View Full Version : Horseman Press camera..info needed please

Washington Bob
27-Jun-2011, 08:18
Hi Everybody,
A photography studio that was open from 1979 to 1994 in a nearby town is selling off the items they used then. I am looking at a Horseman Press camera # 403427 with a lens that reads Horseman PS 1/3.5 f105cm #843090 Seikcosha SLV. There are two back with this camera marked Horseman 10exp/120 and they are lever action backs.

I have looked online for info about Horseman cameras but have found little to help me out. I am hoping someone on this board will recognize this model Horseman and be able to give me some more info on it.

I want to use this to take B&W photos of old mines and equipment in the woods where I hike. I am sorry that I have no photos to show at this time but the elderly lady that is showing me this camera seems somewhat fragile and I did not want to be a pain for her at this time.

If this camera would be useful for landscape type work I would like to purchase it from her and put it back into use. Any help at all would be most appreciated.


28-Jun-2011, 07:31
It sounds like you have found one of the Horseman technical cameras.

Have you found this link (http://home.ml.lv/lizard/horseman/index.htm)?
Or this (http://www.bnphoto.org/bnphoto/LFN/CamProf_Horseman1.htm)one?

I have always found the Horseman technical cameras intriguing, but never quite intriguing enough to cause me to buy one. If I did not own a Fuji GW690 rangefinder camera it might be more irresistible. I wonder about the utility of movements on a 6x9 camera. I find 4x5 to be about as small a focusing screen as I want to use when determining optimal swings and tilts. The fiddlyness of typical press/technical camera movements (I don't have specific experience with the Horseman) could make the process even more difficult. Finally, I have found sheet film to be more apt than roll film for my very slow rate of image making.

Washington Bob
28-Jun-2011, 08:25
Thankyou Alan for your post...it is most helpful.There is not alot of info on these cameras on the net and I have yet to see anything specifically for the Horseman Press camera. I will continue my search and I sincerely thank everyone for helping me find info.

Robbie Bedell
28-Jun-2011, 11:14
Bob, I have owned two Horseman 6x9 technical camera. The older on is the 970. You can distinguish this from the newer 980 and 985s (and the even newer that are VH) by the color of the bodies and the viewfinder/rangefinders. The 970 has gray leatherette and the newer ones are all black. Some of the 970s did not have a number on them, just a plaque that says 'Horseman Press Camera.' The earlier one also has just one frame line in the viewfinder, for a normal lens. The 980 and 985 have frames for a number of lenses, making for what some people regard as a very 'busy' finder. The newer cameras have more movements that the 970, which has limited movement by comparison. The older Horseman lenses are all chrome.

Robbie Bedell
28-Jun-2011, 11:21
Bob, Sorry, I ran out of space. A lot of people think the earlier lenses are not that good, and frankly I have to agree. The newer Horsemen lenses are were made by Topcon and are very good. All of the lenses need the proper cams attached to focus correctly using the rangefinder. Using just the ground glass you can use any lens that will fit. Perhaps the woman will let you shoot a roll through it and you can decide from there. I may be mistaken about some of this as I sold my Horseman cameras a few years ago. I would say that if the outfit is not very expensive, give it a try. Otherwise there are lots of medium format cameras out there to choose from. Horseman cameras require patience. Hope this helps! Robbie Bedell


Washington Bob
28-Jun-2011, 13:49
Thankyou Robbie for your reply...it is most helpful. I hope to be able to obtain this wonderful camera and learn all of its' uses. I am retired and in no rush when I take images. The more I can find out about this camera the better I will be able to make use of it. Thankyou again for your help.

28-Jun-2011, 15:03
Bob, I've owned one of the 980s since 1976, bought new from Calumet. It was a mature design then, like a Japanese 1950s Linhof, but nothing wrong with that. I rarely use the viewfinder, I set up the shot with the ground-glass then swap out the roll film back. I shoot urban landscape, so I'm using the front movements 95% of the time. The back is mounted on four bolts with a kind of ball-head setup that buys you a bit more extension for setups, or a crude set of back movements, depending on how you set the bolts. It's better than nothing, but I rarely need it.
The lenses are fine below f11 or so. I use the 65 a lot and it is a fine lens, also have a 90, 150 and 240 tele.
The camera is extremely rugged, a bit heavy, but compact so it sits well in a shoulder bag with the back and meter. Of course the way I use it, a tripod is needed as well, but nothing really hefty so it's a comfortable load for hiking around the city. I once did a portrait project with it, but that was a real challenge and I eventually got a Hassy instead.
KEH is probably the best starting point for establishing values. If the price is right, and the bellows are good, and you can source the lensboards, it's the kind of camera you keep for 35 years.

Washington Bob
29-Jun-2011, 10:39
Thankyou Tim for the good advice. I am hoping to use this camera for a vintage look portrait camera at a local museum. It has a Horseman PS 105cm f/3.5 lens on it currently and I am hoping that will suffice for these portraits in B&W.

Most of all, I want to get this camera back into use for these portraits and then hike with it to photograph some old mine equipment back in the hills.

At this point I still have lots of questions but that is what makes photography so interesting for me. Thanks again for your help.


1-Jul-2011, 12:57
I purchased one of these cameras, from the above descriptions, a newer model without a film back. Unfortunately, the standard horseman film backs do not fit. I get a little better fit from the singer/graflex back--but it wiggles loose.

Does anyone know how to find proper backs for these cameras?


1-Jul-2011, 19:09
I purchased one of these cameras, from the above descriptions, a newer model without a film back. Unfortunately, the standard horseman film backs do not fit. I get a little better fit from the singer/graflex back--but it wiggles loose.

Does anyone know how to find proper backs for these cameras?


Which camera? 970, 980, 985, VHR? Which back? Lever wind or knob wind? They should all be interchangeable.