Wista 45DX Field

Ian-Barber

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Anyone got any experience with this type of camera.
I am thinking of selling my Chamonix 045N and buying a Wista 45DX Field.

I am interested to hear about the brightness of the ground glass and also any other niggles people have experienced.
The one I have is seen which interests me is this one

s_35469.jpg
 

Ian Grant

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I've been using a Wista 45DX since around 1987. The Wista composite screen with fresnel on mine is nice and bright so I hardly ever need to use a dark-cloth. If I had to replace it then I'd probably buy a She Hao.

Ian
 

Ian Grant

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I had a play with one while in Canada 3 or 4 years ago, at that time they were cheaper than a Wista but esentiall similar but could take bag bellows for extreme wide angle lenses.

I wouldn't swap a Chamonix for a Wista as I can't see any benefits. I've been shoting close ups with a 20mm lens on an MPP MicroTechnical today because it has triple extension that's rigid unlike any wooden 5x4 field camera. You have to weigh up the features and differences. No one camera is perfect for everything.

Ian
 

Alan9940

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Like Ian, I've used a Wista 45DX since 1979. I, too, have a ground glass / fresnel combo that makes viewing the image a wonderful experience. I do still use a dark cloth, though; have had one draped over me for so long, I'd miss it if it wasn't there! ;) Never had a single issue with this camera. Still on the original bellows! My only very minor niggle with it is that using a 300mm lens is limited due to the roughly 12 inches of bellows draw; can't focus on anything closer than infinity. I love this camera and will use it 'till I'm too old to get out into the places where I like to photograph.
 

Ian-Barber

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I wouldn't swap a Chamonix for a Wista as I can't see any benefits. I
Interesting. There are few niggles with the Chamonix which I don't personally like.
  1. No indents so its not east to know if its aligned up
  2. Not keen on where the focus knob is, would be better outside the dark cloth
  3. After focusing with the loupe if your not careful the rear standard can move forward
 

Alan Clark

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I have a Shen Hao that I would be willing to sell. Nothing wrong with it. I bought it on a whim a few years ago but find that I prefer to use the three 5x4 cameras that I made myself. I haven't used it for the last couple of years.

Alan
 

Alan9940

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I have a Shen Hao that I would be willing to sell. Nothing wrong with it. I bought it on a whim a few years ago but find that I prefer to use the three 5x4 cameras that I made myself. I haven't used it for the last couple of years.

Alan
Out of curiosity and I REALLY don't need any more 5x4 cameras, which model is your Shen Hao and how much might you want for it?
 

Alan Clark

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It is a TZ 45-IIA. I'm thinking £650 +postage. There are two lens boards but no lens. Please note that this is probably not the best choice of model if you use wide-angle lenses a lot.

Alan
 

Alan9940

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Thanks, Alan. I wouldn't say I use wide angle a lot, but I would want any 5x4 camera I own to be able to comfortably work with my 75mm; and, I do use my 120mm quite a bit. I have found that the 120mm can get restrictive, depending on the bellows material and design. For example, on my Arca-Swiss I can easily work with any wide angle I own with the universal leather bellows. However, if the long bellows is on the camera because I'm shooting primarily with the 300mm or, maybe, the 450mm, then the 120mm becomes difficult to use due to the long bellows compacting together.
 

Alan Clark

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Hi Alan,
It won't focus in as far as far as 75mm. It only does 90 if you tilt the front and back backwards. But it does go right out to 350mm.

Alan
 

Ian Grant

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The Shen Hao I played with in Canada was used the next day with a 58mm f5.6 Super Angulon XL and bag bellows. I really liked it but I'm not sure which model it is.

These days I typically use a 75mm, 90mm 150mm and 210mm, I've not used my 65mm since getting the 75mm however I would if I really needed to. I do use 240mm and a 360mm telephoto for more specific projects.

It's a case of finding a camera that has the best compromise of features. I guess that's why I really like my Wista 45DX, the downsides are it's able to be used hand-held, it's great with 75mm to 210mm lenses, I ca cope with the 65mm, it's not good with 240mm close up and like a big open sail with a normal 300mm, but great with a 360mm Telephoto.

Ian
 

Bill Martindale

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I too have had a Wista DX III for about 25 years but it does not get the use it should. I can easily focus with the existing screen. The III model has the International back so it is easy to fit accessories such as the Wista 6 X 7 roll film back that I use. Limitations are as other have said the bellows draw for longer lenses and it has base tilt is on the front standard rather than the on axis tilt the Chamonix has.
To me looking at the 2 specifications I would have thought that the Chamonix was a far superior camera in design and build. It has better bellows draw, on axis tilt on the front standard and I like the idea of the focus knob being easily accessible under a dark cloth. Against it is the need to screw the front standard into place as you set up.

Swings and roundabouts I think Ian. Is it possible to see/borrow a Wista before you decide?

Bill
 

Ian Grant

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Bill, the early Wista 45DX has an International back, that just means it takes moder 5x4 or European 9x12 film or plate holders that meet the international standards agreed after WWII, It's similar with Half plate, 7x5 and European 13x18 camera with International backs and also 10x8 and European 18x24. Essentially the outside dimensions of the similar film/plate holders are identical as is the T distance.

My Wista 45DX accepts Wista's own 6x7 and 6x9 roll film backs these have an additional plate that protects the focus screen. Your Mk III has a Graflok style International back.

Ian
 

Bill Martindale

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Thanks Ian. I knew it was called international but didn’t realise it was also the Graflok. I have seen the two types of roll film back now you mention it, with and without the protector plate. My 6x7 back does not have that plate so I think you remove the GG to fit the back, it’s been a while since I used the roll film back. Happy with mine though when I do use the camera.

Bill
 
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