Focusing without the ground glass

Every time I’ve used a Speed Graphic, I’ve used the ground glass, which slows down picture taking a whole lot.
I did this because I’m a fan of shallow depth of field, and without an accurate viewfinder, it’s the only way to focus accurately with that camera.    However, its the opposite of how WeeGee used the camera, which was more like a point & shoot.   For a lot of his photos, he stuck to one or two film speeds, small apertures, and a flash.  So he had a wide depth of field a lot of the time.

The camera’s focus guide starts at 6 feet, so I tried to shoot around that or 8 feet away.  At first, I forgot to do this, and totally missed.

But then I realized that I had forgotten focusing, and did ok after that.


Her Instax selfie


I was using ISO 50 or ISO 100.   This would have been easier with ISO 400, so I could buy an extra 2 stops of aperture.    I shot mostly at f/5.6 or f/8.
All in all, it made shooting go really quickly, and with more spontaneity, which usually is kinda absent when having to use the ground glass to focus.
I developed these at home in Diafine.  The film was some Fomapan & TMAX.


7 thoughts on “Focusing without the ground glass

  1. Awesome! I love using my Crown Graphic without the ground glass. Handheld with the rangefinder (I had to re-calibrate it but it was pretty easy).


  2. LOVE the flowers shot and the one of the man at the grill! I personally haven’t had great success using my crown graphic hand held. Usually they end up blurry.


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