View Full Version : Wista 45 SP for Landscapes

13-Sep-2006, 20:41
I'm new to the forum and getting into LF (primarily landscape photography). I am interested in the Wista 45 SP as my weapon of choice. It reminds me very much of my father's Linhof (wish he still had it). Are there any drawbacks for using the Wista for landscape work? I anticipate beginning with 75mm Schneider Super-Angulon, 110mm Schneider Super-Symmar XL, and Schneideer 180mm APO-Symmar lenses.

JJ Viau
14-Sep-2006, 04:54
I have a Wista VX myself, which is comparable to a SP and there arenīt any problems to use a 210 and a 110mm lens with the normal bellows, except that the fresnel is optimized for 135/150mm lenses (but you can still focus the 110 lens OK). I donīt have any experience using shorter lenses but I know you will need the wide-angle bellows.
I like my own Wista very much as a camera you can always carry with you.


steve simmons
14-Sep-2006, 06:01
The 45SP has long been one of my favorite cameras. Its only drawback is a 12" bellows which will limit you to a 240mm lens (I recommend that the bellows be at least 25% longer then the longest lens). If this is not a problem then go for it. All folded up this camera cold be drop kicked down a flight of stairs and still be OK

Here is some recommended reading

The Free Articles section on the View Camera web site


one of these books

LargeFormat Nature Photography by Jack Dykinga

Using the View Camera that I wrote

User's Guide to the View Camera by Jim Stone

check your library

steve simmons

Ted Harris
14-Sep-2006, 06:41
The Wista SP and the other Wista metal field cameras are all solidly built and will serve you well. I prefer metal to wood fields. I used an SP for a couple of years as a backup to my Horseman FA and now use a Toyo AII. I never found the short bellows draw that much of a limitation in the field. Now that I have the Toyo with a bit more bellows I do use a 300 every once in a while but never missed it that much before with the Horseman or Wista.

Robert Ley
14-Sep-2006, 07:10
I also have a Wista VX and love it. The movements are very smooth and more than adequate. I use a 75mm SA on this camera, although not often. I have it mounted on a recessed lens board and it will focus fine with the standard bellows, but works better with the easily changed bag bellows. It takes me all of about 2 minutes to change bellows. I bought my bag bellows on Feebay for about $100 and they come up on a pretty regular basis. In the past week a extension bellows came up and went for about $225 for bellows and base plate giving you over 600mm of bellows, plenty for that 450mm Nikon. Just for grins I mounted the 75mmSA on my VX and was able to get all the tilt the camera would give me along with a small amount of rise w/o distorting the normal bellows. The bag bellows does work best with this lens, but is not neccesary IMHO. BTW, the VX is the same as the SP except it is lighter and cheaper although it does not have the micro-swing back that is pecular to the SP model. I have never used the SP version and others who have this model may chime in as to its usefullness. Some on this forum have referred to the Wista as the "poormans Linhof"

Bob Salomon
14-Sep-2006, 07:14
With the proper Wista extension boards and bellows the Wista metal cameras can add up to 800mm of extension to the camera. That is 31.4" of bellows draw on the RF and SP. Far more then the 12" of bellows which is what comes with the basic camera. So thee only limit as to how long a lens will fit is not bellows draw. It is only limited by the size of the rear element of the lens and how far back it would fit into the hole in the front standard.

Should more extension be needed, with any Wista bellows, Wista also makes screw together extension lens boards with mounts for Copal 0, 1 and 3 shutters.

So 12" is the start of Wista's extension. Not the total extension. These same accessories are also made for some of the Wista wooden models as well.

Frank Petronio
14-Sep-2006, 07:52
I used an SP for years and was able to use a 65mm in a recessed board with minor movements. And I did a fair amount of closer studio work with a 210, lots of movements, and maxed extension. In someways it is superior to the Technika (which I've also used a lot) -- it is lighter, almost as rigid, has a better fresenel and folding focusing hood (with a good latch that allows you to swing out of the way for loupe work) and more logical/intuitive movements. The SP microswing always seemed a bit strange and kludgey -- kind of a gimmick -- but simply don't use it or save a few bucks and get the VX.

It sounds like your 180 mounted on a short top hat board would be ideal, and you could forego the longer bellows and extension track. You may want a bag bellows but you may want to wait and try the 75 first since it isn't absolutely necessary at the moment.

Yes a Linhof will be more rigid but heavier. But a Wista VX or SP will still be more rigid than a wooden camera and certainly on par with a Toho, etc.

Get the OEM Wista boards, they do fit better than the generics.