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Thread: Wista VX or Linhof Master for 72mm to 240mm architecture.

  1. #1
    schafphoto's Avatar
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    Wista VX or Linhof Master for 72mm to 240mm architecture.

    I am considering selling my Toyo CF for a Wista VX or a newer 4x5 Linhof metal field camera.
    I will be using lenses between 72mm and 240mm for architectural subjects. Mostly my 90mm, 120mm and 135mm Nikkors.

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    This will be a back up and travel camera for projects that involve flights to and from the destination. I do not want to disassemble my 5x7 Cambo monorail camera for faraway jobs.
    The CF was very light but was little fiddly for the types of precise movements I need. I am willing to trade the lightness for sturdiness and geared rise.
    After my last snowy project the geared front rise of the Wista/Linhof looks like a better fit for my style. I am wondering if I can use the Wista wide angle bellows (extends to 150mm) on the Wista all the time (including folded) for the 90mm and 135mm and make a +100mm cone lens board for the 240mm? (that's a long cone) I use a Fuji 240mm f9-A.
    (Wista notes a max extension without rail/bellows extensions on their standard bellows of 300mm).

    The Linhof does not appear to have a wide angle bellows option.

    Other things to note. I won't need the rear adjustments of the Wista SP for my architecture, the fewer adjustments to go out-of-center, the better.
    My main adjustment is front rise and/or front shift in 75% of my photos.
    (Toyo CF has a front rise/fall of 49mm? Rise: 28.5mm Fall: 20.5mm [more fall with drop bed])
    (Wista has rise/fall 56mm)[more fall with drop bed]
    (Linhof has a combined rise/fall of 55mm)[more fall with drop bed]
    The Wista appeals to me because it may allow for a wider lens use without reverting to dropping the bed to avoid the bed showing up in the bottom of vertical photos.

    I think both the Linhof and Wista have rotating film-backs, the Toyo CF removable back was not my favorite.
    I would like to use a Bossscreen ground glass but I have never seen one to fit the Wista ( I have for the Linhof).

    Your experience and thoughts much appreciated.

    -Schaf

  2. #2
    Joel Edmondson
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    Re: Wista VX or Linhof Master for 72mm to 240mm architecture.

    The Wista standard extension is indeed 300mm and for 120-240mm the camera works really well. As for the wide angle bellows, you cannot fold the camera with the bellows in place (according to Wista) and there were actually two different types made - one which places the lens board behind the front standard. There are also extension rails and "top-hat" lens boards in various lengths but these are "add-on" accessories which are not ideal (from my point of view ONLY). Boss screens were also made for the Wista VX and SP (B&H had a used one not too long ago with the spacer). The rear standard adjustments on the Wista have zero detents and lock down firmly.
    Joel

  3. #3

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    Re: Wista VX or Linhof Master for 72mm to 240mm architecture.

    What about a Technikardan?

  4. #4
    schafphoto's Avatar
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    Re: Wista VX or Linhof Master for 72mm to 240mm architecture.

    Yeah, I had a Technikardan in 1989, should never have sold it. The clamshell of the Toyo CF, Wista, Linhof technika is appealing from a travel point of view. This will only be used 10% of the time when outside California. I had a job in Guam last year and the CF worked well once I got the bellows pinholes patched. It now has a nice new bellows for the new buyer...

    Am I right in thinking the Linhof Technica has geared rise on the front standard?
    `
    –Stephen Schafer HABS | HAER | HALS & Architectural Photography | Ventura, California | www.HABSPHOTO.com

  5. #5

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    Re: Wista VX or Linhof Master for 72mm to 240mm architecture.

    Quote Originally Posted by schafphoto View Post
    Yeah, I had a Technikardan in 1989, should never have sold it. The clamshell of the Toyo CF, Wista, Linhof technika is appealing from a travel point of view. This will only be used 10% of the time when outside California. I had a job in Guam last year and the CF worked well once I got the bellows pinholes patched. It now has a nice new bellows for the new buyer...

    Am I right in thinking the Linhof Technica has geared rise on the front standard?
    Yes, they do, but the V and Master have a more useful front rise with short lenses as it is done with a lever in front of the board. The lV and lll use a knob behind the front standard and have less movement.

  6. #6

    A vote for the Wistas

    Hello,

    you sell your Toyo CF? I am looking for such a light camera ...

    I decided to give the Intrepid 4x5 a second chance and ordered a 4x5 MK3, after selling a Linhof Technika V that was quite fiddly and heavy.

    My experience with Linhofs (I had three of them) is not so good.

    Not only that I play classical guitar and the Linhofs always destroyed my precious fingernails, bbecause the screws are sharp and every screw has another head.

    They were precicion instruments, in the 1960ies, when there were not much elsewhere around, but then came Wista. Wista 4x5 metal and technical cameras are a lot simplier, sturdier, easier to repair.

    I wrote in another post:

    "1. The Wista focusing bed is mounted via 2 giant srews at the side of the camera. This gives more stabilty. The Linhof focusing bed is mounted with hinges that can twist. Then you will have to readjust it, an this is costly. Without this you will have parallelism problems.

    2. The Linhof bellows is known to be outworn rapidly. Buying a new bellows costs about 200 $. Of course, you can install a new bellows from China. They cost 100 $. But the Real Donald is increasing import taxes, and he certainly had these crooked Linhof bellows from Shenzen in mind ... You will have to cut a little bit from the smaller end of the China bellows (before installing) to get the camera closed.

    3. The camera leather of the Linhof is outworn rapidly, too.

    4. The Linhof is heavier (than a Wista N)

    5. Accessories for Linhof are expensive.

    6. Rangefinder adjustment is complicated, needs servicing by the factory, works only for adjusted lenses. It's better to forget range finder focusing in large format. Get a Fujifilm 690 / Linhof 220 to obtain sharp an grainless pictures or a Graflex that you can adjust yourself. The Technika is too heavy, too, for range findering. This is what Linhof told us so often in the 1960s, in their books and journals about large format photography, when they introduced the Linhof Technika Press, the Linhof 70, the Linhof 220. The Nikolaus Karpf universum (Bortsch, Hans: Schule der modernen Fotografie, Edited by Nikolaus Karpf, 1978, Vol. II, p. 8) even underlined the obsolescence of 4x5: 4x5 would have no advantage anymore except adjustability of the standards.

    7. Linhof ground glass back is mounted with two giant Graflock springs. These springs tighten themselves (on my camera). The result is that the spring mechanism on my Linhof does not work anymore. The spring mechanism blocks, when the groundglass has to turn back after pulling the film holder out. To avoid misfocus I have to free manually the tightened screw to make the groundglass snapping back into its natural position.

    8. Although the Linhof is made of heavy metal the front standard holder isn't cut out of metal but made of die cast material. That couses stability issues. It tends to brake when pulling the front standard out of the box onto its focusing rails. To avoid this you will have to move the focusing rails back in direction of the camera body, onto the as well adjustable and after years of use loose transport reception in the camera box. When broken you can forget about using your Linhof with 90mm lenses ... The front standard will not be tight anymore. Here in Germany we tend to over-engineer things instead of keeping it simple. We use too many different materials to solve any problem differently instead of looking at construction problems in their entirety.

    9. Tight front standard: you will have to readjust tightness of the front standard mounting on its focusing rails. If you don't ware to do this, this will cost extra altough it is quite simple.

    10. Linhofs have got these hinges on the Linhof focusing bed, so they need an additional set of spring-loaded holders on both sides - but these holders have to be adjusted, too, to regain parallelism after 40 years."


    So, after all, I would take the Wista SP 4x5 with micro swing, geared movements, changeable bellows, revolving back, 6x9 sliding back (Graflok) to mount a digital back.

    Regards
    4x5, 120, 135

  7. #7
    schafphoto's Avatar
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    Re: A vote for the Wistas

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Casper Lohenstein View Post
    Hello,

    you sell your Toyo CF? I am looking for such a light camera ...

    So, after all, I would take the Wista SP 4x5 with micro swing, geared movements, changeable bellows, revolving back, 6x9 sliding back (Graflok) to mount a digital back.

    Regards
    I will be selling the CF. New Toyo OEM bellows from MAC group, body is well used, Bossscreen GG, 4 lensboards, original box, bought used from B&H 15 months ago.

    Can someone with a Wista SP or VX tell decisively if the camera will close with the wide bellows? (Not the special wide bellows and rear mounted board).

    -Schaf
    `
    –Stephen Schafer HABS | HAER | HALS & Architectural Photography | Ventura, California | www.HABSPHOTO.com

  8. #8

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    Re: A vote for the Wistas

    I agree with you about the Linhof 220. They were not totally reliable although always a pleasure to use (I am on my 3rd example), and viewing the projected 6x7 slides is/was amazing. I have had no problems with my Technika IV 4x5. As for accessories being expensive that is offset by the ability to interchange some things between and among the Technika and Kardan series of cameras.

  9. #9
    schafphoto's Avatar
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    Wista LX & Linhof Technika front rise at 90mm

    Quote Originally Posted by linhofbiker View Post
    I agree with you about the Linhof 220. They were not totally reliable although always a pleasure to use (I am on my 3rd example), and viewing the projected 6x7 slides is/was amazing. I have had no problems with my Technika IV 4x5. As for accessories being expensive that is offset by the ability to interchange some things between and among the Technika and Kardan series of cameras.
    As always, since I can't just rent a Linhoff Technika 2000 non-rangefinder (which is the model I'm partial to)
    And I can't rent a late model Wista LX either, I need to base a lot of things that would be obvious in use on the perception of the posters here.
    Unless someone wants to rent their baby.
    The fluidity of the spring back is a factor, but I am only using Fidelity II plastic holders, no roll film backs.
    I do like the fact that the Linhof has a tripod thread on the bottom of the body, instead of the bottom of the bed like Wista/Toyo. With my tendency for shorter lenses I would probably only use the bottom-of-body mount.

    So my questions continue... I would be using the 72mm very infrequently, so let's just assume I want a system for a Nikkor 90mm f8. and that will be the lens I use most, probably on a flat lens board, but a recessed is always an option.

    On these two Cameras Linhoff 2000 or Wista LX, would the front standard be running on the focusing track inside the body or would the front standard be at the back of the focusing track on the bed? With the Toyo CF, the front standard is about one inch away from the carbon fiber body when the 90mm (flat board) is focused at infinity. Plenty of room to get your fingers onto the front standard knobs... but there are two knobs for rise and two knobs for tilt and they run independently side to side so there is potential for parallelism problems. The maximum possible front rise from center/zero on the CF is 35mm normally but at 90mm (infinity) its limited to 20mm rise by the bellows contacting the CF body. (I'll add this to the Toyo CF thread too) [I just measured these]

    And are the front standards center/zeroed at the bottom of their potential 50+ front rise so all front fall is in the form of drop-bed and front tilt-back?

    You see where I'm going here... if the wide angle lens isn't on the front focus bed, then a 90mm or 72mm or 55mm wouldn't have any potential to do front fall.

    Or am I all wet? I can only deduce so much from the specifications in the old 1999 B&H sourcebook, online manuals and enlarged Ebay photos, so any detail is helpful.

    -Schaf
    `
    –Stephen Schafer HABS | HAER | HALS & Architectural Photography | Ventura, California | www.HABSPHOTO.com

  10. #10

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    Re: Wista LX & Linhof Technika front rise at 90mm

    Quote Originally Posted by schafphoto View Post
    As always, since I can't just rent a Linhoff Technika 2000 non-rangefinder (which is the model I'm partial to)
    And I can't rent a late model Wista LX either, I need to base a lot of things that would be obvious in use on the perception of the posters here.
    Unless someone wants to rent their baby.
    The fluidity of the spring back is a factor, but I am only using Fidelity II plastic holders, no roll film backs.
    I do like the fact that the Linhof has a tripod thread on the bottom of the body, instead of the bottom of the bed like Wista/Toyo. With my tendency for shorter lenses I would probably only use the bottom-of-body mount.

    So my questions continue... I would be using the 72mm very infrequently, so let's just assume I want a system for a Nikkor 90mm f8. and that will be the lens I use most, probably on a flat lens board, but a recessed is always an option.

    On these two Cameras Linhoff 2000 or Wista LX, would the front standard be running on the focusing track inside the body or would the front standard be at the back of the focusing track on the bed? With the Toyo CF, the front standard is about one inch away from the carbon fiber body when the 90mm (flat board) is focused at infinity. Plenty of room to get your fingers onto the front standard knobs... but there are two knobs for rise and two knobs for tilt and they run independently side to side so there is potential for parallelism problems. The maximum possible front rise from center/zero on the CF is 35mm normally but at 90mm (infinity) its limited to 20mm rise by the bellows contacting the CF body. (I'll add this to the Toyo CF thread too) [I just measured these]

    And are the front standards center/zeroed at the bottom of their potential 50+ front rise so all front fall is in the form of drop-bed and front tilt-back?

    You see where I'm going here... if the wide angle lens isn't on the front focus bed, then a 90mm or 72mm or 55mm wouldn't have any potential to do front fall.

    Or am I all wet? I can only deduce so much from the specifications in the old 1999 B&H sourcebook, online manuals and enlarged Ebay photos, so any detail is helpful.

    -Schaf
    With a Linhof IV thru the 3000 the 72mm, and longer lenses, are on the focus rails. On the 2000 and 3000 35 to 65mm lenses are focused on the rail on the earlier cameras it does not drop as far may be clip part of vertical images with 75 and wider lenses.

    Their is no Wista LX.

    Having been the Linhof and Wista USA distributor for decades, until 2015, the Linhof is far more versatile and reliable then the Wista.

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