Wisner Traditional, input please

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I have been shooting for the last year with a 4X5 Graphic View, taking it with me to the mountains and lakes around the Pacific North West. It takes very good photos, but it is not friendly when it comes to packing it around. I would like to purchase, in the near future, a good quality field camera. From what I have been reading it seems that Wisner cameras have a repution of being well made. I mainly shoot landscape and fine art and I believe the Traditional would meet my needs. Any input on the pros and cons of this camera would be helpful in my decision. Thank you all, Ben

-- Ben Hopson (BenHopson@centurytel.net), September 03, 2001


Not to put you off Ben, but this subject has been one of the more asked and answered on this forum. For example,a brisk discussion on the stability of the wooden camera in general was conducted last week. Most of what you are looking for is available on file here.

-- Michael Kadillak (m.kadillak@home.com), September 03, 2001.

When you say "not friendly when it comes to packing," what do you mean? Too heavy? Too bulky? Too cumbersome to take in the field? I have no experience at all with the Graphic cameras. However, the Wisner Traditional is a pretty large and heavy camera. If I had to guess, I would think it's at least as large and heavy as the Graphic View if not more so but that's just a guess since I've never even held a Graphic. It should be easy enough to determine how much, if any, you'd be improving in weight and size by going to the Wisner web site and checking the specs of the Traditional. If weight and size are your concerns you might look at the lighter Wisners such as the Expedition or Pocket Expedition (expensive), or perhaps at a less expensive but also light and compact camera such as the Tachihara.

-- Brian Ellis (bellis60@earthlink.net), September 04, 2001.

I have Wisner Traditionals in 5x7 and 8x10 formats and like them very much. As far as I'm concerned, they are well made, sturdy, and have all the movements I need. In 4x5, I have a Zone VI, which I believe was designed by Ron Wisner and is almost identical to the Wisner Traditional 4x5 in movements, lens board size, and other features. All these cameras have served me well. I have travelled with the 4x5 and carried it in my backpack around Maine and NH without much trouble. I can recommend the Wisner and the Zone VI.

-- John Boeckeler (boeck@midcoast.com), September 04, 2001.

I've had a Wisner Traditional 4x5 for several years, and like it very much. Capable of very long bellows draw...using long lenses not a problem. For 90mm or shorter, you need a bag bellows to get much movement at 90mm or to use shorter than that at all. But it's available! Not particularly light, but a beautiful piece of craftsmanship. Folds up nicely, but very few lenses could be left on it folded. I have always loved using this camera. It does exactly what you tell it, no more or less, without argument.

-- John Sarsgard (sarsgard@yahoo.com), September 04, 2001.

Brian, I have looked at the Wisner site for the specs on the Traditional, and I believe the Graphic View is heavier than the Traditionals six pounds. The GV being a monorail view camera to me does seem somewhat cumbersome and awkward to try and pack. I guess I just like the idea of a Field Camera that folds up into itself and can be placed in a backpack for hiking three or four miles at a time. The GV is tough to carry a couple hundred yards, but maybe that is partially due to my methods. The Expidition and Pocket Expidition both look like fine cameras, but at this time the cost of the Traditional is about the max I can spend on new equipment.

-- Ben Hopson (BenHopson@centurytel.net), September 04, 2001.

I used the Wisner Traditional 5x4 in the field with 2xlenses/10xfilm holders and found it to be a mmanageable weight. The craftsmanship of the Wisner company is second to none - the traditional (its entry level camera) was my choice because it was simple and strong. Without the extra back movements of the Technical Field, which I never missed, the camera is very user friendly. Long bellows extension, positive actions, reasonably light. Also, a beautiful object! Buy

-- Stephen Vaughan (stephen@vaughanphotos.freeserve.co.uk), September 05, 2001.

I like the camera, but it has a few drawbacks. It is heavy, and you will need a bag bellows to use movements on lenses shorter than 135mm. Carrying around and switching bellows was a pain.I like the traditional best. The extra movements on the other cameras are no help to me.

-- William Marderness (wmarderness@hotmail.com), September 05, 2001.

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