Most people would recommend getting a gyuto. I have a misono ux10 santoku I like. The hattori Hd santoku would be my recommendation in your price range if you are wanting a santoku over a gyuto.
If I had to choose between those two i would choose the shun, only because I have used other shun knives in the past and been happy with them. I dont know anything about the Calphalon.
Some other options you might want to consider would be the mac superior, less costly and a little better steel.
Do you mind if I ask why you narrowed down your search to those two knives?
If you are dead set on those two, I believe Bed Bath and Beyond carries both and you could go test them and see which one feels better in your hand.
thanks for the replies so far
i am looking at these two knives because i would like to try a santoku in place of my chefs knife, i like damascus,
the calphalon i can get for $80 cad at bbb. I am watching an auction for the shen which might be $100. I want to spend under $120 at most.
also wondering how important the hollow ground is, read it makes no difference
that mac knife looks nice, would be be noticeable a better performer than these other two?
Hiromoto AS 190mm: $114 with JCK and $109.85 with CKTG.
I remember someone posting about a really awwsone, cheap santoku a few months back. It was a basic kurouchi finish w/ wa handle, very thin... I think it was like <$50. Ring a bell for anyone?
As for the OP, I have used both and the shun is in a different league in terms of quality. The cala katana knives are designed to look cool in a BB&B display case, but are kinda crapy. I believe the "damascus" is just pattern etched mono-layer cladding designed to look like folded damascus. The handle material is cheap and just glued in place and Ive seen it warp and come loose from the metal.
I used to think that they looked cool too, until I met someone with a few. Dont wast your money.
Get the Shun. Those two knives aren't even comparable.
I doubt the Calphalon is truely "hollow ground" like a straight razor, and rather they're just using that term to mean it has scalloping on the blade. If so, it doesn't make a smack of a difference at all. It's like putting a pink cardboard spoiler on your AMC Eagle and calling it a selling point. Meaningless marketing voodoo.also wondering how important the hollow ground is, read it makes no difference
Edit - And for the record, this is Damascus:
The sloppy chicken-scratched nonsense with the Shun and the Calphalon is just more meaningless marketing voodoo.
I have the Zakuri and its a bit too small to be a santoku. Its more of a snub nosed, tall petty. Its a great knife for utility work but not to replace a chefs knife.