View Full Version : Wisner Apologetics

Gary J. McCutcheon
12-Feb-2005, 00:36
I write this as a response to many threads in the last month or two related to the Wisner Company, Cameras and owner.

Several years ago I began a search for a new (or used) wooden field camera. The two year search ended in the purchase of a used Wisner Technical Field, 4x5, from Chuck Farmer, a great guy by the way. He checked the 5 year old camera out thoroughly for me and said it was nice, near new. I bought it without regret. I've used Sinar P2, Toyo G, Calumet, Ebony and Wista Cameras, and this TF was such a joy to use (not just look at) that it is now my main studio 4x5. I use it almost daily along with several hasselblads that I've used for almost 30 years. I use the Wisner for everything from portraits and commercial work to forensics for local attornies. I also do a great deal of fine art work that requires working outdoors, so I also wanted a camera with longer bellows than my Wista and just as light.

I had the opportunity to look at and play with a 4x5 Wisner Pocket Expedition over about a two year period at a local camera store. No one purchased it over this time and I finally bought it. All the talk on the internet about this camera being so fussy was simply opinion as I found it easy to use and set up. The controls are not a problem for my narrow fingers.

I look at all of my Wisner purchases as very prudent and well thought out and I have not had a problem with either camera. When I wanted the back of the PE modified to use Calumet roll backs (it was one of the first 35 PE's produced) I called Ron Wisner and asked him how long it would take. He said he could have it out in a week. I had heard of delays through the forums and received a solid promise from him that this would not be the case. He actually had the camera two days in shop and back to me in a week. All professionally handled and ahead of schedule.

One new, one used and I prefer these to all my other cameras. The Toyo G is the biggest, heaviest, sturdiest, most rigid camera I currently own and I still prefer to use the Wisners, in studio and out. Mr. Wisner may not be the best businessman according to posts here, but he builds a camera that fits my needs, and I bet a lot of Wisner owners out there feel the same. Both of my Wisner cameras are sturdy, full of movements, long in bellows and have wide angle capabilities no less convenient than other wooden cameras. The wide angle bellows for my TF works great with my 90mm and 65mm lenses and I can use the 65 on my PE without a bag bellows and have plenty of movement with the geared rise.

I do not have stock in the Wisner Company nor do I have a stake in his business viability. I do feel that any photographer who is looking for a fine wooden field camera should not stop considering a Wisner just because of what he reads in these forums. Who he buys from is another decision entirely. A good supportive dealer can be a great help. Buying a used (or new) Wisner from someone other than the factory may alleviate some anxiety. But even with the delays we all seem aware of, Mr. Wisner seems to get the job done sooner or ( many may agree) with later. I do not believe he is out to defraud anyone. He does build a camera that can't be matched for the price.

Wisner's business practices may be disorganized to his detriment, but my experience with his company has been positive. Good communication was an important factor in my experience. He said, she said, second and third hand information stated as fact serves no good purpose. Complaints with Wisner should go to Wisner and an effort made to correct things before ever being brought up on these pages. I for one, do not want to see one of the reasons for the revival of large format go under or retire early because of out of control rantings. Factual information by an injured party may get results if all forms of private communication has ended and there is an impass, but many of these attacks are defaming.

At this point I hope much of this has ended and those of you with positive Wisner experiences will speak up. I know you're out there.

Good light and photo on.


12-Feb-2005, 05:04
My first LF camera was a 8x10 pocket expedition that i bought used. The reason i chose a Wisner in my search was because the quality matched and in most cases exceeded other manufacturers. Now i think it would be safe to say that Mr. Wisner may never be given an honorary MBA from Harvard. But what many people fall to realize is the repercussions if Wisner Manufacturing made drastic changes. Ron could triple his work force, hire production schedulars, expand his machine shop and bellows departments. Now this would be all fine and well but this gorgeous 8x20 expedition i just bought now cost 7000.00 and it's out of my league. As for the 8x10 pocket expedition.....After a couple of years of use this little camera is still teaching me all of its movements and performing beyond what i expected. For instance I have an old 14 1/2 verito with the mounting flange on the end of the rear barrel, which puts all the lens sticking out from the lens board. ( very heavy to say the least) Normally i would support this lens with a monopod. Being without the monopod the other day I needed to use the verito for a portrait. This put a lot of strain on the front standard. The pocket expedition performed admirably, solid as a rock. My advice to someone who is in the market for a camera is to not believe anything you read in these forums, myself included ,but do as i did and go out and compare cameras and see for yourself. I think you'll find a Wisner will matchup against anything

Armin Seeholzer
12-Feb-2005, 05:58
Sorry but for me it sounds like an advertisment for Wisner.

I did no bussiness with him and I will never do it anyway, because there are to much bad comments on all different LF forums on him.
In Europe a company like Wisner would not exist anymore since a long time.
To have a bad reputation in EU is the killer for every bussiness. But I'm a lucky guy I do not like wooden cameras anyway, but if I ever would buy a woody then it would be a Ebony, Lotus, or Tachihara and never a Wisner but I'ts only my personell thinking about!
I do no bussiness with a company with bad reputation! I don't want gray hairs because of the troubles.
Just my opinion!

Jim Rice
12-Feb-2005, 06:13
I ADORE my 4x5 Tech. It's as simple as that.

12-Feb-2005, 06:36
Wisner Apology is needed!

Gem Singer
12-Feb-2005, 07:17
Gary and Robert,

The criticisms of Ron Wisner on this website were hardly ever aimed at his products. Mostly at his business practices. I have owned two Wisner 4X5 tech fields. As far as I'm concerned, they both were excellent examples of wooden flatbed folding field cameras. For the most part, they were well built and operated flawlessly.

The grounds for the complaints seem to be based on the way Ron Wisner makes promises that he fails to keep. For example, I'm still waiting for the newsletter that I paid him for in advance and never received. Others are waiting for items that they ordered months, or years ago. After many annoying phone calls, they were finally told that the item was shipped. Sometimes, it wasn't.

Being a manufacturer, Ron should have set up a network of dealerships and sold his products exclusively through those outlets. Instead, he often sells his products directly to the customer, bypassing the dealer and keeping the middleman's profit for himself. He charges to the customer's credit card at the time of the order and then takes months, even years, to deliver the item. In effect, borrowing the customer's money to finance his business. Legitimate dealers charge the credit card when the item is shipped.

Brian Ellis
12-Feb-2005, 09:12
As I recall from my freshman logic course this is called the Fallacy of the Straw Man or something like that, ie. invent an argument that nobody has made and then refute it. Few if any people have quesitoned Mr. Wisner's products when they have been bought from a retail store and thoroughly checked out in advance of the purchase. The criticisms surround his business practices, e.g. taking people's money with the promise that something would be sold or repaired by a certain time and then not delivering for years after the promised date but not returning the money when requested to do so, making false statements to the effect that the item has been shipped when it hasn't been or saying that it is ready and will be shipped the next day and it isn't, defective products bought from the factory (i.e. without a reputable retailer to check the product out) and similar practices. Often the fproblems have been compounded by a failure to respond to phone calls and e mail messages. So the fact that you like your camera is interesting but is totally unresponsive to the types of Wisner problems that typically are posted here and in other LF forums.

12-Feb-2005, 10:01
Brian, I speak solely from my personal experience. My own dealings with the Wisner Co. is all I can attest to. My last purchase from them, they not only met their lead time, they beat it by two weeks. But Like I said, that is my dealings with Wisner. As I posted before, I hold this forum and all who participate of the highest esteem. This forum is a wealth of info with many intelligent and talented people. So as someone new to ULF I find this forum priceless. But what concerns me are the defamatory remarks and the piling on of others who have never even owned a Wisner. These blatant attacks not only diminishes the integrity of this forum but speaks volumns to the character and integrity of those who make them.

Michael Kadillak
12-Feb-2005, 10:14
As Brian stated, I cannot remember anyone having a problem with the product in any way shape or form at any time. Ron has clearly made some very positive contributions to the world of LF by being ingenious and creative.

All I can say is that when you work hard to put together enought financial resources to make a serious LF purchase and you make the payment and your expectations are every day for the delivery man to knock on the door as promised and months go by with no package for you, it would be hard for me to believe that you would not be climbing the walls with concern. Probably the most helpless feeling in the world.

That is why I empathize with those that are caught up in these unfortunate events. They are honest people that are an integral part of the LF community and they did not ask for it or deserve to be treated like this. To disregard their position is essentially saying that they should just "get over it". You don't think that they call almost daily pleading for a resolution?

At this stage of the game, no excuses suffice. As as long as there are customer service shortcomings there will be an unfortunate string of posts commensurate with the activity.

Nothing would make me happier than to be able to honestly recommend a newcomer to this company in the same manner as I recommend people to Canham, Ebony, Walker, Wehman, Phillips and others. The more integrity there is within the infrastructure of this niche business, the better it is for everyone in it in the long term. When we accept a standard of performance that we know is far less than any reasonable person would expect, we only reinforce the sub standard practices. And this is particularly agrivating when it is an anomoly to otherwise sparkling customer service from other manufacturers.


Brian Vuillemenot
12-Feb-2005, 14:24
Hi Dan,

I'm curious as to why you have such a personal beef with Wisner, and have pursued such an aggressive campaign against him. Don't get me wrong, I totally agree with you as to his unacceptable business practices. Did Wisner wrong you at some point in the past?

12-Feb-2005, 14:31
Dear Mr. Smith, Please allow me to iterate this again. Apparently my literary prowess was lacking in my previous post. My opinions are based solely on my personal dealings with Wisner Mfg. My personal account of my dealings are not in defense of anyone, they are just facts. What I was trying to defend was the integrity of this forum. I think most will agree there is a better protocol to follow. There is the BBB and attorneys to handle such claims. If it must be brought to the forum please let it be the party in question and not some third party with a personal axe to grind toward Mr. Wisner. Mr. Smith I find your comments toward me, and I quote," So go ahead, defend Wisner & rest easy knowing you perpetuate the myth", not only unwarrented, but down right insulting. How dare you question my honesty about my personal dealings as perpetuating some myth. Now this is no longer about Mr Wisner, it is about me. And before it goes any further I think we should end it here. I would like to apologize to the host of this forum and all of its members for becoming party to the very thing I was trying to avoid

Gary J. McCutcheon
12-Feb-2005, 20:41

I'm merely expressing my experience with Wisner cameras. My experience with Ron Wisner has also been pleasant. This is not an endorsment or advertisement for Wisner. Just as there are many Ebony camera enthusiasts out there, there are also those of us who appreciate our Wisner or other brand cameras. I understand there may be many unfortunate experiences with the Wisner Company out there and these should be delt with in a reasonable manner. Calling Wisner cameras pieces of crap and cheap shit doesn't seem to be productive. Dan Smith seems to have some kind of vendeta against Mr. Wisner and many on this forum would like to know exactly what it is. The forum is filled with vile and aggressive remarks made by Dan Smith. So Dan, are you the self appointed Ralph Nader of Wisnerland? Maybe someone needs to look after us poor souls that can't look after ourselves, but it should be someone who doesn't resort to name calling and degrading remarks. Intellegence impairments must be running rampant.

Photo on


Stephen Willard
12-Feb-2005, 22:08
I have a Wisner 4x5 Expedition camera with an interchangeable 4x10 Expedition back standard. I have a Wisner 5x7 Pocket Expedition that can also interchange with my 4x10 back. I also have 5x7 to 4x5 reducing back for my 5x7 and a bag bellows for each configuration. I have had my system for many years now. I haul all my gear into the Colorado back country with my llamas for 31/2 mouths each year. They have been rained on, snowed on, scorched in desert heat, used relentlessly day after day, dropped, and slammed into trees by my llamas. They always work. They never stick or jam, and the photographs I have harvested with them over the years have been spectacular.

Have I had problems with Ron? A few, but in the big picture, I got a winning ticket. I hit home runs with these guys (my cameras) all summer long. How about you?

12-Feb-2005, 23:16
Wisner can and does make good cameras. Esp in ULF his cameras are the best for the bucks. An example is a Wisner 12x20 P is $4500.00. Canham 12x20 is $6000.00 last I looked, and Ebony is as expensive as a small japanese car...around $16000.00 and going up recently because of the plunging dollar in the world market. I have many overseas ulf buyers interested now because of this. Wisner like other camera makers has his pros and cons...we all know what they are by now. Thank you Dan;) But why beat a dead horse silly.... over and over and over and over..... It is good to be informed...but over and over and over...Jeeze!!!.

If you want to save a bundle buy a Wisner ULF. You may have a few more gray hairs in the waiting process but in the end if you persist, RW will come through, but you must be clear and persist. I do, and he has provided me with great cameras.

If you dont want Grecian formula for your hair then spend the extra $$$ for the other companies...but... even if you need to go/fly to the Wisner factory to straighten a problem out, RW is more than willing to do this to satisfy. So... you may have to spend a couple of hundred on the plane ticket...for a 12x20, you are still over a thousand dollars ahead over the next guy....or over 11 grand ahead for the Ebony. But if you are very, very clear on the phone this should not be necessary.

And for those that idolize and worship Ebony esp. and Canham for being saints in human clothing think again....Ebony especially.... sticks it bad to the customer with sky high prices...and then concurrently sticks it worse to their dealers with an incredibly tiny, tiny, tiny.... did I say TINY...(yes I did!).... small dinky markup...a pretty "sticky" ...if you know what I mean;)... if you don't...(Dollars/Euros just seem to stick to their/Ebonies unpresuming palms)...company in my opinion. Canham also has a small dealer markup bordering on the implausable. I often wondered why a major store like B&H doesnt stock Ebony....or Canham for that matter.....now I know. It's a miracle any store or dealer stocks these brands at all with their low, low margins for the people that sell and promote their products .... all LF people should be glad that the dealers that do stock...do so. Believe me, the dealers are barely making a penny off these 2 products. I've never seen anything like it in 11 years in retail. But...truth be spoken they (Ebony and Canham) both are great cameras with great service and.... you pay up the nose for it.
Dan Smith seems like a nice guy who is serious about photography (I spoke with him on the phone once a couple of years ago about our fave camera maker...Wisner of course) and he had much to say about him. I listened and was thankful for his input. But please Dan, don't hate all the Wisner dealers...we get it from all sides...the customer...the factory...the internet...we really do...we must be batty...we risk our cash...grow gray hair...believe me, we wouldnt do this if we didn't love photography...there are way easier ways to make a living! Try to also relax a bit about RW as it will give you an ulser in the end. I just returned from India and if you think we got it bad here with a camera fix or two...think again!

RW is also serious about photography and camera making and despite the problems loves his work and is willing to help and share with others.

My advice to both parties is to work on the personal weak points being mentioned here and try to improve personal reality.

From my point of view there are two sides to every story including this one. It is up to the buyer to research carefully from both sides and finally... decide which is the best camera company for them. Time/Money/Quality...pick 2 only...you can never have the 3 of them together.
Best light,

13-Feb-2005, 16:52
Watch out Dan.... I can feel your blood pressure rising ;)

Really though... if this is true about the news letter...RW should return the money...period!

Frank Petronio
13-Feb-2005, 20:25
Dan, most people here are going to tell you to be reasonable, mellow out, etc.

My advice is to hop a plane, go to the factory and raise hell until you get your refund, including interest and your travel expenses. Take it out in gear - at a wholesale discount - if he can't come up with the cash. You can always eBay anything you carry out. But you'll probably have to agree to keep your mouth shut after he settles, as your postings here are working counter to your interests. If Wisner's cash flow gets worse, he's just going to screw somebody else to pay you. So if anything, you should be encouraging others to send Ron their money ;-)

Thanks for not being selfish... but really, you've got to get off the stump and do something. Gripping on the forum can't be very satisfying, especially when people actually think you're being unreasonable to want your money back after so many years.

I'm not suggesting violence, but you have to be firm and business like. At the very least, get a lawyer in Mass working on it. But personally, I'd go to his shop and threaten to shove a Ries into his Zone Zero.

Randy Becker
14-Feb-2005, 09:48
I bought a Wisner Technical Field 4x5 around 3-4 years ago. When I did so, the local dealer I purchased it from warned me about Ron's reputation.

Well, having a very short memory and apparently being a glutton for punishment, I called Wisner to order a wide angle bellows. It was the exact price as listed on the website and it arrived on the appointed day.

About six months ago, I was using my tech on a location shoot and noticed the camera was very wobbly (sp?) and after many minutes of peering into the bottom of the camera where the movement seemed to be coming from, I found it was missing a long gear-type-thing. At least the right side had one and the left seemed to be missing the same thing. Anyway, I called the Wisner company and explained what was wrong and they said to send it to them. I did with a note asking them to contact me with the price for repair. I heard nothing for a week so I called to check the status. I was told it was under warranty and they would send it within a week. It actually arrived the next day good as new.

I have had no problems with the company or the product with the exception of the above mentioned gear-thingy. They were professional to deal with and they did what I needed them to do. Period.

Yes poor customer service is a problem in today's marketplace but I have had no problems with the Wisner Camera Company. I would recommend the camera and its service to anyone needing a well made wood field camera.

Respectfully submitted,
Randy Becker

Don Wallace
15-Feb-2005, 09:10
FWIW, I have had some minor problems with Wisner service but it is getting better. I have had some very good, very personalized service from Mr. Wisner himself. He has also been very helpful to me with questions and issues that gave him no business or profit. And as we all agree, the products are wonderful. At one time, I guess I would not have considered going back to Wisner for another camera, but I think I would now.

29-Jun-2008, 11:26
I just stumbled upon this thread and I have to put my own two cents in here. I find it odd that many here are apparently angry with Dan Smith when they should be thanking him. I wish I had known what he had to say before I bought my own Wisner camera. What follows is cut from posts I found on another forum that I made a long time ago. I apologize for any redundancy or poor editing because this is made up from two posts from other forums. Also, what follows was posted quite a while ago and, from what I can tell, Wisner may not even be in business anymore. Their website has the same notices on it that it had long ago:

I had a bad experience with Ron Wisner myself about five years ago. What happened was that B&H had screwed up my order for a Wisner 4x5" Technical Field Camera and, after admitting that they had goofed up (anyone can make a mistake), they wanted to make up for it by offering me a discount on the camera when they finally got it in. That was strictly between B&H and me and had nothing to do with Ron Wisner. B&H was simply giving up some of their profit margin to keep a loyal customer and that is their right. But Ron Wisner caught wind of it and contacted me and said that he would not allow B&H to give me a break! It got very bizarre. He said that was going to refuse to send the camera to B&H. He had some strange reason for this involving the idea that if other people found out that B&H was doing this for me, everyone would demand the same thing and he would no longer be able to control the selling price of his cameras. (Ron apparently does not believe in competitive market forces when it comes to his products.) After a long dialog with Wisner and B&H, Wisner finally sent me a camera directly although it took a very long time to do so. In my opinion, he sent me a piece of garbage on purpose. It had glaring defects that could never have possibly made it through even the most cursory of quality checks. For example, a huge hunk of wood was gouged out of one of the extension rails; the bubble levels were not even close to being zeroed properly (about 10 degrees off!); the front standards had not received his "special" shellac and they turned black almost immediately; zero position indicators were missing, the catches that were supposed lock the camera closed were mounted on a ridiculous angle and wouldn't latch, etc., etc.; only one of the lens-boards would fit on the camera. When I told Ron about that, he told me to sand them until they did! So much for precision manufacturing. He didn't offer to replace them.

When I contacted Wisner, he offered to fix the camera but there were so many defects that I told him that I wanted to exchange it. He did exchange the camera but it took a very long time for him to do so. What I received was built properly although the wood itself was not of the quality of the first camera I received. The camera now works fine although there are some very simple and basic changes that could be made to improve it that would involve almost no cost for labor or materials at all. For example, Wisner should put nuts on the tiny screws that hold the latches because they are easily torn out if the dark cloth brushes over them. He should have also devised a method to lock the ground glass cover in place. I have to hold mine on with rubber bands or it falls of while hiking.

I am, however, satisfied with the camera and I am glad that I have it but my experiences with Ron Wisner were not positive. At one point while talking to him, I almost felt like Rod Serling was going to step out of the shadows and tell me that I was now in the Twilight Zone. Ron said some very bizarre things to me that had me wondering about him.

That said, if you order a Wisner camera and if you get a good one, you should be very happy with it. As Dan said, Wisner CAN make a good camera. Ron needs to learn how to run his business and he needs to get control of his manufacturing process. I can say with all honesty, that if I could run that shop, I would have the quality problems fixed within one week.

Other things:

The bag bellows is sewn so it twists. It works but it's just irritating and it reveals a lack of quality control. Other Wisner bag bellows that I have seen have the same defect. Very sloppy!

Ron's shellac finish for the hardware is ridiculous and so are his claims about it. I have been building, finishing, and refinishing furniture for several decades and I can tell you that shellac is the worst finish you can possibly use for this application. Shellac is not moisture resistant at all. Ron doesn't seem to realize it but HUGE advances in finish technology have taken place since the 19th century. Lacquer is a much better finish for brass. In fact, I have finished brass on the furniture I have built and even after 30 years of daily use the brass looks like the day I finished it. Wisner's finish allows the brass to tarnish badly. In fact, I am going to re-finish all of the hardware on my camera with proper lacquer one of these days.

Ron's claims that his cameras have extremely tight tolerances are pipe dreams. You cannot have such tolerances with wood and Ron has to know that. Wood expands and contracts with humidity. That expansion and contraction has to be calculated into and allowed for with most solid wood products. But the wood still expands and contracts. When Ron talks of thousandths or ten thousandths of an inch, I have to wonder what he's been smoking. Such comments are simply ridiculous. He does claim to understand that the wood should be acclimated in an enviroment of controlled humity that is somewhere between the two extremes the the finished camera will be used in but you wouldn't know that from the lensboards I received from Wisner. They simply didn't fit. There's no excuse for that because tight tolerances are not needed for the cut of the step on the back of the board. They were just made with incredibly sloppy craftsmanship. If I sold someone a camera and the boards they ordered wouldn't fit the camera, I would have first apologized profusely and had new (checked!) boards out pronto! But Ron just told me to sand them down! It is almost impossible to sand down the "step" so I had to re-cut them. I shouldn't have had to do anything!

The frame for Ron's bellows are very thin and flimsy wood. I like tradition too but this is one thing that should be made with modern materials - in this case, one-piece Polymer. Nobody sees it when it is on the camera. I have had to fix the broken joints on the flimsy wooden frames of my bag bellows repeatedly. You cannot expect Popsicle stick thin wood to stay glued together in corners or not simply just break. Ron should also provide some kind of hard case to store unused bellows in. Ron could easily just have a plastics company make the frames or, since he is a small manufacturer, simply buy sheets of Polymer and rout them out himself.

Wisner bag bellows are not lined with silk like the regular bellows. In fact, the inside is nearly white! Ron said that makes no difference. Well, he may be right if you use a very short lens and pull the bellows way out but the inside of the bellows should still be non-reflective black. That's just common sense! He should line his bag bellows with the same silk that he lines his regular bellows or at least dye them black. How much effort would it be to simply dye the back of the leather?

And, again, some of the tiny screws used should be backed by washers and locking nuts on the other side. You can't expect a tiny screw in 1/4" thick wood to hold well. I don't know how many times I have torn one of the latches off the camera. A plain nut would end that problem but I haven't been able to find the tiny brass nuts and screws to do the job. Ron should get them and offer them to current owners of his cameras and he should use them on new cameras as they are assembled.

What really amazes me is that Ron never seemed to identify those basic problems and address them. If I was building those cameras, those problems would never have made it to the first production camera. And Ron's quality control is apparently virtually non-existent, despite his claims. How do you send out a new camera with... 1) A huge hunk of wood gouged out of it... 2) bubble levels not even close to being set right.... 3) Standards that have no finish on them at all.... 4) lens-boards that won't fit the camera.... 5) missing center marks.... 6) latches put on at goofy angles and which won't latch at all??? There is no excuse for those things. Clearly, the first camera I received had never been inspected at all but the amazing thing is that those defects were even made in the first place and allowed to go into a camera for a customer. The worker who did the steps that caused those problems clearly didn't care at all about his work. How do you miss a huge hunk of wood gouged out of the camera?!

I would just love to get control his production line (if it still exists). Within one week I would have quality under control and within one month I would have made improvements to the cameras to address his basic design problems. It's clear that some of his employees simply don't care about quality. They would care about it fast or be looking for new work. It would take so little effort make Wisner the manufacturer of truly fine cameras that would not be generating all the complaints you see in various forums. My guess is that the problem is almost certainly Ron himself. And when someone takes someone else's money and makes a promise, they MUST live up to that promise and even try to exceed it. My own experiences with Ron make me wonder about him.

Kirk Gittings
29-Jun-2008, 11:36
Wisner has been out of business for a couple of years now.

Paul Fitzgerald
29-Jun-2008, 13:08
Actually I bought a lens from everyone's favorite pipe organ repairman a few months ago. Lovely lens, everything went well. Thank you Ron.

If people wish to beat a dead horse, they should teach it to climb a tree.

Kirk Gittings
29-Jun-2008, 13:17
I'm not sure what your point is? I was of te understanding that he got out of the photography business a few years ago. So does that mean he is still in business? Is he making cameras, repairing them or what? Do you know anything in that regard. I'm sure there are people who would like to know definitively.

29-Jun-2008, 14:38
Its hard to say what is going on with Wisner. His web site is up and running. Emile Deleon would be the best to fill us in. As of March 2008 Emile said he was getting a new 12 x 20 Wisner.

All I really know is I see allot of his cameras for repair and allot of thankful customers that I am around.

Andrew O'Neill
29-Jun-2008, 14:55
This is on the Wisner website:

Any customer who has old business with us, either an unfulfilled order or what have you, email us and it will be taken care of. We have been trying very hard to clear everything off our books. It is our belief that 99% of these are concluded. Please help us get those last few issues settled.

29-Jun-2008, 16:45
maybe emile will chime in, a few months ago he said ron is still making cameras.

Paul Fitzgerald
29-Jun-2008, 19:27

"I'm not sure what your point is?"

If people wish to beat a dead horse, they should teach it to climb a tree. Restarting a 4 month old dead thread to whine on about 5 year old news is a bit pissy at best.

The lens I bought thru eBay, it happened to be from Ron Wisner. Pleasant to deal with, lovely lens, everything was in a timely fashion. They even custom made a mounting flange to fit, it is stamped 'Wisner'. If they are finishing old business or open for new business I do not know. Either way, good luck and great fun to Ron Wisner, he's earned it.

29-Jun-2008, 21:58
Just shipped out a nice Brand New Wisner 8x20 to a very patient customer this week. Took forever to make....

The new smaller factory/workshop is up there in Marion MA. and looks great and all the machinery is good to go....but there will probably be no more than 3 or 4 cameras a year made from now on....if that...and only in ULF I would imagine. Some accessories can be made pretty fast though...

So for all intensive purposes Wisner really only exists for those who HAVE to have his cameras and are willing to wait... or buy what is available.

Yes there have been crappy cameras released....and good ones too....

The cameras usually need some testing and tweaking....here is where Richard Ritter comes in. He has all the solutions...he gave my 12x20 the once over and it is great now with all the locking metal parts that Wisner does not include....he is worth every penny.

So instead of being mad at RW just buy a Chaminox or similar...or like most Wisner owners...just keep using your camera and make some great images. Once you get the bugs out they really are very nice cameras. Same with Ron......


2-Jul-2008, 20:31
I'd like to hijack this thread a bit...
Is there a way to tell how old a Wisner (8x10) Traditional is? I'm not sure I've noticed a serial number. Pure curiosity on my part and I'm sure it's the newest camera I own aside from my Holga.

Jim Galli
3-Jul-2008, 07:05
I have had two Wisner cameras, both bought used. A 4X5, which I sold, and a 14X17 which I still own. I've chattered directly with Ron and found him helpful and affable, a genuine nice guy who probably got in some deep water and hopefully is finding his way back to safer ground. The problem with the whole negative positive thing is rather like Ebay isn't it. A seller with 756 positives is great but if there are 5 or 6 negative feedbacks mixed in, I'll take the time to try to read through them and decide whether there is a genuine risk or not. That's about 1% but it does matter.

4-Jul-2008, 11:35
I'd like to hijack this thread a bit...
Is there a way to tell how old a Wisner (8x10) Traditional is? I'm not sure I've noticed a serial number. Pure curiosity on my part and I'm sure it's the newest camera I own aside from my Holga.
I have no idea if Ron did it this way always, but on my 4x5 Traditional the serial number is stamped into the brass surface area around the tripod socket (mine is in the low 300's and was purchased in 1999, but don't know how long it was on the shelf before that). How to relate the serial number to a real manufacturing date is beyond me ..... maybe someone has some ideas ....


Bruce Barlow
5-Jul-2008, 04:17
"The cameras usually need some testing and tweaking....here is where Richard Ritter comes in. He has all the solutions...he gave my 12x20 the once over and it is great now with all the locking metal parts that Wisner does not include....he is worth every penny."

Why not just buy the camera Richard Ritter makes?

Hear Hear! I love Alice (my Ritter 8x10).

But, to avoid hijacking this thread in another direction, Richard tells me that he earns a substantial income fixing Wisners...so he's grateful to all of you who've put up with him.

Wisner could have practically owned the large format market. He blew it with some of the actions detailed in this thread, where, for the most part, he couldn't keep out of his own way. Sad. We are all the worse for his failures.

John Bowen
5-Jul-2008, 04:57
Who knows....things seem to work the way they do for a reason.....

If Wisner had "owned" the LF market, perhaps we wouldn't have Richard Ritter's carbon fiber based LF and ULF cameras to enjoy today. My used, very old, Wisner 8x10 functions well, but my Ritter 7x17 and 8x10 cameras are the cat's meow!

Thanks Richard!

luis a de santos
5-Jul-2008, 05:51
For what is worth I had nothing but disasters from Mr.Wissner both in the service aspect and the quality of hardware aspects.
He has no redeming values , in my opinion