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Thread: Need 4x5 field camera buying advice- Wista?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    May 2018
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    5

    Need 4x5 field camera buying advice- Wista?

    So, I made the leap to LF about 2 months ago with a Crown Graphic and I'm hooked! In my zeal to put together a kit, however, my research has fallen short, and I'm looking for the help of you experienced users. My LF photography will be about 80% landscape, 10% portrait, and 10% other. I currently have the Crown, the 135mm Optar 4.7 it came with, and have added a 90mm Fujinon 5.6 in a Copal #0, and a 254mm Caltar 6.3 in an Acme #3 (I will use the 90mm most, then the 135). I didn't pay enough attention to knowing the size of the camera throat and quickly discovered the Fujinon wouldn't fit (yes, I could disassemble it each time, but with a Graphic back it just does not make sense in the field). I'm not looking for movements (although I'm sure I would quickly use them if I had the option), metal is fine over wood, and I really like the portability and durability of a field camera that quickly folds/unfolds, and has a cover over the GG. I would prefer to stay in the $500-$700 range, have a Braflok-Style back, and am leaning towards the Wista SP. I see that the Wista w/o bellows extensions maxes out at about 12". My questions are:

    1. Will the Fujinon fit through the throat without disassembly? (I see them for sale with Wista boards, but figured I should double-check.)
    2. Will the Caltar (#3 shutter) fit? If so, will I be able to get a reasonable minimum focusing distance?
    3. Will it be any big deal to get new lens boards to fit the Wista? (I believe they are 96mm x 99mm) Can I use just standard flat boards?
    4. Would you have different camera recommendations based on my requirements?

    Thank you in advance for any assistance you can provide. I have shot 10 exposures so far and developed them myself (including a few with some Plus-X from 1976) and am having a ball!

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Shodoshima, Japan
    Posts
    932

    Re: Need 4x5 field camera buying advice- Wista?

    1. The Fujinon will fit, as will any lens with a rear diameter of 79mm or less.
    2. a. See 1.
    2. b. The formula for this is 1/focal length = 1/subject distance + 1/image distance Solving this for a 254mm lens at a distance of 300mm from the ground glass gives a result of 1,656mm = ~5.5 feet. This is not exact, but you get the idea. Top hat boards are available if you'd like to focus closer. Wista cameras ca use wide angle and long bellows along with extension beds for even longer lenses, but will need support.
    3. Wista cameras use Lnhof Technika type boards that are easily available.
    4. There are a number of field cameras, and everyone will have a bias depending on their own experience. Everyone is different, and it's a good thing to have choices. I personally like Wista field cameras and for monorails I prefer the older Toyo D45M and Sinar P2/X.

    Kumar

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Location
    GA
    Posts
    10,872

    Re: Need 4x5 field camera buying advice- Wista?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wjdoyle View Post
    So, I made the leap to LF about 2 months ago with a Crown Graphic and I'm hooked! In my zeal to put together a kit, however, my research has fallen short, and I'm looking for the help of you experienced users. My LF photography will be about 80% landscape, 10% portrait, and 10% other. I currently have the Crown, the 135mm Optar 4.7 it came with, and have added a 90mm Fujinon 5.6 in a Copal #0, and a 254mm Caltar 6.3 in an Acme #3 (I will use the 90mm most, then the 135). I didn't pay enough attention to knowing the size of the camera throat and quickly discovered the Fujinon wouldn't fit (yes, I could disassemble it each time, but with a Graphic back it just does not make sense in the field). I'm not looking for movements (although I'm sure I would quickly use them if I had the option), metal is fine over wood, and I really like the portability and durability of a field camera that quickly folds/unfolds, and has a cover over the GG. I would prefer to stay in the $500-$700 range, have a Braflok-Style back, and am leaning towards the Wista SP. I see that the Wista w/o bellows extensions maxes out at about 12". My questions are:

    1. Will the Fujinon fit through the throat without disassembly? (I see them for sale with Wista boards, but figured I should double-check.)
    2. Will the Caltar (#3 shutter) fit? If so, will I be able to get a reasonable minimum focusing distance?
    3. Will it be any big deal to get new lens boards to fit the Wista? (I believe they are 96mm x 99mm) Can I use just standard flat boards?
    4. Would you have different camera recommendations based on my requirements?

    Thank you in advance for any assistance you can provide. I have shot 10 exposures so far and developed them myself (including a few with some Plus-X from 1976) and am having a ball!
    1 The opening in the Wista front standard is 80mm.
    2 the shutter will fit. Your real question is will the rear group of your lens fit through the 80mm hole.
    3 the Wista field cameras use Linhof Technika lV and later type boards. They are the most common boards used.

    The Wista field cameras are not limited to 12. They offer extension beds and bellows out to much longer extensions as accessories.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    May 2018
    Posts
    5

    Re: Need 4x5 field camera buying advice- Wista?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Salomon View Post
    1 The opening in the Wista front standard is 80mm.
    2 the shutter will fit. Your real question is will the rear group of your lens fit through the 80mm hole.
    3 the Wista field cameras use Linhof Technika lV and later type boards. They are the most common boards used.

    The Wista field cameras are not limited to 12. They offer extension beds and bellows out to much longer extensions as accessories.
    Bob,
    Thank you for your reply. The Fujinon has a 80mm rear element diameter so it sounds like it will just make it. Your reply about a #3 shutter makes sense; I was concerned about a website that said the Wista would only accept a #0 and a #1 so Im happy to hear that was wrong. Next step is to sell the Crown and start looking for a replacement!

  5. #5

    Join Date
    May 2018
    Posts
    5

    Re: Need 4x5 field camera buying advice- Wista?

    Kumar,

    Your input is most appreciated. It looks like the Wista would work with what I have for lenses, and it appears they are reasonably priced. I also think I would get a fair amount of years out of it before I needed/wanted anything different.

    Bill

  6. #6
    Dave Karp
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    2,926

    Re: Need 4x5 field camera buying advice- Wista?

    I purchased a similar Wista VX from Kumar and like it very much. It is not exactly like your Crown Graphic, but much of its operation will seem familiar to you. The Wista is very well made and robust. I purchased a top hat lensboard and extension tubes for it that allow me to use lenses longer than 300mm. If you want a metal field camera, I think a Wista is a very nice choice.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Location
    GA
    Posts
    10,872

    Re: Need 4x5 field camera buying advice- Wista?

    Quote Originally Posted by David Karp View Post
    I purchased a similar Wista VX from Kumar and like it very much. It is not exactly like your Crown Graphic, but much of its operation will seem familiar to you. The Wista is very well made and robust. I purchased a top hat lensboard and extension tubes for it that allow me to use lenses longer than 300mm. If you want a metal field camera, I think a Wista is a very nice choice.
    The extension boards will only let you use lenses whose rear element fit the hole in the extension tube. If it is larger the about 80mm in diameter it wont fit into the tube!

  8. #8
    Dave Karp
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    2,926

    Re: Need 4x5 field camera buying advice- Wista?

    Bob, that is true, but with my Wista I use smaller lenses like the 300mm Nikkor M, 180mm Fujinon A, etc. I have a set of extension tubes so I can use the 450mm Fujinon C. It works well and is surprisingly stable. They are not very heavy. The tubes are much easier and more compact, in my opinion, than carrying a long bellows and extension bed.

    The 90mm Fujinon that the original poster wants to use does have a large rear element. It is not going to need an extension lens board. It is more likely that he will find he needs less extension, i.e., a bag bellows.

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