View Full Version : DAYI 4x5 camera

14-Aug-2010, 12:57
I noticed a DAYI 4x5 camera on ebay. This camera uses a Toyo 4x5 back, it can use 65 to 90mm lenses, the lens is mounted on a helicoidal tube.
Did somebody use this camera ?

Eirik Berger
15-Aug-2010, 00:31
I saw this camera as well, an alternative to Gaoersi and Fotoman. I use Toyo so I have the back needed. A little to wide for me, I really would like to use my 135mm lens on such a camera since it would be for a specific aerial project (that I will have to do next summer instead...)

Noah A
3-Apr-2011, 15:18
Has anyone tried one of these yet? I need an aerial camera. I emailed the seller and they will sell them with cones for other focal lengths (I inquired about 135mm and 210mm). They also sell versions of the camera for other backs, like Sinar, etc.

Fotoman China has discontinued the 45PS and will apparently offer a new 4x5 camera, but they can't say when.

They seem nice and, unlike the Gaoersi, they offer rise/fall with all focal lengths, not just certain wide lenses. I like the look of the grip better too.

But I'd love to hear some first-hand experience if anyone has actually seen or used one of these cameras.

3-Apr-2011, 15:44
I have had a Fotoman and a Gaoersi. I am going to be purchasing the Dayi in the next week. I have my Toyo back already; and will be selling the rest of the Toyo. Did not like the Fotoman ... The back was not a graflock. It was well designed but also would not take a Grafmatic. I also have had the displeasure of a Gaoersi 4x5. jeez dont get me started...

1 The included viewfinder was impossible to see thru
2 The back was a graflock but was poorly designed. It broke twice in two weeks, first the GG broke because of holder torsion, then one of the pins broke that held the focus back on.
3.. The shoe the holds the viewfinder broke. It also was not a standard size to hold another type of viewfinder.
4.... The hole thing rattled, the machining was not up to the minimum standard that you would think a camera should be
5 Also issues were hard to get resolved with the company. some never did....

With all of this documented I sold it and lost a ton of money. I really have agonized over my experience that I had with the Gaoersi. And debated wether to write my experiences here. But until they address issues with there camera, I would not want to see any of my LF brothers go thru what I have. I apologize; there is just no way to be positive about my experiences with that camera.

I really want a 4x5 camera that i can walk with. I am not the kind of photographer that setup a view camera, setup the scene and take a few pictures.... i need to walk and shoot, i need portability. I tried a Graflex for awhile, but kinda heavy and always needed service. I am hoping the DAYI will be what i need.

oh one more thing.... i really need feet on the distance scale.... what can i say i grew up in the US so everything is in feet for me.

Noah A
3-Apr-2011, 18:38
I have had a Fotoman and a Gaoersi. I am going to be purchasing the Dayi in the next week. ...

I don't suppose your fotoman is for sale?

I'd love to hear how you do with the Dayi, though I was thinking about ordering one within the next week or two as well.

Anyone else have any experience with dayi? I'm mostly wondering how precise the camera and helical mount are.

3-Apr-2011, 19:29
I wish i still had the Fotoman. If there is enough interest i will write a followup experience with Dayi. I really love the Toyo back, nice and beefy, and strong. This might be the way to go if the helical mount has feet scale. I am also looking for a good 90mm with a Copal shutter. I will need a 35mm Voightlander finder of about 28mm i think.

Noah A
4-Apr-2011, 10:28
...This might be the way to go if the helical mount has feet scale. I am also looking for a good 90mm with a Copal shutter. I will need a 35mm Voightlander finder of about 28mm i think.

I figure the scales on these Chinese helical mounts probably won't be that accurate anyway, so perhaps making your own scale might be the way to go.

For a 90mm you might want to check out the Mamiya 7 finder for the 50mm lens. It might get you fairly close and it has a nice built-in bubble level.

Come to think of it, I don't know what you're shooting, but for handheld work on the ground, you might want to just use a Mamiya 7. If you're doing moderately sized prints you may end up with better results since the lenses are outstanding and the focus can be very accurate with the rangefinder.

I'm looking to make 48x60in. prints from my aerial work. If I were printing any smaller, even 32x40in., I'd be shooting 6x7cm.

4-Apr-2011, 10:40
i am considering a mamiya 7. I really like 120 film but also 4x5 film. I now use a toyo view and a mamiya 645. Toyo does not work for me, to heavy and to much involved. I need bigger than 645 but i need the portability. Well i will try DAYI, I am headed in that direction unless a better alternative lands in my lap. I have done weddings with a graflex, i would like to stay with 4x5. The same people sells the DAYI that sell the Gaoersi so i am not anxious to get burned twice.

Noah A
5-Apr-2011, 15:10
I might go for it...I'll post my thoughts if I do once I get the camera. I'm leaning towards just one lens, probably a 150mm.

FYI, the seller on ebay emailed me a picture of the 90mm lens cone, and it looks like it only has one distance scale. I'm just assuming its in meters--but you could ask. My questions including price inquiries about various combinations of lens cone(s) have been answered very quickly.

The cones appear to attach with four thumb screws, which seems like it would be nice and solid. Really my only remaining questions are how sturdy the back and shift mechanisms are and how good the helical mount is. I don't care too much about focusing since I'll tape it on infinity for aerial work anyway, but I'm hoping it holds its alignment and isn't too wobbly.

From the photos it *looks* sturdier (and better designed in my opinion) than the gaoersi but maybe not as well made as the fotoman. But it's tough to tell in auction photos.

The Mamiya 7 is an amazing camera. I have two bodies and a few lenses. I mostly switched to 4x5 for perspective control. Once I switched I was won over by the image quality, but I'd probably have stuck with 6x7 if I didn't want the movements as well as the contemplative nature of working with a view camera.

5-Apr-2011, 16:01
Well i can tell ya the back on the gaoersi is really really bad. DAYI uses the TOYO back from their view camera. It is very sturdy and well built, and uses a wide range of accessories. I can live with a most anything except a bad graflok back. The gaoersi was so bad the gg shattered the first 2 days i had it, just from putting a film holder. you have to be very careful when inserting a film holder in the gaoersi back.

6-Apr-2011, 03:26
Heeey, they also offer one for Sinar backs:) Argh used my tax refund already :(
Best regards

15-Apr-2011, 11:42
I find that strange...I've had the Gaeorsi for quite some time now. I outfitted it with the fotoman viewer and use the 612 shown earlier in the thread. Whether landscapes or urban decay I hyper focal and almost never use the GG for focus other than an occasional calibration at home. Using both the Schneider 58XL and a separate cone for the 110XL. I switch between 4x5 and 612 often, some times the same shoot. The system works like a charm, never a problem. The foot fits easily in my Really right stuff quick release also, very secure at half pressure.
Maybe I just got a good one.:D


Noah A
15-Apr-2011, 11:48
I can't speak for the quality of the Gaoersi as I've never seen one. However, there is at least one real advantage of the DaYi...well it's an advantage as long as the rest of the camera isn't junk.

The DaYi offers front rise and fall with all lenses, not just the superwides. Granted, with longer lenses the amount of rise (19mm I think) is a bit lacking. But I'd rather have some rise than none.

I bought a Horseman 4x5 back for a good price the other day from Ebay. Assuming it arrives safely I'll order the Horseman version of the DaYi (they come in versions taking several backs; Sinar, Horseman, Toyo and I think Wista).

Now I just need to decide on getting one lens (most likely a 150mm) or two (probably a 120/135 and 210 combo)...

I'll mostly use it for aerials but I can see other uses too, like where tripods are prohibited, when I need to work super-fast for some reason or in heavy wind where a solid camera could do better than one with bellows.

Assuming I go through with it, I'll post my opinions about the camera once I get it.

Noah A
16-Apr-2011, 12:02
Well, in case anyone is wondering about the DaYi, I pulled the trigger and ordered one with a 150mm lens cone. Since it's a custom cone I was told it could take a few weeks, but I'll report back with a mini-review once I get and try out the camera.

Keeping my fingers crossed...

R Mann
16-Apr-2011, 15:00
I have wondered how these are as a hand holdable camera - so I am looking forward to your review - by the way, is that the Horseman back I sold you?

Noah A
16-Apr-2011, 15:44
I have wondered how these are as a hand holdable camera - so I am looking forward to your review - by the way, is that the Horseman back I sold you?

Yes it is. I got the back yesterday and it's great, thanks! I left good feedback for you.

I'm curious too so I'll be sure to post.