View Full Version : Replacement for a Wista 4x5

20-Dec-2006, 16:20
I have a wista 4x5 woodfeild. This has been my only LF camera and has given me good service for almost a year now. However i have some minor issues (since i haven't used anything else i don't know if they are major ones) with the camera. I have standerdized my lens lineup around a 90mm SA/150mm Docter germinar/210 (considering a switch with 250mm fujinon) computar. One complaint i have with the camera is that with the 90mm the bed of the camera gets in the way sometimes when i am using movements. Also the controls don't seem to lockdown as rigidly as i would have liked. Living in rochester the cold wether is also killing my fingers b/c the knobs are so small. My biggest beef with the camera is that mouinting a different lens requires using a screwdriver to loosen the locking nuts on the front standard that hold the lens board flush. All things considered however i do like the fact that it's so light in weight that i could carry my LF gear and digital gear together (so weight is important to me). The fresnel lens is also very welcome b/c it's so easy to focus.

I reallize that the best replacement would be somewhere in the lines of a Ebony etc. However i seriously cannot afford anything above $1000 at the moment. I have been considering a Shen hao. Would i gain much by getting the shen to replace the wista? Onething going for the shen is the back movements which i feel is a huge plus. However i am unsure if it addresses the issues i have with the wista. The incresed weight and lack of a fresnel is also bothring me.

Anyother recommendations will be most welcome. I'd like to add that i am looking for a folding camera and buying used is definatly an option (most of my gear is used)

Frank Petronio
20-Dec-2006, 17:03
I never needed a screw driver when I had a wooden Wista -- why not get it fixed? I doubt another wooden camera is going to be better in terms of durability or cold weather use (knobs, etc.) Right now I think a Toyo A might be the best all around rugged field camera with larger knobs. The metal Wista VX and SP are also nice but the knobs are still small. Even the Technika has teeny knobs.

Eric Brody
20-Dec-2006, 17:08

Frank is just one step behind me. Please look at the pm I just sent you regarding my Toyo 45A for sale. I didn't pay him, honest.


20-Dec-2006, 17:22
Thanks for the replys guys. Frank i don't know if this is a fault in the camera or if mine has a issue with it. The problem in question is that i have to loosen the shim?/slat that holds the lens board flush to the front standard with a screwdriver remove the lensboard, replace with my new lens/lensboard, slide the shim/slat to hold the board in place and tighten it again. I have tried to keep it slightly tight so that it could be slid but still hold the board tight but don't particularly like it (mostly b/c i spoiled a particularly nice shot this way b/c light leaked through the gap b/w the lens board and the front standard.

Frank Petronio
20-Dec-2006, 17:28
They normally have enough tension to be "finger tight" sliders. Your screw holes may need a little epoxy filler perhaps? Lots of cameras use the same sort of sliders to hold the lensboards in place.

20-Dec-2006, 19:10
I'll second Frank's suggestion. The Toyo 45 AII is a very good all-around metal field camera. Quite rugged, large knobs, very solid and steady when locked down. Nothing fussy or tempermental about it. It is not light but you won't feel like you need to baby it. It has all the movements one really needs. Only issue, if you spend the weekend backpacking with it, and bring a couple of lenses, some film, a tripod and something to sleep in and eat, you had better leave room for the Advil. If your back is like mine, you'll need it. Good used ones seem like they go for prices in your range.
Good luck,
Dave B.

Frank Petronio
20-Dec-2006, 19:24
Yeah, I like my bulky Sinar at the moment but if I were looking for a folder I'd probably get a Toyo. They aren't super refined but they are rugged and fairly bullet proof and not too much $. Watch out for the bellows though - most are fine I am sure -- just seems to be the weak point.

David Karp
20-Dec-2006, 19:25
Consider a Walker Titan SF. I think it is an awesome camera. If I am not mistaken, it costs $1,695 new. I paid pretty close to your budget for a used camera in great shape. It is solid, rigid when extended, extremely well made, allows you to use up to a 450mm non-telephoto lens, accepts an interchangeable bag bellows, and offers plenty of movements. The camera accepts the Wista/Technika lensboards you already have.

It may not be the perfect camera for everyone, but it is pretty much the perfect field camera for me.