Discussion in 'Large Format' started by brian_hirschfeld, May 23, 2011.
I was wondering if anyone had any experience with either of these 4x5 cameras thanks,
I have a Gaoersi 4x5. There might be several different models, but this is a metal frame camera with separate lens cones and graflok back, with removable groundglass. Not sure what kind of experience are you looking for. It is a simple, solidly built camera. I have never seen a Dayi 4x5, but I think they make 6x17 backs for view cameras.
I've never used the Gaoersi but I do have a Dayi.
I bought the DaYi Horseman camera from ebay a few weeks ago. (The Dayi 4x5 cameras don't come with backs, they come in versions for various backs like Toyo, Sinar, etc. Mine uses a Horseman groundglass back). One of the selling points for the DaYi, or so I thought, is that it can provide 19mm of rise with any lens, not just wide lenses.
I wanted the camera primarily for aerial work but I figured it could double as a backup or a camera for rough or windy conditions. I ordered the camera with a 150mm lens cone for an Apo-Sironar S 150mm.
The camera arrived a few weeks later (they had to custom build the lens cone) and the thing is solid enough, but the finish leaves a bit to be desired. Some of the screw heads were a bit rounded off from the factory. The spirit levels on top of the camera are way off, they are basically useless and as far as I can tell, not adjustable. The helical is a bit rough, though the lens does NOT rotate when you focus, which is good.
You can forget about using rise with a longer lens. It may work with wider lenses, but internal vignetting from the shape of the body and lens cone prevent any rise with a 150mm. In fact, the camera vignettes with NO movement with a 150mm lens. Because of this I decided to machine the lens cone down to fit a 135mm lens instead. This allows me to shoot with no rise and no vignetting and even use a bit under 10mm of rise.
The design of the camera for the most part is pretty solid. It looks more solid to me than the gaoersi though that's not a fair statement since I've never held one. The Horseman back fit the camera perfectly and since dayi doesn't make the backs, you're at least going to have a high-quality back on the camera, which is important.
The lens rise may work fine with shorter lenses. I had a 135 sitting around, and that was as short as I wanted to go for the aerial work. With a 120 or shorter you may get the full 19mm of rise, though I can't say this for sure since the cones might be designed differently.
If I had to do it again, I would have waited for a used fotoman to show up or I would have waited for Fotoman China, which is still in business, to come out with their new 4x5 model.
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