Allen's Blog

Posts tagged ‘camera’:

The Busch Pressman Model D – A (Decidedly) Non-Pocket-Size Point-and-Shoot

I recently acquired a 4×5 camera that I’d never heard of before: a Busch Pressman Model D, vintage late 50’s. About 40+ years ago, my assignment editor at the AP had given me one of his ancient Speed Graphics, but it mostly sat on the shelf as a curiosity item. The Busch camera, made in Chicago,  is something else entirely – an aluminum body, precision machining of all the controls, multiple viewfinder and framing options, including a flip up wire frame; and it folds up just like the Graflex series of 4×5’s. the lens is a Wollensak 135mm Raptar (made in Rochester). I don’t know how many of this and other Busch models were made, but it was certainly a workhorse for press photographers in the days when 4×5 dominated. And for breaking news, with a film holder in place, the dark slide pulled, and the wire frame viewfinder up, it really was a point-and-shoot (assuming you’d read the light correctly and set the shutter and f/stop correctly).

Busch Pressman Model D

Busch Pressman manual

Although much of its operation is intuitive (no electronics or multi-level menus), I still wanted some kind of instruction manual, and, of course, turned to Google. That quickly led me to a site that has manuals and documentation for a very wide range of cameras, lenses, and accessories. Everything  can be downloaded in PDF format, and all that the fellow behind the site asks is an “honor system” payment of $3.00. No problems there, my three bucks are in the mail today. Many thanks to Michael Butkus for that.

I haven’t had a chance to put the camera to work, yet, but if you’re interested, Flickr user Stuart Grout has a nice set of images to browse, experimenting with a variety of print materials. Otherwise, please enjoy a couple more angles on this very attractive vintage camera.

Busch Pressman Model D lens from aboveBusch Pressman Model D lens from below

My New Walking-Around Camera, the Sony RX100

Sony RX100

In a recent post, I wrote about David Pogue’s rave review of Sony’s RX100, the pocket-size camera with a Zeiss 1.8 lens and a big, big chip. Since then, I’ve read a number of write-ups and reviews, and what was “maybe” my next big purchase has become a reality that goes with me everywhere. Check out the specs and reviews for yourself, but here’s what stands out for me –

  • Instant shutter response
  • Beautiful image quality, even wide-open (due no doubt to the relatively huge chip that Sony has managed to use)
  • Great macro capability (the lack of which kept me from buying Canon’s G1X)
  • The ability to shoot both RAW and JPEG simultaneously (if you’re so inclined)
  • Great performance at high ISOs. Here’s a sample, ISO 6400, shot late at night on a flight back from L.A.

Photo of the plane's cabin on my red-eye flight back from L.A.

Menu navigation took a bit of learning (probably due to my advanced age), but now it’s quick and easy. FYI, Lightroom’s latest update handles RAW from the RX100 and a whole group of new cameras from a bunch of manufacturers.