Master Technika and Wista SP technical precisions : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Hi everybody. I'm living in France, where the Large Format "culture" is totally absent and LF cameras are devoted to professionals. (Probably 35 mm and MF are large enough formats for a 550 000 sq km country...) In the same way, getting informations on LF field cameras is as easy as climbing Everest on a single foot ! For these reasons I anknowledge the US web sites for the huge amount of data, informations and opinions on large format photography. (I've never noticed a french email on the LF sites ! ).

Nevertheless, I intend to purchase a 4x5 " field camera before summer. I've read your contributions and comments with the highest interest. Thanks for them, 't was a great help in making up my mind. I use to make architecture and landscape photography., (50/50) and even if a monorail camera might seems at first glance a more convenient equipment, I still consider a field camera is lignteh, easier to carry and to setup. I'll use both 4x5" cutfilm-holders and 2< x 3< rollfilm backs. My choice is now centered on 2 cameras : Master Technika 4x5" and Wista SP.

- Master Tech has a triple rail extension (400 mm + 35 rear mm), but no WA interchangeable bellows. - Wista SP seems to have a considerably shorter bellow extension but seems maybe more convenient for mounting WA lenses, due to the interchangeable WA bellows (more or less easy to change bellow and rail in field !)

So my questions to both M-Tech and Wista Sp users are :

1 - Linhof : BH's catalog mentions that a Master Technika 45 can use 58/65 lenses with focusing adapter # 002555 but with no displacements. A 58 or 65 mm is an interesting wide angle lens for 2< x 3< format, even if I'll use a 90 mm for 4x5".

So, what is the difference between this (very expensive) focusing device and a simple recessed lensboard ? Is it possible to use 58 to 65 mm wide angle lenses in 2< x 3< format on a Master Tech 4x5" , intended that minimum bellows draw is 65 mm, and if so, with or without movements (

2 - Wista SP : This field camera seems more adapted to wide angle lenses using a bag bellow. On the other part, the basic extension seems rather a short one. Exchanging both rail and bellows seems also a bit awkward on the field, same as to carry a 600 mm long bellows and 300 or 460 mm bed track in a backpack ! - Wista mentions a 66 + 82 = 148 mm extension (less than the 150 mm max extension of the bag bellow !) - BH's catalog indicates a 300 mm extension but with optional track. Who cat tell me what is the real extension of a Wista SP with standard bellow and rail ?

3 - On both cameras, can I use a # 3 Compur or Copal shutter ? 4 - On the Master Tech, the maximum rear diameter of lenses is mentioned to be 83 mm. As the lensboard is 96x99 mm, why this limitation ?

I apologize for being so long explaining my problems and for my poor english. Thanks again if you spent a lot of time answering my questions.

-- Jean-Louis Llech (, April 19, 1999


I will address the Linhof part of your question.

First you should realize that there are currently 2 different Master technika 45 cameras. The Master Technika (A) and the Master technika 2000 (B). In the following I will refer to the differences in them by A and B. 1: On camera A the lenses from 55mm to 65mm have to be inside the camera housing rather than on the focusing tracks on the bed in order to reach infinity. On these cameras there is no method of focusing the lens when it is in the housing thus you must buy an Auxialliry Wide Angle Focusing Device which mounts to the front standard and accepts special Technika 23 lens boards. There is a small knob on the accesssory that allows you to focus the lens as you rotate it.

On camera B there is a focusing track inside the camera housing and this allows focusing lenses from 35mm to 65mm without the need for any additional accessories.

On both cameras the shortest lens that can be used on the focusing tracks on the bed is the 72/75mm. 72 to 150mm lenses are normally mounted on recessed boards.

All lenses can be used with movements on both models up to the amount allowed by the lens. Neither camera requires a wide angle bellows, nor is one available. All lenses can be used with maximum movements of the lens and the camera with the bellows on the camera.

3: The limitation as to what lens will mount on the Technika is two fold.

The hole in the camera body on the front standard that the rear element of the lens has to pass through is about 80mm in diameter. if the lens' rear element is larger than this the lens won't fit through the hole and won't mount. This has absolutely nothing to do with the lens board. All 45 Technikas accept #3 shutters.

The second limitation is the flange focal length of the lens. If the flange focal length at infinity is longer than the total bellows extension the lens will not focus on the film. The longest lens that can be mounted is some 500mm lenses but with very limited focusing ability.

-- bob salomon (, April 19, 1999.

Your humble editor is actually french. On Paris' photo street, the av Beaumarchais starting from place de la Bastille, I've seen many used linhof technikas. I'd advise you to check them out, for two reasons. First, a new technika is quite expensive, and they are so well made that it hardly matters. Second, I own a Tech IV. It is not a light camera. I find it somewhat cumbersome to use with a 90mm wide angle lens. You are considering architecture shots and an even shorter lens, so I think you should make a hands-on assessment of the wide-angle capabilities of the cameras you are interested in.

-- Quang-Tuan Luong (, April 19, 1999.

The Wista SP has 300mm of draw with the standard bellows and tracks. I have used Nikkor's 300M (at infinity only) and am currently using the Nikkor 360T with no problem. I have not used anything wider than a 90 so can't comment on WA capabilities.

I use Horseman's 6X9 roll film back quite frequently with this camera and would highly recommend this manufacturer when it comes time to purchase a back. I would agree that a 65 would be nice to have when using the roll film back on a 4X5.

-- Mark Windom (, April 20, 1999.

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