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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Nov 2004
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    Having fun with the Busch Pressman D

    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.
    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. #2

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    Apr 2010
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    Guelph, Ontario
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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. #3

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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. #4

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    Jul 2005
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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. #5

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    Nov 2004
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    Flint, MI
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimmyMac View Post
    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.
    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. #6

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    Apr 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Starr View Post
    Hmm. Sounds better than my idea of removing the ground glass & screwing the rear element in from the back after mounting the lens board.
    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. #7

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    Nov 2004
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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. #8

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    Jul 2005
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    South Carolina, USA
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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. #9

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

  10. #10
    Ken Nadvornick's Avatar
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    Mar 2005
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    Monroe, WA, USA
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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
    "They are the proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away but when you come back they’ll still be there looking at you."

    — Diane Arbus, March 15, 1971, in response to a request for a brief statement about photographs

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