View Full Version : Swinging with a Wista VX?

1-Apr-2009, 14:54
I've just picked up a Wista 45VX at a bargain price and took it out for a try today. I really like it, a great solid camera. The thing is, I can't figure out front swing, there seems to be no way of doing it. I've looked at online manuals and read up and they all mention swing, but how? The manual mentions a catch at the bottom of the front standard but mine doesn't seem to have one. Is it the case that the VX (or whatever I have) doesn't have swing?? :confused:

Warren Clark
1-Apr-2009, 16:20
Hi UniB,

The VX has a small plastic tipped lever just below the left edge
of the front standard that is depressed to unlock the front swing
mechanism. If your does not have this it may possibly be an earlier
version with no front swing.
Good shooting,
Warren Clark

2-Apr-2009, 01:55
Thanks Warren, it looks like mine's an early one as there's no lever. It's not something I use often so not really a problem.

Rafael Garcia
2-Apr-2009, 18:04
My SP is also an early model, gold-toned with plastic "wood" inserts (which I replaced when I restored it with black leatherette). It also does not have front swing. It is my favorite 4x5, especially to take out in rough terrain.


3-Apr-2009, 01:42
Thanks Rafael, great looking camera, I'm not normally a fan of gold but this looks great. I'm very tempted to restore mine as some of the leatherette is missing from the locking knob and the paintwork is a bit scuffed.

Is that a simple viewfinder on the front? Is that a standard item or something you've added?

Brian Wallen
3-Apr-2009, 10:13
The little yellow-circled lever makes this VX a swinger:


Maybe I can intrigue you with some VX accessories that I like:

3-Apr-2009, 10:48
Thanks Brian, that recessed board looks great, I haven't tried it yet but I'm guessing my 65mm would need such a thing and bag bellows.. actually, I wonder if you can replace the bellows on my older Wista?

Another question for you Wista owners – I'm quite keen on the 460mm bed extension but wonder how this works with regard to folding – can you leave the extension on or does it have to be removed to close the camera up and can you use standard lenses with it attached. Again, that's if you can use the 460mm extension with my old VX, like Rafael, my VX isn't a swinger!

Brian Wallen
3-Apr-2009, 22:50
Not sure how much Wista VX's changed over their production, but mine has a relatively short two part focusing track that keeps the bed out of the frame with a 65mm lens. Wista suggests a little rise if this is a problem. I use just a little to keep it out of the field of the 55mm. I can focus a 65mm with a flat lensboard and the regular bellows without movements. Usually with lenses this short there isn't enough coverage to allow movements anyway for a full 4 x 5 frame.

I priced the longer track and bellows which are too dear for my purse. I have an aftermarket extension set with an extra 55mm section which lets me focus my 450mm Nikon. I just got this and haven't put it through all of the hoops. Mechanical vignetting can be a problem and the cylinders don't do a good a job at controlling internal flare as bellows. Actually my Graflex XLs have an incredibly sooty coating in their lens barrels and chassis interiors. Something like this is probably available somewhere in the industrial market. The extension kits are $150-200 to get out in the 450mm neighborhood.

Rafael Garcia
4-Apr-2009, 05:37
uniB: Yes, the wire frame (there is a clear plastic insert for the lens field of coverage that goes in it after its raised) and the rear adjustable sight (shown folded down too) are Linhof parts I adapted the camera to accept. They allow me to use the roll film back and focus with the scale, pretty much like a press camera without a rangefinder.

Here's a new photo showing them better:


4-Apr-2009, 06:30
The only thing better than this would be a Linhof Universal finder.........
(and a lot more expnsive (!))

Great job, Rafael ! Looks realy great.


Rafael Garcia
4-Apr-2009, 07:18
Thanks, Peter.

I forgot to say: of course, both are removeable so they don't get in the way when using the camera with sheet film and GG focusing. The wire finder installation requires courage: I drilled two holes in the top of my front standard to accept the Linhof prongs (it went well)!