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  1. #1

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    What did I miss? Upgrading my LF outfit.

    I've been shooting LF for about 1,5 years now, and my main interest with the LF camera is city nightscapes. I shoot cross processed slide film, and BW every now and then.

    I use a Cambo SC right now. I'm getting a bit tired of the "non locking" controls though, and it's quite a hassle to setup, operate, tear down and carry. I have a 60 litre travel backpack as the camera bag for this baby, and even then it doesn't really fit. Also, the bellows are too long as is the rail. Working with it in sub zero °C is not so nice, too many knobs and too much hassle.

    I'm looking for something more rigid, less clumsy and better wide angle capacity. I've been looking at Tachihara (no graflok back), Shen Hao, Wista, Wisner and Ebony, but I'm not sure I've found the right one yet.

    This is what I need:

    Rigid
    4x5 inch holders
    Graflok back (for 6x12 on 120 film)
    Horizontal / vertical orientation of film holder
    Shift on either front or back
    Tilt/swing/rise fall on front and/or back
    Able to use 75–150 (or even 180) mm lenses with one bellows
    "Walkable" – needs to fit in some kind of backpack, not a trolley
    Less than 1500 USD

    Thanks for your advice!
    Henning
    Be careful his bow tie is really a camera
    timeUnit

  2. #2
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    I will speak positively about the Shen Hao. I think it will fit your bill exactly, with two exceptions. One, you CAN use the standard bellows with a 75 or a 90, but movements will be highly constrained. However, there is an accessory bag bellows you can get for very little money, and you can use the 75, 90, and even a 150 with the bag bellows, to focus closer than infinity (You can even use a 210 at infinity, and a little closer, but not much, with the bag bellows installed). Two, it does not have front shift. However, it has HUGE amounts of rear shift, enough to outrun the image circle of most wide-angle lenses. It has front rise, fall, swing, and tilt. Rear rise, swing, shift, tilt. All at the same time, if you like. It is quite rigid, quite compact, and very durable.

  3. #3
    jeroldharter's Avatar
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    Canham DLC

    I think a used Canham DLC would fit the bill. No problems on the wide end as I use a 75 mm lens (without much movement) on the regular bellows. The camera is rigid with the focal lengths you discuss. With the 300 mm lens the bellows catches alot of wind.
    Jerold Harter MD

  4. #4

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    Thanks for the advice!

    The Shen Hao is available in a few different configurations, one of them non-folding -- the TFC45. Would one think it's a more rigid construction, but with more limited bellows draw, that might fit my needs? Or maybe I'm just being silly.
    Be careful his bow tie is really a camera
    timeUnit

  5. #5
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    I haven't used that one so I can't speak to the rigidity vs functionality issue. I'm pretty sure you lose some movements with that one, and of course you lose some length on the bellows. Check the manufacturers' specs to be sure it will accommodate the longest lens you want to use in the focusing range you want to use with it.

  6. #6

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    Henning,

    I picked up an ebony RW45 recently and love it, it would cover your needs though perhaps be to pricey. there have been many positive comments about the Shen Hao so it may be the way to go. As to carrying the gear i would recommend a Photobackpacker bag with the correctly sized inserts. It is fantasticly secure, weather proof, light and you can get eactly the right internal parts to match your gear. I carry a similar quantity of gear in a 31L Kelty Redwing so it would definitely be an improvement

    The site is http://www.photobackpacker.com/

    Best of Luck

    Marcus

  7. #7
    Mick Fagan's Avatar
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    I have a similar monorail to yours, an old Calumet with about 500 or 600mm rail, way too long for field work, but I took it out. Any wind does catch the bellows (it seems) and in cool weather all of the metal parts freeze my hands and make life a bit uneasy.

    Early on this year I picked up a Shen Hao which Scott described very well above. I have 90 150 210 and a 400T set of lenses for it. I only have the standard bellows and my work with the Angulon 6.8 90, made me realise that effectively, this lens is reasonably close to the minimum length with the ability to use reasonable movements.

    The bag bellows is (was) about $100 USD from Badger in the USA. I can tell you that you can remove the bellows in about 30 seconds, if that helps.

    As there appears to be quite a bit of excitement with the Chaminox camera emerging from China, I'm guessing that there may shortly be a small influx of Shen Hao 4x5 cameras coming up for sale.

    My Shen Hao quite comfortably goes in my 20 year old Lowe-pro shoulder camera bag. That camera bag is about a normal sized camera bag for a 35mm system. It is 280mm wide 170mm back to front and approximately 180mm deep. By not using the 35mm film holders in the lid I can comfortably close the bag over the vertically placed Shen Hao. I manage the camera which has a Fujinon 150 reversed inside the folded camera, the aforementioned 90, a Profisix meter, a set of 40.5mm filters, Loupe, as well as 4 DDS allowing me 8 sheets of film. The dark cloth goes in the front pouch.

    This transports comfortably in one of my motorcycle panniers.

    For field work this is quite compact and effective. I looked longingly at a friend's Metal Wista nice unit, but pricey and harder to find, in comparison to the Shen Hao.

    Mick.

  8. #8

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    The most obvious choice to me is the Walker Titan XL although I am not sure if it has shift. This is a camera specially made to handle your needs. Additionally, while it is built like a tank, it is not priced like one. You can get it for ~ €1600. Finally, Mike Walker is a small manufacturer and stands behind every camera he builds.

  9. #9

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    Thanks for all your advice!

    It seems to me that

    Shen Hao HZX45-model has too small knobs (I have gloves most of the time), and is a bit flimsy, by the look of it (sorry, I don't mean to offend anyone).
    Shen Hao TZ45-IIB might fit the bill very well, especially with WA bellows.
    Shen Hao TFC45-IIB seems a very good contender as well.
    Ebony SW45 is perfect, but out of my price range, if I cannot find it used.

    Walker Titan seems bit overpriced to me. Also, it's quite heavy, but I'm sure it's rigid.
    Canham DLC is nice, but looks too much like my Cambo. Too much metal! :-)

    Thanks again everyone for the advice!

    Henning
    Be careful his bow tie is really a camera
    timeUnit

  10. #10

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    Wasn't thinking about all the options when I read the first time but another camera that meets all of your needs is the Toyo 45AII and 45AX. You can get the AII-L model which takes Technika boards directly or just use an adaptor board. I use the AII-L model and it is my prime travel camera and also prime camera for winter photography. It is sturdy, rugged, sets up in seconds and I can focus it easily with gloves in very cold weather.

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