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Thread: New here, new to LF, strongly considering a Wista

  1. #1

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    New here, new to LF, strongly considering a Wista

    Hi,

    I'm a commercial fashion, beauty and portrait photographer working out of NYC. I recently got turned on to the idea of shooting 4x5, for its mix of process/results, accessibility and costs. I have a Hasselblad 500cm and it just didn't take, so I'm looking to sell that kit and move on.

    Initial looking around has me interested in a Wista, with the intention to carry over some of my 35mm working style and FOV preferences to 4x5. I shoot most often with a 50mm and a 105, and I figure this puts me in the market for a 135-150mm, and a 300mm. I shoot a lot of work very tight, like half or quarter face, and am looking forward to what 4x5 offers in this regard - is that a pipe dream?

    Who else here is shooting portraiture with a Wista? Is there a reason to prefer one model over another? I know about the micro moves that some models offer on the rear standard, but I'm not sure how important that will figure into practical use for what I do.

    Is there a way to know and look for a better ground glass on the likes of eBay among the Wista models?

    Any middle of the road but good lenses I should look for? I'm not all that interested in sought after bokeh or OOF rendering, just solid performers that won't cost an arm and a leg. Most of my work is shot at f/5.6 or tighter, so I'm not really drawn to paying top dollar to buy an obscure f/2.5 or the like. Hoping to keep my whole kit under $800.

    Thanks for your help,

    Jim
    Evocative over academic

  2. #2
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    Re: New here, new to LF, strongly considering a Wista

    The increased focal lengths needed to duplicate the same feel of your 35mm work with a 4x5 will affect the depth of field you will have to work with. How out of focus areas are rendered might become of more importance as you work and gain experience with the format. F5.6 is a sort of fast lens for 4x5. Certainly the fastest you will find in an average lens

    But it does sound like you would be more interested in the older lenses...perhaps along the lines of the Kodak Portrait lenses or Wide Field Ektar.

    Good luck!
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  3. #3

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    Re: New here, new to LF, strongly considering a Wista

    I have a Wista 45DX and a Toyo monorail. If you want to do close ups with a 300mm the Wista won't cut it, it will only focus a 300 at infinity (I don't know what the extension is on the metal bodies). If you want to shoot close ups with a 300mm a monorail is a much better tool, it stays stable no matter how far the bellows are extended and has more precise movements. Ideally I would combine a monorail for close ups and a field camera for out and about. Monorails are pretty cheap and you can get an adapter board so that linhof/wista boards can be used on both cameras. Film holders are interchangeable so you would be golden. I use a 210mm 5.6 (Schneider APO Symmar) for portraits on my Wista coupled with a 125mm (Fuji NW) as my standard lens, and that works well for me. The 210mm focal length is probably the most commonly used LF portrait lens in 4x5 mainly because it offers decent trade offs between size and weight, the top shutter speed (1/400), and you don't need super long bellows for a portrait. They are easy to get hold of and relatively cheap compared to anything that can be used on a 8x10.

  4. #4

    Re: New here, new to LF, strongly considering a Wista

    Quote Originally Posted by jlafferty View Post
    Hi,

    I'm a commercial fashion, beauty and portrait photographer working out of NYC. I recently got turned on to the idea of shooting 4x5, for its mix of process/results, accessibility and costs. I have a Hasselblad 500cm and it just didn't take, so I'm looking to sell that kit and move on.

    Any middle of the road but good lenses I should look for? I'm not all that interested in sought after bokeh or OOF rendering, just solid performers that won't cost an arm and a leg. Most of my work is shot at f/5.6 or tighter, so I'm not really drawn to paying top dollar to buy an obscure f/2.5 or the like. Hoping to keep my whole kit under $800.

    Thanks for your help,

    Jim
    Jim, the 203mm Kodak Ektar f7.7 lens is one of the best lenses ever made for large format work. Its inexpensive and its a superior performer. It can often be had in a fully functional shutter for under $200. Most people who have used one recognize it as one of the best lenses they've used. It covers 5x7 well, but on 4x5 it allows plenty of camera movements.
    Browse some images I've made with the 203mm Ektar here, if you wish.

  5. #5

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    Re: New here, new to LF, strongly considering a Wista

    Quote Originally Posted by jlafferty View Post
    Hi,

    I'm a commercial fashion, beauty and portrait photographer working out of NYC. I recently got turned on to the idea of shooting 4x5, for its mix of process/results, accessibility and costs.
    .

    If you haven't already, you might check out fellow NY fashion/portrait photographer Andres Hernandez. He's been shooting with Chamonix and Sinar 4x5s recently and has posted some videos to YouTube about his experiences with them. He's shooting expired film until he learns the ropes.

    Website: https://www.andreshernandez.net
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/andreshernandez/
    YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCth...doxHwsnZIb2l2w

    I'm an Arca-Swiss fanboy and no help on field cameras. If you're interested, there are a good number of threads here about Arca-Swiss cameras, which are modular monorails. I can convert mine between 4x5 and 8x10 in a few minutes, and can have up to 700mm of bellows depending on how I set it up.

    I'd suggest that you consider an Arca-Swiss Discovery if you didn't want a 300mm lens. If you can find a Discovery, it may be reasonably priced second hand. However, the rail is only 300mm, so you'd have to purchase an extension to get closer than infinity with a standard (not telephoto) 300mm lens. On the other hand, my camera started as a Discovery. With the purchase of bits and pieces over the years, I can now run a 300mm lens beyond 1:1. I currently use lenses ranging from a 120mm Nikkor to a 600mm Fujinon C.
    Last edited by r.e.; 25-Jul-2021 at 16:43. Reason: Added "standard (not telephoto)"

  6. #6

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    Re: New here, new to LF, strongly considering a Wista

    If you're dead-set on 300mm for 4x5, there are Tele-Xenar 300mm f 5.5 Schneider Kreuznach lenses out there that require way less than 300mm of bellows extension for infinity focus, and MIGHT work on a Wista.
    They are a different beast, when it comes to calculating bellows extension, since the nodal point of the lens is a ways out in front of the camera.

  7. #7

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    Re: New here, new to LF, strongly considering a Wista

    50mmx3.5=175mm 105mmx3.5=368mm

    lots of great 180mm lenses out there to choose from and it's not hard to find a 360mm or 380mm telephoto lens that would work with the shorter bellows of a wista.

  8. #8

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    Re: New here, new to LF, strongly considering a Wista

    Quote Originally Posted by jlafferty View Post
    I shoot most often with a 50mm and a 105, and I figure this puts me in the market for a 135-150mm, and a 300mm.
    I'd like to suggest that you look at the lens tables linked on the forum home page. Those tables show an approach to 35mm equivalency that is not based on a simple 3x multiplication. They also provide field of view info.

    I have no experience with large format telephoto lenses, which some people are suggesting to make a 300mm lens "fit" a Wista. In your place, I'd want to know what the difference is between using a standard lens and a telephoto lens for the kinds of photographs that you say you want to make. It seems to me that choices on focal length should come first, and that choice of camera should follow, not the other way around.

  9. #9

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    Re: New here, new to LF, strongly considering a Wista

    Like this, previously mentioned.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8kJvBtCE5g&t=360s

    and:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvzawzszo7A&t=236s


    If yes, why consider a light weight field folder given the image goals?

    Lens focal length and types and image goals dictate and decides suitable camera types, not the other way around where the incorrect camera choice is made only to discover the struggles and difficulties of trying to use a camera that was never designed to intended to work properly with the lens required to meet the image goals.

    World of view camera is not like 35mm, digital or 120 roll film like Hasselblad. It is a world where the camera is essentially a light tight box that is flexi in the center with lens and a long list of other elements and factors driving what that light tight box that is flexi in the center must do.


    Bernice


    Bernice

  10. #10

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    Re: New here, new to LF, strongly considering a Wista

    Quote Originally Posted by r.e. View Post
    I'd like to suggest that you look at the lens tables linked on the forum home page. Those tables show an approach to 35mm equivalency that is not based on a simple 3x multiplication. They also provide field of view info.

    I have no experience with large format telephoto lenses, which some people are suggesting to make a 300mm lens "fit" a Wista. In your place, I'd want to know what the difference is between using a standard lens and a telephoto lens for the kinds of photographs that you say you want to make. It seems to me that choices on focal length should come first, and that choice of camera should follow, not the other way around.
    Or, he could just add a Wista extension bellows and bed to the Wista and then use any length lens that fits the camera. And, of course, then have as much bellows and bed needed for closeup work.
    Of course the added bellows and bed are removed when not required.

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