View Full Version : Shen-Hao PTB45 questions

18-Feb-2011, 15:14

It's difficult to find a ton of info on the Shen-Hao PTB45, so here are a couple of questions:

1. What did they do to it to make it lighter than their normal models?

2. How tough is it due to the lighter weight? I'd be traveling and hiking extensively with it and it will need to stand up to that.

Thanks in advance,


19-Feb-2011, 06:58
The similar model is the TZ45 which has a box that allows for the front standard to fold into the rear box/standard. This allows for protection of the camera, bellows, hardware. The box is the main reason that the TZ45 weighs more. The only lenses that may fold up are the older press camera lenses. These may not allow for the range of movements that modern lenses have. The TZ45 also pivots both standards from the base of the standards. Some prefer the center tilt that the PTB has. I do not back pack and do carry my TZ45 on tripod a lot. either will take the same images!

Joseph Dickerson
19-Feb-2011, 10:25
Wally has it mostly right. However, there are a number of small(ish) lenses that will fold into the HZ45 and I assume the TZ as well as they are very similar.

I have two, a Geronar (Calumet IIe) 150mm and my favorite, a Fuji 135W. Both of these lenses have generous movements. Considerably more than the press camera lenses that Wally references. I do have to reverse them when I fold the camera however.

I recently borrowed a Chamonix to compare to my Shen Hao and, for me at least, I found the Shen Hao to fit my needs better. I have not handled the PTB Shen Hao but the weight savings over the TZ or HZ is really not that much and has been pointed out many times, the camera is not the majority of the weight in the bag.

I recently modified a Chamonix universal bellows to fit my Shen Hao and overcame the one thing that I didn't like about the camera. That is the need for a bag bellows.

In my eyes, Shen Hao, all/any models, or the Chamonix are all capable, better cameras than I am a photographer anyway. Over the years I have used, if not owned, Wisner, Wista, Sinar, Tachihara/Osaka, Deardorff, Calumet, Toyo 45A, Gowland, Ikeda, Graphic View II, and probably some others I've forgotten. I've never had a field camera that I have been happier with than the Shen Hao. I would probably feel the same about a Chamonix if my very short experience is indicative.


Mark Stahlke
19-Feb-2011, 12:42
I'm using my Shen Hao PTB 4x5 for backpacking. I can't compare the PTB to other Shen Hao models but I can compare it with my Tachihara. I switched to a PTB because it's about a pound less weight than the Tachihara.

Initially, I was a little disappointed with the PTB. I didn't think it was as solid or as well built as the Tachihara. My perception of the PTB was probably colored by a mishap (http://lostmanphoto.com/Trip_Reports/Entries/2009/6/6_Disaster_at_Deckers_Lake.html) I had with the PTB on it's first trip. After that I switched back to the Tachihara for a couple of trips.

With a long trip coming up, I revisited the Shen Hao PTB since I needed to cut every ounce I could. I gave it a thorough going over and tightened up some loose screws. Now I had a lot more confidence in the camera. It performed admirably on that trip and I've been using it regularly since then. The Tachihara sits on the shelf.

I use the PTB with lenses ranging from 55mm to 355mm. The two extremes are difficult to work with. The 55mm has the bellows quite compressed but that's OK because the that lens doesn't allow for much movement anyway. The 355mm is in a Copal 3 shutter and that's a lot of weight to hang that far from the camera back so it's a bit unstable. Most of the time my backpacking lens kit consists of a 75mm, 110mm, 210mm, and 300mm. The camera can handle these lenses quite comfortably.

I've learned that the PTB is not as fragile as I first thought. I no longer feel compelled to pack it very carefully. I use a plastic GG protector, wrap the camera in a Blackjacket dark cloth and then stuff it my pack. I've been packing it that way for a couple of seasons and it's holding up just fine. The only thing I miss from the Tachihara is it's ability to store a small lens when folded. The Shen Hao PTB won't do that.

Hope that helps.

20-Feb-2011, 10:34
Perfect - thanks so much!


Sean Galbraith
20-Mar-2011, 12:00
I ordered one from Badger. Pretty excited.

20-Mar-2011, 20:33
I have Shen Hao HZX45 IIA, it is really lightweight and i quite happy with it, but i want to buy another 4x5 for another reason, and comparing it to my Speed Graphic Pacemaker and Crown Graphic it is lighter than both, ofcourse the lens can make a different but i am not hiking at all yet with any LF and i use tripod with it and i got used to heavy gear since 2006 anyway, almost i walk and hike around with 10-20kg of gear.