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View Full Version : 1st LF 4x5...newbie alert (Chamonix 45N-2 vs Shen Hao HZX-IIA)



aFeinberg
17-Jul-2014, 00:20
Aloha all!

Been doing a bunch of research...and almost to the point of just closing my eyes and making a decision. But figured I'd post, b/c...why not :)


Professional photog (35mm DSLR) and adding a 4x5 system for my (landscape) nude and portrait work. (Not thinking my pure landscape work at this time). I expect to shoot mostly b/w film.

In speaking with a couple of other LF photogs I believe...ha...to narrow it to the;

Chamonix 45N-2 and the Shen Hao HZX-IIA (though both seem to be tough to find on the used market).

They do seem very similar so if there are any strong opinions I'm all ears.

Also will most likely need a 75mm (ish) and 210mm. Multicoated/sharp being important to me.


Look forward to being a part of the community and much thanks for the help!!

Aaron

Michael_4514
17-Jul-2014, 02:38
Welcome Aaron. There are a gazillion "what camera should I get?" threads in the forum where you'll find lots of feedback on the cameras you are thinking of. I haven't used either, so I don't have anything useful to add to that discussion. Both cameras you're thinking of are field cameras, so I will suggest taking a look at a lightweight rail system, since Frank isn't here anymore to give that advice. I think it's good advice.

There's a recent thread on the 75mm lens, which I think you'll find helpful. Most think it's a bit wide, but others swear by it. You might want something in the 150mm range.

The best advice I can give you is to get your hands on a camera and see if you like the format. A lot of people suggest starting out with something cheap and simple like a Graphic just to get your feet wet. There's something to be said for that.

Enjoy and hope you post some pics soon.

Mike

aFeinberg
17-Jul-2014, 03:08
Appreciate the thought Mike. Coming from shooting 14mm with my 35mm DSLR I know my mind is going to want wide. Will poke around and see what I can find. So much info it's daunting to search so sometimes easier to ask :)

ruilourosa
17-Jul-2014, 03:18
different formats, different lenses, i have a shen hao and im happy with it, but i also have a burke and james commercial and i also like it, just buy one, and use it! digital is miles away from 4x5, for the best and the worst.

Thomas Greutmann
17-Jul-2014, 03:29
Both the Chamonix and the Shen Hao are good cameras. Yet there are some differences that may matter to you.

The Chamonix is lighter and more compact, and extremely flexible, especially when you get one with the Universal bellows. It works with lenses from at least 65 to 360mm with plenty of movements.

The Shen Hao is easier to set up in the field, the Chamonix can be quite fiddly to set up and to zero in all the movements, especially in the dark. I do quite a bit of night photography and this was the reason why I finally parted with my Chamonix, although I really liked the flexibility. I think the Shen Hao would be a better starter camera, because of the easier setup. But that is a personal preference.

Greetings, Thomas

angusparker
17-Jul-2014, 07:08
I owned the Chamonix 45N2 and recently upgraded to the F1 model. Lately a few N1 and N2 have been in the auction site. I also have a Shen Hao 6x17 pano camera. Based on build quality I would go with the Chamonix. I would definitely not rule out the N1. As to being fiddly - yes these field cameras are. If you plan to use the camera in a studio setting most of the time you might want to get a monorail which can be very cheap to acquire and easier to use but heavier.

ImSoNegative
17-Jul-2014, 08:16
I have the shen IIA, great camera and very easy to set up in the field, but I agree for the studio you would be better off getting a monorail, for what the shen costs new you could get a nice cambo sc, a couple of lenses and holders and probably some film,

aFeinberg
22-Jul-2014, 19:25
Thanks again all!

This is for field work...not studio...so definitely not worried about a monorail. :)

Looks like I'll go Cham to start....why not :)

Now to find one used!

Jim Noel
22-Jul-2014, 19:30
Both the Chamonix and the Shen Hao are good cameras. Yet there are some differences that may matter to you.

The Chamonix is lighter and more compact, and extremely flexible, especially when you get one with the Universal bellows. It works with lenses from at least 65 to 360mm with plenty of movements.

The Shen Hao is easier to set up in the field, the Chamonix can be quite fiddly to set up and to zero in all the movements, especially in the dark. I do quite a bit of night photography and this was the reason why I finally parted with my Chamonix, although I really liked the flexibility. I think the Shen Hao would be a better starter camera, because of the easier setup. But that is a personal preference.

Greetings, Thomas
The Chamonix is by far the better made camera.