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View Full Version : Anyone using a Shen-Hao 8x10?



Chris Strobel
5-Mar-2012, 23:09
I've been using an aluminum Calumet C-1 on a Ries A100 tripod and head. I really like the setup a lot, and plan on keeping it. However at 18lbs for the camera, and 20lbs for the tripod, I'm just too limited on where I can go. I sold my Canon 5DmkII and lenses, was planning on getting the new Nikon D800e dslr, but now am toying with the idea of getting the Shen-Hao 8x10 field camera and a head for my Feisol tripod instead.

So I was wondering if those that have or have used the latest version of the Shen 8x10 field version have been happy with it. Can it handle the weight of my 300mm or 360mm plasmats, or would I need a smaller/slower normal lens? Is the ground glass it came with adequate (my Shen 4x5 is next to impossible to use in less than open shade) Is it easy to get a secure seal with your dark cloth on the back? (I use a black Jacket, and the back looks pretty thin in the photos) would you buy it again if you had to do it over?

I have about 3500.00 to play with from my Canon sales.That would give me enough for the camera, a head, some film, and enough left over for some extra doo dads. I'd really appreciate your thoughts and advice.

Thanks!

Chris

Jess C
3-May-2012, 15:34
I am also interested in this camera and would like to know how this camera stacks up to other 810's. I always thought I would just stick to 4x5 but the thought of now adding an 8x10 gets me excited.

Lachlan 717
3-May-2012, 16:03
Which model are you referring to?

Shen has 3 versions: HZX810, TFC810 and FCL810.

It's not 8x10; however, I have had a 3kg (6.6lb) lens, iris clamp and Sinar shutter on my XPO (4x5) at almost full extension (400+mm). It's not something I'd like to do too often, but it held it alright.

On the subject of Sinar shutters, I recently contacted Mr Zhang at Shen Hao and found out that he can build the HZX810 to take Sinar bellows, meaning it can use a Sinar shutter This is VERY important to me so that I can use myriad barrel lenses. Perhaps something to consider?

Nana Sousa Dias
4-May-2012, 16:49
Sometime ago I saw ina video, Clyde Butcher telling people to buy a Deardorrf, if they wanted a really good LF camera.

Here he is shooting with a Shen Hao TFC 810...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xarIyRnrAl8

ic-racer
5-May-2012, 08:31
This could easily turn into a Shen-Hao vs Chamonix thread. I have the Shen-Hao FCL810 and, though it weighs more than the Chamonix, it has more features on the front standard. a) base tilt b) coaxial knobs for individual tilt/rise controls c) zero click-stop on the front lensboard tilt d) zero detent on the base tilt, d) knob locks for the focus rail and e) folds up with the front standard still attached to the focus rail.

Big plasmat is no issue. It seems as if it was made for that. In fact at most distant focus positions with a 300mm lens, the front standard does not not extend beyond the main base plate (see picture).

Since you are keeping your Calumet and want light weight, you might want to forgo the extra weight on the front standard of the Shen-Hao and go for the lighter Chamonix.

I think of my Shen-Hao as a 'do everything' camera. Because of the front tilt, you can simulate most of the movements a monorail could do (like rear rise/fall) using the 'parallel movement' principle. If you went with the Shen-Hao, you probably would not need the Calumet anymore.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v670/ic-racer/DSCF4723.jpg

Nana Sousa Dias
6-May-2012, 12:12
This could easily turn into a Shen-Hao vs Chamonix thread. I have the Shen-Hao FCL810 and, though it weighs more than the Chamonix, it has more features on the front standard. a) base tilt b) coaxial knobs for individual tilt/rise controls c) zero click-stop on the front lensboard tilt d) zero detent on the base tilt, d) knob locks for the focus rail and e) folds up with the front standard still attached to the focus rail.

Big plasmat is no issue. It seems as if it was made for that. In fact at most distant focus positions with a 300mm lens, the front standard does not not extend beyond the main base plate (see picture).

Since you are keeping your Calumet and want light weight, you might want to forgo the extra weight on the front standard of the Shen-Hao and go for the lighter Chamonix.

I think of my Shen-Hao as a 'do everything' camera. Because of the front tilt, you can simulate most of the movements a monorail could do (like rear rise/fall) using the 'parallel movement' principle. If you went with the Shen-Hao, you probably would not need the Calumet anymore.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v670/ic-racer/DSCF4723.jpg

I think this is a great camera, I wish I had one...

jeroldharter
6-May-2012, 14:01
If I were shopping for a new 8x10, I would get a Ritter. Very lightweight and has asymmetric rear swing which is very handy once you get used to it. I have a Wehman (no longer in business) myself which weighs 8 pounds, packs easily, has asymmetric rear swing, and easy takes lenses from 90-600 mm.

Cletus
9-May-2012, 11:43
I wish I could comment as an owner of this camera, but I can't. only a dreamer of it. The Shen Hao FCL810 will probably be my next major photographic purchase, however and I'm in the process of saving for it now...I am keeping a close eye on this thread, in the event that another fortunate owner decides to speak up and offer us a personal review, or at least a few anecdotes regarding this beautiful, modern camera.

I briefly considered a Deardorff 8x10, as there are many here and elsewhere who say it's the ultimate "classical" field 8x10. Maybe true, but I for one, believe that we have come a long way since the Deardorff was king and there have been many, many improvements in field camera design since it's heyday. The Chamonix 8x10, at about $1000 more than the Shen Hao is tempting for it's sheer elegance and craftsmanship, but for what will likely be my first (and last) 8x10, I still think the Shen Hao will be the ticket for many reasons. I already own a Shen Hao 4x5 which I have always been happy with, although paradoxically I will probably change this out for the Chamonix 45 at some point for the very reasons stated above.

So, will another Shen Hao 8x10 owner please step forward and give us a little peek into you world? Maybe some info on what lenses you prefer, tripod / head choices, printing preferences (I'll be strictly contact printing 8x10 - finally, Pt/Pd here I come!) and maybe your opinion on some some pros and cons of this particular camera? Did you choose it over another mainstream modern 8x10? Chamonix, Ebony, Wilderness, Wehman, etc.?

Jess C
9-May-2012, 20:45
In a weak and lustful moment I just pulled the tigger on the FCL 810 Shen Hao from Badger. I will post my thoughts on it once I get it in my hands and get a chance to put it through some paces. I am really looking forward to it. Stay tuned.

Jess C
9-May-2012, 20:51
BTW- when I spoke with Jeff at Badger a couple days ago I asked about the lack of a 4x5 reducing back for the 810 and he said that he's been in contact with Shen Hao to offer a 4x5 reducing back. But maybe you are already aware of this.

Lachlan 717
9-May-2012, 22:55
You can contact Shen Hao directly; especially good if you want something bespoke.

Cletus
10-May-2012, 20:24
Jess C - Congrats on your new purchase! Badger is the North America vendor of choice, as I understand it, for these cameras. I did call them about 3 months ago asking about this very camera, as it showed as a special order on their site. I was told it was about a 4-6 week wait, which doesn't seem too bad considering. Is this similar to your experience? Were you given a lead time for delivery of the camera?

Also, I know this really depends on the type of photography you do, but what lenses do you plan to use with the Shen Hao? I have a Fujinon CM-W250 that should just cover 8x10, but will probably opt for something just a little longer when I finally get around to getting one myself. Maybe something a little wider too, as I mostly do environmental "architecture" photography. (Read: old buildings and stuff!).

I'm sure I'm not the only one here who will be eagerly anticipating some comments and remarks regarding this fine camera once you've taken delivery. Thanks for chiming in!

Cletus

Jess C
10-May-2012, 22:15
Cletus, I just received an email from Badger with my order confirmation and a tracking # which surprised me. When I spoke with Jeff on Monday he indicated he had none in stock and it would be about 3 weeks for delivery and yet the tracking # indicates the package has been processed At Greenbay's USPS facility. Unless I misunderstood him I'm not sure how this came about. I was left with the impression that he orders them from Shen Hao as orders come into him. Maybe I lucked out and he received a shipment about the same time I spoke with Jeff.

As for a lens I have a Fuji W 300mm coming my way. At some point I would like to try something a little wider but I think the 300 will do nicely for now. Now all I need is a tripod and since I haven't purchased a new tripod in 25 years I think it's time I do since my old reliable current Bogen won't quite cut the mustard for the 810. And so I'm thinking about an Induro carbon fiber tripod with a G-1570m Gitzo pan head.

Cletus
11-May-2012, 20:20
Jess C - Very nice! Nothing better than a "much earlier than expected" surprise with something like this! If you're like me, you'll be wearing out the UPS or whatever website tracking this thing every 6 hours to make sure it's still on time. :-)

When I got my first 4x5 I had the same dilemma about my (actually quite able) Bogen and bought a Gitzo Series 3 tripod and the big RRS head because I "really needed it for the bigger camera". It was a bit of a cash outlay, but I figured it would be a fairly future proof investment and hopefully the last tripod/head I ever buy (yeah right). Of course unless 8x10 turns out not to be enough for me and I move up to 16x20 or something - a guy can dream can't he?

I looked pretty darn hard at Feisol too, before getting the Gitzo and very nearly got one of those instead. It would have saved about $500 between the legs and head - alas, I chickened out at the moment of truth and got the Gitzo instead. I am entirely happy with it, but I'm sure I would have been quite content with the Feisol. I have since even considered getting one for a "backup". I've had one of the Feisol ballheads before and it served me very well until it was stolen!

So I'm sure that's enough tripod rubbish, I am actually quite excited for you (read jealous!) regarding your new Shen Hao 810 and I hope you'll add to this thread as you become more acquainted with your new camera!

Best Regards...Cletus