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Thread: Shen Hao or chamonix - Which model for a beginner

  1. #1

    Shen Hao or chamonix - Which model for a beginner

    Hi friends,

    After dabbling years in Hasselblad and pinhole 4x5, I have decided to move on to 4x5 field camera. Since I plan on buying one for a lifetime, wanna buy a new field camera .
    However, being a beginner , I seek advice as to which one .
    I have narrowed it down to either Shen Hao or Chamonix . Both have various models which are confusing -

    1. Shen Hao XPO 4x5
    2. Shen Hao TZ-45IIB
    3. Shen Hao PTB 4x5
    4. Shen Hao HZX-4x5IIA
    5. Shen Hao TFC 45-IIB

    1. Chamonix 45 N-1 or 2
    2. Chamonix 45 F-1.

    I am mainly looking for a field camera for landscape purposes and plan on using 75 or 90 mm , 150 mm and 210 or 300 mm lenses.

    Please share your advice and thoughts.

    Regards,
    Abhishek

  2. #2

    Join Date
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    Re: Shen Hao or chamonix - Which model for a beginner

    My experience indicates that the Chamonix is more sturdily built and should last a lifetime.

  3. #3
    Foamer
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    Re: Shen Hao or chamonix - Which model for a beginner

    Both would do fine. I have owned both but currently have the Chamonix 045n. You will need a bag bellow for 75mm lens.


    Kent in SD
    Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris,
    miserere nobis.

  4. #4

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    Re: Shen Hao or chamonix - Which model for a beginner

    Some years ago I decided to buy a Shen Hao HZX, but today I would prefer the newer model ( but I don't know the name). Shen Hao tends to make things better and better after a while, but nothing was really wrong with my HZX.
    Fantastic movements, enough to me extension, and unfolding and being ready for the shot was easy and quick. Very important to me.
    Bellows is changeable, if necessary, so you can go with the bag bellows from 75mm until 150mm, or with normal bellows from 90mm up to your end ( tele or not tele).
    Some other Shen Hao types may be tricky, look for their fixed bellows or the need to bring the front standard in position, by screwing and wasting time.
    For me, and concerning the price, too, it was a lovely camera.

    Ritchie

  5. #5

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    Re: Shen Hao or chamonix - Which model for a beginner

    Quote Originally Posted by abhishek@1985 View Post
    Since I plan on buying one for a lifetime
    I'd be surprised if a great many Large Format shooters purchased a perfect camera when getting started - and never purchased another - or wish they had.

    As a beginner, you may not even know what you are looking for until you shoot for a while. Conversely, you may not know what to avoid.

    Rather than trying to get it right the first time, you might consider just getting whatever is affordable and available. Your next camera will be closer to what you need and appreciate. And the one after that, even closer. Just like your photos.

  6. #6

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    Re: Shen Hao or chamonix - Which model for a beginner

    Nothing is for a lifetime, except perhaps a spouse. As a beginner, spend as less as you can afford to throw away. LF is very different from a Hasselblad, and learning to use it will take some time.

    Kumar

  7. #7

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    Re: Shen Hao or chamonix - Which model for a beginner

    I absolutely agree!
    For example:
    First I bought a Mentor field, 13x18cm".
    Fantastic, but too heavy for the field.
    I decided to get more flexibility (film holders) and more movements with my new camera and decided to buy a mono rail, in this case a Plaubel Universal 13x18cm/5x7" .
    Fantastic - but again too heavy for the field.
    I reduced to a 4x5" Plaubel Profia.
    Fantastic, really, but meanwhile I felt that I have to use more than only one camera; I bought the Shen Hao, too.
    Ok, and I added a Plaubel Provia 5x7" to my Provia 4x5", because I wanted to continue 5x7".

    After buying the Shen Hao, I have had no demands anymore, but this has been my way.
    Others may need more bellows extension or a more sturdy system, but I believe in the SH beeing a very good (newbie) cam, especially for ""plan on using ... 90 mm , 150 mm and 210 or ( a lightweight) 300 mm lenses"".
    For using 75mm, or long and heavy lenses, other systems may be better.

    Ritchie

  8. #8

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    Re: Shen Hao or chamonix - Which model for a beginner

    But whats wrong then with going directly for the shen hao or chamonix and save the money else spend on mistakes? No need for us all to learn the same lessons the same way
    Søren Nielsen

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  9. #9

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    Re: Shen Hao or chamonix - Which model for a beginner

    Quote Originally Posted by soeren View Post
    But whats wrong then with going directly for the shen hao or chamonix and save the money else spend on mistakes? No need for us all to learn the same lessons the same way
    Because we don't all make the same mistakes in the same order?
    My first 4x5 was a beautiful Linhof Super Technika V with 3 lenses. I hated it because it was too difficult and time consuming to do what the ads in Photo Technik said it could do. I sold it, and bought a new Sinar F2 - a very large investment for a struggling photographer. Everything became easy. Some years later, I bought a Linhof Master Technika. Some images that would have been easy-peasy with the Sinar were still difficult. I sold it and vowed to stay away from field cameras. I joined this forum after I came to Japan, and learned of all the wonderful field cameras that people were using. I tried many, and finally found the Wista metal field cameras. I still try many different cameras, but the Sinar F2/P/C2, Wista and the older Toyo D45M remain my favorites. I don't expect anyone else to like what I do, but that's perfectly fine. We're all the same but different

    Kumar

  10. #10

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    Re: Shen Hao or chamonix - Which model for a beginner

    Fair point. I think the mistakes we make these days comes down to our ability to distill the information needed out of foras like this and use it in the right perspective. My first LF camera was a Sinar Norma 5x7 which I still have but I also came to the conclussion it was to heavy to lug around. At 1,6 kg the chamonix 45F1 is a little heavier than the N2 but way lighter than e.g a Mamiya RZ67PROII og Pentax 67. It's fairly easy to unpack and shoot within a few minute, features assymetric rear tilt which can be nice to have and will focus a 65mm to infinity with room for some movements. The 75mm have a bigger rear element that may cause some trouble at times.
    Søren Nielsen

    Send from my Electronic Data Management Device using TWOFingerTexting

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