View Full Version : Shen Hao vs. Chamonix

23-Jul-2009, 12:06
I'm pretty new to LF and have been doing my learning on a Cambo 4x5. I still have a great deal to learn. :) However, one of its shortcomings is becoming pretty bothersome, and that's the lack of portability. I've been doing a good deal of searching/reading about both the Chamonix and the Shen Hao. I've seen testimonials for both, but also some comments such as the Shen Hao not being very intuitive, etc.

Anyway, having a tough time committing one way or the other and was wondering if there's anyone who has used both and can provide as objective comparison as possible. I would be very interested in hearing from anyone who started with one, but switched to the other, and why they switched. Thanks in advance.

23-Jul-2009, 12:23
yes both extensively, do a search here to find my posts.
here's some other posts that may or may not help.


Gem Singer
23-Jul-2009, 12:48
Are you asking about the Shen-Hao HZX-45IIA, or the Shen-Hao PTB 45?

The PTB 45 is a close copy of the Chamonix 4X5.

All three are wooden folding flat bed cameras, but the PTB-45 and the Chamonix 4X5 are similar in design to Dick Phillips cameras , and the HZX-45IIA is a conventional double focusing rack design.

I don't understand why the Shen-Hao would be less intuitive to operate than the Chamonix, and I don't rate intuitive operation very high on my list of pro's and con's.

From my experience, the Shen-Hao HZX-45IIA is a lot of camera for the price when
it comes to comparing movements, bellows length, features, etc.

23-Jul-2009, 13:36
Thank you both, particularly those links Vinny.

Nana Sousa Dias
29-Jul-2009, 16:42
I had a Wista DXII, cherrywood for about 5 years. It's a beautifull camera but it's not a solid camera. It shakes a lot in winding conditions. I had to use a Linhof Technika IV, on winding days, but the Linhof is a heavy camera.
To use very wide angle lens on the Wista DXII, it's very anoying, because you must do a lot of awkward movements with the base and lens/back standards if you want to shoot with a 47mm lens, for example.
2 years ago I bought a Shen Hao HZX 45 IIA. After a while, I sold the Wista and the Linhof!!!! I think this is a good example, I believe, to those who are searching for a versatile camera.
The HZX let me use a 47mm, without a recessed lensboard, because of its back, wich has a forward movement. The HZX bellows, allow me the use of a 360 mm lens and the camera is very solid.
I believe the Chamonix is a much better and lighter camera but the Shen Hao, for his price and large number of ample movements, it's a fine camera.

Lachlan 717
29-Jul-2009, 22:49
Buy the cheaper one and put the rest of your budget into glass.

I've lost count of how many times this has been said. Either camera will be capable of doing what 99% of users require.


30-Jul-2009, 03:30
I second Lachlan617.

I my opinion the Shen Hao PTB54 is the cheaper version of the Chamonix, but if you want more movement I would go for the Shen Hao HZX45-IIA.
I saw a photo of the PTB54 after I had bought the HZX45-IIA and fell in love with it.

I am getting the wood together to build me one: some brasilian wood, have to see next week when I deliver my photo's of an asignment to a brasilian wood trader: walking around in that place is like walking in a candy store.....
So much tropical wood I had never heard of.... next week I will make a photographic inventory so I can put it onto the net.


30-Jul-2009, 19:27
I Second the Second! I am a Shen Hao user, Chamonix was not produced when I went with Shen Hao. Both are well constructed and both their distribution in the USA is top notch. I have seen no complaints. Chamonix is currently a special order while Shen Hao is stocked locally. This is important only if you gotta have it now. The most important thing is how you develop your craft which has little to do with the camera! Buy good glass.