View Full Version : Horseman Roll Film Holder 612 and a Wisner 4x5 Expedition

Thomas W Earle
23-Oct-2003, 10:47
I'm contemplating on purchasing a 6x12 back for my Wisner 4x5 Expedition. I've read that the Horseman is the most recommended in this format, outside the Sinar which is too expensive. What accessories MUST I purchase in order to use this particular back with my camera. For example, the current ground glass on my Expedition does not have 6x12 "guides". Will I need to purchase a ground glass that does? My camera is spring loaded as well. Will this be a problem? Are there any gotchas I should be aware of before making this purchase? Last, I've read that film depths vary between large format camera brands (i.e., Toyo, Linhof, etc.). I'm not sure what the film depth specification for a Wisner camera is; however, the Horseman is configured for a film depth of 4.95. Should I be concerned if they are different? How much difference is acceptable (i.e., avoiding out of focus images)?

Thanks in advance,


Ellis Vener
23-Oct-2003, 11:02
you definitely need a camera that has a graflock mechanism,

Bob Salomon
23-Oct-2003, 11:12
All 612 backs are not quite the same.

Linhof has a picture area of 56 x 120mm. The other backs are 56 x 111 to 56 x 112mm (depending on the brand - Horseman, Sinar, etc).

That makes a considerable difference in the actual coverage as is easily seen in the Panoramic Photo book by Meehan where he has actual examples of coverage of the same subject using the different brands.

As for a mask Linhof does make an acetate mask for the ground glass that shows the crop marks for 6x6, 6x7, 6x9 and Linhof's 612 format. This mask should be easily modified to fit other cameras and it would be easy to use a permanent fine line marker or india ink to mark the actual size of whatever back you decide on. The mask is 001643 and has a list price of $28.00 in the U.S.

Thomas W Earle
23-Oct-2003, 11:18

I was afraid of that (i.e., needing a camera with a graflock mechanism). I suppose I'm out of luck since my Wisner does not have a graflock mechanism. Are there any other choices that would satisfy the requirements of my Wisner? I've read a little about Calumet's film holder, but most recommend avoiding the 6x12 holder due to film flatness problems.


Kerry L. Thalmann
23-Oct-2003, 11:30
Bob S. proclaimed:

The other backs are 56 x 111 to 56 x 112mm (depending on the brand - Horseman, Sinar, etc).

This statement is false. The Shen-Hao 6x12 back has an image area of 56mm x 117mm. Not quite as much as the Linhof, but more than the 111mm - 112mm Bob asserted.


Kerry L. Thalmann
23-Oct-2003, 11:40

I believe Wisner offers a Grafloc back option for his 4x5 cameras. Call him and ask if your camera back can be modified in this manner.

I just finished writing an article on the 6x12 format and I used both a Horseman back and a Shen Hao on my Linhof Technikardan and a Crown Graphic. I also used the Shen Hao by slipping it under the ground glass on my Toho FC-45X. However, the Toho spring back opens much wider than any other camera I've ever used - and I was still concerned about scratching or breaking the ground glass when inserting and removing the back. I used to own a Wisner Technical, and my recollection was that the springs for the back were quite stiff and it would not open nearly as wide as my Toho. I think a Grafloc back is definitely the way to go. Or, you could just pick up a cheap Crown Graphic off eBay and use it as your dedicated 6x12 camera body.


Ernest Purdum
23-Oct-2003, 11:43
I think the film flatness problems with the Calumet show up mainly when the film is left in the holder for a long time between shots. I wouldn't expect this to happen all that often with a 6X12 holder.

Another solution might be to look for a Graflok back on sale. (In internet searching, try "graflok, graflock, grafloc, graphlock, graphlok and graphloc". I've seen them all, frequently three variations at the same time.) A woodworker can make and fit an adapter for a Graflok to any field camera rather easily.

It isn't hard to make your own mask to put behind your groundglass.

Bob Salomon
23-Oct-2003, 14:32
Sorry Kerry,

Since the Shen Hao is not commonly available through camera stores and is rather new we have never seen one. So I defer to your experience.

However you seemed to have proven my point anyway as it is still a smaller image area then the Techno Rollex.

Kerry L. Thalmann
23-Oct-2003, 16:08
"However you seemed to have proven my point anyway as it is still a smaller image area then the Techno Rollex."

I just wanted to correct your inaccurate statement that all other 6x12 backs have an image area only 111mm or 112mm wide. The Shen Hao back isn't that new, it's been out for over two years and is readily available in the US to anyone who wants to buy one. I've actually used two versions of the Shen Hao back. The first model produced an image that was about 119mm wide. The model I currently have is a mulitformat back that also comes with a mask for 6x9 and produces an image that's a little over 117mm wide (but not quite 118mm).

So yes, the image area is slightly smaller than the Techno Rollex, but the price of the Shen Hao is also smaller - significantly smaller. The difference in image width is less than 1/8" - the difference in price is $2522.95.


Bob Salomon
23-Oct-2003, 16:25
"the price of the Shen Hao is also smaller"

All 612, 67, 69 and 66 backs are less - with the possible exception of the Sinar.

24-Oct-2003, 04:34
This might be what you need http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2958692139&category=15247

Jim Rice
25-Oct-2003, 17:46
Last time I checked, the graflock back for the Wisner was $250.00 and a regularly cataloged item.