View Full Version : A bit curious about the Busch Pressman

18-Jan-2017, 02:21
Hello everyone

I'm shooting small and medium format since a long time but have, I confess, been curious over the years about 4x5.

I saw a Pressman C on eBay and since the seller is local to me here in The Hague, NL, I thought I might have a look. Here's the link (http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Busch-Pressman-Model-C-vintage-camera-lens-Wollensack-101mm-f-4-5-Raptar-/401260361190?hash=item5d6cfb35e6:g:~~cAAOSw-0xYSsFQ).

Since I am unfamiliar with this model, I'm wondering if one can tell from the photos if there are any parts missing? I'm certainly prepared to purchase separately missing parts or accessories provided this particular camera would be a good starting point.

Also, what is the difference between models C and D?

Thank you very much in advance for any assistance,

Dan Fromm
18-Jan-2017, 05:45
C: 2x3, wooden body, small and scarce lens boards, fixed spring back (so clip-on roll holders can't be used), not much in the way of support. The one you're looking at has no rangefinder. If you look hard and are patient you might be able to find an unused new old stock RF but the odds are against. The Kalart RF often fitted to these cameras can be adjusted to work for a range of focal lengths, but you won't want to do the job in the field. The Busch RF often fitted to these cameras is good for only one focal length.

D: 4x5, metal body, small and scarce lens boards, rotating spring back, not much support.

Look here http://www.butkus.org/chinon/busch/busch.htm for manuals for both models.

The 2x3er you're looking at is basically a one lens camera to be shot from tripod.

Busches have their partisans. I've had a C, now shoot 2x3 Graphics. IMO -- not everyone agrees -- if you want a US-made press camera, especially 2x3, you'd be better off with a Graphic.

18-Jan-2017, 06:17
Hello Dan

Thank you very much for taking the time to describing the two models in such detail, I appreciate it a lot. I'm looking for 4x5 for slightly more portability. The D seems interesting because of the metal body but perhaps I should consider a Graphics of some sort too.


18-Jan-2017, 07:00
One problem with a D is that it only takes CFH's, and not anything thicker... So roll backs, Grafmatics can't be used...

But a very nice, light, but the D is as Dan sez, also, a (mostly) 1 lens camera...

These were also sold as the "Tower" brand...

But a great, lightweight camera for extended excursions!!!

Steve K

Dan Fromm
18-Jan-2017, 07:45
Steve, there's at least one insertion type roll holder that will fit a Pressman D. Adapt-a-roll 620, 4x5 size. They exist, I have one. One real drawback, the holder's gate isn't centered in the camera's gate.

18-Jan-2017, 08:08
I've looked in to the 4x5 model myself. Interesting design, and the rotating back and the removable viewing hood are nice features. That being said, other discussions of the Model D (4x5) have explained that the opening behind the lens board is somewhat small, limiting the size of the lenses that can be mounted.



Hope that this helps.


Michael Graves
18-Jan-2017, 08:37
I set up an outfit with the D-series camera, a 90mm 6.8 Angulon, a 120 6.8 Angulon, a 165mm Calter and a 203 Ektar. My Crown Graphic has sat in a display case ever since. The Busch is slightly heavier, but not by much, and has better movements and the rotating back.

Fr. Mark
18-Jan-2017, 09:42
There was a guy on this forum who made and sold lensboards for the D. I think they were about $15 plus shipping. Mine fits perfectly.

18-Jan-2017, 09:59

18-Jan-2017, 11:09
The Pressman D was my main 4x5 for a few years. I made my own lensboards out of 1/16 aluminum sheet.

Grafmatics will fit behind the spring back, but it's a little tight.

As far as the lens opening goes, I've used lenses up to 210mm f5.6 Symmar and 90mm f6.8 Grandagon, though 90mm and shorter lenses are not fun to use on this camera. If you want to go longer, the 240 and 305 G-Clarons fit as well.

The advantage (for me) vs the Graphics is the rotating back and use of forward tilt. The tilt mechanism is not the most sturdy, but it works.

18-Jan-2017, 23:01
Loved my D, handed down from my father. I will have to try it with my G-Claron, didn't know that would fit. One of the projects for my old age is to reinstall a rangefinder if I can ever find one cheap to free.

19-Jan-2017, 07:46
This might help when assessing the Busch Pressman D because it describes what might benefit from repair even if the camera was not used.

I got the D in a sale, in the original box with accessories also in their boxes and paper work. It appeared to be unused. The boxes showed no effects of poor storage. The rangefinder was too dim to be comfortable. The viewfinder was yellowed badly (but did clean up - disassembly was easy, re-assembly was very tricky.) The shutter was, as might be expected, not accurate (quite typical). Hope this helps.

22-Jan-2017, 17:21
A word of encouragement for those considering a Pressman D.

My D is my main 4X5 camera. (Also have a nice Sinar F2) The Kalart rangefinder is adjusted for the 135/5.6 Rodenstock lens that folds up in the camera. A Nikon 90/8 has it's own infinity stops and a scale to use to focus with if I don't use the groundglass for focusing. A Fujinon 240/9 focuses up to about 12 feet. Also have a Kodak 203 which folds up in the camera.

It is a versatile camera if you take the time and effort to adapt suitable lenses to it.