View Full Version : The issue of lens compatibility

Jin Grill
4-Aug-2008, 08:29
Im looking to purchase a field camera and the issue of lens compatibility seems to be of great ambiguity. Im looking at the Wista 45rf and wondering if it is compatible with the Rodenstock 180mm apo-sironar s. I know with some other field cameras this lens requires an additional ring on the lens board (ie. on Horseman field cameras "Lens Panel with C-1 ring" is required for this lens to work properly).

How does one go about finding if a lens is compatible with a specific field camera before jumping-in and buying a lens? How do you know when you need an extended, flat or recessed lens board? Also, even if most lenses are compatible with say the Wista 45rf, how do we know if a specific lens with specific board can be folded up with the camera?

thanks for your time,


Kevin Crisp
4-Aug-2008, 08:42
Great lens, should work fine on that camera with a flat board. I believe the rangefinder has the 180mm lens as an option and from doing a Google search of camera reviews this does seem to be the case. This would be a just slightly longer than "normal" lens on that camera.

Bob Salomon
4-Aug-2008, 09:12
The Wista RF comes cammed for Nikon 135, 150 and 180mm lenses. When using the 180mm lens you need a flat board with a 1 hole. However the Wista service center may have to adjust the camera when using lenses other then the Nikons. You can check by contacting them at 252 652-4401.

Gene McCluney
4-Aug-2008, 14:11
If you are going to focus your lens on the ground glass, rather than using a built-in rangefinder, then all you need to be concerned about is if the lens is small enough to fit thru the hole in the front of the camera when you attach the lens/lensboard to the camera..and do you have enough bellows draw to focus the lens. There are very few modern lenses that would be incompatible with modern-ish view cameras.

Jin Grill
4-Aug-2008, 15:03
then why would this lens (the sironar-s 180mm) need a ring to work on the horseman 45fa? Also, I still dont understand why some lenses require recessed or extended lens boards. I am repeating my initial post, but how can you figure out which lenses will fold up with a particular camera?

I guess what i am saying is that I dont want to purchase a camera body, lens and board only to find out that ive purchased the wrong board.

To put it in a nutshell: How do people figure out which lens with which board will go with a certain camera. I know "most" modern lenses will work on a field camera but isnt there a chance that i will purchase a wrong component especially when doing online shopping from different resources?

Just look at the horseman fa compatibility chart...theres lots of room for purchasing error: http://www.horsemanusa.com/lens_list.html

Im not looking for a horseman but they illustrate the field camera lens dilemma clearly by posting this info.



Kevin Crisp
4-Aug-2008, 16:19
A camera with a rangefinder presents complications that you don't have with a plain old monorail or folding field camera. The rangefinder has to be calibrated for the lens. Generally a recessed lens board is used where a camera otherwise has trouble focusing a lens that is very short. A 75mm lens, for example, needs 75mm of bellows to focus at infinity. This can squish the bellows pretty tight and some cameras need a recessed board to move the lens even closer in order to focus at infinity. An extended lens board is used on the other extreme, where a camera doesn't have enough bellows to focus a longer lens ,so the lens gets moved out a little further by the additional extension built into the lens board.

From what I can see online, you could use a 180mm lens with a flat board. A manual would help answer that or maybe someone who uses this camera can chime in. (The reference to another camera like the Horseman only complicates the discussion.) The 180mm lens you are apparently intending to get is a medium length and you won't need a recessed or extended lens board. I don't know if it will fold up in the camera, but again someone should know that who has the camera. You might try dealing with a retailer who knows this stuff, somebody like Jim at Midwest Photo Exchange would be a good place to start.

Bob Salomon
4-Aug-2008, 17:02
Recessed boards are used to focus short lenses at infinity with some cameras. They are also used with some lenses so that the lens can remain on the camera when it is closed (150mm on Master Technika for example.

The 180 can not close with the RF, SP or Wista VX or with any of the wood 4x5 Wista cameras.

Wista service in the USA is 252 652 4401. Or you can order the instruction book from us by calling 800 735-4373.

Jin Grill
4-Aug-2008, 17:29
Thanks Bob and Kev,

this clarifies everything perfectly.