View Full Version : Thoughts on Wista metal 4x5?

28-Oct-2009, 18:00
I have recently been offered a metal Wista 4x5 field camera for $600 (see bad pictures). Correct me if I'm wrong, but this appears to be the 45-VX. I have been in the market for a while now for a sturdy field camera, but don't know much about these cameras. I would be interested in hearing others experiences with them - I've heard that they are similar to the Linhofs in terms of weight, ease of use, etc but have never used one.

Would you consider this a good deal, assuming everything is in good condition? I am just thinking if I save a bit more I could get a brand new Chamonix 45N-1 for $853 or other new field cameras in the same price range. However, weight is not a concern (I am still young, somewhat invincible...) and I would really like something sturdy, precise, etc.

What do you think?


Ron Marshall
28-Oct-2009, 19:32
That is a camera I considered; it seems solid and well built. I have kept track of prices, and that seems to be a fair price to me. For short lenses you may need the bag bellows, and for long lenses you may need the extension.

28-Oct-2009, 19:36
Check out a Shen Hao I got mine for $650 from Badger Graphics. Shen Hao is the largest selling field camera and has world wide distribution so there is no waiting for delivery.

28-Oct-2009, 20:29
I love my Wista 45 SP and have taken it around the world a few times with no failures. I can put a 90mm on it with ease and up to a 210. I would love to have a longer bellows so that I can get in closer with longer lenses and really fill the frame but not too big a deal. Solid as an ox and a decent price.

28-Oct-2009, 20:33
Some older Wistas, the model 45 I believe, lack the front swing. I find it an important movement. You may want to inspect the camera carefully or get a thorough demonstration if possible. Other than that, $600 for the VX model used to be a very good price. Now it might be about where the market is.

28-Oct-2009, 21:09
Your right, I am surprised at what these are going for now. Even here on the forum a 45 SP with lens did not sell for $550. I guess I will check this out and maybe offer him $500. Thanks for the input.


evan clarke
29-Oct-2009, 05:08
I have an RF and it is great, I would jump on this!!...Evan Clarke

AJ Edmondson
29-Oct-2009, 14:13
I have a Wista 45 SP and for my purposes it is ideal. I quit using my Wisner Tech Field altogether... but then I am not a big fan of long focal lengths and I never go shorter than 90mm. I find it easy to use, quick to set up and the movements are (for me) quick, precise and well-placed. I use 180mm most of the time, 120mm second and once in a while a 240mm.

29-Oct-2009, 17:28
I have a 45 SP (older one with no swing) and a Chamonix, for me the Chamonix is a much nicer camera to use, more flexible, more tactile and quicker to use. Having said that I do like the Wista, it feels really solid, works fine and the movement are good - if it was my only camera I wouldn't have a problem with that. I think it's great that you can get Wistas for such a good price, they're a very capable camera. I will add a Maxwell screen to mine which will improve it no end.

If I had to recommend a sub $1000 camera though it'd be the Chamonix without a doubt - although I'd also put some money aside for a new screen what with the focusing issues and all.

Brian Ellis
29-Oct-2009, 18:31
I think it comes down to whether you want a metal or a wood camera. As you know, you can get excellent wood cameras new for about what this one will cost or a little more. OTOH, I've owned about 10 wood cameras including two Ebonys and none have had the degree of "smoothness" and precision as the two metal cameras I've owned (Linhof Technikas). I never liked Wistas in wood or metal because of the short bellows but if you can get around that and think a metal camera might suit you better than wood then this seems to be a good buy. I remember seeing used metal Wistas selling in the $1,000 range not all that long ago.

29-Oct-2009, 22:34
Thanks for the input. I am wondering if I could live with the shorter bellows or not. Unfortunately money is a bit tight now so I decided to wait on it. Nice fellow though, I might help him post the camera and 3 lenses for sale in the classified section.