Back in the day when I used to shoot a lot of 4×5 film I had a studio mono-rail setup and a Linhof Technika IV. I loved that Technika, it was so damn well made and the controls were all precision and smooth to operate. The later model Technika’s only real downfall was the hefty weight. That camera was stout and by stout I mean you could kill a bear with it. That translated into a sore back when carrying in the field which is what I did with it most of the time. It was easily twice as heavy as most field 4×5 cameras and three times as heavy as something lightweight like a Tachihara.
The title of this article is the “American” Linhof and since Linhof is German, clearly this needs to shift gears. And so it shall. Recently I picked up a Busch Pressman 4×5 camera at Blue Moon Camera in Portland, OR. The Pressman is a metal press 4×5 camera that is similar to a Linhof Technika III. It is notably lighter than the Technika IV and similar in weight to the Technika III. Like the Linhofs, the Pressman was designed for press style photography and was offered with a rangefinder as well as a variety of optional hand grips. As a 4×5 view camera it offers some handy field style front movements including tilt, rise, and shift. The camera has excellent quality and feels as well made as a Technika III but not as refined as the later Technika IV and V.