View Full Version : Another camera opinion question, Wista this time

RJ Hicks
17-Feb-2005, 19:42

I currently have a cambo nx using a nikor 90 f8, rody 150 f5.6, and nikor 300m lens and have enjoyed it immensely. The camera is just too big and bulky for some of the shooting I would like to do. I would like a field camera for landscape (not as many movements needed) and handheld (no movements) to compliment the monorail. I have been looking around and it seems the Wista VX would fit the bill, at least that is the conclusion I have come to from the reading of camera lit. I don't have the money for a linhof and I don't really know how useful the rangefinder will be, I zone focus handheld a lot with other cameras, so I can't see doing it with a 4x5 to be greatly different. One of the priorities of the camera would be that it can take somewhat of a beating, I will be hiking and camping with it and won't mind it getting scratched, this is another reason I am thinking about a folding design.

I would like to hear from other users of the camera, or of the wista line and find out what you think, also, if anybody else has other recommendations of other cameras (toyos, horsemans ect) that are a bettter fit I am open to hear. Thank you very much.

Jim Rice
17-Feb-2005, 19:54
I can't help with the Wista, but one thought that comes to mind with zone focusing LF. Depth of field. There will not be any of it. I was always impressed by the utility of a Kalart RF on old graphics, so if I were pondering hand-held, I would definitely pay attention to the RF issues.

Juergen Sattler
17-Feb-2005, 20:26
I would look into a Linhof TEch III or IV - they have the advantage that they are all metal and are build like a tank - they take any beating. Plus you have a rangefinder for handheld shooting. I don't know that I would chose a wooden camera if you want to camp, backpack with it and just "throw" it in the backpack. The idea of a Graflex is not bad either - it's certainly cheap and they support the type of shooting you want to do. Get a Crown Graphic - they are lighter than the Speeds and take slightly shorter lenses. But then again - I've always been a metal camera guy:-)


Robert Ley
17-Feb-2005, 20:31
I have used a Wista VX for about a year and I love it. It would work very well with two of your lenses with out too much trouble. The 90 with a recessed board should give you decent movement with the standard bellows and the 150 should work great. The 300 will require the "top hat" board because the bellows are only about 300+ mm. It can be expanded with an accs. bellows to 600mm or 900mm and I picked up a nice leather bag bellows for about $110. It is alittle heavy at about 6#'s but is as tough as nails. The movements are generous for a field camera. I use a 10 inch lens (254mm) and can focus it down to about six feet. It is not a Linhof, but neither is it as pricey. It is built well and is very sturdy. I can highly recommend it. BTW I have the caltar version of your 150 and it fits on the folded camera, albeit backwards.

Jim Rice
17-Feb-2005, 20:35
A Graphic can pretty well be considered metal. I know it's not, but does anyone know anyone who has actually broken one? The Godfather excepted.

Frank Petronio
17-Feb-2005, 20:37
The Wista VX is an excellent camera, and it might give you a bit more movement with the 90/8. Although you might also consider swapping the 300 for 240/9 Fuji A or a Tele-Arton, given the limited bellows of the Wista. Changing bellows and tracks on the Wista VX/SP is abit "tight".

Guy Tal
17-Feb-2005, 21:12
I have used my VX for about 3 years. I hike and backpack a lot and the camera has proven very rugged and reliable. It folds into a solid brick, the GG is well protected, and it provides some nice creature comforts (some geared controls, very convenient back, bright screen with fresnel etc.)
I don't see the point of zone-focusing in landscape photography. If you're really in a hurry you can focus fairly well on the GG with the built-in focusing hood, but I wouldn't use mine without a tripod and a loupe.
I use my 90mm Nikkor on a flat lensboard with no problem (and have used a 75mm on a flat board with little problem as well). I had a 300 on the Wista extension board and could focus it from about 15ft to infinity.


Darin Cozine
18-Feb-2005, 10:28
" zone focusing LF. Depth of field. There will not be any of it. "

NONSENSE! You will get the same depth of field using the same aperture and the same angle of view regardless of format. Even better, LF lenses are designed to be best when stopped down to f16 or f22, and you can use fast 400, 800, 1600+ film and hardly have to worry about grain!

Jim Rhoades
18-Feb-2005, 10:39
The other Jim is right. When I look inside my Crown Graphic all I see is metal. Hiking and camping would indicate landscapes. Not much of a need for big movements there. Unless you need lots of movements a Graphic is tough and cheap. The lenses are small too.

I pack mine on cross country motorcycle trips. These cameras are WAR tested. You can't give a camera more of a beating than that.

Chris Ellinger
18-Feb-2005, 10:57
I've used a Wista VX for about 10 years, mostly outdooors. It works well, is reliable, and can be fitted with accessory bellows, boards, rails, etc.

Ellen Stoune Duralia
18-Feb-2005, 11:36
Hi RJ - saw your post and thought I'd let you know about a Wista that I found at my local camera shop.


I've seen it and it looks nice but more importantly, the shop is real good to deal with and they have a nice return policy. Typical disclaimer: I don't work for them and don't get a commision.

Good luck and take care :-)

roger michel
18-Feb-2005, 12:28
roger -- what about the fine horseman 6x9 view cameras. the rollfilm back will be a real convenience in your situation. the "multiformat" versions also accept 4x5 backs.

a horeseman 980 is now my standard travel camera when i want either movements or GG viewing. with the std 65, 105, and 180, it is a great kit for travel. and it can take a beating as well as any linhof.

a horseman 980 is what you need.

Ted Harris
18-Feb-2005, 14:59
Roger just made a good point but if you are going to think Horseman consider the FA or HD. About the same size and weight as the 6x9 models and full fledged 4x5 technical field cameras. Lighter, smaller and IMO more rugged and more precise than the Wista metal fields. I uave actually sused them both side by side to confirm this. On the down side, you will not be able to use your 300 mm lens on a Horseman but the 240 works fine.