Having fun with the Busch Pressman D

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Dave Starr, Feb 12, 2011.

  1. Dave Starr

    Dave Starr Member

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    Been playing with the camera since I got it a few weeks ago. The rangefinder is right on for the lens it came with, a 135mm Raptar, but off some with my 135mm Nikor W. The Rapax shutter seems ok except at 1/2 & 1 seconds, where the time seems approx. double what's set. I'm thinking about readjusting the rangefinder for the Nikor, but then I'd lose the M-sync for flashbulbs the Rapax has. I did get a Heiland 3 cell flash unit & a good supply of Press 25 & #22 bulbs, so I may keep the old shutter & lens for that reason. Of my large format lenses, the 135mm Nikor-W is the only one that'll fit the Busch, due to the small lens board. My 90mm Nikor-W & 210mm Caltar-N won't fit. They still fit the Tachihara, so no big deal.
    Yesterday I shot some stuff around the house with flash, just focusing & popping 6 bulbs to test the flash & the published guide numbers. Today, I developed the film, PL-100, in Pyrocat-MC in glycol that I mixed. I used the Nikkor sheet film tank to see if it was as hard to load as it looked. It wasn't. The sheets loaded easily & development looks even. I'll know for sure when I print them in a day or so.
    Looks like I'm on to something here that could turn into a lot of fun. :smile:
    Oh, yeah - a couple weeks ago, I mentioned to a lady at church about the press camera. The following week, at coffee & donuts after services, she pulls out a very nice side rangefinder Crown Graphic. Seems her nephew found in the the trash a few years ago when a family was cleaning out a house after an old gentleman died!!! What else was in that trash that he didn't salvage??? She let me bring it home, so I took a quick shot outdoors with it, developed the film & made a print. last Sunday I returned it & she was impressed with the print. She said she would see what her nephew wanted to do with the camera - he's not into photography; she is, but just a point & shoot digital. So who knows, maybe I'll have a crown graphic one of these days.
     
  2. TimmyMac

    TimmyMac Subscriber

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    The Pressman D is a great camera and much better than the Crown Graphic IMO. The metal construction is great, the rotating back is a must, and the movements are more useful than those on the Graphic. The small lensboard is an issue but I found I can get my biggest lenses (90/8 super angulon and 210/5.6 Symmar-S) in. The plate that holds the bellows to the front standard is wider than it needs to be - you can file or dremel a bit of it away to fit your bigger lenses.
     
  3. John Wiegerink

    John Wiegerink Member

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    I bought one of these (Busch Pressman Mod.D) many years ago and still have it. Have a 100mm Wide-Field Ektar, 135mm Schneider Symmar-S and a 210mm Fuji L. Also have a 6x7 slide in roll back for it. I have had most of the Graphic models, but sold all and kept the Busch(Tower). It is one of the sturdiest cameras you'll find and makes a heck of a good field camera. Not as good as some, but better than most. Oh, mine doesn't say Busch on it since it was made for Sears & Roebuck. It says Tower on the name plate and I even have the Tower instruction book to go with it. These are a "sleeper 4x5" in my opinion. Built like a tank and last forever. It's up to my cottage at the moment or I'd include a picture. I'm going up to my cottage this week so maybe I'll snap a shot of it. JohnW
     
  4. Wayne

    Wayne Subscriber

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    This was my first LF camera, given to me by my father. Still have it. I took the rangefinder off though, and dont think I have it anymore. Pretty dumb.
     
  5. Dave Starr

    Dave Starr Member

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    Hmm. Sounds better than my idea of removing the ground glass & screwing the rear element in from the back after mounting the lens board.
     
  6. TimmyMac

    TimmyMac Subscriber

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    Actually, I did that for a while until I decided to dremel it. Was a huge pain when shooting with a 3-lens kit.

    Your 135mm Nikkor should fit with the camera folded, although the others won't.
     
  7. Dave Starr

    Dave Starr Member

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    Did some checking yesterday & it looks like removing 1/8" from each side will do the job. The 135mm Nikkor does allow the camera to be folded with the lens mounted.
     
  8. Bob Eskridge

    Bob Eskridge Member

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    My Busch Pressman is my "main" camera. The Nikon 90/8 SW will fit without removing the rear element first. You have to learn how to wiggle it in at an angle to mount the lens. I enlarged the opening slightly but dont' feel that it was necessary.

    My other lenses are 135/5.6 Rodenstock N and 240/9 Fujinon - A. Don't feel limited with that lens selection at all.

    The rangefinder comes in handy sometimes - so don't remove it.
     
  9. Dave Starr

    Dave Starr Member

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    I'm starting to move to the point where 4x5 is my only format, & using the Busch handheld.
     
  10. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    May I ask... when using it handheld with a 135mm lens, what shutter speed must you set to obtain sharp images?

    I've been out recently playing with a Crown Graphic with the 135mm Optar. The shutter is, as usual, slow on the high and low ends. I'll get it serviced at some point, but until then I measured the "effective" speed when set to 1/400 as really 1/202. If I use a cable release (not the body release) and hold reasonably still the negatives look reasonably sharp. (HP5+ at EI400, 1/202 at f/22 on sunny days gives gorgeous negatives.)

    I'm curious regarding your, and any other's, handheld protocols to minimize camera shake.

    Ken
     
  11. Dave Starr

    Dave Starr Member

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    I'd say 1/200 or 1/400 for shutter speed. I'm trying different methods of holding the camera to see what's the most stable. One thing that helps - take in a breath, then let out 1/2 of it just before pressing the shutter. Also, anything indoors, I'm using flashbulbs.
     
  12. Dave Starr

    Dave Starr Member

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    Did you remove the bellows from the mounting plate, or just fold it out of the way?
     
  13. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    I'm trying to remember from my busch pressman days...
    You can get a little more extention by filing off the extention stopper.
    As said above, the plate that attaches the bellows to the front standard can be widened to allow for larger elements. I think the max un-altered is 57mm. A 90mm f8 super angulon will fit barely. a 210mm symmar-s (the later versions) will not fit. The 210mm symmar convertible and the 210mm sironar should fit.

    The front standard may not be very stiff. I had to dissasemble mine, add a shim under the pressure plate, and reassemble making sure everything is tight.

    The kalart rangefinder can be adjusted to any lens. check out graflex.org for instuctions.

    the lensboards can be very hard to find or very expensive.
     
  14. Dave Starr

    Dave Starr Member

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    I've got the plate removed from the front of the bellows, but haven't filed the opening larger yet. This is a bellows I got on the auction site, so the camera's still usable. Also, I found a lensboard on the auction site, & understand Midwest Photo Exchange also has them.
     
  15. TimmyMac

    TimmyMac Subscriber

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    I removed the bellows (it seems to be held on with some sort of glue or contact cement - not a big deal since the glue is now 60 years old), dremeled the plate about 3mm on each side, and put everything back together. No light leaks, and all my lenses fit now.
     
  16. Dave Starr

    Dave Starr Member

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    I filed mine out yesterday, about 3/32" on each side. My 90mm Nikor & 210mm Caltar slide right through. I may open it another 1/16" on each side to allow for the bellows thickness, or leave it as is & tilt the lens a bit when I install it.
     
  17. TimmyMac

    TimmyMac Subscriber

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    Luckily you can DIY them pretty easily. A square of aluminum plate cut to size with a small flange attached using a nut and bolt works great. Otherwise you can make em out of wood and glue a flange on, but make sure you have a fillet for support.
     
  18. bill schwab

    bill schwab Advertiser Advertiser

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    Just saw this thread... My Pressman D was long my workhorse camera and still a treasured member of my kit bag. In fact, I got hooked on them for awhile back in the late 70's and early 80's and acquired 3 or 4 of them! Pressman D "gas". Back down to the one I used the most and I'll never give her up. She's got her dings and scrapes, but we're still playing together.