Using a Wisner 4x5 Pocket Edition : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I received the above camera about a week ago. I have the opening and closing of the camera down pretty good; however, I am still having problems with a few things. First, I am not quite sure how to zero the front and rare standards, especially when the bellows is really contracted. Second, I have been unable to focus my Nikor 90 f/8 (i.e., the camera will not close enough, it keeps bumping against the assembly that holds the front standard). I would really appreciate any advice or technique on using the camera. I will be taking mostly landscape pictures.

Thanks in advance,


-- Thomas W. Earle (, April 20, 2000



I have a Wisner Expedition (non-Pocket version), but I think I can still help. You should see small indentations on the assemblies that line up with each other to zero out the camera. I bought mine used, and the previous owner had taken a black pen and marked the indents for easier viewing. I wasn't sure if those were indeed the zero markings until I took Ron Wisner's Death Valley workshop last January and asked him about it. He confirmed that those are the markings to zero it out.

As for the trouble you're having using a 90mm, one thing about the Wisner Expeditions is that they're not all that wide angle-friendly. I use a 75mm on mine, which would be a different story if I didn't have it in a Linhof recessed lens board (plus Wisner-Linhof adapter). Without it, and likely in your case, you have to do a base tilt back with the front standard to get it close enough to the film plane, then eyeball it back to parallel to the rear standard, then use rise to zero it back out with the rear standard. It's quite a little dance.

At the workshop I described my Linhof recessed board set-up to Ron, and he asked to see it. After seeing me attach the adapter, then the lens board (all-in-all about a 10-second process), he made some comment like, "seems like kind of a hassle," to which all I could say was, "not compared to the little base-tilt-the-front-standard-and- eyeball-it routine I'd have to do otherwise."

Score one for the student.

-- Todd Caudle (, April 20, 2000.

Wade, I own the same camera. When I contract the bellows for use with a WA lens, I zero out the front standard with a small level. I attached a small strip of metal to the front standard and then put a magnet on a very small level. I attach the level to the strip and zero out--level- -the front stanard that way. I have not had troubles with the back standard since it has clicks for zero setup.

-- Bob Moulton (, April 21, 2000.

Answer continued.Can you reduce your problems by racking the rear focus all the way forward? Also, Ron sometimes recommends you use the geared rear tilt to the max and then tilt the back standard back to zero. I have done that sucessfully with a Wisner Tech field--not the pocket unit. That helps. bob

-- Bob Moulton (, April 21, 2000.

The rear standard is zeroed (no tilt) by simly putting tightening loosing knob into the "notches" on the diagonal "supports". If you look carefully on the right side of the metal pieces on the front standard, you'll notice two round "dots". Line those up and it is zeroed. Of course, this assumes that you have no tilts via the gearing mechanism.

You need to use the top rear focus to bring the rear standard forwards if you don't want to use a combination of axis and base tilts on the front standard and take advantage of the zero markings. However, if you insist on doing front shifts, you'll need to use a combo of axis and base front tilts to focus a 90.

-- Carlos Co (, April 21, 2000.

Actually, the Wisner PE is very wide angle friendly mainly due to top rear focus and Deardorff type front rise which allows you raise the lensboard without actually raising the front standard and pinching the bellows.

-- Carlos Co (, April 21, 2000.

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