View Full Version : Tower Press Camera

Tony Galt
17-Dec-2003, 13:36
On E-Bay right now there is a Tower Press Camera, presumably marketed by Sears in the 1940s or 50s and made by some other company. Who made Towers? (See: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2973281817&category=15247)

Kevin Crisp
17-Dec-2003, 14:05
Tony: I believe the Tower is a rebranded Busch camera. Heavy, solid, well made, has front tilt, rotating back, and (of all things) geared front shift. Small lens boards and narrow bellows that has trouble with lenses with large rear elements.

Lyle Aldridge
17-Dec-2003, 15:23
Kevin is correct, except for the "heavy." The Tower 4x5 was a rebadged Busch Pressman, well made, and quite solid, but weighing right at 5 pounds sans lens, thanks to its being of all-aluminum construction. With a 135mm f/4.5 Schneider Xenar attached, mine comes in at 5 pounds, 6.3 ounces on the postal scale (weighed just now). That's less than most, if not any, of the all-metal 4x5 field cameras on the market today. It is also quite compact, about an inch smaller than a Graphic in both height and width. Note, however, that the identical Busch version usually sells for less than half what the opening bid is for the Tower I see on e-bay.

Kevin Crisp
17-Dec-2003, 15:25
Heavy is a relative term. At least in my family.

Darin Cozine
17-Dec-2003, 17:59
You can find out more about the busch pressman/tower press here:


I really like my BP.. I hope to be using it more and more. Good movements, rotating back, and more compact than a speed/crown graphic. Main drawback is the small lens opening and hard-to-find lensboards. I modified mine so I could fit a 210mm caltar, but my 90mm SA fit before mod. But the asking price on that Tower is outrageous. BP's in mint condition sell for about $300, and others in used condition sell for about $100-200. I paid $100 for mine.

Jean-Louis Llech
18-Dec-2003, 01:15
I think that the main drawback is the lack of Graflock back for Roll-film holders, a feature that all Graflex cameras currently have.

Darin Cozine
18-Dec-2003, 01:59
The graflock back is not a big deal... you can get a calumet c2 roll film holder on ebay for around $100 if you really want to shoot rollfilm. If you are using the ground glass for focussing, the slide-in type holders are much easier to use than the graflock-type.

18-Dec-2003, 08:41
Don't forget that the busch pressman is tough as hell. an errant child bowled into my tripod at an scenic overlook. The camera was closed but the tripod was at full extension. The GG shattered from the impact. And that is all. It did not even pop open. little nick in the side is all th evisible evidence of a six foot fall.

Edward (Halifax,NS)
25-May-2004, 08:30
This is a close enough topic to bump instead of starting a new thread. I am getting tired of hauling around my CC400 and I am somewhere between cheap and poor. I only will be using one lens, 150mm G Claron, and will be focusing between 1:2 and 1:infinity. As for movements I use modest front tilt and rarely front swing. I only use plain old double dark cut film holders and prefer focusing on a gound glass. Would this camera be appropriate for me?

25-May-2004, 08:36
The B&J press camera is cheaper. The lensboards are basically the same as your CC400. Close enough if you make your own it's possible to use the same boards on both the Calumet and the B&J. I measured yesterday and mine is about 13" from the ground glass to the front of the lensboard. Lots of front movements. I'm not sure if the camera will fold up with the claron inside. If that matters remind me and I'll try it.

Edward (Halifax,NS)
25-May-2004, 08:43
The G Claron is the tiniest lens I have ever seen so if the camera will fold with anything it will be that one. And yes, folding wilth the lens inside is a great bonus.

25-May-2004, 09:02
My camera came with a Xenar 127mm mounted in a Linoff branded shutter. The 150mm Claron I have is now mounted in that shutter. I'll check latter and see if it closes. It all closed with the Xenar.

26-May-2004, 06:46
I use two step-up rings on my Claron. With both on it won't close. Taking one off and it closes fine.

Edward (Halifax,NS)
26-May-2004, 07:00
Thanks alot Nick.