Hand Held Crown

One thing I wanted to do was wield my Crown Graphic the way it was intended, hand held with a massive flash on the side.

Crown Graphic, GF1 - Lumix 14mm - 42mm

But there were a couple of problems: (A) I didn’t have a flash that fitted it and (B) the rangefinder is all messed up and the process to fix it looked too difficult from the badly written instructions I found at the time.

iPhone 2016 11 27

Fortunately the shutter on this Crown Graphic can flip between manual (the bulbs!) and X for modern flashes, I’ve also used viewfinder cameras in the past and it’s not too hard to get close approximations of distance especially with practice …

IR In Action

Flash Sync
I’ve already blogged about this in a post at the end of last year but I’ll quickly revisit how simple it is to connect a regular PC cable to the dual pin system the standard Crown Graphic lens/shutter and I believe it’s the same for Speed Graphic cameras.

The 2 pins sticking out on the right of the shutter/lens is the flash conenctors and below them is the switch for the M and X flash-sync modes.

The cable you need to build is pretty simple, you will need to connect 2 cables from each pin and join them to the 2 cables at the core of a standard camera PC cable once you strip it a little and join the 2 cable types together. I used a standard non-fused terminal block to join them but twisting them together then binding them with electrical tape would be more elegant; the cables are small and fiddly though so be warned big handed people.

Finally you will need to terminate the Crown Graphic end with something metal that can grip the pins.

You will likely need a crimping tool to add a terminator for the pins, maybe a Microfit 3.0 terminal would suffice, but I haven’t tried using that connector as I was lucky that James gave me a ready cut and terminated cable (and I don’t know what the metal clips here are called).

Crown Graphic Instrutional

Once you’ve joined the cables to the PC connector and connected your Frankencable to the camera and flash respectively you’ll find it doesn’t matter which way round the cables are connected to the pins.

Flash Mount and Flash
Finding a way to mount a suitable flash to the camera wasn’t that difficult I just searched for a mounting bar on Amazon and there’s a good few options but of course I went for the cheapest at just under £4: “Merssavo Dual Compact Flash Mount Holder“.

Crown Graphic Instrutional

Each side of the bracket has plenty of movement so it was easy to adjust the distance between camera and flash.

iPhone 2017 11 04

To the untrained eye the flash in the above picture may look expensive but alas you are wrong! It’s a Neewer TT560 that cost roughly £30 and it sports a PC port on its left side, it also comes with it’s own cold shoe stand which has underneath it a standard threaded tripod screw mount. Handy.

Crown Graphic Instrutional

I simply screwed the small stand onto one end of the mount holder (you can see the feet at the base above) then sat the TT560 into the stand, locked it in place with the locking screw and connected up the PC end of the cable.

Once the flash was sorted my next issue was using the slightly confusing distance system on the rail since the rangefinder is currently useless. I sloppily did this in conjunction with my Leica’s rangefinder, not super accurate but it felt close enough; simply focus on something 1 meter away with the Leica then do the same with the CG, record and repeat at different distances making sure the focus planes are as close as possible.

I started by using the -100 and <– arrow markers on the rail. Position 6–100 is roughly 1m and 6-<– is roughly 1.5m and so on.

Crown Graphic Crown Graphic Crown Graphic

Crown Graphic Instrutional

When using this scale with the wireframe viewfinder system on top of the camera you must remember to adjust the rear viewing portal scale (pictured above) according to which focus base number the rail marker is against, see below for clarification:

Arrow points to 6
Crown Graphic Instrutional

Arrow points at 15
Crown Graphic Instrutional

Here’s my reminder of these scales on the ground glass rear viewing guard.

iPhone 2017 11 05

Indoors I sit the shutter speed at 1/50 which I’m assuming is the maximum (1/50 is the last shutter speed marked in red on the shutter, see below) and set the aperture at roughly ƒ11 or ƒ16 and set the flash power to number 6 or 7 (8 is the maximum for this flash) and for ISO200 Fomapan that seems OK for subjects roughly 1m – 3m.

Crown Graphic

Terrible Tests
Outside is/will be a different situation. My first test was 2 photos indoors then 4 outside at night during Guy Fawkes night – a very stupid idea to be honest – so there will be need to be more outside attempts before I’m satisfied. Here are the results of the first test warts and all:

Crown Graphic 2017 11 12

I really think using the rear view port helped correct the lens angle against parallax but of course any closer to the subjects and it would fail but from memory the photo below is quite accurate to what I was seeing.

Crown Graphic 2017 11 12

Like I said, shooting at night with this rig using 200 speed film was a very dumb idea because even attempting to accurately read the measurement guide on the back or checking the aperture etc. was harder than expected before you even add the task of trying to capture a moving subject accurately so here lies the evidence:

Crown Graphic 2017 11 12

Crown Graphic 2017 11 12

Crown Graphic 2017 11 12

Crown Graphic 2017 11 12

Clearly there is more to be done here. Hopefully I’ll have some opportunities to test shooting outside during the day this coming weekend (18th/19th November) and build a better picture of what this camera can do. I can’t help but feel there’s one hell of a learning curve waiting for me.

More to come.

One thought on “Hand Held Crown

  1. Great post Si, looking forward to seeing some daylight (what’s that again!?), handheld photos from your Crown – that will definitely make things easier for you!

    The connectors I used on that cable are called ‘crimps’ and they would usually be used on the inside of a plastic housing. In this case I just added some heat shrink to make it look roughly tidy! :) Glad it’s working for you!

    Liked by 1 person

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