4x5 Tachihara

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Opinions based on personal, hands-on experiences only please.

Tell me about the Tachihara 4x5 Field.

Thanks in advance.

-- Matt O. (mojo@moscow.com), March 27, 2001


It's very adequate for most field work. Technically its only real disadvantage is the 12" bellows, which is a limiting factor with long lenses, but it shares this disavantage with a number of similar cameras. I would recommend it highly as excellent value, but would also suggest that it only be bought new as my experience would seem to indicate that it may not stand up well to any rough usage that the prior owner of a used camera might have given it. Other similar cameras are better made, but for a lot more money. You can be very happy with a Tachihara; I was for a long time.

-- Dick Deimel (Bbadger@aol.com), March 27, 2001.

This may violate your caveat about hands-on experience. I have used a Calumet Wood Field camera (4x5) for several years. I read somewhere (perhaps in this forum) that the Calumet was the same camera as the Tachihara (i.e., manufactured by the same company and labeled individually for Calumet). Other readers may confirm this. Having said that, I agree with the above post regarding the use of long lenses. This is a matter of both bellows extension and the strength of the built in extension rail. Indeed, the weakest part of the camera seems to be the extension rail. Also be aware that it is difficult to use extreme wide-angle lenses. I've used a 65mm SA but there are no movements available. Hope this helps.


-- Dave Willison (dwillisart@aol.com), March 27, 2001.

Matt: There are some good articles on Tuan's home page section on cameras on the Tachihara. Also, if you pull up Tachihara Camera on the web, there are some user articles there. Also, there are some in the history section of this forum.


-- Doug Paramore (dougmary@alaweb.com), March 27, 2001.

Matt: This is the camera I bought 15+ years ago when I first wanted to try 4X5. ($300 used in the paper, such a deal!) It was stolen in a burglary after 5 years. I used it a great deal and I liked it a lot, though I replaced it with a sturdier and much heavier Zone VI at much greater expense. I found it delightfully light weight, if you're going to hike around with it that is a big plus. Even just on short walks cutting a couple pounds off that shoulder strap feels pretty good. It opens and closes pretty quickly. Bellows is adequate for using 210 mm lenses, which was the most I had at the time. I can't say for sure if it could handle something in the 300 range. Mine had one annoying habit: those two little levers which tighten down the front standard when you set up the camera tend to come loose. I would check them and tighten them before a long car trip, and they might need another turn when I got home. Obviously this isn't a big deal, I probably could have tried lock tite on it as a more permanent fix. In general, I liked it and thought it was a great camera for getting me hooked on LF. Mine came with a plastic ground glass/fresnel which was excellent. I have since picked up a 5X7 Ikeda with a 4X5 back, and it reminds me of many of the things I liked about the small and light Tachihara. If you decide in the long run to move on to something else, these seem to sell with ease on Ebay. Good luck.

-- Kevin Crisp (krcrisp@aol.com), March 27, 2001.

Matt, the Calumet 4x5 wood field camera is a Tachihara. I bought one along with a 150mm Caltar lens from Calumet about 8 years ago. I use it for landscapes and have been very satisfied. If you are looking for a 4x5 with limited funds it is worth the money. By the way, the Tachihara is sold by Adorama with their name on it, as well as a few other dealers. It only has a 12 inch bellows but so far I haven't had the need for a longer draw. Good luck & happy shooting. Pat.

-- Pat Kearns (pat.kearns@coopertsmith.com), March 27, 2001.

The hands on is limited to one time try out, which showed me it was not going to work for my type of shooting. Wouldn't rack out farther than 12 inches which meant very little use for my 300mm Nikkor lens. Other than that it seemed to work well. But I use the 300 a lot with 4x5 and this was a major limitation for me. If you don't go longer than a 210 it might work well for you.

-- Dan Smith (shooter@brigham.net), March 27, 2001.

Thanks for all your responses. This seems to be a general "yes" vote for it's overall quality/price balance, and reinforces my own impressions. I do field/landscape primarily, and rarely have need for anything over 300mm, so the primary down side stated by several of you is not much of a concern for me (there's always a true tele!) Thanks again for your thoughts.

-- Matt O. (mojo@moscow.com), March 27, 2001.

Matt, Steve Simmons reviews 4x5 cameras in the new March/April View Camera magazine, pp. 68-69--six technical and six wooden models, the latter including the Osaka/Tachihara/Calumet Woodfield. Basic specs with brief (but useful) description. Good hunting. Nick.

-- Nick Jones (nfjones@pitt.edu), March 28, 2001.

Cheap and neat, good value for money but as I often earlier said, Shenhao offers a better camera at just few bucks more. Other than that tachihara is good I have used both 4x5 and 8x10, metal parts are not incredibly solid and a student of mine managed to snap the lock system(when closed the camera has a latch to keep it so). If cheap, buy it.

-- Andrea Milano (milandro@multiweb.nl), March 28, 2001.

By the way the camera has no graflock back, can be annoying.

-- Andrea Milano (milandro@multiweb.nl), March 28, 2001.

Matt I would agree with most of the positive comments above. The Tachihara got me started in 5X4 and produced some excellent photographs for me. You will learn alot about 5x4 and where you want to go with large format by owning one. Buy it.

Matt Sampson

-- Matt Sampson (mattsampson@btinternet.com), March 30, 2001.

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