about Wisner 4x5 inch view cameras, a good portable large-format
first ended up selecting the Linhof
Technikardan in 1994 and used that for 18 intensive and productive
months in Mexico, producing stunning photographs with Schneider
and Rodenstock lenses.
I wish I had their newer model which does not flex as much.
entry into the large format world of photography came about when
a Japanese publisher said they would award me a prestigious contract
if I would produce images in 4x5 format. I had an old Linhof Kardan
model at the time, which I had not really ever used because Ian
Graham (Harvard University, Peabody Museum) indicated two decades
earlier that a medium format camera was better for working out in
the jungle. He said that 4x5 film did not stay flat in the high
heat and humidity of the tropics.
that I have experienced large format photography for several years,
I can only say that I wish I had immersed myself in 4x5 photography
decades ago. I have used 4x5 film in extreme heat throughout tropical
Central America and never noticed any problems with film flatness.
When I shot 8x10 I simply used Sinar adhesive film backs. For 4x5
film Sinar also makes special vacuum backs as does Schneider.
it came time to upgrade my equipment for the Japanese project, I
Wisner, Linhof, and Arca-Swiss.
Sinar was over my budget and not intended to be portable. Arca-Swiss
was tempting, but their product line was limited and in those years
very difficult to find a representative in America. I did, though,
get two of their monoball tripod
heads; Arca-Swiss makes the best tripod ball heads in the world.
Wisner Camera in the Classical Wooden Housing
I reviewed the Wisner product line. I was quite tempted, but again,
I am a gadget freak, and thus am always dreaming about all the great
accessories of Sinar. But lack of adequate financing (and space
in my expedition truck) precluded Sinar at every turn. I did though,
speak with Ron Wisner by phone, and noted that he was an enthusiastic
spokesperson for large format photography, especially for portable
turns out that a major goal of the Wisner concept is to produce
portable field cameras, both for backpacking necessities as well
as for any class of scientific pursuit that requires moving the
camera. Since FLAAR has worked for decades on behalf of the implementation
of medium format quality in archaeology and anthropology, it was
a perfect match now that I was upgrading from 2 1/4 format to 4x5
inch format and beyond.
we learned that L-shaped supports for 4x5 cameras are poor choice
for supporting the heavy digital insert. Thus FLAAR is now testing
the Sinar X and Cambo
Ultima 4x5 studio cameras camera in its test program. If
an artifact is important enough that we launch entire expeditions
to dig it up and preserve it, then these artifacts deserve to be
photographed with a format more professional than mere 35mm. Second,
it is crucial to illustrate how easy 4x5 cameras are to use, even
in the rigors of a field camp in a remote area.
hope to initiate training programs on the use of 4x5 systems and
digital technology at the Maya sites. I have been organizing photo-oriented
tours to Maya ruins in Central America for years, so a photo seminar
is a natural progression.
sizes and shapes of Wisner large format cameras,
11x14, 8x20, 12x20, and 20x24 inches.
am an ideal apostle of 4x5 implementation, since I never studied
photography and know nothing about tilts or swings. I just realize
that I need perspective control and that the art, artifacts, and
architecture deserve to be recorded for posterity in as large a
format as is reasonably possible.
Photokina '98 in Cologne, Germany, it was possible to inspect lots
of 4x5 cameras. Lots have changed in the large format field in the
last several years. Arca-Swiss and Sinar continue to make their
great studio cameras even better. Sinar finally got a web site but
Arca-Swiss still does things the Swiss way. It is still difficult
to find Arca-Swiss itself on the internet and impossible to get
information on their full product line from the Internet. Toyo has
new models but they are not as streamlined as Sinar or Arca-Swiss.
Most other brands are too wobbly to hold the weight of a large format
digital insert, or, being L-shaped, sag from the weight. Other models
have sliding movements with turn-screws, not ideal in a studio camera
(bearable in a portable camera as a trade off for weight and bulk).
Calumet recently sent FLAAR a Cambo Ultima which we begin testing
Classic Manufacturing Co. Inc has its own Home Page . Or call (508)
748 0975. P.O. Box 21, Marion, Mass 02738.
you wish additional information on the equipment described on this
page, you might wish to contact
firstname.lastname@example.org, tel 312 944 2777 ext 2202, fax
312 944 4035