Have you ever used the Graflite?

Very little, no longer own one.


It's now mine, thanks to 45PSS. Haven't used it yet, but I will. I don't quite trust the synchronizers on my Optars, but OTOH the flash should work fine on my Graftar 103, which is what I'd be using hand-held anyhow. Maybe at this year's Reading Air Show?
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3232
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 7:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The Edmund's Beam Splitter is back in stock.


Sent him one and it vanished after being scanned at the L.A. sort facility, USPS says it was definitely on the plane to Italy.

I found some more and sent two pieces big enough to fix the camera regular mail. They arrived crushed to near the original sand the glass was made from.
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MonkeyBrain



Joined: 05 Nov 2011
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="45PSS"]
Quote:
They arrived crushed to near the original sand the glass was made from.


Ha. True that.

Not had much luck fixing the rangefinder. It works, more or less, but I know it could work better...
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MonkeyBrain



Joined: 05 Nov 2011
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, so far this thread hasnt turned out quite a informative as I hoped it might, so in the end I decided to take my own advice and invest in a Graflite (or rather, just the hand-grip/battery case, minus flash dish) in order to use it as a hand-grip on the right side, focusing and supporting the camera body with the left hand.

Assuming the Graflite doesnt come loose - sending my Crown crashing to a dramatic end on the floor - I think this is going to work out very nicely. It certainly feels much more comfortable holding the camera this way anyway.

The Graflite came with a bunch of cords (HH to other various connectors), sadly though none of them appear to be the one I need to connect to the solenoid. Ive looked through the Graflite manual, and searched endlessly on here, but not really found enough information to fully understand what I do and do not need now. But this is what (I think) I've understood so far - if someone could correct any mistakes and fill in gaps in my understanding it would be very much appreciated:

1) As I will NOT be using the Graflite as a flash gun (I dont have any dish on top anyway, even if i wanted to) all I need to do with the Graflite is make it fire the shutter on my Crown. Am I correct in saying this can only be done via a HH to male-bipost cord (attached to solenoid)? Or are there other options?

2) Assuming the above mentioned method is the only way of doing this (and before I invest in the required cord) does anyone know if there are potential compatibility issues between the Graflite (I think it must be a 3 cell, got 5 HH ins/outs) and the solenoid (a Graflex #2 solenoid)?

3) Is there any risk involved in putting batteries in the Graflite grip and firing the red button with the top end (where the flash dish and bulbs should go) exposed to the elements? I mean, if I fire this thing off in the rain, or an assistant sticks his finger in there or soemthing. I know its just a few batteries, but I still dont want to cause short circuiting or anything.

I think that's it to be honest. All input appreciated...thanks.
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