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Thread: Wista 4x5 for new field... Or should I look for some other?

  1. #1
    jvuokko's Avatar
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    Wista 4x5 for new field... Or should I look for some other?

    Hi,

    I am considering to upgrade my current 4x5 field camera for something that is more rigid and newer. The Wista 45SP and 45VX has good price now. So I am quite interested about these... Especially because my budget is limited.


    First: I have Hasemi Field Technical 45 (quite similar with Ikeda Anba and Nagaoka) which has plenty of movements but it's old meaning that some mechanized parts are bit too worn and camera really has become wobbly. The main problem is originated from the design of front and rear swings.
    The swings are not performed by turning either back or front around axis. Instead both has kind a joint which allows one side to be moved front or back and thus giving swing, like this:
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    This is the kind of design I wan't to avoid. It has some pros too: The whole front board can be moved backwards, as the rear board can be moved forward. This makes use of short lenses much easier.

    But as the sturdiness has gone over the decades (if it ever was), I have built some supports which are PITA to use, like:
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    Then about Wista's metal field cameras. How much does these cameras limit use of short lenses? Or longer lenses (300mm requires some kind of extension tube if I am right?).
    My current field works with SA 65mm (slightly recessed lens board) and it's easy to use with SA 75mm. From 90mm to 300mm there's nothing that limits. Except 300mm really cannot be used for close up work. And SA 5.6/300mm is bit too heavy for this camera

    This camera lacks shift, but I rarely need it (and when need, I use monorail cameras if I don't like to play with shift bed). Otherwise it has enough movements: Front rise/fall is 36mm/21mm, swings are 30 degrees in front and back, front tilt is 30 degrees and rear tilt is 20 degrees in most situations, but can be 30 degrees if the bed does not restrict movements).
    If front fall is not enough, I can get 70mm fall with 150mm lens using drop bed. However I don't recall that I have ever needed more than 21mm front fall. But I use fall often in landscape photography. Perhaps it's not so necessary but more like a habit.


    Where are practical limits of Wista 45SP/VX? The front rise is enormous 56mm, but it lacks fall. Does the off center lens board give some fall? Or is fall possible only with a drop bed (then by calculating quickly, it's ca 35 for 150mm lens which is enough - but not very convient).

    Does Wista 45SP/VX work with 65mm with slight movements? Is there something else that should be noted?



    Other options... Wista's wooden 45DX and 45DX/II has good specifications, but how do they perform in reality?

    Also there's Tachihara which should be ok. Not as sturdy as metal cameras, but lot of sturdier than my old wooden field camera. And the Shen Hao, but it's really hard to find (from Europe and Japan at least)..

    Toyo AII, A and AX could be fine, but they doesn't use Linhof Technica style lens boards (adapter can be made or exist) and I don't know how useful they are with shorter than 90mm lenses.
    Jukka Vuokko
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  2. #2
    Joel Edmondson
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    Re: Wista 4x5 for new field... Or should I look for some other?

    The Wista SP and VX are good little cameras, well-built and - within the confines of their limitations work well. 90mm is about as short as you can go (despite using Technika recessed boards) and you can't do much without the wide-angle bellows. You can focus a 300 at infinity but, without a top-hat, you won't get much in terms of closer focusing. You are correct in that you must drop the bed to get any fall and the off-center hole actually centers on the format in the "normal" position. Also, you do get a small amount of vignetting (even with a lens as short as 150mm) due to the rotating back assembly so if you are fanatical about printing the full negative you will have to learn to live with the rounded corners. The amount of shift and swing is (for most purposes) adequate as is the tilt.
    I have an SP and I got it for the rigidity and the gear-driven adjustments but I would not purchase it again. I just don't find it as enjoyable as my old wooden field cameras and certainly nowhere near as versatile. Accessories are fairly expensive and, in most cases must be ordered. IF I were going down the metal field camera road again I think I would go with the Toyo 45AX (non-rotating back) despite the fact that it is somewhat limited in movements. For the versatility - MY OPINION ONLY - the wooden field cameras are hard to beat.
    Good luck!

    Joel

  3. #3
    Unwitting Thread Killer Ari's Avatar
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    Re: Wista 4x5 for new field... Or should I look for some other?

    Every camera is a compromise...except the Linhof Technikardan

    I really like metal Wistas, and I used mine when quick set-up and quick composition were more important than versatility.

    My lenses are in the 72-210mm range, and I had no problem coercing the Wista to be an architectural camera every now and then.

  4. #4
    jvuokko's Avatar
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    Re: Wista 4x5 for new field... Or should I look for some other?

    Wista or not, it's seems to be complicated.

    It's possible that I can live without using fall movement especially in rare cases. The unability to use 65mm is bigger issue. It's a nice wide (extreme) wide field for 4x5 and with 6x9 roll film back it has lot of use.

    The vignetting caused by rotary back - I have rotary back in two Toyo monorails, but never seen any issues (or if there has been something, perhaps I have blamed filter or hood instead).

    Toyo AX - have to seek some information about usage of shorter lenses with it. If there's recessed Toyo field to linhof board adapter, then it's pretty much possible that it suits me well.

    Ofcourse, the wooden cameras aren't dropped off from my list. Still considering Wista's metallic fields too.
    Jukka Vuokko
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  5. #5
    Joel Edmondson
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    Re: Wista 4x5 for new field... Or should I look for some other?

    Hope I didn't make it more complicated... that certainly wasn't my intent! As Ari stated, compromise is the name of the game and the Wista does not represent a bad compromise. If you understand the limitations up front you can certainly make better choices and, since you seem to be coming from the wooden field camera experience I would expect your experience to be similar to mine. The Wista is indeed quick and easy to setup. If you search the forum you can find examples of the "corner-clipping" which certainly isn't severe but should be considered... i hadn't done my homework and was unaware of it and it would have been a "deal-breaker" for me. You certainly can use longer focal lengths with the additional tracks, top-hat boards but they are not part of the equation with the normal configuration. I have used the Wista wooden 8x10 (but not the 4x5 versions) and would hesitate to comment on their suitability for your purpose. I think if you could find someone who has either an SP or VX so that you can see it "up-close and personal" you could probably make the choice quite easily.

    Joel

  6. #6
    jvuokko's Avatar
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    Re: Wista 4x5 for new field... Or should I look for some other?

    Thanks Joel.

    You didn't make it more complicated.. The forum searches gave me already impression that even Linhof Technika suffers from some degree of vignetting caused by revolving back (that's interesting issue, have to search if Toyo's also has same problem or is the circular hole just bit bigger).
    Jukka Vuokko
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    Re: Wista 4x5 for new field... Or should I look for some other?

    Quote Originally Posted by jvuokko View Post
    Thanks Joel.

    You didn't make it more complicated.. The forum searches gave me already impression that even Linhof Technika suffers from some degree of vignetting caused by revolving back (that's interesting issue, have to search if Toyo's also has same problem or is the circular hole just bit bigger).
    It has nothing to do with the circular hole.

    The vignetting that occurs with a Technika, and some Kardan cameras" is very minor and occurs because the Technika has a revolving back and the track for the revolving mechanism can cause a tiny bit of cut-off at the corners with close-ups. It is not noticeable at regular shooting distances with most focal lengths. If you have a technician cut off the track at the corners so you can no longer rotate the back but will eliminate the minor cut off.

  8. #8
    jvuokko's Avatar
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    Re: Wista 4x5 for new field... Or should I look for some other?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Salomon - HP Marketing View Post
    It has nothing to do with the circular hole.

    The vignetting that occurs with a Technika, and some Kardan cameras" is very minor and occurs because the Technika has a revolving back and the track for the revolving mechanism can cause a tiny bit of cut-off at the corners with close-ups. It is not noticeable at regular shooting distances with most focal lengths. If you have a technician cut off the track at the corners so you can no longer rotate the back but will eliminate the minor cut off.

    Hi,

    Checked my early Toyo monorail and G-series monorail, both has revolving back. The early model's circular hole actually cut's off some corners, the later model has different design and there's large cuttings that allows corners exposed fully.

    I am guessing that Wista SP/VX has something similaraties with design of early Toyo revolving back?

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    Jukka Vuokko
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  9. #9
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    Re: Wista 4x5 for new field... Or should I look for some other?

    Used Technikas are also within the budget. They seems to be quite "cheap" within EU area.

    Both, Wista and Technika has only front rise but has also front shift.. The shift can be used as front rise/fall if camera is rotated 90 degrees left/right, but is this possible without using tripod head's horizontal tilt?
    For example, Graflex Speed Graphic has additional tripod attachment on the left side of the body.
    Jukka Vuokko
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  10. #10

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    Re: Wista 4x5 for new field... Or should I look for some other?

    Quote Originally Posted by jvuokko View Post
    Used Technikas are also within the budget. They seems to be quite "cheap" within EU area.

    Both, Wista and Technika has only front rise but has also front shift.. The shift can be used as front rise/fall if camera is rotated 90 degrees left/right, but is this possible without using tripod head's horizontal tilt?
    For example, Graflex Speed Graphic has additional tripod attachment on the left side of the body.
    On later Technikas you unscrew the accessory shoe on top of the camera and that exposes a 1/4" standard tripod socket which lets you mount the camera upside down on the tripod for lens drop.

    Linhof use to make an OUTRIGGER ARM 003754 for the Technika. This was screwed into the camera thread of your ball or pan or leveling head and mounted a Technika upside down. The mounting screw for the Technika was adjustable horizontally from 135 to 180mm for camera positioning.
    If you find one of these you would have to have a very stable tripod and head and weigh it down with a sand bag as you would be offsetting the weight of a Technika from the center of the tripod. You would also need to make sure that you have it over a leg and not between the legs of the tripod.

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