View Full Version : Alternatives to 135/4.7 Optar for Busch Pressman D?

Steve Goldstein
22-Jul-2008, 06:21
My recently-acquired Pressman D came with a 135mm f/4.7 Optar. The front surface has some sort of (so far) non-cleanable haze. I have yet to test it as there's still some other cleanup and minor repair work to do.

While the Optar might prove interesting for portraits, I'm wondering about possible replacements in case it's truly horrid. I'm aware of the 127mm Ektar/Supermatic used on the Graphics, but what else is there? Will the camera still close with a 135mm WF Ektar mounted? If I can stay close to 135mm the existing focusing scale would probably be good enough.

These folder-upper press cameras are new to me, so please forgive my more-than-normal ignorance.

22-Jul-2008, 07:15
My Pressman Model D came with a very late Goerz 6" Gold Dot Dagor and was a gift from my wife. (God I love my wife; I don't tell her enough.) The magic Dagor is now doing other, principally 5x7, duty for me and I have a 90/6.8 Angulon, a 135/5.6 convertible Symmar and 203/7.7 Ektar mounted for the Busch. The camera will close with any of them, but I would particularly recommend the 135 Symmar. The 135mm WF Ektar is probably a little overkill given the camera's limited movements.

I had tried a Polaroid 127/4.7 Rodenstock Ysarex as well (It matched the camera's focusing scale and I thought I might use it for scale focusing.) but my very brief experience suggested that this example of the 127mm tessar didn't perform well at the edges of 4x5.

Pat Hilander
22-Jul-2008, 07:59
I also replaced the 135 Optar on my Super Graphic with a 135 Symmar convertable. Camera closes fine and the bigger image circle will allow you to take advantage of the Pressman's front movements.

Steve Goldstein
22-Jul-2008, 13:21
Thanks for the suggestion of the 135mm Symmar convertible, and for the bonus info about the Angulon and 203 Ektar! It looks like I need to contact Jim at Midwest for a couple of lensboards.

This forum is great!

Michael Graves
22-Jul-2008, 14:20
The Symmar covertible is a good one. But also consider a Fujinon 135. It's got a big enough image circle to cover 5x7, so with your Busch, you'll do just fine. Get a 203 Ektar as well. Amazing lens.

20-Aug-2008, 08:34
Sorry for the late reply, but I just recently joined this forum. People have already given you several lenses but I'll add two: I currently have an Ilex Caltar 165mm on mine and it just closes, and for the last 7-8 yrs. I used it with a new Rodenstock Sironar-N 135mm (also the Caltar) and it produced great negs (the Rodenstock is back on the studio camera now). It's great to be able to close the whole camera up and drop it in a bag.

Glenn Thoreson
21-Aug-2008, 11:33
The Optar 4.7 lens originally came on a late model 4X5 Pacemaker Speed or Crown Graphic. The early 4.7 version was made by Wollensak. The later version was made by either Schneider or Rodenstock, I can't remember which. It's a Tessar formula and a pretty good lens. Your camera would have originally come with a 135/4.5 Raptar, which is the same design. There are many lenses that will mount on your camera. Lens boards, on the other hand, can be very hard to come by. The only downside to these cameras.

Kevin Crisp
21-Aug-2008, 11:40
Late model 135mm Symmar convertible. Symmar-S multicoated is pretty reasonable these days. The Optars in that focal length are cheap and very good performers but with the Symmar you get an image circle that will let you use the camera movements you have available.

21-Aug-2008, 16:35
Just get another 135mm Optar/Raptar off ebay.