My new $30 field camera!

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MattCarey

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Heya,

I just got a new toy--a Burke and James press camera. It came with a nice 150mm Ektar and a polaroid back. I've seen the Ektar go for something like $100 and the polaroid back for $50 at the higher end at auction...so I figure the camera itself set me back about $30. ($30 makes a nice hook for the subject line, don't it!)

After learning on a B&J orbit (monorail), it is sooo nice to have something small enough to carry around. The B&J cameras don't carry a great reputation, but I really like this toy. Rotating back, a good amount of front movements, fairly long bellows, drop bed, same lensboards as the orbit.

Drawbacks:
1) the shutter only goes to 200. Sorta slow for hand-held.
2) the shutter doesn't seem to have x-sync. It has the old kodak ASA connector and no switch for x-sync. My 127mm Ektar has 1/400 sec top speed and a switch for x-sync. Still the same connector, but a bit more convenient for hand-held shots.
3) not the most rigid platform I could imagine.
4) only a spring-back. But, if I want to do roll-film, I have a mini-speed (although that is the one camera I may put on the auction block myself).

Seems like the week for new press cameras around APUG.

Take care,

Matt
 

ian_greant

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hmmm based on that theory I think my B&J's press cam was free... heh! :wink:
Had it nearly three years now. It's been a truly fabulous camera.
 

Dave Parker

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I know a bunch of guys who shot B&J press cameras back in the day, and still say they were great cameras for what they were designed to do..


Dave
 

jd callow

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Its raining press cameras on APUG.
Let me know if you want to trade the 150 ektar for my 135 Optar with bi-pole and x sync...
 

Nick Zentena

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Using that math mine was free to-)

Not sure what you mean about not stable? The things all metal. Some rollfilm holders fit spring backs. The 200 shutter speed isn't an issue since you can always swap out the lenses.
 
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MattCarey

MattCarey

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Nick Zentena said:
Using that math mine was free to-)

Not sure what you mean about not stable? The things all metal. Some rollfilm holders fit spring backs. The 200 shutter speed isn't an issue since you can always swap out the lenses.

Just that it isn't as rigid as the monorail. Mostly I see this in the tilt. In the monorail, I can tighten the screws and really get the standard rigid in the correct place. I can also do this while looking through the glass if I wish. With the press, the standard isn't held as stiff in place when tilted. Also, I wonder a bit about vibrations in the front bed. Of course, this isn't going to make much difference, as I will not be enlarging many negatives.

I have a 180mm lens with a better shutter (a good 1/400s). However, it doesn't fold up nicely in the camera!

Matt
 

Dave Parker

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MattCarey said:
Just that it isn't as rigid as the monorail. Mostly I see this in the tilt. In the monorail, I can tighten the screws and really get the standard rigid in the correct place. I can also do this while looking through the glass if I wish. With the press, the standard isn't held as stiff in place when tilted. Also, I wonder a bit about vibrations in the front bed. Of course, this isn't going to make much difference, as I will not be enlarging many negatives.

I have a 180mm lens with a better shutter (a good 1/400s). However, it doesn't fold up nicely in the camera!

Matt

Comparing a mono to a press, is like comparing Apples to oranges, the press is an entirly different type of camera, designed for a completly different type of shooting.

I am sure you will have a blast.

Dave
 
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MattCarey

MattCarey

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mrcallow said:
Its raining press cameras on APUG.
Let me know if you want to trade the 150 ektar for my 135 Optar with bi-pole and x sync...

I probably won't be taking you up on that offer. However, I could be convinced to place some flash bulbs in your mailbox, should you want to take on Darth Vader with your new flash.

Matt
 

jd callow

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Darth's my Pal

I joined the dark slide a long time ago luke err Matt.
 

Nick Zentena

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I've never put any big lenses on mine but when tightened it was pretty stiff.

My G-Claron 150mm folded inside but it's kind of dim.
 

Ole

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MattCarey said:
...
1) the shutter only goes to 200. Sorta slow for hand-held.
...

What???? I've shot my 5x7" Technika hand-held at 1/50 - the fastest speed on a Compound #5 shutter. Thanks to the weight of the camera, the negatives were pin sharp, even with a 300mm lens.

1/200 is NOT too slow for hand-held with 4x5" film!
 

jd callow

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Ole,
What is your technique, is it what we see in your Avatar? Are you an average bloke like the rest of us or do you have some asgardian blood flowing through your veins?

Seriously, I am interested in how to properly handhold a press camera. I can hh my Mamiya 6 at very slow speeds, but it is egronomically perfect with a vibration free shutter.
 

Ole

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Quite correct - except that in my avatar I'm only aiming. I then locked the focus, set and cocked the shutter, attached the cable release, inserted film holder. The pulled dark slide, lifted camera, aimed, and stepped on the air bulb of the release.
 

cjarvis

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I also own a B&J Press camera. It looks like a complete disaster, but it's light tight and tough little camera. I think Speeds/Crowns are better suited to shooting handheld, but for the price, the B&Js offer the best bang for the buck.
 
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