View Full Version : New Zone VI Owner Misc Questions

Craig Schroeder
10-May-2008, 20:29
I recently received a Zone VI 4x5 that I impulsively bought on eBay.... I'm curious to its origin and a few details. It doesn't seem to have a serial number (is it in some remote location?). It's a brownish tan rather than reddish color wood so I'm assuming mahogany? It has chrome fittings and brass body corner hardware. It has a permanent bellows. I'm guessing it was sourced from Wista from a few tidbits I've found on the net. Is there definitive way to tell?

The operation seems quite logical after a bit of fiddling. I've played a bit with old Speed Graphics some years back but never owned or operated to any great extent this sort of camera. I've also picked up a Fujinon 210mm 5.6 W lens as a place to start. From a bit of research, it sounds as if wide lenses can be a problem on these. Would something in the 125-135 be a good compromise for wider duty on this camera? What is the longest optic that is practical, perhaps with an extended board, if needed?

This my first post on the forum...please forgive my many questions! I live in an area without ready resources for information and will appreciate any guidance from the group here.

11-May-2008, 01:53



Give Viewcamera magazine a call. They'll sell you a copy of the articles.

steve simmons
11-May-2008, 02:12
The Zone VI cameras were made by at least two different companies, actually 3 if you include Calumet. The first was Wista/Tachihara, and the second was Wisner (who is now out of business).
All of the versions are very functional and should serve you well for years.

I would suggest that using anything shorter than 90mm (approx 28 on a 35 film camera) might be difficult on one of these cameras. With your 210mm something in the 110-125 would be a good compliment. I usually recommend that the camera have a bellows at least 25% longer then the longest which would limit you, if you follow this rule, to about a 240-250mm lens. You should be fine with the 210.

Since you are new to large format may I list my usual suspects in terms of worthwhile reading material.

Any/all of the articles in the View Camera web site Free Articles section


one of these books

Using the View Camera that I wrote
Jack Dykinga's Large Format Nature Photography
Jim Stone's User's Guide to the View Camera

try your local library.

steve simmons
publisher, view camera magazine

Louie Powell
11-May-2008, 05:37
Here's a rough summary of the Zone VI camera:

1. Cameras made by Tachihara (78-80) - 12" bellows, front and rear swing and tilt, with a Zone VI nameplate, cherry with nickel-plated hardware, single extension

2. Cameras made by Wista (80-85) - 12" bellows, front and rear swing and tilt, front rise and fall, nameplate said "Zone VI Studios", with Zone VI modifying the Wista standard to strengthen the baseboard, cherry, single extension

3. Cameras made by Wisner (85-88) - mahogany, 16" bellows, double-extension, full movements, nameplate said "Zone VI Studios, Made by Wisner Manufacturing"

4. Cameras made by Zone VI (88-2001) - 22" bellows, full movements, gold-plated brass hardware, with serial numbers in the range of 1000-4500 (for Mahogany) or 9000 (for Black Walnut). Serial numbers engraved on the tripod mount.

5. Cameras made by Calumet (Zone VI Lightweight, 2001-2006) - 22" bellows, full movements, black anodized aluminum hardware, mahogany

neil poulsen
11-May-2008, 07:39
It sounds like you have a Wista camera. I believe that even the early Wisner cameras had bellows that could be swapped between wide angle bag and normal.

11-May-2008, 07:50
Mine is a Wisner made body and has easily interchangable bellows. Even with the normal bellows, I use my 90mm with limited movements. For wider lenses or more extreme movements, I use the bag bellows.

www.cameraeccentric.com has some basic information on the their info section regarding camera history for the Zone VI.

Craig Schroeder
21-May-2008, 18:39
I now realize that my camera is a Tachihara. I discovered this after getting a Zone VI lensboard and realizing the size difference (the Tachihara uses the Linhof size/style). Thanks to all for the advice. I'm certain I'll have more questions once I'm up and functioning!

I've attached the eBay pix from the listing that I bought it from.....

22-May-2008, 05:02
Camera was sold by Zone VI before 1981.