The Good -
- Rotating back - amazingly clever and simple design and engineering.
- possibility to use roll film back despite the light weight of the camera.
- Weight - under 1 kg this is one of the lightest large format camera (4x5) there is.
- Price - £250. Fantastic for someone to give it a go. I mean you can easily spend more on film and development within a year.
- Functions - no light leaks, good front axis movements.
- Novelty factor hence many people buying it. And so the possiility of more film available. Kudos Maxim and Co.
Not so Good -
- Ground glass is not protected. One must take care while carrying/backpacking
- Variability is the enemy of manufacturing. There are some tolerance and manufacturing variability issues. Mine was replaced free of cost by Maxim. Check the forums - there are still some issues which need addressing. A 6-sigma study will help iron out quite a few them easily and help make the third generation even better. #Intrepidcameraco give a shout if you need help. As of now you are in the same boat as Tesla motors. One can get away with lots of things gone wrong due to novelty factor. (Yes, I'm an engineer by trade and attribute engineering is my specialization).
- When you insert the film holder you need to give it a push. This is may mean moving the camera and potentially focus. For my shoots I had all the time so not a problem. However for landscape photography when light is changing fast this could be a problem. It only happened twice so not a huge deal perhaps and potentially user error on my part.
- Ground glass is good if you have a bright lens and it is a bright day. Anything like f8 and you must invest in a Fresnel lens. There is a good discussion on Intrepid User Group on Facebook.
One must also understand that while the folks at Intrepid are very friendly and passionate about their product this company has grown. That means there will be issues with communication compared to say a year ago. They are also into production stage of their 8x10 and recently moved to a new place. It is great to see the film user base increasing and demand for LF camera going up however Maxim and Co are now very busy - expect delay in your delivery. If you happen to be on the wrong side of the pond this could mean - waiting. For long time.However they are very friendly and often will take care of production variability.
Some more good reviews and information on the internet
Alan Brock contemplating selling his Shen-Hao
Steve O'nions uses this camera often for landscape shoot