View Full Version : Hello form Calgary - new to LF (already have a question!)

Patrick Gauthier
23-Jan-2016, 18:40
I've just taken the leap from medium to large format photography and I'm really excited! My wista 45n + Fujinon 150mm f/6.3 came in the mail yesterday. The shutter and camera function beautifully and I'm eager to take my first shots. Alas, I can't focus at all. . . .I thought I knew a little bit about photography but am left utterly humbled.

Here are some details:

1) the camera has a revolving back with a "wista" engraved ground glass.
2) from looking at other 45n's the ground glass seems to be placed properly (between the lens and the inside of the holder).
3) i've taken the lens off the camera and have been able to focus on objects no problem just looking through it.
4) i've removed the front and rear lens element and re-fastened them to make sure they are tight.
5) I've tried every bellows extension (66mm to 300mm) on objects near and far and have only been able to focus on objects ~> 12 feet away (and only at ~300mm bellows extension).
6) rear-tilt of the rear standard is the only movement that helps with focussing, all other movements either make it worse or have no noticeable effect.
8) I tried all of the above in daylight (i.e., plenty of light and bright ground glass) and used a tripod.

I'm not sure what else to try, and was hoping you could help! I'm probably missing something simple.

Thanks in advance,


Sirius Glass
23-Jan-2016, 21:01
Welcome to Large Format Photography Forum

Doremus Scudder
24-Jan-2016, 03:34

Let's see if we can solve your problem.

Be aware that the problem may not be with you, but with your equipment, so look for anomalies in that respect as well.

First, I 150mm lens should focus at infinity with the lensboard approximately 150mm (6 inches) from the ground glass. Set up your camera on a tripod pointed at a distant scene (horizon), set the shutter to open and the aperture all the way open (f/6.3 in your case) and set the distance between front standard and lens at approximately 150mm.

Now, look at the ground glass. You should see at least blurry outlines of the horizon and a few objects. Adjust focus by turning the focus knob (which in your case should move the front standard back and forth). The image should get better/worse and you should be able to find a spot where it is in sharp focus.

If any of these things aren't working as described, you've likely got a problem. E.g., if the front standard isn't moving back and forth, or you can't get an improvement in focus within a short distance one way or the other from your starting point, etc.

If your lens is defective, or has the wrong elements (or elements swapped) it may not form a sharp image at all. This would be cause for return.

Keep us posted and we'll help you through this. Some pictures would be nice too.

Good luck,


Patrick Gauthier
24-Jan-2016, 10:03
Hi Doremus,

Thanks for your reply. Like I said the only extension the lens focusses at is around 300mm on distant objects. The camera functions great, no problems as all. So I'm guessing it must be the lens, but I can still look through it off camera and get it to focus on things (text on my computer monitor) about 4-5 inches away.


Patrick Gauthier
24-Jan-2016, 11:12
Here are some photos illustrating the issue.

Here is looking through the ground glass with bellows extended to 150mm from ground glass to lens board (not in focus)
Here is the camera with bellows extended to 150mm

Here is looking through the ground glass with bellows extended to 300mm from ground glass to lens board (in focus)
Here is the camera with bellows extended to 300mm

more coming in the next post. .

Patrick Gauthier
24-Jan-2016, 11:23
Here is the lens
Here is the lens focussing on text on my monitor from ~4-5 inches away (in focus)

here is the lens on the the camera at 300mm bellows extension without the ground glass (in focus)

Patrick Gauthier
24-Jan-2016, 11:29
Here is the ground glass off the camera from top and bottom


I'm really miffed. It's like the 150mm lens is actually a 300mm lens.

Randy Moe
24-Jan-2016, 11:53
Perhaps your lens is missing an element...

You also should identify your location as perhaps local help is already here.


24-Jan-2016, 12:45
Patrick... You have a PM. Thank-you!

24-Jan-2016, 13:13

there is a large format photography group in Calgary. They meet once a month and there is a email list. I get the emails and have been out shooting with two of them once but cannot drive 3 hours for a mid week meeting. I am not sure if Eric Rose is still active on this forum but he is one of the members.

Randy Moe
24-Jan-2016, 15:57
I see you do have a location, i missed that...

I wear glasses, but they seldom work.


24-Jan-2016, 18:10
Welcome to large format! I'm just a ways up north of you in Whitehorse.

Patrick Gauthier
24-Jan-2016, 19:26
With Taija71A's help I think I've figured it out.

After taking a closer inspection at the rear lens element and comparing it with photos of other Fujinon W 150mm's, I realize now that my lens was shipped with the wrong rear element! It looks like it may be the rear element of the Fujinon W 150mm f5.6 (instead of the f6.3), or maybe another lens.

Here's my lens with the rear element

here's another fujinon W 150mm f6.3 showing a much smaller rear element

and here's a fujinon W 150mm f5.6 showing a rear element very similar to mine

anyone have a spare rear element for a fujinon 150mm f6.3? :)

24-Jan-2016, 21:56
Thank-you for the kind words Patrick. Greatly appreciated!
It was a real pleasure speaking with you. Glad to be of some assistance...

Best regards, -Tim.

Doremus Scudder
25-Jan-2016, 02:35

It would seem that the lens is to blame. If you can get your hands on another, know-to-work, lens and try it out you can definitively eliminate camera problems.

If your lens was sold to you by a reputable dealer/private party, they should take it back if it is indeed defective or a "Frankenlens" mishmash of unmatched elements.

FWIW, the Fuji 150mm f/6.3 lenses were four element lenses (in three groups) while the f/5.6 150s are plasmats, i.e. six elements in four or six groups. The plasmats are generally better and have more coverage.