Roll film backs for Tachihara, Wista, and other wooden fields : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Hi all, I'm currently considering a few 4x5 field cameras including the Tachihara (aka Osaka & Calumet XM 4x5) and the Wista 45DX. To initially keep costs down I'd like to start with a roll film back (6x9 & maybe 6x12). My understanding is that neither of these cameras accept Graflok backs. Is this true? Are there other backs that I could use instead? Any specific recommendations? If you'd like to recommend another <$750 4x5 field camera (new or used) I'm all eyes.

Thanks in advance!

-- John Elstad (, January 13, 2002


You might want to have a look at the Shen Hao HZX-45AII. It is available from Badger Graphic for $625 and is capable of using Graflok style roll film backs. It also has an interchangeable bellows and more complete movements than the Tachihara or Wista. It is surprisingly well made for the price and a lot of camera for the money.

Shen Hao also offers a 6x12 roll film back of primitive design (uses a "red window" type film advance ala the old roll film folding cameras). I have one of these on the way, but have not yet received it. The red window obviously precludes using 220 film, but if it holds the film flat and positions it properly, that's what counts. It's by far the most affordable 6x12 roll fim back available ($350 from Badger). Of course, the Shen Hao camera will also accept the standard Graflok style roll film backs from Horseman, Wista, Mamiya, Graflex, etc.


-- Kerry Thalmann (, January 13, 2002.

A Graflock adapter is available from Wista although it is not needed foe Wista roll backs with the shield plate. Some Wisea wood models arw supplied with the Graflock back asstandard.

-- Bob Salomon (, January 13, 2002.

I expect the Tachihara will accept a rollfilm holder like the Calumet C2N, at least it better, as I have one on its way that I plan to use in it. My Tachi accepts my 545pro Polaroid back without difficulty, and I can even get the somewhat thicker 405 holder in it satisfactorily.

-- Paul Coppin (, January 13, 2002.

Before you purchase a used Calumet roll film back, you may want to review my commentsabout the Calumet C2 backs.

-- Richard Stum (, January 13, 2002.

I used the Calumet 6x7 roll film holder (it's a holder, not a back) in my Tachihara and it worked fine. My only complaint was the complexity involved in loading it. That probably would not have been a problem if I had used if more often. Personally I liked the Calumet holder in the Tachihara spring back better than the Graflok style backs and holders. With the Calumet you don't have to remove the camera back and replace it every time you want to use the holder. The Calumet slips in just like a regular film holder. I know some people have experienced problems with the Calumet roll film holder but mine was fine. I don't think the Calumet comes in 6x12 format though I'm not certain.

-- Brian Ellis (, January 13, 2002.

I agree with Kerry that you might want to check out the Shen Hao. I've had one for several months and really like it. I've used a Tachihara also and thought it was a fine field camera too. The Shen Hao is heavier, but does have a Graflock back and more complete movements.


-- Dave Willis (, January 14, 2002.

Tachihara has made a wooden back that replaces the standard spring back and is specially made to use roll film. It requires an additional roll film holder that clips into a 2x3 graflok adapter. It has a 2"x3" ground glass window for viewing that slides away to the roll film adapter for picture taking (slightly hard to describe well, but nice). Mine worked fine, but sold it as I don't use much roll film. These are rather hard to find - I bought mine from Midwest Camera used for about $80 and have seen them on eBay very occationally. I have also seen standard Graflok backs to replace the Tachihara spring back. These too seem rather rare.

-- Roger Rouch (, January 14, 2002.

Thanks everyone for the helpful responses. Based on what I've read of the Shen Hao here and elsewhere I think I'll go that route.

-- John Elstad (, January 14, 2002.

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