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Old 03-10-2009   #11
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Default Re: Shen-Hao 4x5

As I remember, the biggest issue with the Shen-Hao view cameras was the lack of bellows extension when using longer focal length lenses and/or close-up focusing.
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Old 03-10-2009   #12
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Default Re: Shen-Hao 4x5

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As I remember, the biggest issue with the Shen-Hao view cameras was the lack of bellows extension when using longer focal length lenses and/or close-up focusing.
Yes, but that's an issue with a lot of the field cameras out there.

You can get longer extension out of Linhof or Ebony cameras (which new will run you in excess of $3000).

Monorails are a different story, but those aren't exactly convenient for carrying around in a backpack.
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Old 03-10-2009   #13
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Yes, but that's an issue with a lot of the field cameras out there.

You can get longer extension out of Linhof or Ebony cameras (which new will run you in excess of $3000).

Monorails are a different story, but those aren't exactly convenient for carrying around in a backpack.
Right, but if I remember correctly the Shen=Hao had one of the shortest bellows of the field cameras. Something like 12" ? I have a Zone VI which I believe has a bellows of 19" or 22" with its triple extension fully extended. It's been a while so I'd have to check to confirm those numbers. The Zone VI would also collapse to allow the use of a 75mm lens at infinity focus although with little to no movements.

My Sinar F2 was almost as easy to backpack as the ZoneVI though it required assembly and tear down every time it was used. The Sinar was much stronger and would lock down solidly compared to a wooden field camera.

Here's a shot from Big Bend National Park using the Zone VI with a Fuji 450mm telephoto lens to compress the perspective.
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File Type: jpg Window Wall.jpg (186.4 KB, 121 views)
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Old 03-10-2009   #14
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Default Re: Shen-Hao 4x5

Fair enough. There are alternatives with longer extension. I think a lot of them are either no-longer manufactured or more expensive though.

I think the direct competition (tachihara and the low end Toyo field) are comparable in maximum bellows extension (about 12" / 320mm).

You can also look into Chamonix, Wista, Wisner, Canham, and the Walker ABS cameras. Also more expensive. I think the Chamonix might be the cheapest of the higher end ones, but I'm not sure what the availability is right now - last I checked there was a waiting list. Stocks might be up now.

Funny you should mention the Sinar monorail being "almost as easy to backpack as the Zone VI" because I just read a comment by Philip Greenspun (photo.net) that his Zone VI was " heavy and bulky, almost as bad as a Sinar F2"

Having said that I did almost pick up a Zone VI at one point (one came up used at a cheap price) just for the bellows extension... but I don't use lenses longer than 210mm and if I need closeup it's easy enough to use a 150mm or 90mm lens and get decent macro. For real macro (insects, etc) I use a DSLR, macro lens, extension tubes, and speed light with modifier. 1:1 on 4x5 with a 150mm lens, or 1:2 with a 210mm lens, is usually good enough for me.
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Old 03-10-2009   #15
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Default Re: Shen-Hao 4x5

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Funny you should mention the Sinar monorail being "almost as easy to backpack as the Zone VI" because I just read a comment by Philip Greenspun (photo.net) that his Zone VI was " heavy and bulky, almost as bad as a Sinar F2" .
I'm on Photo.net, was a moderator for several years on the Lighting Forum and I've read Philip Greenspun's comments on the Zone VI. Apparently he hates that camera. More specifically, he dislikes the locking knobs with their knurled surfaces and the lack of rigidity that's common to most wooden field cameras.

He's right about the F2 being harder to pack and carry. After all it's made of metal so it's heavier and it disassembles into some large, ungainly pieces. A folding field camera is much easier to carry but not as precise in use.

Sadly I don't shoot much large format film anymore and t's a shame because BW film and silver prints are a great medium. My wife and I do what we call "photo safaris" which are really nothing more than cheap airline tickets on Southwest Airlines and a rental car for a week or so. We've traveled around the USA to the more scenic area using large format BW for me and medium format Hasselblad BW for her. We have a full wet darkroom and used to make all of our own prints.

Now we shoot digitally with Nikon D2X and D3X dSLRs. Digital is much easier to use than film, especially when moving through security at airports. The Kodak Readyloads that I used to use are discontinued and film holders have such dust and film loading issues when on the road.

An upside to using digital dSLRs is the great choice of lens focal lengths compared to large format and even to medium format. I still use a spot meter to determine exposures by placing the highlights, instead of the shadows as I used to do when shooting BW film. But I do miss shooting and processing BW film using the Zone System.

Techniques change with the times, I guess.

Here's another BW LF film shot of the Alabama Hills near Lone Pine, Ca.
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File Type: jpg Alabama Hills.jpg (171.4 KB, 118 views)
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Old 09-05-2009   #16
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Default Re: Shen-Hao 4x5

May I join the club ?
I am living in Guangzhou, China. I am a German expat and I have just received my Shenhao HZX45-IIA from Shanghai. Only € 480,-- including shipping. Before I can use it I have to buy at least one lens (which is on the way now). I bought a Fujinon W 150mm f/5.6 with Copal .0 shutter.
Now I am looking for something wider. I also still need to buy a light meter and a focussing lupe.
Then I am set.
The camera looks really cute and I do not have to add anything more which had been said here already.



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