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djcphoto
13-Mar-2013, 09:03
Hi all,

Yesterday I picked up a really nice Tachihara field camera for a ridiculously cheap price from a local Craigslist listing. I spent a couple of hours last night cleaning it all up, tightening screws, etc., and I'm really pleased with it.

I know it's not very important, but I was trying to find out a little about the history of Tachihara. I realise they are not made any more, but I wondered if anyone has any more information on when they started building cameras, and possibly any details on determining the age of a '45 Feil Stand'? I found some references to a serial number, but the examples I have seen given were a date-type code, wheras mine is simply two digits. Also, photos I've seen of the same model camera appear to have a few minor differences to mine (it has a clasp type fitting to lock the camera closed, as opposed to a pin and hook type that I see on most others). I am guessing mine could be an earlier model. I also noticed that the fresnel is marked 'Wista', not Tahcihara.

Anyway, if anyone has any thoughts, I would be grateful to hear them!

Cheers,

Dave

Ken Lee
13-Mar-2013, 09:11
The company is still in business. See their web site here (http://www.netlaputa.ne.jp/~tachi-ss/sub1.html).

The site is in Japanese, but Google Translate will help with any text it finds there. Some of the links and buttons are actually image files, and it won't translate those.

Oren Grad
13-Mar-2013, 09:14
Ah, Ken beat me to it by a few seconds. Anyway, they've used the name "Fielstand" (フィルスタンド) for their 4x5 cameras for a long time, so that's not going to be much help in dating it.

Doremus Scudder
13-Mar-2013, 09:26
... and the Fresnel you have is from Wista, a different company that also makes field cameras. It should work just fine.

Best,

Doremus

Gem Singer
13-Mar-2013, 09:39
Midwest Photo Exchange in Columbus, Ohio is a distributor for Tachihara cameras.

See: www.mpex.com

djcphoto
13-Mar-2013, 09:59
Thanks for all the info so far! I had read in various places about Tachihara not producing cameras any more. That'll teach me not to believe everything I read on the internet ;)

I really is a lovely little camera, and coming from a Speed Graphic, so light!

Ken Lee
13-Mar-2013, 10:44
I really is a lovely little camera, and coming from a Speed Graphic, so light!

Ditto - I had one and sold it - then got another one several years later.

Heroique
13-Mar-2013, 11:07
...so light!

3.8 lbs. – great for lugging up your nearby Great Smoky Mountains!

And I think the older version was even lighter.

djcphoto
13-Mar-2013, 11:35
3.8 lbs. – great for lugging up your nearby Great Smoky Mountains!

And I think the older version was even lighter.

Exactly what I have in mind!

djcphoto
13-Mar-2013, 11:49
Here's a pic of the little bugger!

91207

Alan Gales
13-Mar-2013, 12:44
"What a beautiful old camera! Did you do the restoration yourself?"

Yeah, I own one. I also own an 8x10 Wehman but the Tachi gets all the attention. ;)

Mark Sampson
13-Mar-2013, 14:02
I don't know the history of Tachihara, but here's a data point or two. I bought mine in 1982 after seeing a co-workers' camera. These had a label on the back calling it a "Hope Tachihara", although they were unrelated to the film processor manufacturer Hope. The U.S. distributor then was a guitar shop in Los Angeles. A local store had an example of the even lighter Ikeda but the Tachi seemed like a better camera.

djcphoto
14-Mar-2013, 06:42
Thanks everyone for the info. Much appreciated! I'm looking forward to putting it through it's paces this weekend!

jmcmckinney
14-Mar-2013, 20:30
I used to live in Knoxville. Picked up my current crown graphic from Thompson Photo there under the highway. For some reason there was always really great camera deals on Knoxville craigslist. I picked up a few medium format cameras that way. Good luck with your Tachihara. I'd love one but can't justify spending the money.

-Josh

djcphoto
14-Mar-2013, 21:35
Yeah, I've had a lot of luck on Craigslist here. You get the great deals, and of course you also get the other end of the spectrum, like the $500 Nikon EM currently listed! The Tachihara is probably the best bargain yet though. $150 with a Geronar 150mm lens!

evan clarke
15-Mar-2013, 05:22
I don't know the history of Tachihara, but here's a data point or two. I bought mine in 1982 after seeing a co-workers' camera. These had a label on the back calling it a "Hope Tachihara", although they were unrelated to the film processor manufacturer Hope. The U.S. distributor then was a guitar shop in Los Angeles. A local store had an example of the even lighter Ikeda but the Tachi seemed like a better camera.

I have a Rittreck which I bought on this forum a few months ago. It came with a 6x10 and a WP back and holders for both. The backs are labeled Hope Tachihara. My neighbor has a mahogany and silver two stage 8x10 Tachihara and it's wonderful.

I Am Luna
15-Mar-2013, 06:27
The "Hope" store is also open in Tokyo. I called (well, my wife called because she speaks the language) and asked if they still did minor repairs, screw replacement and etc. They still did. That was about two years ago but I assume they are still up and running doing modification and bellow replacements.

Here are some scans of the brochure and users manual.
http://www.fybix.com/2012/08/tachihara-45-4x5-brochure.html
http://www.fybix.com/2012/11/4x5-tachihara-owners-manual.html

Mine.
91306

djcphoto
15-Mar-2013, 07:40
Here are some scans of the brochure and users manual.


Thanks, these are great!

Brian Ellis
15-Mar-2013, 07:55
I've owned two Tachiharas and always wondered about their history too. I've always assumed that they made some incremental changes over the years because I've seen weights given for them from numerous different sources and the weights have varied from about 3.5 pounds to about 4.5 pounds. It appeared to me that either the weights were wrong or changes were made over time. The only possible change I know of is the apparent change from a nickel-looking metal like yours to the brass-looking metal on both of mine. I don't know exactly when that occurred (if indeed it does represent a change rather than making the two different cameras at the same time)but a friend of mine had one with the nickel look that he bought some time in the early 1980s while my first one was bought used around 1997.

They're very nice cameras overall if you don't care about having front or rear shift or back rise and fall (which I didn't) and don't need a bellows longer than 13 inches. I found that a 300mm lens was very usable on mine. That extra one inch makes a surprisingly big difference. A 400mm Fuji telephoto worked fine too.

Tachiharas used to be a clear "best value" in 4x5 wood field cameras but then Shen Hao and later Chamonix came along and kind of undercut them with a similar camera but more features for about the same price (though Chamonix has gone up a good bit since they were first introduced and Shen Haos weigh a couple pounds more). Still, the Tachihara is a fine general purpose camera that you'll almost certainly enjoy using - light, simple and quick to set up and take down, flexible bellows, well-built and reasonably sturdy, enough movements for most purposes.

Heroique
15-Mar-2013, 09:20
...It appeared to me that either the weights were wrong or changes were made over time.

I’ve noticed this too – I think incremental changes have increased the weight, bit by bit over time, but not too significantly.

For example, one improvement introduced plastic washers that improved tightening and therefore stability. Small stuff like that...

I seem to recall that early versions were as light as 3.3 lbs.

-----
BTW, Tachis also come in red bellows – I guess that option is still available. Always thought it clashed w/ the camera’s beautiful Japanese cherry wood, but that’s just my personal taste. Black bellows, I think, are a beautiful complement.

Heroique
15-Mar-2013, 09:29
...They’re very nice cameras overall if you don't care about having front or rear shift or back rise and fall (which I didn't) and don’t need a bellows longer than 13 inches.

I agree – the Tachi has the movements I need for 97% of my landscape shots. However, it has more movements than people might suspect. For example, on a sturdy tripod, simply rotate the entire camera 90 degrees, and presto:


• Front rise/fall converts to front shift
• Front swing converts to front axial tilt
• Back swing converts to back axial tilt

These “conversions” of course apply to many other cameras, too. ;^)

Below is a photo showing the camera’s removable back, a quick way to switch between “landscape” and “portrait” orientation. Very convenient.

brittain321
15-Mar-2013, 09:58
Ouch!

I saw that thing pop up Sunday and emailed the person 4 times with no response! I was getting so mad they wouldn't even reply and seeing this post just rubbed salt in the wound. You must have been quick to him. Congrats!

I have been playing with an old Calumet monorail for a few months and was super excited to see a wood field camera show up locally. Especially at that price! I do mostly landscape and have hiked with it a few times but not far. I'm still learning everything and have found some great deals on c-list. Especially in darkroom equipment. I pretty much got a full set up (including 4x5 enlarger) for under $200. I guess a lot of people are getting out of it but I have always been a b/w film person.

It looks like a nice camera I am sure you will be happy with it. If not, let me know:)

Dan

djcphoto
15-Mar-2013, 10:33
Sorry, Dan!

Yeah, I emailed him the day it was listed, but he didn't get back to me for a few days either. I honestly thought it had been sold, and then he called out of the blue. He said he had been inundated with emails :) I guess I had been the first to respond, and it was good of him to get back to people in order.

If another one pops up on there, I promise I won't buy it :)

Vaughn
15-Mar-2013, 11:29
Treat those toggles that tighten the front standard carefully. Our students kept busting those off.

They are not what I would call a student-grade camera. Treated with respect and normal handling, they'll last. In the hands of students who are using 4x5's for the first time, not so long. Our Horseman Woodman 4x5's have lasted much much longer (as has our Shen-Hao).

Maris Rusis
15-Mar-2013, 15:36
From memory I recall that Masao Tachihara started making cameras about 1930. Previously he worked for Konishiroku but considered them as having a limited future and he wanted to make his own cameras. Konishiroku went on to become Konica so I guess they came good eventually. The Tachihara camera business eventually passed to Masao's son Michio Tachihara who carried on the tradition. Tachihara still make cameras under their own name and, according to modern commercial imperatives, for any other name wanting a well refined wooden view camera design.

I understand that Tachihara transliterates into "man stands in the field" hence the designation "fielstand" on their cameras.

Oren Grad
15-Mar-2013, 15:45
Turns out they still use the name "Hope". Check out their current price list - scroll all the way to the bottom:

http://www.netlaputa.ne.jp/~tachi-ss/new.pricelist09.01.01.pdf

Graybeard
15-Mar-2013, 16:13
I have both a Tachihara 4x5, circa year 1999 and a Tachihara 5x7, circa 2010. Both are fine, but very differernt cameras.

The 4x5 is a competent camera, lightweight, and quite nice for backpacking. The bellows is on the short side and a 300mm lens, in my experience, is the practical limit for the camera. I use a 300mm Nikkor on mine but often with a short "top hat" extension tube to allow focus at less than infinity. When I plan to do some shooting any distance from the car, the 4x5 Tachihara is the camera that goes into the backpack.

The 5x7 Tachihara, a rare bird it would seem, from the number of posts on this forum, is something else again. It is NOT a scaled up 4x5, rather, it is a scaled-down 8x10. It is relatively heavy, rigid, robust, and completely competent in the field. When I shoot a distance from the trailhead, I tote this camera on wheels with a Sherpacart - a heavyish tripod isn't a bad idea as well. The camera could use a longer bellows but, IMHO does most things quite well.

A 450mm lens is about as long as I've found practical - a 19 inch Artar will work for a distant subject.

I do note that the bellows on both the 4x5 and 5x7 Tachihara are prone to wrinkling (that is to say, mashing ) the bellows when the camera is folded.

andrewch59
11-Dec-2016, 19:31
I know a few years have gone by since the last reply to this thread, but I am excited to say I am getting my Tachihara finally! I have been using a horseman FA 4x5 and its a great little camera, but so frustrating when you want to use rear tilt and swing. The four small posts are a pain to click out and manoeuvre. I have read up on the Tachi and realise that it, like many other cameras, has its drawbacks, but geez! they are an art form by themselves! Thankyou Maris for the history, have been googling for hours to find something on the company!

Drew Wiley
13-Dec-2016, 16:48
I used to encounter Tachis periodically along the trails twenty years ago, along with Wista wooden folders, and of course metal Technikas. Now I only encounter me, though a couple weeks ago I cross paths with young fellow who just acquired a Zone VI.

andrewch59
22-Dec-2016, 02:20
My Tachihara arrived, it was listed on feebay as "Excellent ++++" It was a disappointment, the brass electroplate had virtually all but gone due to oxidization, this was hidden by strong lighting on the pics. One of the securing screws for the front standard was badly burred, and I noticed superglue around the screw. The bellows, although they appeared to be light tight, had seen better days and the front and rear swing tightening toggles were suspect, with two that would not stay locked. So it was quickly repacked and sent back to the seller in Japan. I must say I was impressed by compactness, weight and a great focussing screen. This particular camera had sat on a shelf for many years methinks!
Browsing through the ads I noticed a Shen Hao HZX45 IIA, I did some research online, reading quite a few reviews and vids and opted to drown my disappointment on purchasing the Shen Hao. These seem to always get positive reviews, Brand new it was only slightly more than the second hand "excellent++++" Tachi. It just looks sturdier with more movements, and longer bellows, though extra weight and a average focussing screen is the trade-off.

Punker
6-Feb-2017, 12:35
I just took the Tachi I acquired last week out into the field yesterday. The camera was a very capable performer and oh my, what a pleasure to carry compared to the Speed Graphic I just sold to fund this purchase.

neil poulsen
6-Feb-2017, 13:07
My Tachihara arrived, it was listed on feebay as "Excellent ++++" It was a disappointment, . . .

I would send it back, if possible. If it was purchased through PayPal (for Goods Sold), or through EBay, you have a good chance of getting your money back.

A few months ago, I sold a Tachihara that truly was in Exc. ++ condition. (The buyer responded back that, on receipt, it was in "immaculate" condition.) From my observation of that camera, a Techihara can e a very nice, sturdy (for it's size), camera.

Don't settle for less, when you paid for more.

andrewch59
6-Feb-2017, 17:52
Thanks Neil, yes I did return it and the seller was very good about it. Methinks they play on the fact that it is an pain to return and most would just accept the flaws. I was out of pocket though, they have no postal insurance sending to Japan, so I had to foot the bill and tracking, lesson learnt. I don't want to compare, as I think the tachi would have been a great camera in better condition, but the Shen Hao is built like a tank. I feel a lot more confident handling it and not afraid something might snap off. The extra movements are a bonus, but the gg was bit of a disappointment.

Steven Tribe
5-Oct-2017, 06:15
I seem to have bought a brass Tachihara at an auction (4x5")! All the links to manuals earlier in this thread seem to dead.
Does anyone have any current links to info?

Peter Collins
5-Oct-2017, 08:07
Website per Ken is "404 not found" for me.

Dan Fromm
5-Oct-2017, 09:36
Peter, it is time you learned about archive.org.

Here: https://web.archive.org/web/20130927104529/http://www.netlaputa.ne.jp/~tachi-ss/sub1.html and still in Japanese.

Steven Tribe
5-Oct-2017, 09:48
Thanks!
It looks like GF brass finish model. The GFR is the same, I think - just with red bellows. The first model I would guess.
Now to find a reserve base plate!

Steven Tribe
17-Oct-2017, 05:14
Now this is probably common knowledge, but not mentioned in this thread. The name tag is glued to one of the side pieces of the spring back and have often been removed by previous owners. Not a nice touch on any otherwise stylish design! The modern type Tachiharas have pencilled serial numbers written on the rear base crossmember. The first two numbers are the last two digits of the year it it was made and the next are the number of that camera in that particularly year. So mine is 90 323 - camera no. 323 made in 1990.

xkaes
17-Oct-2017, 07:52
From memory I recall that Masao Tachihara started making cameras about 1930. Previously he worked for Konishiroku but considered them as having a limited future and he wanted to make his own cameras. Konishiroku went on to become Konica so I guess they came good eventually. The Tachihara camera business eventually passed to Masao's son Michio Tachihara who carried on the tradition. Tachihara still make cameras under their own name and, according to modern commercial imperatives, for any other name wanting a well refined wooden view camera design.

I understand that Tachihara transliterates into "man stands in the field" hence the designation "fielstand" on their cameras.

Your memory is right on target -- with the first factory opening in 1925. In the early 1980's, Tachihara was offering three cameras through Lee Beeder in Hollywood -- a 6x9, 4x5, and 8x10. I only have details on the 4x5, which did not appear to have any "name", such as "Hope" or "Fielstand". It weighed 3.3 pounds with a 13" bellows. Popular Photography said that they came out with a "Type II" in 1984 which they list as having some rear-backward bellows extension, but the pictures don't seem to bear that out. It might be there -- and explain the differences in reported weight.

I was looking for a 4x5 wooden field at the time, but decided to go with a TOKO NIKKI II -- very similar, but with 14" of extension, slightly heavier, but with lots of rear -- forward and backward movement, important for very long and short lenses. The price was identical and it had brass mechanisms -- more attractive in my opinion.

Mark Sampson
18-Oct-2017, 18:05
I bought my 4x5 Tachi from Lee Beeder in the spring of 1982. Don't recall how I found him, but a co-worker also had one, so I'd seen one at least. Mine had the 'Hope Tachihara' sticker on the back. Never noticed a s/n in pencil. A lovely and functional featherweight; I'd seen an Ikeda with red bellows in a local store but thought it too flimsy. I replaced the Tachi after ten years' hard use and sold it five or six years after that. Wish i'd kept it.

Steven Tribe
19-Oct-2017, 13:58
The pencil serial number - year date and camera number that year - is easily seen on the rear base cross member.

But there is an additional pencil identification of just the camera number on the central cross member - underneath. This is difficult to see as it is usually just above the screw attached metal tripod plate.