Yes - they're good!
Hey Mobtown. Had my Shen-Hao for about 6 months and I'd agree mostly with noseoils comments. Unfortunately as this is my first LF, my experience is limited but it certainly seems well made considering the price. esp by comparison with the big name brand models. Typical of Chinese manufacture, it is basic but very functional, with adequate aesthetic appeal (you can take some furniture polish to it and is comes up sparkling - much to my wife's amusement).
As primarily a landscaper I find the movements more than adequate. If I shot more architecture, I might find the rise and fall of the lens std a little limited and as L Gebhardt pointed out, the front tilt is not axial and takes some getting used to. But with practice, setting the plane of focus seems to come quite quickly.
A couple of things to mention re the bellows: it definately limits the focal length you can use - up to approx 210mm max I think from memory. The camera may be able to be modified to allow longer focal lengths but this would involve lengthening the focussing rail, so would not be a minor change. Also, it didn't take me long to discover I needed a soft bellows for my 80mm. These are a fairly expensive addition, but nice quality being leather. I now leave mine on the camera all the time. If you also shoot mainly between 80-160, then you might consider asking Jeff to replace the paper bellows with the soft bellows with your initial order. would cost extra, perhaps $200.
Build quality is good. (Though once again my experience of comparisons is somewhat limited). As with any wooden camera you can't throw it on the rocks and expect it to continue to run like a well oiled machine. But it's light. Comes with a good Pelican style hard case (which I hardly ever use now). Mainly truck mine around with lenses, film holders, tripod etc in pack for landscape work.
Re precision; it has a focussing scale which I never use. Has levers to allow fast movement of the focus rail and a knob to allow fine adjustments (as do most I guess). The focussing knob allows fine enough adjustments. When everything is locked down properly seems stable. I've bumped mine a few times hard enough to move the tripod then gone back and checked the camera setup which has held fine.
All in all, three of us here in NZ have bought Shen-Haos from Jeff based on the features/apparent build quality vs price and we hav'nt been disappointed. And you can spend what you save on an extra lens or two (if needed)!!!!
Good luck - John.
Hey what happened to the Avatar. Well the new one is pretty sexy .