Tachihara field cameras

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Would appreciate some input on the Tachihara field cameras. There must be someone who has or has had one???

-- Gary Ross (gross@quik.com), June 02, 2001


Many people use them. I used one for about three years. It's an excellent camera, IMHO the best value for the money that is out there in new 4x5 cameras. It is light (around 4 pounds), compact, simple to operate, well made, nice looking, has a bellows that allows you to use a lens at least as long as the 400 mm telephoto lens that I used and as short as the 65 mm lens that I tried (others have said you can use a lens as short as 58 mm but I never tried that), all without the necessity for a bag bellows. Movements - front rise, fall, tilt and swing, rear tilt and swing - are more than adequate for most purposes. I used the Calumet roll film back for a while and it worked fine so I never missed the lack of a Graflok back. The camera has been on the market for quite a while and over the years various improvements have been made to it without designating each newer version with a separate model number. I think it's important to buy the current version rather than an older used version. I think, but am not sure, that the ones with nickel looking metal parts are the original version. I think, but again am not sure, that the first batch of significant improvements in construction were accompanied by a switch to the curren brass looking metal parts. The original version weighed only a little more than three pounds as I recall and apparently wasn't as well made as the later versions. Unless you need the ultra long bellows of much more expensive wooden field cameras (and are willing to put up with the resulting increase in size and weight), or have a strong need for front or rear shift, I'd strongly recommend the Tachihara to anyone looking for a wooden field camera. I purchased mine on the recommendation of John Sexton when I attended one of his workshops and asked about light weight field cameras (his assistant, Anna Larson, uses one as does Ray McSavaney) and was not disappointed.

-- Brian Ellis (bellis60@earthlink.net), June 02, 2001.

I believe that the Tachihara was also marketed by Calumet under the name Woodfield XM. If you are looking for a used camera, you may want to search under both Calumet and Tachihara. I own a Calumet Woodfield and would suggest the camera as a good lightweight, inexpensive field camera. I've used a wide variety of lenses on the Calumet, including a 65mm SA with severly limited movements. The camera is not as sturdy/rigid as I would like when the bellows is fully extended. If you have a preference for longer lenses, consider another model. Regarding filmholders, the camera accepts standard filmholders, the Polaroid 4x5 sheet filmholder, and Calumet's C 2-n (?) rollfilm holder. I have never tried to insert a Graflex rollfilm holder, but it looks like it would fit. Indeed, the springback is flexible enough to fit my entire fist and I have big hands! On the other hand, I'm not sure if the Graflex would put undue pressure on the springback or on the groundglass. Moreover, if it did fit, I don't know whether the Graflex would be seated properly so that the film plane location matched the location of the groundglass. I hope this helps without adding too much confusion.


-- Dave Willison (dwillisart@aol.com), June 02, 2001.

I've owned my Tachihara for a little over a year and am very pleased. It's limitations have been mentioned, but I don't find them significant to the type of shooting I do. To me they are more than compensated for by the light weight.

-- Roger Rouch (rrouch@msn.com), June 02, 2001.

I bought a Calumet Wood field camera about six years ago with a Caltar 150mm lens. The camera ia actually a Tachihara and the lens is a Rodenstock. I have been very pleased with it and recommend it for the value of entering into LF. Also, Adorama seel the Tachihara under their name.

-- Pat Kearns (pat.kearns@coopertsmith.com), June 02, 2001.

Thank you all for the fine comments on the tachihara field. It looks like Adorama has the best price. Thank's again for all the help. Gary....(-: (-:

-- Gary Ross (gross@quik.com), June 02, 2001.

Just a warning for all of you good folks out there. I will stay clear of ADORAMA they are the biggest bunch of liars I have yet to meet. I don`t see how they stay in business. I sure will not spend a red cent with those jerks...BEWARE

-- gary ross (gross@quik.com), June 08, 2001.

I own both the 5x7 and the 8x10 tachiharas, love them both would not part with them for the world, adorama has the lowest price, but I purchased both from midwest photo exchange, I payed a little more but the service is well worth the difference in price, great people at midwest, I highly recommend them.

-- Vince Pulvirenti (zone7@massnet1.net), January 07, 2002.

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