Can the Shen-Hao fold with a lens attached? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Does anyone know if the Shen-Hao will fold with an old-style Symmar 150 f/5.6 attached (Compur shutter), perhaps by reversing it so the larger front element faces in?

-- Erik Asgeirsson (, April 13, 2002


I just looked at my Shen-Hao with the bellows removed. It may be possible to fold the camera with the older style lens reversed. Although the baseboard is not recessed, or cut out like some flatbeds,there seems to be plenty of room inside the box when the camera is folded. Let us know if it works. it would be another plus for this fine camera.

-- Eugene (, April 13, 2002.

This is good to know. I'm going to place an order for one within the next month, and I'll be sure to follow-up on if it'll fit. I just wanted to have an idea if it'd have a chance at fitting ahead of time.

-- Erik Asgeirsson (, April 13, 2002.

My shen-hao would fold with a reversed 150mm Symmar-S inside, so I would guess that as long as the rear element isn't longer than half an inch or so, it should work.

-- jason (, April 13, 2002.


I just tried several of my small lightweight lenses to see which would fold-up inside the Shen-Hao. Here's what I learned:

The ONLY lens I currently own that will fold up inside the Shen-Hao on a flat lensboard with the lensboard facing forward (normal shooting position) is the 90mm WA Congo - and then only if I replace the stock lens cap with a metal screw-in lens cap. Many of the smaller lenses in the 120mm - 240mm range in Copal #0 shutters will fold-up if you turn the lensboard around backwards. Also, Shen Hao makes a very nice, affordable recessed lensboard. If your goal is to be able to pop open the camera and start shooting, most of the smaller 120mm - 240mm lenses in Copal #0 shutters would fold up inside the camera in the recessed board - with the lens facing forward. In fact, I tried my 75mm f6.8 Grandagon-N in this recessed board and it JUST fit (in fact, I wouldn't really recommend it - the lens cap comes into tight contact with the base of the camera) if I replaced the stock lens cap with a metal screw-in cap. So, anything that's smaller than the 75mm f6.8 Grandagon-N will fold up inside the camera facing forward in the recessed board.

As far a I can tell, NOTHING in a Copal #1 shutter will fold up inside the camera. Even my smallest lens in a Copal #1 shutter (300mm Nikkor M) was too big to fold up inside the camera with the lens facing forward. With the lens facing backwards, the controls on the Copal #1 shutter stick out too far to fit through the opening in the front standard. Same goes for late style all black Compur No. 1 shutters. Perhaps the controls on older Compur No. 1 shutters don't protrude as far from the body of the shutter (probably depends on the vintage of the particular shutter). The Copal/Compur #1 shutters are also too big to fit in the recessed board.

So, to fold-up inside the camera, you are limited to lenses in Copal #0 shutters (or perhaps some older Compur No. 1 shutters). And for all practical purposes, either facing backwards on standard flat lensboards, or facing forwards on a recessed board.

Here's a few I tried of flat lensboards:

90mm Congo - Forwards: yes (with screw-in metal cap); backwards: yes 135mm APO Sironar-N - Forwards: no; Backwards: yes 150mm f6.3 Fujinon W - Forwards: no; Backwards: yes 150mm APO Sironar-S - Forwards: no; Backwards: yes 180mm Fujinon A - Forwards: no; Backwards: yes 200mm Nikkor M - Forwards: no; Backwards: yes 240mm Fujinon A - Forwards: no; Backwards: yes 300mm Nikkor M - Forwards: no; Backwards: no

All of these, except the 300mm Nikkor, would also easily fold-up inside the camera facing forward in a recessed board - as would just about any current 135mm - 150mm in Copal #0, or the 80mm Super Symmar XL.

Hope that helps.


-- Kerry Thalmann (, April 14, 2002.


Just a quick P.S. to my previous post. If you are asking about the 150mm convertible Symmar, I believe it came in a Compur No. 1 shutter (at least the one I owned way back when did). The 150mm Symmar-S and 150mm APO Symmar both came/come in Copal/Compur #0 shutters. Unfortunately, I don't currently have any lenses in this size shutter to try. The limitation will be how far the controls protrude from the body of the shutter - not the size of the lens elements. It definitely won't fold-up inside the camera facing forward. As I mentioned previously, current Copal and late Compur No. 1 shutters will not fit through the opening in the Shen-Hao front standard when attempting to mount them backwards for transport. Not sure if an older Compur No. 1 shutter will.

If it helps, the circular opening in the front of the Shen-Hao is 84mm in diameter. Just keep in mind that to be properly centered on the ground glass, the lenses are mounted slightly south of center on the Shen-Hao lensboards (like the Linhof and Wista).


-- Kerry Thalmann (, April 14, 2002.

don't know if this helps, but it does fold for me with a rodenstock 135/5.6 sironar-N

-- Hagai Kaufman (, April 14, 2002.

This is perhaps a dumb question but why you would want to fold the camera up with the lens attached but in reverse position? To get it in that position you'd first have to remove it from its shooting position, then put it back on the camera but in reverse position, then when you wanted to use it you'd have to again remove it from the camera, then put it back on the camera in shooting position then remove it again and put it back on the camera in reverse position. This seems like a lot more trouble than just taking it off the camera when you've finished making one photograph and putting it back on when you want to make another. Am I missing something here?

-- Brian Ellis (, April 14, 2002.

Thanks, Kerry for your detailed reply. Actually, I purchased your old Symmar in an older Compur (the lens in question). I'll measure it when I get home to see if it'll fit before placing an order for the Shen-Hao. Brian, It would be nice to be able to fold the lens inside the camera to save space when backpacking, as well as to protect the lens in transport. Quick set-up is a secondary concern. When you're carrying everything you need to live for extended periods of time on your back, space comes at a real premium.

-- Erik Asgeirsson (, April 15, 2002.

Follow Up: I received the Shen-Hao today. The camera does fold with the Symmar 150 attached backwards, with the original lens caps on.

-- Erik Asgeirsson (, April 24, 2002.

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