View Full Version : Horseman VH-R : good ?

29-Jan-2011, 12:47
I saw a Horseman VH-R (6x9) with 4 lenses, one rollfilm 6x7 and one polaroid back at 1200 $.

Is this set a good idea as a first step into LF world ?

Or is it better to find a 4x5 one ?

What about the price of the set, which is in very good condition ?


Frank Bunnik
29-Jan-2011, 14:22
I had one and it is a very good camera, great quality. The price seems okay, althought it depends a bit on the age of the lenses. Horseman had it's own line of lenses. The all chrome ones are old and not multicoated. The all black ones designated "super ER" are multicoated and I believe the "super" indicates a large image circle.

The Horseman angle finder is ideal, no fumbling with a dark cloth. The folding focussing hood is pretty useless.

I liked the camera but what I found really annoying was the fact that when you mount the filmcassette, you have to remove the groundglass and vice versa. This doesn't sound like a big deal but I just didn't like it.

As for the weight, I don't think it is much lighter than the 4x5 Linhof Technika I use now. I tried a few 6x7 and 6x9 field cameras before I sold these and bought the 4x5 and I would not recommend anybody one of these smaller format field cameras for the simple reason that you can not shoot bigger than 6x9 with these cameras. Once you have shot 4x5 regularly, you would not want to go smaller, except maybe for 6x12.
6x12 is not possible with the VH-R but it is possible with 4x5 cameras with a graflock back.

My advice, buy a 4x5 field camera. With the VH-R, though a good quality camera, you save nothing since the weight is about the same as a 4x5 camera but you are stuck to a smaller film format. Why go for less?

29-Jan-2011, 14:37
Thank you Franck.

in fact, I'm looking for a 4x5 (a Technika or a Speed Graphic, which allows barrel lens, such as the Aero..).

But I saw the Horseman in a shop and I found it very nice. The plus for me is that my enlarger (a Durst 670) is limited to 6x7.

The lenses in the set are the following (but I don't know how old they are):
- Tokyo Kogaku 5,6 65mm
- Tokyo Kogaku 5,6 75mm
- Tokyo Kogaku 5,6 80mm
- Seiko 3,5 100mm

How good are they ?

Frank Bunnik
29-Jan-2011, 15:10
As you can see, the lenses are grouped very close together. The difference between a 75 and an 80mm is pratically nill. 65 and 75 is also a small difference. Tokyo Kogaku is the designation for the old lenses. These date probably from the (early) 1960's. 1200 US$ seems like a lot of money with these old lenses. Is the 6x7 holder the old one with a knob to transport the film or is it the version with the lever to transport the film?

I would save the money to buy a 4x5 camera. More versatile.

29-Jan-2011, 15:13
Ok. Thanks.
I didn't see the 6x7 holder.
So, I'd better buy a Speed Graphic with an Aero Ektar...
Do you know where I can find that ?

29-Jan-2011, 17:21
I have found the VH-R to be a very capable camera: compact and relatively lightweight. The lenses offered do seem very tightly clustered in terms of focal length. My kit consists of 65, 150, and 210mm lengths.

The price seems a bit high for the kit, given the age of the lenses. Any film backs included?

Given the constrained negative size (6x7) that your enlarger can handle, the VH-R would be a reasonable compromise if you're looking to use the movements (tilt, swing, shift, rise) of a view camera. Let me know if you have any questions about the operation of the camera.


Kevin M Bourque
29-Jan-2011, 18:31
If you get the camera be sure the 65mm is on a recessed board. It's only recessed a few mm but you can't easily use front rise at infinity with a flat board.

Its a shame that you can't deal with a 6x9 negative. Its just about the ideal size and aspect ratio for my tastes.

Joseph Dickerson
30-Jan-2011, 10:41
Usually the VHRs are found with Horseman lenses. The latest and those with the largest image circle are designated Super Horseman. They are great lenses.

The Tokyo Kogaku lenses I believe are Nikors, and probably very old ones at that. The big issue is, as Frank and Daniel pointed out, there isn't much spread in the focal lengths. It seems that someone had a bunch of lenses on hand and threw them in with the camera to make it sound like a "kit". The 100mm "Seiko" is likely something else, as to my knowledge Seiko only made shutters, not lenses.

My experience with a VHR I once owned for a short time, was that it was just too fussy. The small knobs and ground glass made for a less than happy experience. It is/was a very nicely made camera and the Horseman lenses are as good as anyone's but I was very happy to sell it and go back to a 4x5 camera.

With the strange collection of lenses it doesn't sound like a very good deal, or a very useable outfit.

Joe D.

30-Jan-2011, 11:25
Thank you everybody.

I'm going to look for something else.