View Full Version : Wista 45 SP Temptation
Do I really need this camera (pictured below)?
It's a second-hand Wista 45 SP with a bunch of accessories being offered for a good price (good where I'm at anyways).
I have been using a Horseman 45FA and appreciate its light weight and easy handling in general, but there are a couple of glitches: a) only a limited range of lenses can be used due to the small lens board, b) it's out of production and parts are quite hard to come by – it's even difficult to find lens boards – and c) limited bellows extension.
The Wista, on the other hand is still available (in its latest incarnation), as are a good selection of interchangeable bellows, a rail extension, and more. It's a bit heavier than the Horseman (2.4 kg vs. 2 kg), but it uses Linhof standard lens boards which are widely available, and will handle a wide range of lenses.
Anybody have any experience with both cameras? Is there any good reason why I should just stick with the Horseman?
I never had the Horseman but the Wista SP I owned was very nice. Switching bellows is a little more painful than a monorail and using it with longer lenses seems like it would be a hassle, but for a normal range of lenses it's really great. The sliding roll film back pictured might be fun or worthless depending on your intentions (I don't see the point of using roll film with a 4x5.)
That sounds like one "yes, you need that camera" to me.
What made you get rid of the Wista SP you previously owned?
I use an old beat up Wista for my 4x5. I like that I can fold it up and throw it in the back seat without worry. It's almost bullet proof. I think I paid three hundred or three fifty for it. I don't use any roll film backs or accessory bellows with it though and I use lenses from 90 - 300 w/o problem. The 90 is the least used though, usually opting for 110. That's my quick cam, I can set up and focus within a minute or so. Before that I had a pristine Zone VI 4x5 and Toyo 45 CF, for ME the wista won out easily.
So I think it just depends on what you are looking for. IMO it's a great grab and go camera. Oh, I did spring for a right angle monocular viewer for it so I don't need a dark cloth for that one. That makes it a little faster for me.
Would a 45mm Rodenstock Grandagon be usable with the bag bellows on the Wista 45 series? I don't think any movements would be possible, of course.
Why I sold my SP? I am very fickle and cheap, so I sell one thing to buy another... Right now there are about a dozen cameras "I never should have sold..." But I figure that thanks to the internet I can buy just about anything back later on, and if I am careful I can break even or get the equivalent of a "free 6-month rental."
Some of the Early Wista SP's did not have front swing. If that is important, you may want to check that out. I have a Wista VX that I like very much. The shortest lens that I have is a 75mm and it works very well with a recessed board and the bag bellows. I find the bellows fairly easy to change, although as Frank says, a mono rail is easier.
I heard about the lack-of-swing problem on early SPs and will definitely check that carefully before I buy. I'll be meeting it face-to-face sometime today, and if it doesn't swing it ain't my thing (lyrical, aren't I).
But if it has have all the required movements and is in good shape, judging from the responses thus far I should probably go for it. "Bulletproof" is a feature I like as well.
I checked out the Wista today and it turned out to be "pre-SP": i.e. the version that doesn't have front swing.
So much for that. I'll wait for for something better to come along.
Thank you all for your comments.
So, Kent, did you find a better Wista 45 SP?
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