To follow up on my first post, the 300mm lens on a Shen Hao is (I think) the upper limit of reality. You would be limited in trying to focus too closely with a lens that long. I was thinking of the Fujinon 300mm tele lens, as it only requires a focal length of 195mm for infinity focus (plenty of room with the standard bellows). I now have an 8x10 with the 300mm Symmar-S and a 4x5 reducing back, so I opted out of the Fujinon. The shutter on the Symmar is a Copal 3, so I'm not planning on mounting it on the Shen Hao. I use a 180mm lens for close up shots and have had no trouble with running out of bellows, but I'm not trying to do macro work.
As a (former) cabinet maker, the woodwork is very well done on this camera. Fit and finish are excellent and better than I had hoped for at the price. Teak will take an oil finish and is pretty stable as far as weather is concerned. The camera weighs 6 pounds.
My friend in town just got his Ebony (I'm still a bit green) but the Shen Hao had better features and stability than his Wista and was much less in cost. All in all, I'd still do it again if I needed to replace this one.
I agree with noseoil.
I am a happy Shen-Hao user who switched from a Wista 4x5 Field camera. The Shen-Hao will focus my 55mm Apo Grandagon mounted on a flat lens board without including any of the camera in the picture (the Wista would not). Most of my Shen-Hao photography is with lenses in the 55mm to 180mm focal length range, with an occasional 300mm shot.
I'd do it again.
Everything is analog - even digital :D
I didn't take the Shen-Hao to my out of town project this weekend, (didn't want to be learning a new camera under pressure- turned out to be a smart move) So I just opened the box last nite... first impressions and very picky nitpicks:
Well, I have to say all in all, it looks pretty good. Well, better than pretty good, pretty damn nice!!! There are some really neat design features, and it is very well put together in most areas. You bang into this sucker or drop it once and it's all over, though. Definately more fragile than my monorail. The lensboards are nice stiff metal, and the movements/focussing are pretty smooth. The joinery work is nice. It folds nicely with my 150 Nikkor reversed on the board. Awsome. I can't believe how much smaller it is than the GVII.
A few "nit-picks":
1. The back. The design worries me. The GG is held on to the springs (which are finished like the other black hardware which leads me to believe that they are not real spring steel- only time will tell on that one) by two tiny srews, under lateral tension when you pull it away to insert film holder- seems like a weak design.
2. Also, the GG on mine is not quite the right size, so it can shift around inside the frame , apparently this happened in shipping, and I cannot get the &*^%$ grid (hate 'em) lined up perfectly level. This is driving me nuts. I might ask Jeff for a new back.
3. The bellows is made of very thin paper that looks and feels like, well, paper.
4. There appears to be no finish/oil/wax of any kind to protect the wood from mosture. Easily remedied, but curious.
5. I got a great low-profile Gitzo with a huge footprint, but the Shen-Hao only contacts about a 2 inch circle because the bottom plate (the 2" circle) with the screw hole in it is raised- so the camera is balanced on that- I am going to find a way to get it resting on the large padded plate of the Gitzo, I'm not sure how...It definately would be much less prone to vibration that way. I'm a little bummed about this, maybe all folding fields are that way I dunno.
Well, these items are pretty minor, considering the overall build quality and the price. I may look into replacing the back and bellows to upgrade the camera a little bit, we'll see. The back is a little cheesey, but it may work just fine. I will definately have to be carefull with this thing, it's no "Graphic View", but it also is about 1/4 the size and weight (thank God!).
I'll let you all know how it goes when I start shooting this evening. Thanks to all...
Last edited by mobtown_4x5; 06-21-2004 at 04:04 PM. Click to view previous post history.
I had pretty much decided upon the Shen-Hao as a package deal from Badger Graphics which includes the Nikon 150 W. Then I see Badgers Brand 4X5 for a couple hundred dollars less and this package includes a Rodenstock 150. Without any experience with 4X5 I wonder about the two lenses -- how would they be different?
One benefit I have found with either lens is with the purchase of a small
step-up ring I can use my 55mm B+W filters & polerizer that I use with 35mm
I see nothing wrong in buying a camera based upon lens criteria but trying to
understand a lens's characteristics without using it is subjective and
argumentative and requires a leap of faith.
So, if any of you were to choose between the Nikon W f-5.6 @ $530 and the
Rodenstock APO-Sironar-N 150mm/5.6 @ $575, in terms of corner to corner
sharpness, contrast and resolution would you opt for one over the other?
The pictures that I have made that I like the best are made with with a Zeiss
Planar design. This represents the ultimate lens design to me.
I would go for the Rodenstock. Nikons are not bad, I have a 210 and a 65, but IMO for some reason the german lenses have more zap to them.....of course this is purely subjective an only my opinion...please no flames aimed this way, I have had enough for a couple of days..
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Bruce, I went with the Sironar-S 150mm (rather than the "N") on my Shen-Hao. Bit more expensive but reputedly one of the sharper 150mm's around. It has excellent cnr to cnr sharpness and seems to have great contrast. From memory we looked at the tech specs and the resolution compared favourably with most excepting perhaps the Schneider equivalent. But I recon it's sharper than the 150mm Schneider APO-Symmar-L [color=black]that [/color]my friend bought at the same time . It's just about all I use. Hope that's helpful. p.s. please no flames either, just my opinion. By the way, don't judge it by my posted images. My scanner/scan abilities are altogether a different story :rolleyes:
Originally Posted by Bruce (Camclicker)
Last edited by John McCallum; 06-23-2004 at 12:14 AM. Click to view previous post history.
I would have to disagree, I had a sample Nikon and Rodenstock 150mm and decided to keep the Nikon, it seemed to have a little more "bite", at least to me . This is very subjective however , and samples can vary.
It seems to me that all 4 manufacturers modern 150mm offerings are probably so close in performance that other factors, (camera movement, film flatness, etc.) are going to affect your images before the (probably) minute differences between this modern MC glass.
Of course this is IMHO!!!
As I mentioned above, the Nikon folds nicely on the Shen-Hao (reversed) if that affects your descision at all- good luck! Maybe we can start a "Shen Hao user's group!
Hey - there you go!!
Last edited by John McCallum; 06-24-2004 at 12:20 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Jorge & John Mc
Thank you for your advice re: Nikon 150 V Rodenstock 150. As it turns out the Shen is offered with the Rodenstock "N" as a package, not the Nikon. I had them mixed in my thinking. And I'm sure Badger would switch the Rodenstock "N" for the "S" lens with the additional cost.
Thanks for your advice and insights.
Did for me . BTW meant to mention, you may not notice much difference between the Rod 150 'N' and the Nikor, but you would notice the difference in the Rod 150 'S'.
Last edited by John McCallum; 06-23-2004 at 06:51 PM. Click to view previous post history.