August 30, 1998

New Camera Tests, Fort Ogilvie (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

About a week after the death of my Wista 4"x5" view camera , the replacement arrived, but it was another ten days before I had the chance to go out an use it. In some ways, the camera dying happened at the worse time of the year for me - the two weeks without it were strained to say the least. To be honest though, the experience had some positive elements. It forced me to work with my 8"x10" for a whole session, thereby reasserting the reality that it is the camera format, not the camera itself, that works for me. It also gave me a small window of opportunity in which to seriously plan my new darkroom - a project which had been in the works for some time, but never had enough time dedicated to it.
4"x5" film
The first field test of my new camera, a used Wisner Traditional, took place at Point Pleasant Park. I had hoped to spend the day with a model, but things didn't work out. The biggest change with the new camera was that it permits me to use my 12" Caltar lens, from my 8x10 camera. This lens translates into a 100mm lens on a 35mm camera - a nice long lens which had been previously unavailable on my 4x5.
4"x5" film
The biggest opportunity offered by this new situation is that provided by the 12" lens. The Nikkor 210mm lens (which went into the river with the Wista) was the lens I had used for portraiture before, but being equal to about a 70mm lens on a 35mm camera, it was a little on the short side. The 12" lens however, presents a much more usable focal length, maintaining a traditional perspective and permitting a decent amount of distance between myself and the subject.

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