Wista 45DX users?

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Has anyone used the Wista 45DX or 45DXII ? I am interested in your impressions regarding build quality, rigidity, and ease of use. Please, no comments or suggestions on other cameras. It would be used only for landscape work with 80XL, 110XL, and 210 lenses (the 210 mostly at infinity). Thanks.

-- john costo (mahler@lvcm.com), January 13, 2001


John, I've used a Wista DX with shifting back for more than 10 years, and while I like the camera, I'm not in love with it. The focus, on mine at least, has always been a bit stiff and not very smooth. It does seem to be well made and sturdy. But as one who cut his large format teeth on a studio monorail, it's never had that "precise" feel to it that I became used to with a monorail. But for landscape work, in my opinion, it's great and easy to set up. And it's pretty, too.

-- Ben Calwell (bcalwell@aol.com), January 13, 2001.

Had a good look at one once........not that impressed!! Not very rigid, especially when extended. I am curious as to why you don't want any recommendations or suggestions, do you already own the Wista?? Paul

-- paul owen (paulowen_2000@yahoo.com), January 13, 2001.

John, I own the Wista VX and it is a landscape work horse. I not familiar with the DX, but in response to the earlier coment on the focusing being a little tight, their should be a screw you can loosen that will adjust the movement of the focusing knob. Regards, Steve

-- Steve Gilb (stevegilb@worldnet.att.net), January 13, 2001.

I use a Wista DX (w/ rear shift). It is the only camera I have used though so I can't comment on comparisons. I use a 150 and 240 lens and am mostly happy with it. It is well built, fairly rigid and very pretty. With the 240, I have to be careful to lock the focus well and let the vibrations of the front die out for a few seconds.

I agree with the comment above about the focus not being silky smooth. I almost returned mine initially as the focus was pretty course. I fixed this by rubbing candle wax into the geared focus tracks and on the focus rod which is tensioned from below in two places by metal tabs. It focuses very smooth when cold, and less so when warm, presumably due to expansion of the wood.

One other problem I encountered was the ground glass position. The ground glass sat about 0.03in closer than the film plane in my holders. It sounds small but this made the camera focus film too close and noticeably on more than a few shots. I fixed this by shimming the ground glass with single strips of film and verified it by shooting a ruler at a steep angle with shallow DOF. My only main gripe with this camera is the front tilt. It uses springs that pull the standard forward when out of the zero detents. These make it difficult to adjust, check focus, adjust again and so forth without locking it down after each adjustment. You have to play with it to see what I mean. I would really prefer a center tilt front standard.

On the whole I am very happy however, as this camera is very light for what you get, and I like to drag my gear up mountains. It is also quite a bargain, as the other cameras in this price range, are not as nicely built.

-- Richard Ross (ross@hrl.com), January 13, 2001.

All cameras have their special way of being, those made of wood will always have more mechanical and rigidity problems. Expansion and contraction is a fact of life. Having said that, I have several cameras bot wood and metal, certain carachteristics of the Wista VX, metal field make me prefer it to its wooden equivalent (by the way somebody in one of the entries spoke of a shifting back , I believe it is a revolving back...), however it costs a little more and it weights a little more too. No problem working with the described lenses but you need a wideangle bellows for any substantial movement with 80mm and 110(you will want that otherwise why buy XL's). regards

-- Andrea Milano (milandro@multiweb.nl), January 14, 2001.

Wista makes several wood 45 cameras = 3 metal ones.

Some wood ones, SW, SW III, DX III, DX have rear shift.

Some wood ones, SW, SW III have interchangeable bellows

The DX II has neither.

The DX is available in cherry, ebony or rosewood

The DX II AND SW are available in Cherry and Rosewood.

All others are in cherry only. All Wista wood and metal cameras, including those with fixed bellows, accept extension bellows for much longer then the basic 12" extension..

-- Bob Salomon (bobsalomon@mindspring.com), January 14, 2001.

Oh yes,

No wood Wista has a revolving back. Metal Wistas do.

For wood ones the back is taken off and you rotate it 90.

While we are on this Wista makes a cherry 45 to 57 adpter back and a quick slide back for roll film. The factory is discontinuing both of these and there are very few left in our or the factory's inventory.

-- Bob Salomon (bobsalomon@mindspring.com), January 14, 2001.

We will be exhibiting at the NANPA Show at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas next weekend and at the Western States show in Pasadena the following weekend and will be showing Wista.

If you are near either you can get some hands-on feel.

We will also introduce the complete Novoflex line for which we were just appointed the distributor as well as Ansmann, Ergorest and Gepe Pro. All are new.

-- Bob Salomon (bobsalomon@mindspring.com), January 14, 2001.

My wife owns and never uses her DXII, which I've found to be a handy little, albeit not the best in show, lightweight camera. I can pack it, 10 holders, and two mounted lenses in a tiny backpack. However, I'd agree with everyone else that it is not a rigid camera designed for serious field work. The bellows is made of paper, which I hate, and is VERY easy to crinkle; I have proof. I would say that the VX or the Toyo metal fields (not to ignore the Linhof lovers) would be worth a longer look.

-- Chad Jarvis (cjarvis@nas.edu), January 14, 2001.

I use a Wista DX (older, with rear shift) almost exclusively for my outdoor work, especially when I have to pack it long distances. I own a monorail and another field camera, but have chosen the Wista over other brands which are possibly better made and have smoother controls and longer bellows extension principly due to its small size and light weight. I have found it to be a rugged, reliable and uncomplicated tool in the field. Low-tech has its advantages. The only real shortcoming (literally) is the small bellows draw which does not allow focusing a 300mm lens closer than infinity. This I solved by mounting my Nikkor M 300mm on an extended lensboard. One advantage of this camera is the way it folds together. Not only is it quick and uncomplicated, but many small lenses can be folded up inside the camera without removing them. Even my Schneider Symmar-S 135 fits inside the camera when closed. A great help when in the field and size and ease of set up are important. Hope this helps, ;^D)

-- Doremus Scudder (ScudderLandreth@compuserve.com), January 14, 2001.

According to our factory information all current Wistas have a leather pleated bellows. Was yours changed by someone?

We can email a comparison sheet of Wista/Linhof/Toyo/Wisner/Horseman features to anyone who wants one.

-- Bob Salomon (bobsalomon@mindspring.com), January 14, 2001.

I own one of the older Zone VI Wistas. It is an excellent camera. Like all of the cameras I own or have owned, I have yet to live up to it.

-- Bryant Urstadt (bryantu@mindspring.com), January 22, 2001.

I have owned a DX rosewood w/rear shifts and have had only slight problems. One being crinkling bellows when I fold it up but that can be alleviated by keeping the front standard loose when folding, removing the back and centering the standard so the bellows don't crease. After significant use you won't need to remove the back, you will know when the front standard is in place. Also ALL of the original brass cap nuts that retain the all of the knobs fell off. The Wista site is in Japaneese so I couldn't order another set from the manufacturer, I used it for several months afterwards without any nuts and none of the knobs fell off but be forewarned finding brass metric buts is slightly more difficult than could be expected. Reccomendation - remove all of the nuts and put a tiny amount of thread locking compound to keep them all in place.

-- Dan Zonair (pub921@hotmail.com), September 14, 2001.

"he original brass cap nuts that retain the all of the knobs fell off. The Wista site is in Japaneese so I couldn't order another set from the manufacturer"

If you are in the U.S. we have them in stock. Just call service in NJ at 973 808-9626. They have most Wista parts in stock and we have most Wista accessories in stock.

As we sell to the camera stores and not to end users you could also order the caps from your dealer in the U.S.

-- Bob Salomon (bob@hpmarketingcorp.com), September 14, 2001.

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