Thinking of a Widelux

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by oriecat, Jan 11, 2005.

  1. oriecat

    oriecat Member

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    I estimated my tax refund and it looks like I should be getting about $1600 back! (Time to revise the W-4... but yay for house ownership! :D) So I am thinking of getting a widelux and I was wondering if anyone had any tips about what to look for, questions to ask, etc, as I don't know much about them, except they sound really cool and take very interesting pics, so I want to try it. But I have never spent that much on a piece of equipment before, so the thought is a little scary, so I thought I would start my research with you fine people. :smile:
     
  2. eric

    eric Member

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    I've used them before. There are about 5 if I recall, shutter speeds. The 35mm ones, tend to break so make sure you get one from a dealer and that you can replace them. Enlarging is a pain cause you have to modify a neg carrier.
    What I remeber when I used it, was you get very strange effects when you use them indoors with flourecent lighting. Has something to do with wavelengths and the way the front swings. I really like Sylvia Plachy's work on the widelux (just found out that she is the mother to Adrien Brody).
     
  3. cwheeler

    cwheeler Member

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    Matt Needham (kmattfish) uses one to make some wonderful portraits with cityscape backgrounds. He has a large old-camera collection and must have some good tips on what to look for.
     
  4. maxby

    maxby Member

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    Have no experience with a widelux but am now using a Horizon 202. If you like some information, pm me and will be glad to provide you.
     
  5. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    They are excellent cameras, but delicate. The noblex is similar but with an electric motor rather than clockwork drive mechanism.
    If you're buying used, test the camera. Clear sky & look for "banding" that's uneven exposure caused by hesitation in rotation of the lens. It's a very difficult fault to correct. Even by a skilled technician.
     
  6. oriecat

    oriecat Member

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    Yes, I know Matt from another forum and he is one of my inspirations for wanting one! :smile: I will ask him over there, but I wanted to ask here since I think he's the only one there who would know anything and I thought there might be more here...

    I haven't heard of a noblex, I will look into that one. I did look briefly at the Horizon but there was something I didn't like about it at first. But it seems to be a big price difference, so I may look again and pm you about it, thanks maxby. And everyone :smile:
     
  7. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Member

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    Hey, Orie. I would have to agree that you would probably want to get one from some sort of dealer that would allow a return or a testing period to make sure you don't get one with problems. If you could find one at KEH that would be good. As far as I can tell there isn't a whole lot of difference as far as features go between the F6, F7, and F8; supposedly the more recent models have sturdier innards. If you look at an F6 make sure it has the modern style shutter speeds like 1/15, 1/125, and 1/250th rather than the older 1/10, 1/100, and 1/200, or something like that.

    Mine is a F6 that I got used. It worked well for the first 100 rolls or so, and then got all crunchy on a cold winter day. I sent it to a repair place that advertised widelux repair, and they said it would be about $350, but got it back unrepaired about a year later; they said they couldn't get parts because the Panon factory in Japan burned down. Then I sent it to www.camerarepair.com and they fixed it in about 2 weeks for a little more than $200. It works great again.

    They have f/2.8 through f/11, and the 3 above mentioned shutter speeds. I've never tried a Noblex, there are several models, but I'd look into them before you buy a Widelux; they probably have more features, and they are still in production which hopefully means any repairs shouldn't be a problem.

    I'm trying out a friend's Horizon 202 right now, but I haven't developed any film yet. I'll let you know how it turns out. Just from using it I can say I like the extra shutter speeds (1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250). The aperture goes up to f/16 on the Horizon 202, but at f/11 on the Widelux everything from about 3' to infinity is in focus anyway. Of course the Widelux looks and feels very nice as it's an all metal camera. The Horizon is covered in plastic, and seems a bit clunkier.

    I think the Noblex has focus adjustment; both the Horizon and the Widelux are fixed focus. I think I've read that there is a second of delay between hitting the shutter button and the actual exposure on the Noblex, while it gets it's electric motor up to speed. The Widelux and the Horizon happen pretty much instantly.

    A swing lens pano camera is a lot of fun to use.
     
  8. oriecat

    oriecat Member

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    Thank you, Matt!!! :D
     
  9. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    I would be very interested to hear your experiences (or anyone else's) with the Horizon.

    I have been thinking about one myself. I have a 19mm lens that I use for 35mm, and I often crop so that I get a "panoramic" look. This essentially uses a neg area of 12-16 x 36 mm. The Horizon would give me a neg of 24 x 56. It seems that that should be about the same as going from 35mm to MF. And, without doing serious calculations, a 28mm lens, as on the Horizon, would give me a similar field of view as the 19mm on my 35mm SLR.

    I know the perspective is different because of the lens swing, but otherwise, am I too far off?

    Also would be interested in anyone's thoughts on these cameras. Is the 303 that much better than the 202? Should I buy one new from a certain dealer to insure I get one that works?

    I know I "should" buy a Fuji 617, but I'm just playing here, and a couple of hundred bucks is all the play money I have for this.

    Cheers

    David
     
  10. maxby

    maxby Member

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  11. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    Thanks, Maxby. If I get one of these, I'll have to learn to load it correctly :tongue:

    Great pictures, exactly what I had in mind.

    David
     
  12. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Member

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    Well, after 6 rolls my impression of the Horizon 202 is that it lives up (or I guess down) to the reputation of many Russian cameras. I was using a brand new model, and I even had the instruction book to make sure I knew what I was doing.

    It's a lot harder to load that the Widelux, at least for my fat fingers. The camera itself is shorter in width than the Widelux, and that means everything (the rollers, take-up spool, etc...) are crammed together.

    I enjoyed the greater selection of shutter speeds. When winding the film it seemed to sound a little rough, but during the exposure the operation was smooth, and I didn't notice any banding, at least on the rolls that survived.

    3 out of the 6 rolls were shredded when went to remove them. I think it happened during the rewind, although I made sure I was holding the rewind release down. 3 rolls came out okay. 1 of the shredded rolls appeared to have somehow began reloading itself backwards; possibly I was trying to use too long of a roll in it, and when the take-up spool got too thick it caught on the rachet.

    Anyway, I know folks who've had no problems with their Horizon 202s, but the one I borrowed was a lemon. I did a quick search on the web, and ran into quite a few posts talking about the rewind issues with the Horizon.
     
  13. Melisa Taylor

    Melisa Taylor Member

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    I have a Horizon 202 and have had no problems with it. I've only ran about 4 rolls through it, though.


    I originally wanted a widelulx, but the price difference is huge.
     
  14. maxby

    maxby Member

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    Here are more photos taken with the Horizon 202 after I have sorted out how to load and hold the camera. Printing these images in the darkroom is a challenge as there is a very wide range of exposures to take care of. It is also a great street shooting camera........

    http://www.fotopages.com/cgi-bin/account.pl?page=2
     
  15. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Member

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    Hmmm... at the link you posted it's asking me for a password.
     
  16. Rocky

    Rocky Subscriber

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    I have a Horizon 202 also. I stll don't know what to think of it. I got some real nice shots with it, then a couple of rolls with defects on the negative. When I spoke with a friend that has a Widelux he said he gets occasional strange results as well. He thinks that lens flare and relections from the sun account for it. He says he gets best results in overcast or with sun behind the camera. Orie, if you just want to experiment I would recommend getting the Horizon...much less expensive!
     
  17. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Member

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    I'll post a set of sample images, and details from those images from my Widelux vs Horizon shoot-out in the technical gallery.

    Both cameras were loaded with Tri-X. The day was overcast but bright. Both shots were taken within less than a minute of each other, and the lighting remained even. Exposure was 1/125th @ f/11 handheld. Both rolls were developed in the same batch of Diafine, and scanned at the same settings.

    Both cameras have bubble levels, but you can see the Horizon level in the viewfinder. The Widelux image isn't quite level.