Each exposure required the photographer to change the film holder, open the lens shutter, cock the focal plane shutter, remove the dark slide from the inserted film holder, focus the camera, and release the focal plane shutter.Conversely, if the lens shutter were used, the focal plane shutter (on the Speed Graphic and Pacemaker Graphic models with both shutters) had to be opened prior to cocking using the "T" or TIME setting, and then releasing the shutter in the lens.This type of roll film holder could not be removed until the roll was finished.
Because of the focal plane shutter, the Speed Graphic can also use lenses that do not have shutters (known as barrel lenses). Setting the focal plane shutter speed required selecting both a slit width and a spring tension.
The Speedgraphics were made famous by press photographers in the 1950s, such as "Weegee" (Arthur Fellig).
With their Speedgraphics with leaf-shutter lenses set to f/8 and large flash bulbs, you could quickly take a photograph of anything without even bothering to focus or set the shutter speed.
Models with a focal plane shutter can use lenses mounted in shutters or barrel lenses (without shutters). There were Graflok back kits made that had a round depression with two contacts for the focal-plane-shutter flash-sync contacts where the peep sight usually folds down. Bed and body track rails were linked, allowing focusing of wide angle lenses within body. These had the supply spool on one side and the take-up spool on the other.
The Pacemaker Crown Graphic, introduced in 1947, was the first model available without a focal plane shutter. This meant that the partially-assembled roll holder was inserted into the back and then the take-up side was assembled from the opposite (left) side.