Is a Busch Pressman model D a good first view camera? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

just a quick question, I am just starting on larger format photography and was curious if the Busch Pressman model D is a good one to learn on. I appreciate any advice you guy/gals could give. Thank you so much.

-- Stephen Romanski (, November 29, 2001


The Pressman was my first LF camera and it was just ok for me. It is better than many other the Graphics like the Crown and Speed by offering a little more in terms of movements. The bellows are made of a paper/cardboard like material and mine quite quickly developed light leaks from he bellows. These camera are around 60 years old and probably starting to show their age. I sold mine quite soon and bought a Super Graphic which I thought was a much better beginners camera. It is better constructed and about 20 years newer. I would guess it might run a hundred dollars or so more than a Pressman. If you are on a limitted budget and want to give LF a try, probably either will work for you if you get a good one. If you want to take advantage of movements, you will probably have to get a lens that has more coverage than the press lens that might come with either of these. Being able to use movements is one of the big advantages of using large format for many intentions.

I eventually ended up with a Tachihara. If you think that LF is definately for you and have the money to spend, this may be a better choice. It's just a whole lot easier to use and has plenty of movements.

-- Roger Rouch (, November 29, 2001.

I Use an old Meriden B, And later bought a garage sale Pressman to replace it; except it didn't have a lensboard and has sat idle ever sence. I have seen a couple on ebay, I think the starting prices were about $50. Or learn to make your own.

-- Beau (, November 30, 2001.

A friend of mine has a Busch Pressman and he (and I) like it a lot. They were well made and a competitor to Graflex.

If there's a downside to the Pressman it's the size of the throat of the bellows. It and the lens board are so small that the rear element groups of modern lenses may not fit. I have a 210 Symmar (the older convertable) and it will fit on the Pressman but a 210 Nikkor won't. The Pressman doesn't have the longest bellows either so you may be restricted as to how long a lens you can choose.

One of the strengths of LF photography is that the body only matters so much. You can get a cheap body and put great glass on it. Then when (or if) you decide to get a better camera your lenses can go with it. The Pressman may limit your lens selection. In any event try a lens on your camera before you buy it.

-- David Grandy (, December 01, 2001.

My first 4x5 was a Pressman D, and it was perfect for learning on. The movements were more then enough to get a handle on them. I agree with the above comment about the throat of the bellows - I eventually sold mine because I bought a 210mm Nikor which could only be mounted by unscrewing the rear element before mounting...not condusive to changing lenses in the field. But the camera was good, far better then most of the Graphics I have seen, so I'd certainly recomend it.

-- Eric Boutilier-Brown (, December 01, 2001.

I too have a Pressman Model D. I love this camera! I believe it is a better built camera than the Graphics that I have owned.

The throat is restricted for some lenses but that can be worked around - such as using an older convertible as mentioned above or purchasing the smaller Fuji, Nikon, Apo-Ronar or G-Claron lenses.

I use a 90 Angulon but wanted a more modern 90. The 90/F8 Super Angulon has the smallest rear diameter that I am aware of. It is 57mm - still slightly larger than the throat but maybe it can be maneuvered into the camera. I am in the process of widening the throat a few mm's to accept my Nikon 90/F8 (purchased at a good price) which is a little larger in diameter. E-mail me for the details.

Back tilt, if absolutely necessary, can be worked around with the Pressman by dropping the bed, using front rise, tilting the lensboard, tilting the whole camera to tilt the back and then readjusting the front tilt for best focus. A lot of trouble in my opinion. The best solution is to purchase modern lenses of good covering power, keep the camera level and use needed front adjustments only.

-- Bob Eskridge (, December 01, 2001.

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