The Wista 45D field large format camera

Designed to be a point and Shoot Camera.

The Wista 45D is a great 4×5 large format camera, created by wista co., LTD.
It is a field camera designed in a way, to give the photographer the ability to use it as a point and shoot camera.

Since the camera is a bit heavy I never used it that way. I usually use it for portrait or nude art, since the movements enable me to play with the field of focus.

Before I tell you more here are the (what I think) most important specs of the Wista 45D:

Wight: 2.85kg (without lens).
Lensboard: Shenn Hao / Linhof Technica / Horseman.
Film holder: Standard 4×5 Filmholder eg. Fidelity.
Ballows extension: 300mm.
Front movements: Rise, Shift, Tilt.
Back movements: Tilt, Swing (only micro-adjustments).
Rotating Back: Landscape to Portrait and vice versa.
Frame / Focusing-Hood.
1/4 inch screw mount.
Bubble level at the top.
Additional equipment: Leather grip, pistol grip, point and shoot viewfinder.

Wista Field 45D Large format Camera, side view

A Quick Guide on how to use The Wista 45D

First, of course, you have to mount the camera to a tripod, therefore you screw your tripod mount into the 1/4 inch screw mount at the back of the 4×5 Camera. (Image below)

Now it is time to open the camera, therefore you first slightly unscrew the big lower knob on each side of the camera, then gently press the black button in the middle of the lower part of the camera. In the above image, you find this button to the right-hand side of the accessorize mount.

When the Wista 45D is opened up, the next step is to place the lens mount or front standard.

Wista Field 45D Large format Camera, screw mount on the bottom side

To place the front standard, let´s squeeze the two black levers at the bottom of the standard together and pull it into its rails. (image below).
The rails have handles and little wheels on each side. These wheels are made for focussing, the levers are made to lock or unlock the position of the focusing or the rails. Now just mount your lens onto a Shen Hao or Linhof Technica Lens board and place it into the lens holder of the front standard.

I assume, you know how to operate your lens, that´s why I do not go deeper into that here.

Front standard can do the following movements: rise, shift, tilt.

Wista Field 45D Large format Camera, open front

Using the 4×5 Cam is super simple.

Operating the Wista 45D is easy from now on. Turn it around to and open the focusing-hood, by pushing the little silver button upwards. (image below).
In the event you can not see anything on the ground glass, make sure you opened up your lens.

In case you want to change from landscape to portrait orientation, simply turn the back by pushing the little black lever at the top side of the back. (it is on the right-hand side on the image below).

Wista Field 45D Large format Camera, side view

The image below shows the Wista 45D with open focusing-hood.

Wista Field 45D Large format Camera, open frame/focusing-hood

All you have to do now, is totake your meter readings, focus the picture turning the wheels at the lower part of the opened front and to take a shot.

However, should you need some back movements the Wista 45D is also capable of doing that. Simply open the knobs (the ones you had to turn to open the camera) and tilt the back part downwards. If you need a backswing, you can use the micro-adjustment knobs on the side of the camera. These are the smaller ones above the big ones. use one at a time and you have a slight swing. (See image below)

The vertical wheels at the front standard are to tilt and raise the lens.

Wista Field 45D Large format Camera, micro adjustments of back

Since you managed to prepare your camera, metered and focused your image it is time to insert the film holder and to take the shot.
Inserting the film holder is super easy, slightly pull the black metal part on the right-hand side (in portrait mode it is at the top) and slide in the film holder into the Wista 45D.  (Image below).

Before you pull out the dark slide from the film holder make sure you closed your lens again, otherwise you would expose your film to light immediately and uncontrolled.

Take your shot, move the dark slide back in, remove the film holder and you are done.  congrats, you just took your first image with a Wista 45D field camera.

Wista Field 45D Large format Camera, with 4x5 film holder

Some more information before my final conclusion.

If you do not like to work with the focusing-hood you can remove it temporarily simply by opening it up to the side. Note, that you will now need a dark cloth since otherwise, you will not see a lot.

There are two black, horizontal levers above and below the ground glass, these can be used to completely remove the ground glass and focusing hood of the Wista 45D. For example to renew the light seals or to completely clean the ground glass.

You could also remove the focusing hood completely, by bussing in the downside of its holder. But I recommend to keep it on since it also saves the ground glass from braking.

My last little tip is to paint lines onto your ground glass, yes you could buy some ground glass with premade lines but that would cause you to spend some unnecessary money. Just make sure to paint them onto the glass not on to the plastic screen.

Below you see some more images of the camera. After my final conclusion about the Wista 45D you will see some example images, taken with this large-format camera.

My conclusion about the Wista 45D

I love it, really! Even thou it is kind of heavy I would buy it again at any time. It is relatively small, easy to set up and use. And it for sure makes you the point of interest for people that are maybe around you (yeah I know, most of us don´t like that :-P ). The prices on eBay are also absolutely ok right at the moment. Most eBay sellers allow returning if something is wrong so I am absolutely not concerned about buying a bad camera.

For what I do (mainly portraits and nude art) the Movements are absolutely enough and I am sure they are enough for 85% of the users of 4×5 large format cameras. The only thing you have to make sure after buying one is that the bellows are light tight and that the light seals are ok.
But besides that, you can´t do anything wrong with buying one of these things.

I especially like the possibility to use Shen Hao or Linhof Technica lens boards.

Below you find some images taken with the Wista field 45D. (click to enlarge)





Some images taken with the Wista 45D