Tachihara vs. Shen-Hao

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wbryant

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I have come to a decision between the Tachihara and the Shen-hao 4x5 wood field camera. Any last thoughts? I do have a 210mm rodenstock N , will I have trouble with that? and lastly, I am shopping around, where should I be looking? I would like an APUG sponsor, but I don't think they have what I want. I have been to the Badger site. I will use it mostly for landscape shots. Thanks.
 

Alex Hawley

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Havn't laid hands on either one William, but I have yet to read a negative comment about the Shen. They seem to be one of the best deals going in Large Format cameras.
 

Mongo

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The Shen-Hao has more movements and a Graflok back, but is heavier. The Tachihara has fewer movements (but plenty for landscape work) and a spring back and is lighter. Price is a wash. If the weight doesn't matter to you, I'd recommend the Shen-Hao. (I have one and am very happy with it.) If a few pounds is going to make a difference to you (for example, if you'll do a lot of serious hiking with the camera), then the Tachihara's a great choice.

Either camera should be just fine with your lens.

I got my Shen-Hao through Midwest Photo Exchange (mpex.com) and was very happy with the service.
 

rbarker

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I have an 8x10 Tachihara double-extension, and have been very pleased with its build quality. But, I agree with the greater versatility of the Shen Hao in the 4x5 models. Plus, I believe the View Camera Store, an APUG sponsor, sells the 4x5 Shen Hao.

The only drawback I'd see with your 210mm lens would be if you plan to do close-ups at near 1:1. The 360mm of bellows extension on the Shen Hao won't accomplish 1:1 with the 210mm lens. But, for general landscape work, I think the 210 is a good choice as a "slightly long" lens. It's my second most frequently used focal length on 4x5, right after a 110mm Super Symmar.
 

Tom Hoskinson

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I got my Shen-Hao through Badger Graphics and am very happy with the camera and the service.
 

Sportera

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I faced the same decision when I bought my 4x5. I chose the Tachihara. I was told by one very reputable dealer that he had a few Shen-haos returned after the wood warped on the back of the camera. Now Ive never seen mention of this any where on the net but the tachiharas low weight coupled with the fact that its been around for many years influenced my choice. There are many Shen Hao useres on this forum and many Tach useres. Sometimes I wish I had some of the movements that the SHen hao offers, and a grafloc back would be great too!

Bottom line is they are both great cameras.
 

ChrisC

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I haven't had the chance to use a Tachihara, but I've had my Shen Hao for a little over a month now and I couldn't sing higher praises so far. The build quality is fantastic, and even at full extension it feels very stable. I'm wrapped with it.
 
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wbryant

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Thanks everyone for the input. one last (maybe the last) question. do they both take the fidelity 4x5 holders? Thanks...

Will.
 

smieglitz

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I have access to both 4x5 models (Calumet version of the Tach) at work. I'd choose the Shen-Hao because of its flexibility and sturdiness compared to the Tach. The Tach has always struck me as kind of flimsy and delicate. Plus, the name is harder to spell in posts like these. :smile:

Modern standard film holders will work in both.
 

MattCarey

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Hello,

does anyone know if either of these cameras is significantly cheaper in either China or Japan? Sometime in the next couple of years I may travel to both, and I would consider getting one there if I could.

Sorry to be such a cheapskate!

Matt
 

Nick Zentena

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I think the Shen Hao is cheaper direct from the factory. But the 4x5 is so cheap the saving won't be great. OTOH if you want one of the other models that you have to get direct from the factory then the saving on shipping can be quite a bit.

Email the factory and ask for a price on the model you want.
 

JG Motamedi

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I bought a 4x5 Shen-Hao direct from the factory about five years ago. As I recall, the price was $380, although I am sure it has gone up. While I saved $300, I had some problems with my camera. Notably it had poor finish on both wood and metal, and sold it within a few months. I haven't heard of anyone else who had these problems, so my camera was probably a lemon...
 

steve simmons

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Any modern 4x5 camera will take the same holder. Theyare standard.

Before buying a camera I would suggest some of the free articles on the view camera magazine web site. There are articles on film holders, selecting a camera, etc.

There are also several books tha might be helpful

Using the View Camera that I wrote

User's Guide to the View Camera by Jim Stone

Large Format Nature Photgraphy by Jack Dykinga

any/all should be avaialble from Amazon.com

There is also a book View Camera Technique by Leslie Stroebal.IMHOthis is a better longterm reference than an intro book.

steve simmons
 

Nick Zentena

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JG Motamedi said:
I bought a 4x5 Shen-Hao direct from the factory about five years ago.


Did you get the one model that is commonly sold in the US? Or did you get the budget model. From the price it sounds like the budget model.

http://www.shen-hao.com/4x5.html

The HZX45 is the model commonly sold in the US. It's got more movements then the other model.
 

dtomasula

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It's great to see all you guys enjoying your Shen-Hao cameras.

But I just have one question:

Why aren't you registered members of the Shen-Hao Users Group?
 

Amund

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dtomasula said:
It's great to see all you guys enjoying your Shen-Hao cameras.

But I just have one question:

Why aren't you registered members of the Shen-Hao Users Group?


I am :smile:
 

roteague

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steve simmons said:
There are also several books tha might be helpful

Using the View Camera that I wrote

User's Guide to the View Camera by Jim Stone

Large Format Nature Photgraphy by Jack Dykinga

I too recommend Steve's book and his other suggestions. I also highly recommend "Photographing the Landscape: The Art of Seeing" By John Fielder. Additionally, I recommend Toyo cameras :smile:
 

Dave Parker

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dtomasula said:
It's great to see all you guys enjoying your Shen-Hao cameras.

But I just have one question:

Why aren't you registered members of the Shen-Hao Users Group?

Heck Dean,

I don't have time to keep up with what I am doing now!

Dave

lol
 

dtomasula

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Too busy grinding all those ground glass orders, eh Dave.

At least I know you read the SHUG once-in-a-while. Most of these other guys I haven't seen on the forum at all.

They don't know what fun they are missing.
 

Dave Parker

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dtomasula said:
Too busy grinding all those ground glass orders, eh Dave.

At least I know you read the SHUG once-in-a-while. Most of these other guys I haven't seen on the forum at all.

They don't know what fun they are missing.

Dean,

Well, I am looking for a Shen as I type this, so I am sure, once I get my camera, I will be registering over on your group as well.

Dave
 

dtomasula

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Dave -

MPEX, Badger Graphic, View Camera Store and the Shen-Hao factory in China are your best bets for cameras. There aren't many used ones on the market. Besides, they are cheap enough new (relative to the rest of the LF camera market) that I wouldn't even consider a used one.

Also, I'd replace the ground glass with a brighter one (Maybe you've heard of Satin Snow? :wink:
 

JG Motamedi

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Nick Zentena said:
Did you get the one model that is commonly sold in the US? Or did you get the budget model. From the price it sounds like the budget model.

Nick,

I bought the "real" Shen-Hao, not the "budget" model. It has rear rise. Shen-Hao charges on a small "export tax" (~$75) or something of the sort to all non-Chinese citizens who buy one. I had a Chinese friend buy one for me, and pick it up in Shanghai. Again, this was 5 years ago, before they were first imported by Badger.

jason
 

Nick Zentena

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I wonder how cheap the other model is then-) I get the impression the prices haven't changed much if at all over the years. When I was considering the rollback I found a note on the LF format from I think 1999. The exact same price I was charged this winter.
 
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wbryant

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WOW

WOW, I finally took everyone's suggestions (thanks) and ordered the Shen Hao 4x5. I wanted to order thru an APUG sponsor, so The View Camera Store was perfect. I spoke to Dennis, and told him he got the sale because of his commitment to APUG. He was terrific and very knowledgeable. Price was great also.

The Camera.....

WOW, what a deal for the price. I have yet to shoot with it, but after taking it out of the aluminum padlocked case it came with, it is sure a piece of art. (I can't imagine the Ebony, but don't think it could be worth over 1,000 USD more...) The craftmenship is quite remarkable, and any kind of movement I wanted, all I had to do was play around to figure out what knob did what.

I am very impressed. Thanks to all the Apuggers who helped with my decision, and thanks Dennis from the View Camera Store.

Will Bryant.
 
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