First 4x5 field camera : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread


I am contemplating my first 4x5 field camera. After reviewing the field of wooden field cameras, I have narrowed down my choices to a Wista DX (with shift) and a Wisner Expedition. Ignoring the significant cost difference between the two models, what are people's general opinions regarding what would be a better model that one could "grow into"? My general application is landscape photography and a little portrait work. I'd like to be able to mount a lens as wide as 75mm on the 4x5. When I pose this question to a dealer in my area, I can never get the same answer twice (i.e. one pushes Toyo; another Wista; and a third Wisner).

Thanks in advance for your time. Robert

-- Robert Ruderman (, December 31, 1997


My first piece of advice would be to reconsider buying a wood field camera rather than a metal one. Metal cameras are much more stable and durable which becomes particularly important if you intend to do any backpacking. I personally know 3 pros who initally started with wood fields and eventually switched to metal. There are probably several photographers out there who use wood fields and who would disagree with me but this is my opinion. I use a Wista SP which I would certainly recommend. I have no experience with the other makes and models. Using a 75 will probably require a bag bellows or recessed lens board. If you haven't already, take a look at Leslie Stroebel's "View Camera Techniques" (6th edition). There's an excellent section that compares the different features of a wide variety of large format cameras. Decide which features you would like to have in the camera and use the book to help narrow the choices.

-- Mark Windom (, January 01, 1998.

No comparison at all between Wisner and the Wista. Buy the Wisner and never look back. But in a decision among equals, look at the Canham metal camera that just came out. It will give you an option in the same basic price and quality range. Both are excellent. Right up there with Linhof Technicas, but both have more bellows draw than the Linhof. With either you won't go wrong and will have a camera your grandchildren will be able to use long after you are gone. You do get what you pay for and with both the Wisner & Canham you get quality that will last long after the energizer bunny poop out.

-- Dan Smith (, January 06, 1998.

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