Shen-Hao HZX45 for roll film shooters : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I think the Shen-Hao HZX45 might represent a sensible upgrade option for 6x9 roll film shooters like me, but would appreciate insight from actual users before making a decision.

Here are my goals for the upgrade:

a) I plan to continue shooting roll film, with the added capability of 6x12. In the future I could try my hands at 4x5, but for now my foremost interest lies in keeping costs and weight down while changing as little as possible of my current outfit. This implies the 4x5 GG will be staying home most of the time.

b) I want to continue using my Horseman Angle Viewer for most of my shooting, including 6x12. To achieve this goal I could buy a Horseman 6x9 Reducing Revolving Back (RRB), which should fit all International Standard 4x5 cameras and would also accept my current 6x9 and 6x7 RFHs. When working on a 6x12 image I could focus the 6x9 middle section and inspect the extra 1.5cm right and left margins by shifting the back (in the Shen-Hao pictures I see a ruler along the back standard that would help greatly).

c) My shortest lens is a 55mm Apo Grandagon, and like my other lenses it is mounted in a 8x8cm Horseman panel. The small panel size is helpful in keeping volume down in an already crowded backpack, so I'd like to leave a Horseman Linhof Technica lens panel adapter permanently mounted on the Shen-Hao's front standard.

I have specific questions about this intended setup:

1) Is it possible to infinity focus the 55mm as described? Its flange focal distance is 67.6mm.

2) Using the wide-angle "bag" bellows what amount of movements can I expect with a 55mm lens?

3) I'm not sure the 6x12 RFHs (Shen-Hao's is relatively cheap but said to be good enough, my other option is the high-quality Horseman one) would place the film plane where the procedure explained in b) allows me to focus. This is because, while the 6x9/6x7 RFhs will be mounted directly on the RRB, I will have to unmount it to use the 6x12 RFH. Anyone knows for sure? Are there other alternatives to achieve this goal ... e.g. does Shen-Hao provide a 6x9 reducing back where I could mount Horseman RFHs / Angle Viewer?

Questions about Shen-Hao cameras:

4) How do I contact an European distributor for the Shen-Hao?

5) What are the differences, if any, between a HZX45-IIA and a HZX45-II?

Thank you all in advance.

-- Massimo Squillace (, May 26, 2002


Massimo, I have a Shen Hao HZX45-IIA. I have no idea what the "A" signifies. With all of the stipulations you outlined, the Shen Hao will not meet your requirements. This model Shen Hao is not a light weight camera. A 55mm lens would be quite a stretch for the Shen Hao, even with a recessed lensboard and a bag bellows. The Shen Hao bag bellows is made from heavyweight vinyl material. Not very flexible. The Graflex sliding locks on the back of the Shen Hao do not have the precision, or ease of operation, that you desire. I like my Shen Hao. It takes my 75 wide angle using the bag bellows and a flat lensboard. The back slides forward, like the Gandolfi. No need to drop the bed. It takes my Fuji 300 tele with the standard bellows. That's quite a range of focal lengths for a relatively inexpensive camera. However, it's not a Linhof, Gandolfi, or Ebony. If I were a rollfilm user, I'd probably use a Fuji 6X9 rangefinder-type camera.

-- Eugene (, May 26, 2002.

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