I'm considering purchasing a Shen-Hao 4x5 wooden view camera, but before I plunk down the hard earned cash for one, I would at least like to see and have a detailed look at one. Although all the reviews and comments on this camera have been positive, especially considering the price, it would be nice to have a few minutes hands on. So, are there any Shen-Hao users in the San Francisco Bay Area who would be willing to meet up to have a look at their camera ???
I don't own a Shen-Hao nor do I live in the Bay Area... In fact I don't own a 4X5 camera....yet. But like you I found the Shen-Hao and had pretty much settled that it would by me first LF camera, untill recently.
Originally Posted by cmaxwell
Badger Graphics has introduced the Badger Brand 4X5 which seems modeled on the Shen but built of Cherry Wood and Brass. The complete introduction level camera package is $200 less than the Shen. Neither offers a revolving back which for me (someone who has never used a 4X5), seems an important asset.
But, the Shen-Hao web site is http://www.shen-hao.com/ . You can't touch it but you can see all its' features.
I know you're past the discussion stages and into the touchy-feeley stages of the Shen and probably have rejected the Badger Brand but there is comparison of the two on the LF photography site:
I hope I've been of some help and not a hinderance.
I'm not familiar with either camera but most 4x5's, while not having revolving backs, will allow you to orient the back either horizontally or vertically by unclipping it, removing it, and replacing it in the desired orientation. A very minor loss of convenience.
Check it out before you buy, but it appears that the Badger and the Shen Hao both work this way.
That is called grain. It is supposed to be there.
Craig, I live about 400 miles south of you (Thousand Oaks), and I bought a 4x5 Shen-Hao in January, '04 from Badger Graphics. I like the camera very much. It is made of hand rubbed Teak with blackened titanium steel (a stainless steel alloy) hardware.
In the mountains, shooting with the camera, a frequently heard hiker's comment is: "What a beautiful camera! Is it an antique?"
I also have a Linhof Technika 4x5, a 5x7 Deardorf, a 4x5 Ikeda and a 4x5 Wista metal field camera.
I backpack and I shoot a lot of wide angle. That is why I switched from the Wista to the Shen Hao. The Shen Hao has a flat lens board focusing range of 55mm to 360mm. Since my current LF lens family ranges from 55mm to 300mm, the Shen Hao focusing range is quite adequate.
Elimination of the recessed lens board for the 55mm AND eliminating the front of the camera bed from my pictures was a big plus and a big driver in my decision to buy the Shen Hao.
I also have virtually all of the Shen Hao accessories, including their very retro, simple and reliable 6x12cm 120 rollfilm back.
I will be talking to Badger about the possibility of ordering a Shen Hao 8x10.
Everything is analog - even digital :D
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Craig, you might call Badger and see if they are planning on attending the LF conference in Monterey this coming weekend. If so, you could take a look there for one and see how you like it. I like mine very much and have found it to be a great deal for the money. If you want to take a short drive to Tucson, I'd be glad to show you mine.
were all camera reviews as comprehensive and thorough as the review by kerry thalmann of the toho fc45x, one might feel it would be okay to shop online from mars and make out pretty well. the point being that i, too, thought my next 4x5 would be a shen-hao til i read the toho review. ( www.thalmann.com/largeformat/toho.htm ) that, combined with the discussion of his monorail field camera (the arca-swiss) by jack dykinga in his new large format nature photography book makes the idea of a monorail for field use seem extremely attractive. (all those movements, rigidity and light weight make its transition from nature to architectural subjects a one camera-for-all proposition.)
in any case.... thalmann states that it takes him about 4 to 5 seconds to change from landscape to portrait format on his --i take it--typical folding field camera. pretty easy!! i'm using an omega45d monorail in the field which has a revolving back and sometimes i wish it wouldn't revolve so easily. so....not to fear bruce...evidently reorienting the back is pretty easy and quick in most cases even without the revolving feature.
now i just need a winning lottery ticket.....hmmmm
I bought a toho based on kerry's review. While I still have my wista, I find that the toho does everything I need. Badger now sells the toho rebranded with the Badger Brand label for a few hundred bucks less. From all reports it is identical to the toho.
The only thing I would likely change about my toho is the lack of a fresnel. WHen I have a chance I am going to see about fitting one from another 4x5 camera. Focusing my 90mm f8 is a bit tough in the early morning hours.
BTW - My complete 4x5 kit, less film, is now at 10.5 pounds.
I looked at the Toho.
I bought the Shen-Hao - it has better extreme WA capability and most of my LF shooting is extreme WA and WA.
Everything is analog - even digital :D
I have a Shen-Hao HZX 4X5-IIA and I live in northern Marin. I bought it less than a year ago, sight unseen, so I understand your position. I wasn't disappointed, by the way. If 25 miles north of SF is close enough, contact me by email and maybe we can work something out.