Wista 45N

Wista deserves significant recognition for producing high quality large format field cameras that compare well with their Linhof counterparts but at a much more reasonable price. This 45N has a very sturdy body, unlike wooden field cameras and looks a lot like a Linhof. The only significant movement that it doesn’t have is front swing but I’m not even close to learning how to utilize all the movements. The beauty of this camera is that for being a large format 4×5 inch sheet film camera, it is actually quite compact. All folded up it’s about the size of a Mac Mini computer.

You can view a few photos taken with this camera here.

The number of lenses available for large format cameras is overwhelming. Since almost all field cameras take the same type of lens board, compatibility isn’t much of an issue. And even when it is, lens boards can be switched very easily. Subsequently these lenses really hold their value, generally priced between $200 and $500. I have four lenses for my Wista and if I were to get one more it would be a wide angle 65mm or 75mm. Currently I have a Fujinon SW 90/8, a Fujinar W 15cm f/6.3,  a Nikkor-W 180mm f/5.6 and a Fujinon L 300mm f/5.6.

I ended up selling this camera and lenses to help finance the purchase of a New Mamiya 6.

11 Responses to Wista 45N

  1. Sebastian says:

    Hi – I just bought this one today. Could you tell me, does the back glass panel have lines engraved on it? Also, what movements are available on the 45-N? I hear there’s some differences to the newer models?! Is that true?

    I don’t know when this post was created – but if you still maintain this blog, a reply would be great.


    • revdocjim says:

      Hey Sebastian! My focusing screen has lines on it (presumably for 120 film) since it came with a 120 film back as well as the standard 4×5 sheet film holders. But initially it looked like someone had drawn more lines on the screen in pencil so I took an eraser to it and tried to clean it up.

      As for movements, according to my photocopy of the manual (in Japanese) the front has tilt of up to 15 degrees in either direction (forward & backward) and rise up to 56mm.
      Then there is the sideways movement of the front (the Japanese manual calls it “slide” but I think it is called “shift” in English. The max is 47mm (but then it says it can actually go to 60mm if needed…)
      For the back movements, the tilt will go 90 degrees back and 15 degrees forward. The swing is 15 degrees in either direction (left and right). The release lever for this movement is a little hard to find but is on the lower left corner, below the large dial. You push it down and then the rear will swing.

      The movements this camera doesn’t have are front drop (opposite of rise) and front swing.

      I hope you enjoy it. It is a very fine camera!

  2. revdocjim says:

    Added the Fujinon SW 90/8.

  3. revdocjim says:

    I’m actually thinking about selling this system. As beautiful as it is, it just doesn’t get enough use.

  4. revdocjim says:

    I ended up selling it last month, along with a very nice looking F3. Came home with a New Mamiya 6 in hand and almost $100 in cash in my pocket!

  5. Pingback: Large Format Home Developing | Chemical Cameras

  6. PG says:

    Hi I just picked one of these up. I’m having a difficult time with focussing. Not sure what the issue is. I’ve made a thread on the LF forum with details. Would love some feedback from another 45n user. Many thanks in advance
    P.S. I also love the mamiya 6, a lot.


  7. revdocjim says:

    Hi Patrick. I looked at your posts and although I’m not able to see the attached photos (I think I need to be a paying member or something) it sounds like something is wrong with your lens. Otherwise the overall design and construction is pretty simple. So if you are able to move your bellows and extension rails in and out then I just don’t see what else it could be. Like others said, there could be a missing element in the lens, or even elements put into the lens in the wrong sequence. If you can find a users manual for your lens, or even just the diagram showing the construction of the lens you should be able to see the number of elements, the sequence, and most importantly, the orientation of each element. If a concave element is inserted backwards that will completely throw things off. I’ve done that before when disassembling and reassembling lenses for cleaning purposes.

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