View Full Version : Recessed Lens Board for a Burke and James Press

2-Sep-2018, 13:28
I was just wondering if such a thing exists. I have a 75mm Nikkor W (copal 0) that I would like to put on my B&J press camera, which takes 4x4 lensboards. Since this camera doesn't have an internal rail like some Crown or Speed graphics, I would need a recessed lensboard. I have a recessed Linhof board lying around - I don't know if there's any way to adapt that?

Regardless, could I have everyones thoughts on this?

Mark Sampson
2-Sep-2018, 17:49
Calumet made two different 4"x4" recessed lens boards for their CC400-series monorail cameras. One was about 1/2" deep. When we used those cameras on the job, a Schneider 90/8 Super-Angulon lived on that board. In the "box o'stuff" we had a deeper one, too, that was never used.
That system was replaced about 1990 so my memory is not exact... and I've never seen or used a B&J Press. But a recessed Calumet board is probably worth a try.

Dan Fromm
2-Sep-2018, 18:50
Hey, Mark, which shutter was the 90/8 SA you used in? I ask because it seems that early ones were in #00 shutters -- I use one as a paperweight -- and that later ones were in #0s. A #0 as the OP's 75 Nikkor SW (ain't no 75 W) has may be tight in a recessed 4" board.

OP, I don't mean this frivolously. Wouldn't you rather have a Crown Graphic?

2-Sep-2018, 19:12
I may have a 4x4 recessed board and do have a B&J Press. Will check to see if they fit and post back here.

Mark Sampson
2-Sep-2018, 21:35
Dan, OP, that 90/8 SA was in a Compur #0 shutter. Not sure when it was made but the barrel was chrome, so likely from the 1960s (as were the cameras it fit on). No doubt Calumet supplied it to Kodak when it was new, and it worked just fine.
Can't say if a Nikkor-SW 75/4 (one of which I happily use now on my own cameras) will fit or work on the B&J. It's worth a try.

3-Sep-2018, 02:41
Doesn't the B&J have a round hole behind the board? If so, the larger square recess of the WA Calumet board won't fit.

3-Sep-2018, 02:55
OP, I don't mean this frivolously. Wouldn't you rather have a Crown Graphic?

Yea, a Pacemaker CG with the coupled inner/outer rails allow knob focusing with the bed dropped, so a good easy to use WA camera...

Steve K

Jim Jones
3-Sep-2018, 07:45
My two B&J press cameras came with round holes behind the lens board. One has been enlarged to a square, although not enough for a Graflex or Calumet recessed board to fit. It appears that the hole could be enlarged to accept these factory boards. I've used both B&J and Graflex press cameras. The former were nice enough for their intended purpose, but not as versatile and practical as most of the Graflex line. A 90mm Ilex Acugon on a flat board works on the B&J camera. The front of the bed would intrude into a shorter lens' image without using front rise or drop bed.

3-Sep-2018, 08:37
So many replies! Okay I have the B&J because I was able to pick it up with 2 lenses, 10 film holders, and in decent condition for around 20$. If you can find a similar deal for a Crown Graphic, let me know :) I also received the Nikkor SW 75mm for free in a contest from youtube photographer Ben Horne, so although I'd like to use it, I can live with holding onto it until I can get a field or technical camera of some sort.

On a certain auction site I shall not name, I found a Graphic View 4x4 recessed lens board, would something like that work? It was like 50$, and I'm not sure if its worth it considering I don't plan on having the B&J forever, it's my first 4x5.

@Rfesk - keep me updated, thank you.

@MDarnton - it does, I could try and get measurements for it if that would help. I can take a closer look later.

Jim Jones
3-Sep-2018, 15:42
DiscoShrew, 4x4 boards and the cameras that used them were once common, especially in America. This included some fine cameras that still compare well enough with today's best. Some of them function well with flat boards. Since recessed boards are regularly offered for sale, you might defer buying one until you have a specific need.

Your B&J was a steal. In many decades of shopping for photo equipment, I've rarely done nearly as well. I used B&J press, flatbed, and monorail view cameras for years. Rarely would better cameras done any better. The later Graphics were part of a more versatile and extensive system, but that isn't needed for most basic photography. Remember, some of the great photographs over the past 180 years were taken with cameras and lenses inferior to the B&J line.

3-Sep-2018, 23:56
Although the outside of different boards are about the same size, different makes have different seating and are not interchangeable...

You might have to make (or have made) a custom recessed board, which is not hard to do... A lens board with an oversized hole, a short piece of plastic or paper tube, an another bored out board for the lens inside is a board that can be made

I highly suggest looking online for a copy of the B&J catalog from the era of your camera to see if this board was offered as a accessory for this camera...

Failing that, follow Jim's advice by getting a 90mm on a flat board, and selling or holding on to the 75 for another camera...

Note that some folding cameras don't like 75mm's as they don't go too deep inside the body shell, but stick out enough to require them fot the FS to end up between the inner rail and the dropped front rail making it hard or impossible to use on some cameras...

Maybe that's why this lens ended up in a contest... ;-)

Good luck, and have fun!!!

Steve K