I have the opportunity to purchase a Busch Pressman 4x5 camera. I would be using it for travel ( the Sinar is just too much for travel). Movements beyond some rise and fall is not an issue.
The Camera is in excellent condition.
I would like to offer a fair price, but don't know what that would be.
I would like to know the opinions of those who have used this camera.
The D is generally considered the good one. Does it have a lens (and what kind) or other extras?
It has a Wollenstock 135 f/4,7 that is rangfinder coupled. It has a bi-pole flash plug on the body and shutter, but no flash or neumatic shutter gizmo.
I would be interested in putting a wider lens on it but there are probably limits to how wide or new I can go.
Probably in the $300-500 range, if it's in pretty good shape. Check particularly for pinhole leaks in the bellows, does the shutter sound accurate at all speeds (if not figure around $80 for CLA), and is the glass clean. Compare the rangefinder to the groundglass focus, but I think that rangefinder is adjustable. There should be a review of the Busch Pressman D on lfphoto.info, and I think there's a page about it on graflex.org, even though it's not a Graphic camera.
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I've brought the camera home for the weekend. It appears to be nice and in good shape. The Wollenstock shutter is waaay off (at 1/5 to 1 sec it takes about 10 seconds to cycle through).
The lensboard opening is large enough to accept the rear element for my 75mm. Unfortunately just behind the lensboard opening is the bracket that secures the bellows and it is too narrow for the 75's rear element. This is a bit of a bummer. It was my hope to use the camera with the 75mm to see how suitable it would be for my purposes.
The bellows is light tight, the rangefinder is close and appears to be very easy to adjust. It also appears that coupling other lenses to the range finder may be possible.
In any event I'll be playing with it over the weekend If anyone has any more suggestions I'm all ears and as always thanks again David!
I posted a picture of the camera in the non gallery section...
For a 4x5 travel camera, how about a Shen Hao? I saw one of these at Midwest Photo and it's quite small, more so than most 4x5s including my Crown Graphic. $600 new so it wouldn't be that much more an expensive option. Of course, no lens, but I assume you have them.
The Shen-Hao is probably the best deal out there in a 4x5" field camera and it will handle wide lenses, probably with a recessed lensboard and/or the bag bellows. The question is whether that's what you're really after, or do you want a press camera with a rangefinder and modest movements for landscape work and some front rise for architecture. I really like my Tech V for travel, because it has a good range of movements for landscape/architecture/still life, and still functions as a rangefinder press camera for handheld use.
I travel a lot and shoot street and architecture. basic street photography is accomplished by my mamaya 6. What the mamiya lacks ia perspective control and it is allso limited by the square -- to shoot a building w/ a square w/o convergence means as much foreground as building.
So my needs are a camera that is durable and portable with reasonable rise and fall. The camera would be mounted on a tripod for most shots, but a hand held 4x5 is intriguing.
For non travel I have a Sinar.
The Busch Pressman appears to meet these needs. I know little about the camera, but have it for the weekend and will be playing. As stated above, my preferred lens would be the Nikkor 75mm SW, but the rear element can not be passed through the bellows frame on the front standard. This may be a show stopper.
I would love a Tech V , Toyo, or Horseman, but, alas, I don't think I could afford them -- the Shen Hao would be a viable option. The Pressman would be purchased as a trade of services, so real out of pocket costs would be nil.
Problems with the Busch pressman (I own one)
1-limited lenses. As you found out your 75 won't fit. The opening is too small. I think a 90 will work.
2-Availability of lens boards. These things are really hard to come by. And they are a pain to fabricate. they come up on Ebay from time to time and there are a few people who make thier own and then sell them.
3-No back movements None at all. This is not a big deal though. no swing on the front.
1-think the word tank when thinking about the pressman. This is one tough mother of a camera. Mine was knocked over while on a tripod at full extension, over six feet. It hit the pavement and broke the GG. And that was it.
2-lots of front movements
3-hand holdable if your range finder is working
I like my Pressman. I paid 200 after shipping. It came with a good lens and working shutter. The guy selling it suggested cleaning it since he never had and it was the original lens. I did and it was the only lens I had for a year. A 135 wollensak, not the best, not the worst either.
I think this camera will fit most of your bill except the lack of back movements and swing. This depends on how much you use the movements.
It is a cheap good camera that you do not see on the market a lot because they last forever.
Hope this helps
Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI
So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004