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Thread: Shen-Hao or Chamonix 4x5?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Sep 2015
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    Shen-Hao or Chamonix 4x5?

    Going to purchase a new 4x5 in the next 6 months or so and am looking at the Shen-Hao and Chamonix. In many ways, they look very similar and I am sure either would be very nice.

    With the understanding that I will get lots of opinions, I would appreciate some honest reviews and, if possible, comparisons of the two makes.

    Thanks!


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  2. #2
    Lachlan 717
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    Re: Shen-Hao or Chamonix 4x5?

    Which models?

    What application(s)?
    Lachlan.

    You miss 100% of the shots you never take. -- Wayne Gretzky

  3. #3

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    Sep 2015
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    Re: Shen-Hao or Chamonix 4x5?

    Application will be landscape, natural and man-made. I will be taking it hiking regularly. Models are still up in the air - any thoughts are welcome.


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  4. #4
    Foamer
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    Re: Shen-Hao or Chamonix 4x5?

    I had a Shen Hao 4x5 in the late 90s to about 2008, then bought a used Chamonix 045n. Both are good cameras, but the Chamonix just seems a little better finished to me.


    Kent in SD
    The first five days after a weekend are the roughest.

  5. #5

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    Re: Shen-Hao or Chamonix 4x5?

    Both are fine. I have owned an 2002 Shen Hao and Chamonix N2. The knobs on the Shen Hao were smaller and more plentiful so each knob had a function. However the newer models seem to have larger knobs. I consider the Chamonix N2 a bit fidgety but at the same time very versatile for set up. I find I now back focus more then fine tune with front focus. If you are a long lens shooter or a very wide shooter check the specs on the bellows. I find it easy to forget to lock things down on the Chamonix vs the Shen Hao, it would let you know. The lightest weight camera I owned was an Ikeda Anba and for back packing also the smallest 4x5. I think both brands use the technica style lens boards. Ground glass on Chamonix comes with various format markings, a Fresnel, and a cover glass plus a ground glass cover plate, and has a nice camera wrap. Do get the Chamonix extension board if you plan on shooting longer than 350mm. The folding viewer might be nice too if you don't want to use a dark cloth, but you will need a long loupe.
    Then there is the choice of folding vs non folding models - get to know the specs and think about what kind of pack you will be using. If you are crawling through brush with your camera on tripod - you want the folding to protect the bellows.
    Find someone in your area that has one of these before you buy if you can.
    The mountain waters of North Georgia call out to me, I visit and leave only tripod holes behind. The Appalachian Trail is my treadmill and gym.
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  6. #6

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    Re: Shen-Hao or Chamonix 4x5?

    I have a Chamonix 45N-2 which I love. 1550 grams on the nose, thanks to carbon fiber, I guess. I bought the extension board, and advise that you do as well, if, as I found, that I have needed it with my 300mm lens when needing to be close, but unable to set up close enough to use my 210mm. Lovely finish. I have owned an Arca-Swiss rail, a Nagaoka, an Ikeda, Wisner Traditional, Wisner Expedition, and now the Chamonix. Of that bunch, the Arca-Swiss and the Chamonix had the best machining and finishes.

    Mounting the front standard on the 45N-2 (and the extension board, when used) is via a single, easy-to-use tapered screw, but it is a bit finicky, i.e., you need to practice and get used to it. It is different. But I accept it gladly because of the camera's light weight.

    Enjoy the quest!
    Last edited by Peter Collins; 28-May-2018 at 09:04. Reason: forgot I had a Nagaoka, too! :-)
    Peter Collins

    On the intent of the First Amendment: The press was to serve the governed, not the governors --Opinion, Hugo Black, Judge, Supreme Court, 1971 re the "Pentagon Papers."

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Sep 2015
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    Re: Shen-Hao or Chamonix 4x5?

    I have an old Nagaoka currently. I really like it but the bellows are showing their age, pinholes appearing too regularly, and I am not sure it is worth making the investment to replace it.


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  8. #8
    Angus Parker angusparker's Avatar
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    Nov 2012
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    San Francisco, USA
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    Re: Shen-Hao or Chamonix 4x5?

    I've owned cameras from both companies. They are both good. But my vote goes to Chamonix because it's finish is better and because the front standard is more forgiving in accepting non-standard Linhof boards than was the case with my Shen Hao. But you can't go wrong either way. Just decide what features you need and what you don't and go for the lowest weight / cost that you can find. Second hand is generally fine too.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    Re: Shen-Hao or Chamonix 4x5?

    +1 for Chamonix. I have the 045N-2 and 8x10 and love both for their ease of use and light weight.

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