View Full Version : Wisner Pocket Expedition

5-Feb-1998, 16:31
I am new new to large format photography, but from the limited experience that I have playing with a Linhof Technika, and exposing 50 sheets (mostly Polaroid) or so, I think I might grow to like this hooby quite a bit. The light weight (less than 4 lbs) field cameras such as the Wista DX are quite attractive to me in terms of compactness and ligh t weight.

I haven't seen too many comments regarding the Wisner Pocket Expedition whose sp ecs on paper seem quite attractive, although the price at around $2500 is quite steep.

I would appreciate comments from experienced owners/users, especially in comparison with the Wista DX II.


- Phong

Robert Ruderman
5-Feb-1998, 17:45
Check out the latest issue of View Camera magazine. There's a whole review of t he Wisner Pocket Expedition camera there.

A member of the LF community
9-Feb-1998, 18:48
I generally don't believe in anonymous posts, but this question (and first respo nse) raises an interesting issue that I couldn't address AND sign my name: the l arge-format community is really quite tiny, close, and generally friendly. Every body basically likes and tries to help everyone else, and there is very little b ad blood (except between Ron Wisner and Fred Picker, but that was years ago!). T he editor of ViewCamera magazine is apparently quite a good friend of Ron Wisner 's, which partly explains why Wisner's name is all over most issues of ViewCamer a and may or may not be why the reviews of his cameras found there tend to be ra ther, um, affirming (the other reason may be that Ron's cameras simply are that good, and no one denies that he knows what he's talking about with respect to la rge-format).

In answer to Phong's question (and he may not be in the U.S., making it hard for him to pick up the latest issue of ViewCamera), the jury is still out on the Po cket Expedition, not because there's anything wrong with it but because it's onl y been available for a few weeks and only a handful have been sold so far--and v iew camera users know it takes a long time to really get to know a camera. So yo u may want to put off buying one until it's been put through its paces for awhil e, although in fairness I should note that Wisners are valued quite highly by th eir users--in other words, the track record looks promising. If you like his oth er cameras, you're not likely to find this one lacking. My only specific advice is to actually at least see and touch an example of any camera before you buy it , and remember that most good 4x5 field cameras all weigh within a pound or two of each other so weight usually isn't THE main deciding factor when buying.

I am an acquaintance of numerous people in the manufacturing, publishing, and se lling realms of the aforementioned friendly view camera community, which is why I'm uncomfortable signing my name. Sorry; I hope you understand.

10-Feb-1998, 00:41
Thanks for the comments.

Upon Robert's suggestion, I picked up the current issue of View Camera and read the review. I do not know of the reviewer (Gene Kennedy), so take his comments with some guarded caution. I do appreciate that the review does not read like a press release from the manufacturer, and mentions a few (minor) features that c ould be improved. I also notice that there are two other articles related to Ro n Wisner and his products. One is a discussion among View Camera, Ron Wisner an d Roger Hicks regarding old and new lenses; the other article is on "Wisner Cove rtible Lenses" [sic]. As a (anonymous) Member of the LF Community commented, Wi sner has a presence in View Camera.

I actually am in Massachusetts, as is Wisner, and conceivably may arrange for a visit to Ron Wisner to actually see and touch and play with the camera. Meanwhi le, I would still appreciate any comments from experienced users.

Compactness and light weight (less than 4 pounds, more or less) are two importan t attributes to me. I like my Linhof Technika very much, but would consider a l ighter, more compact 4x5 camera.

- Phong

Brian Ellis
12-Mar-1998, 11:06
With respect to the question of comparative weights of field cameras, it's true that all of them are within three pounds or so of each other. However, the heavi er field cameras (six pounds and up) generally require heavier tripods. When I o wned a Linhoff Technikardan (about 6 1/2 pounds) I considered it necessary to us e a Gitzo tripod (I forget the model number) and a Gitzo ball head. The combinat ion weighed, if memory serves correctly, about six pounds. With a 3 1/2 pound ca mera (a Tachihara) I believe I can get away with a Bogen 3021 tripod and an Arca Swiss small ball head. That combination weighs about 3 pounds. Thus the weight savings from going to the lighter weight camera and lighter tripod is about 6 1/ 2 pounds. That translates to a big difference when you've been hiking for a whil e.

Patrick Raymore
17-Mar-1998, 20:03
I have always been interested in lighter LF cameras, but for somewhat different reasons than Brain (see previous comments). I find that it is not just the overa ll weight that matters but the concentration on weight within the camera. Right now I use the metal Wista SP and/or the Linhof IV. When you put any of these two cameras into any bag, or back pack, there is a definite shift in the center gra vity. It is not just a problem with weight but concentrated weight. There are ma ny camera bags that can easily carry 20 pounds of gear but cant carry my Linhof . It is not just a matter of space but that of weight distribution. I would love to have a LF camera light enough to be carried in a fanny pack but I have not y et to seen a fanny pack strong to carry my linhof without serious sag and shape distortion. The Metal Canham is a candidate but since it doesnt have a linhof f ront standard my lenses would not be interchangeable which is another story.

18-Mar-1998, 03:30
As to weight.... A LF camera has weight only until you decide what to do with it... Then it evaporates into a view and eventually resulting in a slight noise of the shutter, giving you what you aimed for....

Regards, JohnD