90mm Lens On A Wisner Field Camera

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I have just purchased a 90mm Schneider Super Angulon and would like to use it on my Wisner 5"x7" Traditional Field camera. The lens came with a Calumet recessed lens board that I can use on my Cambo 45NX. Before I waste my money on a lens board and bag bellows for the Wisner, can anyone tell me if this combination will work. I have tried to get the standards as close as possible on the Wisner and eliminate the the front of the camera by dropping the bed. It still looks as if it might be a VERY CLOSE fit. I did talk to Ron Wisner who informed me that it should work. I would also add that I wil be using a 4"x5" reducing back on the Wisner. Has anyone worked with this type of configuration before? Thanks in advance for any help.

-- Bruce E. Rathbun (brath@iquest.net), January 10, 2001



I'm very familiar with the Wisner 8x10 Traditional and the Zone VI 4x5, which is the same as a Wisner 4x5 Traditional. I've not worked with the 5x7, but I'm assuming the design is basically the same, with all the same limitations for using short focal length lenses.

You've already discovered that the Traditional does not compress enough to accomodate short focal length lenses at infinity focus when set up at neutral with the flat lensboard. You have to compensate for this drawback. If your recessed board makes up for this limited bellows compression, all the better. Just use it as you normally would with longer lenses, making sure the front of the camera bed does not intrude into your image area. If not, then you have to do the following:

Compress the front and rear standards to their closest position. Drop the camera bed down to about nearly 45 degrees from horizontal. Tilt the rear standard/film plane back to level. All at once now...raise and rotate the front lens panel while simultaneously tilting the front standard back so the entire thing is both parallel and--this is very important with a 90mm WA with a limited image circle for the 4x5 format--centered on the rear standard/film plane. Lock everything down. It helps to have a bag bellows.

At this point you should be close enough to the film plane to achieve infinity focus with a short focal length lens. Re-adjust focus travel to achieve proper focus of image on groundglass.

Every time you change the orientation of the camera you have to re-adjust everything to achieve the same lens to film plane orientation. This is the main reason I no longer own the Zone VI, and seldom use the 8x10 with short lenses.

Good luck, Sergio.

-- Sergio Ortega (s.ortega@worldnet.att.net), January 11, 2001.

I have a Wisner 4x5 traditional, and 90mm Super Angulon. With the standard bellows, I can focus at infinity with very limited movements. I have the bag bellows, but frequently don't have to use it for straight ahead stuff...can usually tweak it a little, but you have to remember to lock it down tight. But I think the bag bellows is a good investment for people doing much short lens work. Bite the bullet.

-- John Sarsgard (sarsgard@yahoo.com), January 11, 2001.

Sergio, sounds like a good solution to me. My only concern is that since I will not have a recessed lens board I might not even get as close as I need to focus at infinity. I will get a lens board and try before I commit to a set of bag bellows. Tha

-- Bruce E. Rathbun (brath@iquest.net), January 11, 2001.


The contortions described above should allow you to achieve infinity focus without the recessed lensboard. The shorter the WA lens, and the greater the compression limits of your 5x7, the more extreme these adjustments will have to be.

However, if you find that to achieve infinity focus you have the lens panel perched all the way at the top of the front standard's rails, the lens panel rotated signigicantly and the entire front standard tilted back precariously, the stability and subsequent sharpness of your images might suffer.

Good luck, Sergio.

-- Sergio Ortega (s.ortega@worldnet.att.net), January 11, 2001.

I have the Wisner 5 x 7 Traditional L and have used my 90 mm SA with it using the movements described by Sergio. It just covers 5 x 7, and there are no movements, but it works.

-- John Boeckeler (boeck@midcoast.com), January 18, 2001.

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