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photo8x10
01-02-2007, 04:12 AM
Hello and Happy new Year,
I'm thinking to buy a UL camera, and I saw a 7x17 shen hao camera, the price is quite cheap, and I would like to know if someone know this kind of view camera, and if a good choise to start with format.

Best

Stefano :)

User Removed
01-02-2007, 08:53 AM
The Shen Hao is clearly a rip-off of Dick Phillips 7x17 camera. I just purchased an 8x10 from Phillips and have seen his 7x17 cameras in person and know the design is amazing and the craftsmanship is amazing as well. ShenHao may have copied his design, but they cannot copy his quality.
I would suggest getting in touch with Dick Phillips and seeing if he can make you a 7x17 or if theire is anyone that has one for sale used, he would know.

Here is a few SERIOUS problems I have with the Shen Hao 7x17.

First off, it's $4,000.00. There are other 7x17 cameras that are far better in about the same price range.

Second, it only has 24" of bellows extention!!! That is absolutly terrible. With using larger camears, you must use larger lenses. With the Shen Hao, you could not even use a 24" lens! For this format, a 24" lens is fairly normal. So, the camera would limit you only using short lenses and not being able to do much close-up work where the bellows are usually extended.

For a few hundred dollars more, you can get a nice Canham that is of far better quality, and has either 36" or 48" bellows.

Here is some discussion about the camera-http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=15297

My first suggestion is to contact Dick Phillips and see if there is anyway you can get a 7x17 from him. It would be around the same price, lighter weight, and a better made camera. If that does not work out, then think about a Canham or Wisner.

Ryan McIntosh
www.RyanMcIntosh.net

doughowk
01-02-2007, 09:21 AM
I have a 4X5 Shen Hao and a 7X17 Korona. Both are well-made cameras that I enjoy using. A 7X17 Shen Hao should be a well-made camera since the Chinese are aggressively pursueing the LF & ULF markets. A caveat, though, is it does seem to take Shen Hao one or two versions to work out any kinks in their new lines.

As far as lenses, I use a 265mm Ilex for the 7X17. For the panorama format I would think a wide-angle lens may be all you need; so the lack of bellows extension for both the Korona & Shen Hao should not be a problem.

Concerning price, the best bargains of course are in used equipment market. The hidden cost is the holders - new sell for around $400, and even used are usually $200-300.

naturephoto1
01-02-2007, 10:04 AM
Hi Stefano,

Kerry Thalmann is going to begin distributing Chamonix cameras as the North American distributor. You may wish to read the following thread from Large Format Photography Forum:

Comparing 20x24's? - Large Format Photography Forum (http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=21883)

Hope this helps.

Rich

jp80874
01-02-2007, 10:57 AM
Stefano,

Dick Phillips announced last Fall that he would not be making any more 7x17 cameras. He wants to enjoy his retirement. There were only 15 or 16 of the 7x17s made, so finding a used one can be difficult. It is a landscape camera. The bellows is short allowing focus between 120mm and 660mm (26 inches). I do use a 600mm Fuji C quite often. My favorite lens is a 12 inch gold ring Dagor (300mm). It all depends on your subject and how you think.

Richard Ritter's camera is of great interest to many people considering a new 7x17. There is much discussion about this on APUG and the LF Form. Here is his web site. LARGE FORMAT workshops R T RITTER (http://www.lg4mat.net/ulfcamera.html)

Besides film holders another thing that needs planning is where and how to buy film. Not only is it expensive, but you need to find a source that carries it or you need to order once a year if you want Kodak or Ilford. Much has also been written on this subject.

Good luck,

John Powers

User Removed
01-02-2007, 11:00 AM
Looks like Chamonix took the Phillips design also.

It's good to see that there is still new companies coming into making ULF cameras, and there is still a strong interest in them. It's just to bad that China has to make things so cheap that it hurts the US camera makers that are producing a better produce. I guess that is what China does with nearly everything however!

Well, the Chamonix is surly another possiblity for probably a cheeper price, but I still suggest contacting Dick Phillips to see if you can get the real thing, rather than a china copy.

EDIT-I just saw that someone posted above that Dick is no longer making any 7x17 cameras, thats really too bad. Best forget I said anything.

Personally, I think that R. Ritter's cameras looks like tons of scrap pieces of cameras all hooked together. It's certainly not attractive looking. I also don't like the way the camera looks when closed up...it looks very large. For the price, it might be one of your better deals for a ULF camera however.




Hi Stefano,

Kerry Thalmann is going to begin distributing Chamonix cameras as the North American distributor. You may wish to read the following thread from Large Format Photography Forum:

Comparing 20x24's? - Large Format Photography Forum (http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=21883)

Hope this helps.

Rich

Roger Hicks
01-02-2007, 11:15 AM
Hello and Happy new Year,
I'm thinking to buy a UL camera, and I saw a 7x17 shen hao camera, the price is quite cheap, and I would like to know if someone know this kind of view camera, and if a good choise to start with format.

Best

Stefano :)

Dear Stefano,

I saw the new Shen Haos at photokina, and they seem always to be better and better built.

The designer is a real enthusiast, but I'm not so sure about how practical it is to do business with Shen Hao.

Cheers,

R.

Donald Miller
01-02-2007, 11:28 AM
While I have not personally dealt with Shen Hao, there are a number of photographers who have dealt directly with them and have reported very good experiences with Shen Hao. I considered a Shen Hoa 5X7 before I bought my Wisner. Had I not found a used Wisner, I would have probably bought the Shen Hoa direct since Badger does not carry the full Shen Hao line...at least in the 5X7 size. The quality and value has been reported, by users of the camera, as being excellent.

Phillips, while making excellent cameras by all reports, would concern me because what happens, in the area of customer support, when he finally decides to close down operations totally?

Had Ron Wisner not reopened his business, I would not have purchased the Wisner that I have.

User Removed
01-02-2007, 11:47 AM
[QUOTE=Donald Miller;412315]

Phillips, while making excellent cameras by all reports, would concern me because what happens, in the area of customer support, when he finally decides to close down operations totally?

[QUOTE]


A large format camera is really not that difficult to work on if something goes wrong. Probably the most common problem is a screw or bolt that needs to be replaced or strips out.

I feel that it's a good idea if a person knows about the equiptment they are using, and if something were to go wrong, they should know how to fix that problem.

After really examining my Phillips 8x10, I cannot really find anything that I could not fix on my own. Of course, if the camera was to get dropped and seriously broken...that could be the only problem. You just need to learn to take care of your gear so nothing happens like that.

Ian Grant
01-02-2007, 12:35 PM
Interesting thread, Jorge before his exile suggested I might want to shoot ULF.

Just tried searching for a Phillips 8x10 and all I can find are 10"x8" images of a big guy wearing white clothes with black stripes playing the old scottish game of rounders.

Any chance of a link to the camera manufacturer.

Ian

ReallyBigCameras
01-02-2007, 01:30 PM
As Rich mentioned, I am in the process of becoming the exclusive North American distributor for Chamonix ULF cameras and film holders. We hope to be up and running and ready to start taking orders by the end of the month.

I'd like to add a little information and clear up a couple misconceptions listed above.

First, just let me say I have nothing but respect and admiration for Dick Phillips. He is a true innovator, a master camera builder and a heck of a nice guy. I would never do anything to offend Dick or harm his business in any way. In fact, when I received a 7x17 Chamonix a couple months ago, the first thing I did was call Dick. As others have noted, the Chamonix cameras are clearly based on Dick's design. There are a few minor changes, but the basic design is the same.

From prior conversations, I knew the batch of 7x17s Dick built last spring would be the last ULF cameras he would ever build. Still, I wanted to get Dick's input before agreeing to distribute the Chamonix cameras and holders. In his usual gracious and humble manner, Dick told me he was flattered that someone liked his design enough to copy it. He not only gave me his approval to import the Chamonix camera and holders, he encouraged me to do so - recognizing there is an eager market for ULF cameras and holders that needs to be filled - especially with Dick himself leaving this market segment.

From my phone conversation with Dick Phillips I also learned that the batch of 8x10 Explorers he plans to build this year will be the last 8x10s he intends to build. The physical labor required to build these cameras, and the time involved is considerable. Dick would like to start spending his retirement years pursuing other leisure activities - including photography. He's definitely earned the right to do so.

While Chamonix also makes an 8x10, we have no immediate plans to import this model. The 8x10 market is already well served, and frankly I just wouldn't feel right selling a camera based on his design while Dick is still making and selling cameras in this size. Once Dick's last batch of 8x10s is built and sold, we may revisit the possibility of importing the 8x10 Chamonix. For now, our focus is on the 7x17 and larger ULF market.

While the Shen-Hao name is better known to most in this forum, the Chamonix cameras actually pre-date the Phillips based Shen-Hao FCL series (including their 7x17 model). While the Chamonix brand may be new to many outside of China, they have been making ULF cameras and holders for the rapidly growing domestic Chinese ULF market since 2003. The Chamonix design is much closer to the original Phillips than the Shen-Hao. And while the materials differ from those used by Dick Phillips, the Chamonix cameras share Dick's basic philosophy of building lightweight, rigid cameras with only the features necessary to get the job done. Unnecessary "features" add cost, add weight and reduce rigidity. In fact, the 7x17 camera I received from Chamonix for evaluation actually weighs less than a genuine 7x17 Phillips. This particular sample weighs 8 lb. 14 oz. (although the official advertised weight for this model will be 9.25 lbs to allow for minor sample-to-sample variations).

Like the Phillips and the Shen-Hao, the maximum bellows extension on the 7x17 Chamonix is rather limited. This is a design trade-off necessary to meet the other desired attributes of lightest possible weight while still maintaining sufficient rigidity at full extension. That said, I have successfully used the 600mm Fujinon C on the Chamonix for general landscape photography. Obviously, you can't do close-ups with this lens on this camera, but with a maximum extension of 610mm, the 7x17 Chamonix has enough extension to use this lens (ftf = 573mm) for more distant subjects. For those who wish to do true macro work, it is possible to reach 1:1 magnification with a 305mm G Claron on the 7x17 Chamonix. In a heavier camera, I would expect a longer maximum bellows extension, but for a 9 lb. 7x17, a 24" (610mm) max. extension seems like a very reasonable compromise.

When I built my 7x17 Franken-ARCA last year, based on feedback I received in this forum, I also chose to limit the bellows extension of my design around using the 600mm Fujinon C as my longest lens on this format. This was a deliberate decision to keep the weight and bulk of the camera reasonable (and it still weighs 4 lbs. more than a 7x17 Chamonix). I have been happy with this compromise and have enjoyed using my camera with lenses from 240mm - 600mm. For my purposes, the 7x17 Chamonix works well with the same range of focal lengths (both cameras could also handle lenses considerably shorter than 240mm, but I don't own any that cover the format).

Obviously, anyone who wants to use longer lenses, or do close-ups with a 600mm lens, would be better served with a different (bigger, heavier, more expensive) camera. Horses for courses. Like the Phillips on which it is based, the Chamonix cameras are best suited to general purpose landscape photography where compact size and light weight take priority over maximum bellows extension.

The Chamonix ULF cameras and film holders are available in formats from 7x17 - 20x24 (including several formats never built by Phillips, or by Shen-Hao).

While we won't be giving them away, our goal is to keep the prices of the Chamonix ULF cameras and film holders as low as possible to allow more photographers the opportunity to enter the wonderful world of ULF photography. The goal is to get as many people as possible shooting ULF film. If we can help grow the market for ULF film, we all win. To that end, I wish all my competitors a successful and prosperous 2007. I hope you all sell as many cameras and holders as you can possibly build. What's good for you is good for me. We're all in this together.

My original intent was to review the 7x17 Chamonix camera and holders for View Camera magazine. Once Chamonix asked me to become their distributor, I was no longer an unbiased source. As much as I'd try to write a fair, honest, unbiased review, there would always be a fundamental, underlying conflict of interest in reviewing a product where I have a financial interest. So, I have sent the 7x17 Chamonix to Michael Mutmansky to review for the Mar/Apr issue of View Camera. Michael is also reviewing Richard Ritter's 7x17 for the same issue. It's not every day a new ULF camera comes to market. Personally, even if I wasn't involved with Chamonix, I would be very excited about the availability of TWO new ULF brands entering the marketplace. 2007 looks to be a great year for those practicing ULF photography, and those about to attempt it for the first time. I wish you all well.

Kerry

David A. Goldfarb
01-02-2007, 02:33 PM
Part of the attraction of 7x17 for me is that it's a relatively light, manageable format, and cameras like the Korona are about as portable as an 8x10". 8x20" and larger formats seem like a lot more camera, so a double extension 7x17 is perfect for what I see myself using it for.

Roger Hicks
01-02-2007, 02:51 PM
While I have not personally dealt with Shen Hao, there are a number of photographers who have dealt directly with them and have reported very good experiences with Shen Hao.


I apologize if my comment came over as unduly negative. My concerns were (a) the limited command of English I have encountered on the Shen Hao stand and (b) the sheer hassle of personal imports.

Cheers,

R.

Donald Miller
01-02-2007, 03:17 PM
I apologize if my comment came over as unduly negative. My concerns were (a) the limited command of English I have encountered on the Shen Hao stand and (b) the sheer hassle of personal imports.

Cheers,

R.

No offense taken. I personally communicated with the owner or principle of Shen Hao when I was exploring purchasing directly (because Badger did not carry the longer bellows extension camera) and we communicated quite effectively at that time. Sofar as personal imports, perhaps that is a different situation here in the US. Sandy King, for one, had a very smooth transaction purchasing directly.

I have no vested interest...since I do not own a Shen Hao camera.

RobertP
01-02-2007, 03:19 PM
Kerry, Do they offer a 14 x 17 model?

Amund
01-02-2007, 03:32 PM
I apologize if my comment came over as unduly negative. My concerns were (a) the limited command of English I have encountered on the Shen Hao stand and (b) the sheer hassle of personal imports.

Cheers,

R.

I have bought cameras directly from Shen-Hao twice, no problems at all.
They`re not very good in English, but that wasn`t really a problem.

And what hassles with personal imports? It may be different here in Norway? The cameras came with Fed-Ex, wich takes care of customs clearance, all I have to do is pay the customs bill, wich they send by mail a few days later.

scootermm
01-02-2007, 03:49 PM
[QUOTE=Ryan McIntosh;412320][QUOTE=Donald Miller;412315]

Phillips, while making excellent cameras by all reports, would concern me because what happens, in the area of customer support, when he finally decides to close down operations totally?



That may be the case until one buggers a tooth on a focusing pinion gear or track. I certainly do not need some larger than life youngster lecturing me on the need to care for equipment. Good luck with your camera.


I have to agree with donald on this. Granted, I myself am a youngster both in age and photographic experience. But honestly, Ryan, your tone (as much as tone can be read in a typed post) was one of a somewhat elitist attitude.
As Kerry very eloquently posted about Phillips and his cameras/designs, copying is pretty standard in the LF/ULF world, I mean lets be honest, the F&S and Koronas look alot like the designs of most every LF/ULF camera, for that matter most all LF/ULF cameras have very similar designs year after year. Also, given a recent post I believe your figure of $4k for a shen hao 717 is a bit off, I believe if I can remember the email and post Ive read recently that the shenhao 717 is $3300. $700 is a big difference (an additional 2 S&S holders actually)
Its frustrating that such seemingly elitist attitudes are fairly common in a community that would benefit much more from a familial attitude.

ReallyBigCameras
01-02-2007, 04:33 PM
[QUOTE=Donald Miller;412398][QUOTE=Ryan McIntosh;412320]Also, given a recent post I believe your figure of $4k for a shen hao 717 is a bit off, I believe if I can remember the email and post Ive read recently that the shenhao 717 is $3300. $700 is a big difference (an additional 2 S&S holders actually)

In all fairness to Ryan, Badger Graphic lists the Shen-Hao FCL717-A at $3995 (http://www.badgergraphic.com/store/cart.php?m=product_detail&p=1876) - pretty darn close to $4000. Emile de Leon (http://www.deleon-ulf.com/) is another dealer of Shen-Hao ULF cameras. He lists the Shen-Hao FCL717-A at $3700, but based on what Emile posted on the LF Forum, I don't believe that price includes the cost of shipping the camera from China to the end user - which can be very significant. Best to check with Emile for the total cost and availability of the 7x17 Shen-Hao. He's a good guy and a straight shooter.

As part of getting this business off the ground, I've done quite a bit of research into the cost of shipping these cameras from China to the US. Unfortunately, if you're shipping anything bigger than a letter, unless you ship enough at one time to fill a standardised shipping container (http://www.cockeyed.com/inside/container/container.html) (or maybe a 1/2 a container), the shipping cost is very significant. Shipping a 7x17 single camera from China to the US can easily run close to $300. So, again Ryan's $4000 price for the 7x17 Shen-Hao isn't out of line with reality.

Unlike Shen-Hao, Chamonix will not be selling their cameras directly to end users. They don't even do so in China where they sell through a small network of dealers (this model is similar to Canham and Ebony who only sell through dealeras and don't compete with those dealers for sales). In the case of Chamonix, nobody at the company speaks English (or anything other than Chinese). They are also a very small shop with a handful of craftsmen who build their cameras and holders. They would rather spend their time building products than marketing, selling and providing pre and post sales support. That's where I come in. Chamonix cameras and holders sold through me will cost the same (within a couple percent - depending on fluctuating exchange rates) as buying the camera from a dealer in China and shipping it to the US (or elsewhere). Purchasing through me eliminates the language difficulties of dealing directly with someone who doesn't speak English as their primary language. As a convenience to buyers, I will also be set up to accept payment, in US dollars by credit card.

I'm not here to bash Shen-Hao's products or their way of doing business. Obviously, they've sold a lot of cameras and have many satisfied customers. I haven't personally seen their 7x17. I've only seen pictures of it. I have seen their similar 8x10 model at the LF Conference in Rockford last June. Obviously, as someone about to launch a competive product, it would not be appropriate to comment on the quality of their products (especially since I haven't seen this particular product in person). However, I will say this based on handling and using the 7x17 Chamonix camera and holders, don't assume just becuase something is made in China that it is inferior in quality. That may be true of some low price merchandise, but when it comes to hand made objects costing multiple thousands of dollars, it is definitely not the case. When it comes to hand made wooden products, whether it's furniture, musical instruments or ULF cameras, there are skilled craftsmen all around the globe who dedicate themselves to building the finest products possible.

Kerry

ReallyBigCameras
01-02-2007, 04:35 PM
Kerry, Do they offer a 14 x 17 model?

Yes, they do. In fact, I'm considering 14x17 myself as most of the lenses I have for 7x17 have enough coverage to be usable on 14x17.

Kerry

photo8x10
01-02-2007, 04:35 PM
Thanks a lots for all your advices, I have lots to read to see and to think.
After I've done it, I'll make a decision....about what camera I'll buy.
You have given me lots information(bellow extension,I haven't tought about it), distributors, brands that I don't know well, great informations to decided what camera to buy! :confused:

Best

Stefano