Shen-Hao 4x5 vs. Tachihara

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Alexz, Aug 10, 2005.

  1. Alexz

    Alexz Member

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    Would you be given two choices in 4x5 folders: new Chen-Hao for 600$ or used but in excellent-to-mint condition Tachihara for 400$, what would be your choice and why ? Also, given you intention to use Graflock-compatable roll-film backs (for 6x9/6x12) besides of standard 4x5.
    The primary fields of use are landscape, some external (without professional ambitions) architecture, occasional environmental portariture.

    Alex
     
  2. Dave Wooten

    Dave Wooten Subscriber

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    I didnt know graf backs would fit a tach? shen hoa also makes the holder for 6 17 but havent seen a report on it Badger has it in their inventory on line.
     
  3. Alexz

    Alexz Member

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    Isn't Tachihara featured by standard Graflock type holders ? Frankly, I didn't check their specifications, but will be suprised if this is the case. :-(
    The widest one I may be interested in in some future would be 6x12, 6x17 would be a real extreem for me. What I know is that Chen-Hao indeed uses standard Graflock holders attachments whcih allows standard roll-film backs, but not sure about Tachihara in this respect.
    But in the case it also uses such, would tachihara in excellent-to-mint condition for 400$ be better buy then new Chen-Hao for 600$ ? What do you think ?
     
  4. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    Interestingly, both are identically priced at Badgergraphic.com. Most people on this site who are familiar with the Shen, love it and recommend it highly. For me, though, saving $195.00 would go a long way to aquiring a lens, or a bunch O'film, or a Berlebach tripod (model 8023 at B&H is $174.95) or a one degree spot meter (digi one from Adorama is about $250.00), or a bunch of other stuff that you'll need or want. Besides, if the Tach doesn't satisfy, you can always resell it.

    (0h, btw, you can check the specs of both for yourself at: www.badgergraphic.com )
     
  5. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    Will you be using wide lenses (in 4x5 terms) with the rollfilm backs and if so does the Tachi have removable bellows? The Shen does and the wide angle bellows is about 100 USD IIRC - my 90 SA works very well with the standard Shen bellows (I can dial in as much rise as the lens will allow) on a recessed lens board. Check the rise available for the Shen Vs the Tachi - when you are doing architecture, you will not want to run out of rise.

    Cheers, Bob.
     
  6. Alexz

    Alexz Member

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    Hmm, tough call indeed.
    I just figured Tachihara doesn't use standard Graflock back :-( which probably doesn't sound well if one intend to use roll-film backs (most of which apparently are Graflock-type).
    Go figure...

    Still perhaps Tachihara is good value at 400$ ? What are its benefits relatively to Chen-Hao (if any) ?
     
  7. hortense

    hortense Member

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    I tried a Shen-Hao; didn't like it so kept my Tachihara.
     
  8. Alexz

    Alexz Member

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    May I ask you a bit elaborate please why didn't you like Chen-Hao bearing in mind your Tachihara experience ?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 10, 2005
  9. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    I've had my Shen-Hao for about four years now I think. It has performed quite admirably under any conditions. It has more movements than the Tachihara - if you want to get into architecture, it is the field camera to have. The only thing that will do better is a full-on monorail camera. The availability of accessories for it at inexpensive prices is also a huge plus - the bag bellows, the compendium lens hood, Linhof/Wista lens boards, all argue in favor. Also, while the camera is fairly compact, I have a small wide-angle lens that I can leave on the camera when closed. I don't know if I could do that with the Tachihara. My only real complaint about it are the knobs for controlling some of the movements - they're a little too small. Other than that, I love the camera.
     
  10. jolimon

    jolimon Member

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    I have a close friend who bought the sh@#-how and was totally disappointed by the poor fit and finish. Hard to slide in a film holder; flimsy;other problems......fortunately got it from jim at midwest and was able to switch for tachihara. much better camera for the dollar. can get graflock back for tachi from badger I believe as the nagaoka is same ? as tachi and they list one at $195 I think. Tachi can handle 65mm so doesnt need bag bellows. I am surprised at so much applause for sh@#-how as I was not impressed either. would definitely get tachihara......hi from the canadian rockies, richard
     
  11. Amund

    Amund Member

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    I`m very pleased with my Shen-Hao, nice finish, everything`s nice and well-buildt, captive knobs ect... IMO, from what I`ve read, Shen-Hao has increased their quality over the last years.
     
  12. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    I am very surpised to hear this, I have looked at hundreds of Shen's and have made hundreds of screens for Shen's and never heard any bad comments about them, after all, they are a good quality camera for under $600.00, in this day and age of 3 and 4K cameras, I think the Shen is one of the best and most flexable cameras on the market.

    Dave
     
  13. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I'd take the Shen-Hao for the rear movements, optional bag bellows and hinged compendium shade. Teak is a little heavier, but is moisture resistant. Collectors pay a lot for classic "tropical" cameras that were often made of teak.
     
  14. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Some body here had to return thier "Shen Hao" to Mpex. They then got one from Badger? Maybe they'll see this and we'll see if my memory is any good-)
     
  15. Mongo

    Mongo Member

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    I've had my Shen-Hao for a couple of years (the HZX45-II) and it's performed very well. Compared to the Tachihara, it has a Graflok back, more movements, slightly longer bellows extension, interchangeable bellows, and weighs more. The Tachihara is lighter, has a spring back, and handles short lenses more easily with the standard bellows, but the bellows are fixed so you can't replace them. The Tachihara has all of the movements most people would need for landscape work, but for architectural work the Shen-Hao is likelier to be the better match.

    After two years of heavy use, my camera still looks and performs like new. The biggest gripe that I've had with the camera is that the knobs that control the rise/fall and lock on the front standard are small and not the easiest to work with (especially if you lock them down very tightly; a bad habit that I've not yet broken). I solved this by picking up a couple of model car tires at a hobby shop and stretching them over the knobs. A couple of dollars to fix the greatest shortcoming the camera had for me is reasonable, given the low price of the camera and the way it's held up.

    The Shen-Hao is heavier than the Tachihara; if this matters to you then you might want to find out if you can live with the spring back on the Tachihara. There are solutions made for spring backs for many of the things that a Graflok back is normally used for (for example, Calumet had a roll film holder that would slide under a spring back).

    There have been some reports of QC issues with the Shen-Hao camera on the web, but there are also plenty of people who are happy with the camera (myself included). I don't think that the QC process at Shen-Hao can come close to the work that's done at a company like Ebony (one of the reasons that the Shen-Hao can be sold for so much less), but I also believe that if all of the cameras coming out of Shen-Hao were dogs then the companies distributing them would have dropped them a long time ago. If you have concerns about the quality of a particular camera, try calling up Midwest Photo Exchange and/or Badger Graphic to see if they'd be willing to inspect a camera for you before they send it out. Since both of these companies are going to stand behind the product that they sell to you, I'd imagine they'd be willing to work with you before the sale in order to avoid any headaches later on. I have no experience actually doing this, but common sense tells me that these people want you to be happy so they don't have to spend a lot of time supporting you after the sale...they make their money selling, not problem solving.

    If you're buying new, buy from a reputable company (Midwest and Badger would be my two recommendations) and if you get a bad camera they'll help you out. If you're buying used, make sure you have some form of recourse if there's a problem. Between these two cameras, I made my decision based on the greater flexibility of the Shen-Hao. I didn't care about the additional weight. I bought my camera from Midwest, and have been happy with the purchase. Had there been a problem, I'm sure Jim at Midwest would have worked with me to solve the problem...he's got a good reputation among LF photographers.

    Good luck with your decision.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 18, 2005
  16. sattler123

    sattler123 Member

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    I got my Shen-Hao from Badger about two weeks ago and I must say that I am very impressed by the build quality and the range of movements it offers. I went through the same decision process and ended up chosing the Shen over the Tachihara - main reason being the Graflok back on the Shen and the range of movements. Yes, the Shen is heavier than the tachihara, but in the big scheme it makes no difference to me. By the time I pack my lenses and all the other gear the 1.5 pounds or so more won't even matter. I also think that the Shen looks better than the Tachihara - I like the understated look of the black metal better than the brass look of the Tachi.
     
  17. Alexz

    Alexz Member

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    Thanks guys.
    So far Shen-Hao seems to be best bet among affordable yet most capable folders.