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Thread: Tachihara Cherrywood vs Zone VI

  1. #1

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    Tachihara Cherrywood vs Zone VI

    After using a 4x5 pinhole for a while I finally decided to buy a real 4X5 field camera. The two options I came up with are Tachihara Cherrywood and Zone VI. I am hoping someone can give me some input on the two cameras I am looking at.

    I appreciate any input and look forward to your responses. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Eric Biggerstaff
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    Re: Tachihara Cherrywood vs Zone VI

    I use both of them and each has strong and weak points.

    The Tachihara is lightweight, well built and beautiful to look at. It can handle lenses from 75mm to 300mmwith no problems and at $600 bucks new may well be the best bargin in LF cameras (some may say a Shen Hao is but I still like the Tachihara). Some users feel the light weight of the camera also tends to make it less rigid than others and this may be true, but in over 10 years working with mine this has never been a problem. It is a great camera for a beginner or expert in my opinion. Don't let the low price fool you, it is a high quality camera that is used by many leading fine art photographers.

    I am not sure which Zone VI you are considering as they went through different periods of manufacture. I am not a Zone VI history expert but I believe early models were made by Wista, then they went through a period when they were made by Wisner, then Zone VI did the manufacturing in their own facility and finally when Zone VI was purchased by Calumet they went into a new phase and I am not sure who is making them now. I own one of the later models manufactured by Zone VI and I feel it is a great camera. The camera is about twice as heavy as my Tachihara and it is very sturdy and well built. It can handle lenses from 75mm up to 450mm and the bellows can be changed out easily with a bag bellows to take even shorter lenses. My camera is smooth to operate and for the two years I have owned it I have found the camera very easy and nice to use. I purchased mine in "like new" condition on eBay for less than a new Tachihara which surprised me. I did recently replace the bellows.

    I have no experience with the new Zone VI being sold by Calumet other than playing around with one that a photographer in a workshop I was in was using. It too seemed to be well built and a very nice camera.

    I don't know what you like to photograph but for landscape work these are both very nice, reliable cameras that would bring you many years of enjoyment.

    I think what it comes down to is budget, what you like to photograph, lenses you like to use and if you intend to hike long distances (among other things).

    Hope that helps and which ever you decide on I am sure you will be happy.
    Eric Biggerstaff

    www.ericbiggerstaff.com

  3. #3
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Re: Tachihara Cherrywood vs Zone VI

    I have used both as Eric. I used a Tachihara for many years. It was a great all purpose field camera if a little less than rigid. I had one destroted in a fall and one stolen. I now have a Zone VI like Eric. It is much more rigid, not as good with very wide lenses, better with long lenses, and pretty bullet proof. The Zone VI is a better camera for heavy usage.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    at age 68
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

  4. #4

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    Re: Tachihara Cherrywood vs Zone VI

    I also had the Tachihara but sold if off in favor of a different aspect ratio. However, I agree with both Eric and Kirk in that it's a beautiful little camera for both the beginner and experienced user.

    I've not used a Zone VI but have played with the Shen-Hao for a very short time. It's also a great camera but is a bit more costly than the Tachihara.

    Anyway, for $600... you sure can't go wrong and, if large format isn't your cup of tea, you can always re-sell it.

    Cheers
    Life in the fast lane!

  5. #5

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    Re: Tachihara Cherrywood vs Zone VI

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Biggerstaff

    I think what it comes down to is budget, what you like to photograph, lenses you like to use and if you intend to hike long distances (among other things).


    I am going to buy 120 and 150 lenses. I shoot figure in landscape, so I am looking for not too heavy camera.
    Thanks for your respond.

  6. #6

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    Re: Tachihara Cherrywood vs Zone VI

    HI Elana,

    I think your lens choices are too close together. the equivalent (in 35 mm) is approx. 36mm for the 120, and 45mm for the 150. Of course it depends on your subject, but you might consider 120 and a 210 to start. I mostly use a 125mm Fuji and 200mm Nikon.
    As far as cameras go, you might lso check out the Wista cameras as well.
    Good luck and let us know what you decide.

    -Brad

  7. #7

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    Re: Tachihara Cherrywood vs Zone VI

    I owned a Tachihara and enjoyed it. It was fine. Light too. I would start with a 180 or 210 and work with that lens for awhile before I even picked up another lens.

  8. #8

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    Re: Tachihara Cherrywood vs Zone VI

    Some good comments in this thread. I've been using a Tachihara for a couple of years and I find it an excellent platform. I use lenses from 90mm to 254mm (10".) My 10" lens is pretty heavy and is in a No. 4 shutter to boot, and the Tachi handles the weight very well. I'm looking forward to trying a 400mm telephoto.

    And no matter what you compare it to, the Tachihara will probably be prettier...

  9. #9

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    Re: Tachihara Cherrywood vs Zone VI

    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Rippe
    HI Elana,

    I think your lens choices are too close together. the equivalent (in 35 mm) is approx. 36mm for the 120, and 45mm for the 150.

    -Brad
    I decided to buy 120 and 150 because in 35mm format my favorite lenses were 35 and 50. Yes, they are really close, but they were my favorite for a while.

  10. #10
    Louie Powell's Avatar
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    Re: Tachihara Cherrywood vs Zone VI

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Biggerstaff
    I am not sure which Zone VI you are considering as they went through different periods of manufacture. I am not a Zone VI history expert but I believe early models were made by Wista, then they went through a period when they were made by Wisner, then Zone VI did the manufacturing in their own facility and finally when Zone VI was purchased by Calumet they went into a new phase and I am not sure who is making them now. I own one of the later models manufactured by Zone VI and I feel it is a great camera. - - -

    I have no experience with the new Zone VI being sold by Calumet other than playing around with one that a photographer in a workshop I was in was using. It too seemed to be well built and a very nice camera..
    Fred Picker did set up a shop in Vermont to build Zone VI cameras that became part of Calumet when he sold Zone VI. Later, Calumet was purchased by a UK company. I recall reading somewhere that when that happened, the new Enlish masters did a typical corporate realignment, with the Vermont fabrication shop reporting into a manufacturing arm that was organizationally remote from the Calumet marketing arm.

    I purchased a Zone VI Lightweight in 2001; it has a nameplate that says it was built in Newfane, Vermont. But my sense is that there isn't much left of the original fabrication operation. The other night, out of curiousity, I was looking at the Calumet site and noticed that the estimated shipping time for new Zone VI cameras is 22-26 weeks. That does not give me a warm feeling about the future of the Zone VI camera. By the way, Calumet no longer lists an 8x10 version of this camera.

    I am very pleased with my Zone VI Lightweight.

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