View Full Version : Shen Hao -> + Fresnel or Maxwell ?

1-Mar-2009, 09:23

I have a Shen-Hao TFC45-IIB for wide angle use, current only a 75mm lens, but I may later go with one wider e.g. 58mm or maybe 47mm. Perhaps not longer and if so to max 150mm.

With the standard Shen Hao groundglass, which looks as sanded glass, it is difficult to compose and somewhat difficult to focus. Maxwell Ultra Brilliant is perhaps the best, but also $$.

Thus if I instead go with a Fresnel, how much improvement would I get over my Shen Hao standard groundglass and compared to something like a Maxwell?

Badgergraphics list following;
Shen-Hao Fresnel for under grounglass, 60 USD.
Arca-Swiss Fresnel 4x5, less than 200 USD.

How would they improve compared to the standard Shen-Hao or Maxwell?

Much Thanks!


Brian Ellis
1-Mar-2009, 09:48
A good Fresnel will help with the brightness but will make it a little harder to focus because of the lines in Fresnel lenses. Depending on which one you buy, you may still get a lot of light fall-off away from the center with a 75mm lens.

You might consider the BosScreen as an alternative to the options you mention, in my experience (I've used four or five of them on different cameras) they're better than most Fresnels because they have no significant light fall off and by spreading the image out evenly across the screen they make it easier to compose and focus, though they technically aren't "bright screens." The knock on them is that the wax they use creates problems in extreme heat or cold. I never had a problem in Florida heat but never used them in extreme cold so I don't know about that.

However, the Maxwell (which I've used on one camera) is the best viewing screen I've ever used. It's a Fresnel but much better than any others I used (which included the OE Fresnels on Ebony and Tachihara cameras). I could see clear out to the edges with an 80mm lens and virtually no light fall-off. Also easier to focus than most Fresnels. If you're comfortable that you'll have your camera for a long time I'd get the Maxwell. If you're the type that changes cameras frequently I wouldn't spend the money, it won't increase the resale value of your Shen Hao by anywhere near its original cost.

I don't know anything about the Arca Swiss Fresnel or the Shen Hao. But if you search here I think you'll find virtually unanimous opinions that the Maxwell is the best money can buy. Unfortunately it's a lot of money.

1-Mar-2009, 13:35
I am afraid that new Boss screens are no longer made. Stabilix seems no longer in buissiness.
You will have to look for a used one if you want one.



Gordon Moat
1-Mar-2009, 16:54
Depending upon which loupe you use, a fresnel might be tougher for fine focus adjustment. Even with a 3.6x TOYO loupe, the lines on the fresnel become visible under the loupe. I found this tough when shooting low light city scenes. My solution was to install a Satin Snow, though I rarely use a 75mm lens. Since it sounds like you want to go even wider, I will also agree with the suggestion of getting a Maxwell screen. You could always take it out when (if) you decide to sell your Shen-Hao, and replace it with the stock screen.


Gordon Moat Photography (http://www.gordonmoat.com)