Wooden Field Cameras and Long Focal Lengths

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I have a Wisner Pocket Expedition and want to expand to longer focal lengths. Before getting a 500 Nikon T and maybe , I want to hear some experiences people have had with wooden field cameras and such long focal length lenses. Also, is it really true that performance of the Nikon T lenses rapidly diminishes at closer focusing distances, e.g. ~20 ft?

-- Carlos Co (co@che.udel.edu), June 24, 2000


In one of the early incarnations of his catalog, Ron included a photocopy of a review of the 8 X 10 Expedition (not the pocket) that had run in Photo Techniques, I believe.

The writer asked Ron to put a 1/4 X 20 threaded mount under the base of the front standard to help steady the rig when he used the 1200mm Nikkor ? or Fuji?

-- Sean yates (yatescats@yahoo.com), June 24, 2000.

The Nikon T series are fine lenses but clearly not made for close-up photography. The Fuji Ts are better at close-ups but still not great. These lenses are just not designed to perform well close-up but at 20 feet, and beyond, at working apertures (f22), it will be OK. The Schneider Apo Xenars are a better choice for close-up if you insist on a tele design.

I have had a hard enough time keeping the metal fields stable with these large pieces of glass hanging of the front end, I can't image what it would be like with a wood field. Meticulous technique helps. I speak in generalizations here. I have seen some pretty sturdy wood fields. I can tell you that many times these T lenses have been labeled poor performers when in fact the problem was instability.

-- Pat Raymore (patrick.f.raymore@kp.org), June 25, 2000.

I own the same camera and use a Fuji 450mm on it with good success. I might email Ron Wisner to see his take on using the Nikkor 500T and all the lenses in that line on the Pocket Expedition. I am not certain that the camera will sustain the weight of that lens. Incidentally, the T lenses do not have the coverage that other long lenses will give you. As I understand it, you trade off coverage for short bellows extension. Bob

-- Bob Moulton (bobmargaretm@home.com), June 25, 2000.

Yes Bob, I've e-mailed Ron prior to posting here. The main weight concern is whether the friction-lock on the "geared" front-rise can handle the weight. Also, at what subject distance do you start having to do a combination of front axis/base tilts to get enough bellows with that Fuji 450?

-- Carlos Co (co@che.udel.edu), June 25, 2000.

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