View Full Version : OK, a certified newbie question!!

15-Apr-2009, 14:11
I have ventured into 4x5 territory, buying a very nice Busch Pressman on Ebay, and it just arrived. I have been playing around with it a bit (no lens yet), just tilting, swinging, shifting, fiddling a bit. Can't wait to get this thing going. However... once I acquire a lens, how do I slide it to the correct place before focusing? there is no metric scale on the rails, so when I get a lens, probably a 150mm Schneider of some sort, should I measure out 15cm from filmplane to lens, extend the lensboard there, and then start fiddling with the precise focusing? Sooo sorry if this is a really stupid question, I grew up photographically on DSLRs....

15-Apr-2009, 14:30
Firstly I'll admit to not having done much 5x4 so this is based on limited experience.

It doesn't really matter where the two standards are on the rail.

The way I work is :-

Align the camera roughly in the right direction.
Focus usually the back standard until the picture is pretty sharp.
make any compositional adjustments.
Sharpen up the focus and if needed add any tilt and adjust the focus accordingly.

Then take meter reading, setup lens, DRY FIRE lens ( important as the lens won't fire if you have the shutter open from setting up the picture ), insert film and remove the FRONT slide. Then double check the shutter speed/aperture, cock shutter, fire shutter, re-insert dark slide and remove film pack.

15-Apr-2009, 14:42
If you are going to use the coupled rangefinder, then, yes, the lens needs to be pulled out the an exact spot. Its called an 'infinity stop' and that name gives you a clue as to how to set it. Focus the rangefinder at a distant object (infinity) by moving the focusing track all the way back. Then adjust the lens to the precise location on the rail that produces good infinity focusing by looking at the ground glass image. You want to move those little infinity stops to be in a location to automatically position the lens at that exact spot when you pull the lens out.

Perhaps they will be set OK already.

If you are not using the rangefinder the infinity stops are not needed, but some non-rangefinder cameras have them anyway. They can make setting up a shot a little quicker but they are not needed.

Patrick Dixon
15-Apr-2009, 15:01
I'm a newbie and I've just bought a Busch Pressman too. It hasn't arrived yet, but I've got a lens - so I've been practicing with the lens. I can already see that I might want swings (which AFAIK the Pressman doesn't do), but there must be a way to modify it.

Gene McCluney
15-Apr-2009, 17:51
Just open the shutter on the lens, set the lens to the widest aperture and view the ground glass while moving the front standard in and out and you will see it snap into focus. Clamp your front standard just short of focus, and then use the knob geared focusing track to "fine tune" the focus. This is assuming you will be working on a tripod and not trying to use the built-in rangefinder, which should be calibrated to ONE lens, which you don't have.