Zone VI Ultralight 8x10

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by john_mcdonald, Oct 19, 2002.

  1. From what I can see it has been awhile since this question has
    been asked on this board: does anyone have hands-on
    experience with the Zone VI Ultralight 8x10 camera from
    Calumet? I would appreciate hearing of you impressions and
    observations. Thank you.
  2. I've seen one up close, and I didn't think that it had the quality that a lot of cameras have. It's not in a class with Wisner, Ebony, or Canham. For example, the metal parts were black-annodized, and I got the impression that the color could be pretty easily scratched. Etc. I'm sure it's servicable, though. Probably would get just as good photos with the Zone VI as with other, more expensive, cameras.
  3. John, The last time you asked this question there weren't many responses. I still stand by the response I gave you the last time. There are many better choices out there. The Zone VI camera design, originally, was almost identical to the Wisner, but the Wisner was constructed to much higher tolerances. When Calumet bought out Zone VI, they came up with the idea of using black anodized aluminum instead of gold plated brass for their metal parts, in order to reduce the weight of the camera. It seems like they haven't sold very many light weight 8X10's. Calumet's sale price is about $2K for this model. You can purchase a new triple extension 8X10 Tachihara from Midwest Photo Exchange for a bit less, and a double extension model for a lot less. Good 8X10 Deardorfs can be found on the used market for a lot less than $2K. If you are willing to spend more, take a look at the new lightweight 8X10 from Canham, or check out a Wisner or a Phillips.
  4. Can I put a plug in for the Phillips Explorer. It is the lightest (5lb), slimmest (when folded)at 3 in., and most user friendly 8/10 I have used. Mine is modified with grooved runners so that the back does not swing, but is always perfect aligned. It can be set up wearing gloves and is extremely rigid. You focus with an easy-lock lead screw and universal joint, which is extremely convenient. I have used it for ten years, and have done several books of photographs with it. The only drawback is that it is only set up as a horizontal camera, so that if you want to take a vertical you have to flip the camera on its side. Using the movements this way is a little like trying to pat your head and rub your stomach at the same time. But I do on occasion do it. Dick Phillips is not doing a production run on this ultra light for two or three years, but I think it is a brilliant machine that makes a lot of other cameras look like Victorian furniture.
  5. Thanks, Neil and Eugene. Eugene, I have not personally asked
    this question before. One reason it came up is that I understand
    Canham uses aluminum, and so does Wisner on the 8x10
    models. I was just wondering if the Zone VI is a contender, and I
    have not had the chance to see one in person. Nor have I seen a
    Tachihara 8x10, but I will consider it.
  6. John, someone asked the very same question a few weeks ago. I cannot find the post in the archives. Also, the same question is posted on the website now. Judging from the lack of responses, I can only assume that there aren't many Zone VI lightweight 8X10 users. Canham makes his cameras using precision machined black anodized aircraft grade aluminum. Wisner uses anodized aluminum in brass, silver, and black colors for his metal work. It has proven to be an excellent lightweight substitute for brass and steel. The Tachi cameras aren't designed for ultra-light weight, but once-for-ounce, dollar-for-dollar, they are an excellent buy. Check them out on the website. Jim, at Midwest, is the guy that can answer your questions about Tachi's. He will also give you a better deal on a camera and lens package.
  7. Hi, John,

    Also consider the Shen-Hao 810. It is a bit weight: 6.1kg. But it is cheap ( US$ 1,200) with extensive movement in front and back including back swing. On full extension ( 800mm at least ) it is also very stable. Take a look at this camera if the weight is not the most important concern.

    Vincent Lau
  8. Vincent, do you know a dealer in the U.S.A. that handles the 8X10 Shen Hao? Please let me know. Thanks.
  9. Dear Eugene,

    I got the camera from Shanghai in person, but I thought that the Badger Graphic is selling shenhao cameras.

    It is simply a copy of the Ebony 810 except that it is in stainless steel and trek. well made, with full movement of Ebony when comparing the sepcifications code bu the two cameras. I know that the Ebony is better make and would be stronger, but may not be 7x beter and stronger. The combination of steel and trek means that it is build to last.
  10. Eugene,

    I have been using my Shen Hao 8x10 for 1.5 years, and planning to write a review about it, but haven't found time yet. I don't see myself spending 8x more for an Ebony.

    I understand that Jeff at Badger Graphic doesn't import it, you should contact Louis at Photo Gizzmo (212) 463-0130, if you want one. Make sure you mention my name. If he refuses your request, let me know. Cheers,
  11. Geoffrey, thank's for the info. I don't do business with Photo Gizmo. I know that Jeff, at Badgergraphic, does not sell the 8X10 model Shen Hao. I have been trying to convince Jim, at Midwest Photo, to handle them, but he likes the Tachihara line of cameras . There seems to be a lot of interest in the 8X10 Shen Hao, and I cannot understand why more dealers in this country do not handle then. Earlier this year I purchased a 4X5 Shen Hao for my wife. It proved to be too complex for her to operate. We recently sold it, and I've been looking for an 8X10 camera for myself. She likes my Toyo 45AII.
  12. Eugene,

    You might have to convince Stuwart, he's the boss after all :)

    I'd say Louis is a very nice dealer, and as friendly as Jim. In New York city, I only do business with Photo Gizzmo (yes, two Zs), Ken Hansen, and B+H. Cheers,
  13. I was playing around with one the other day in Calumet NYC, and must say
    that the construction is pretty shabby. Focusing is very rough, the standards
    don't seem to be solid, and it just doesn't have the great finish of other modern
    8x10s I have seen.
  14. Geoffrey, I buy my photo supplies from B&H, over the phone, after checking the catalog number on their website. I have been dealing with them for many years. I buy my equipment from Midwest Photo Supply. Jim and Stewart are partners in the Midwest Photo enterprise. Jim is more knowledgeable about large format equipment. He personally makes buying trips to Japan several times a year and has brought back several used Fujinon lenses in pristine condition for me. I really trust his judgement. He has integrity. That's what counts the most to me.

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