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Thread: Handheld 4x5 shooting with a wista rf and on-camera flash.

  1. #1

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    Handheld 4x5 shooting with a wista rf and on-camera flash.

    Iím not sure exactly how to start this thread but after a private messaging conversation with another user, @Ari he suggested I post my experiences with hand held shooting. I hope my experiences are of some benefit to others.

    I started with a goal of shooting hand held portraits on 4x5 using something like a converted Polaroid camera. I ended up buying a converted Polaroid 180. It looks like a Chamonix Saber. But uses the full 4x5 frame. And has a Fujinon-NW 125mm lens. I use it with a Godox AD200 open bulb on the extension head, and a small 40cm diameter shoot through brolly (soft directional when indoors) on a pimped Lastolite flashgun grip that sets the light about 50cm above and 20cm to the left of the lens. Itís a half decent light source that seems to balance facial aesthetic with brutal honesty. The cam in the Polaroid seems remarkably well suited to the lens. Shooting on fomapan 200 which I really like, and is cheap as chips, at ~f8 @ 1/30th has treated me reasonably well. The only issue being that this Frankenstein of a camera can only focus to about 2.2m, which on a 125mm means a pretty wide portrait. Which is often great, but not always close enough. So Iíve just received a Wista 45RF. When it arrived the RF wasnít aligning at infinity when the bed was fully retracted. It was already indicating infinity when the bed was still about 3mm extended. A screw-adjusted cam lever located at the bottom left of the chassis - as you look at the camera from the front, allowed me to correct this pretty quickly. So Iím now ready with a Nikkor-W 135mm to start testing this beast of a point and shoot! If this goes well Iíll buy the Nikkor-W 180mm and see how that works out.


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  2. #2
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Handheld 4x5 shooting with a wista rf and on-camera flash.

    Minutes ago I was searching eBay for that camera. Window shopping not ready to buy

    You answered my question about adjusting the camí

    I am interested in anything you wish to share about using that exact camera


    Thank you!
    sin eater

  3. #3

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    Re: Handheld 4x5 shooting with a wista rf and on-camera flash.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tin Can View Post
    I am interested in anything you wish to share about using that exact camera


    Thank you!
    Itís early days but Iíll do my best. First impressions are the weight!! 3.5kg with glass. But also how robust it feels!! The RF is clear which was critical for me. And hopefully now, itís accurate. Sadly the viewfinder frame lines donít account for portrait shooting. Iíll work something out though to give me a good idea of whatís reaching the film.

    Hopefully over the next few weeks I can give you an idea if the RF is a usable feature.


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  4. #4
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Handheld 4x5 shooting with a wista rf and on-camera flash.

    Yes the RF is the critical feature!

    and itís ability to be easily adjusted to the 3 Nikon lenses it was designed for
    sin eater

  5. #5

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    Re: Handheld 4x5 shooting with a wista rf and on-camera flash.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tin Can View Post
    Yes the RF is the critical feature!

    and itís ability to be easily adjusted to the 3 Nikon lenses it was designed for
    That bit seems very easy assuming the cams are good and the rf infinity is set. You focus on the gg at infinity for each of the three lenses then adjust and tighten the stops on the focus bed. There are four pairs, three are colour coded for the Nikon lenses plus one spare set for another lens or a set purpose. Dial in the cam on to rf for the chosen Nikon lens and off you go. In theory, a doddle!


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  6. #6
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Handheld 4x5 shooting with a wista rf and on-camera flash.

    I have had difficulty doing that with my 4x5 Speed Graphic

    Not so easy

    I have a 2x3 Speed that retains its good factory RF adjustment.

    The big advantage I see with a Wista RF is it uses Nikon lenses with easy to find working Copal shutters.
    sin eater

  7. #7

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    Re: Handheld 4x5 shooting with a wista rf and on-camera flash.

    Yes, itís all pretty straightforward isnít it.


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  8. #8
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Handheld 4x5 shooting with a wista rf and on-camera flash.

    I do read about many Wista RF with bad RF optics

    A good iteration may be hard to find
    sin eater

  9. #9
    Charles S
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    Re: Handheld 4x5 shooting with a wista rf and on-camera flash.

    Quote Originally Posted by adrianlambert View Post
    Iím not sure exactly how to start this thread but after a private messaging conversation with another user, @Ari he suggested I post my experiences with hand held shooting. I hope my experiences are of some benefit to others.

    I started with a goal of shooting hand held portraits on 4x5 using something like a converted Polaroid camera. I ended up buying a converted Polaroid 180. It looks like a Chamonix Saber. But uses the full 4x5 frame. And has a Fujinon-NW 125mm lens. I use it with a Godox AD200 open bulb on the extension head, and a small 40cm diameter shoot through brolly (soft directional when indoors) on a pimped Lastolite flashgun grip that sets the light about 50cm above and 20cm to the left of the lens. Itís a half decent light source that seems to balance facial aesthetic with brutal honesty. The cam in the Polaroid seems remarkably well suited to the lens. Shooting on fomapan 200 which I really like, and is cheap as chips, at ~f8 @ 1/30th has treated me reasonably well. The only issue being that this Frankenstein of a camera can only focus to about 2.2m, which on a 125mm means a pretty wide portrait. Which is often great, but not always close enough. So Iíve just received a Wista 45RF. When it arrived the RF wasnít aligning at infinity when the bed was fully retracted. It was already indicating infinity when the bed was still about 3mm extended. A screw-adjusted cam lever located at the bottom left of the chassis - as you look at the camera from the front, allowed me to correct this pretty quickly. So Iím now ready with a Nikkor-W 135mm to start testing this beast of a point and shoot! If this goes well Iíll buy the Nikkor-W 180mm and see how that works out.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
    Two thoughts in preparation for a trip I was looking to doing the same thing.

    1) i got a Graflex that had some issues that will take still some time to resolve for mobile shooting and will not be ready in time for the trip
    .
    2) I have a Wista 45D with a bunch of lenses. I shoot it off a light tripod with the attached rig (AD200 with detached flash head and cable, on a flexarm clamped to the ballhead on the tripod). Not as mobile as what you are looking but i can report back in two weeks how it went.
    Click image for larger version. 

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  10. #10

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    Re: Handheld 4x5 shooting with a wista rf and on-camera flash.

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles S View Post
    I shoot it off a light tripod with the attached rig (AD200 with detached flash head and cable, on a flexarm clamped to the ballhead on the tripod).
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	2019-11-17 13.46.09.jpg 
Views:	28 
Size:	53.1 KB 
ID:	197759
    Looking good Charles! And yep! Thatís pretty much what I will look like but with three legs instead of two!! Iíve actually been doing this for a year or so with the Polaroid 180 conversion already so picture something like a Saber instead. Donít think I have a photo of me in action.




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