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rupal
16-Feb-2010, 22:46
Hi. I have just sold my Horseman 45FA & am looking at buying a new body with better movements & lens compatibility. At the moment i am very interested in the Chamonix 45N-1.

I am just wandering how precise a camera this cheap is.... Specifically how precise would the film\film-holder plane line up with the ground-glass plane once inserted, which would Determine the sharpness of the captured photo, compared to a Ebony, Linhof or Arca-Swiss ???

Thanks.

uniB
17-Feb-2010, 02:48
I'm sure you've heard about the focusing problem with the Chamonix caused by the fresnel? It's not something I've really experienced with mine but I have since changed my GG for a Maxwell (you can read about this here: http://www.peaklandscapes.com/blog.php?entry=10 )

That aside, the 45N-1 is as capable as the other makes you listed, I've measured the GG/film holder distances and they are pretty much identical.

You may want to wait – there's a 45N-2 out soon and it is supposedly going to have improvments worth waiting for :)

rupal
17-Feb-2010, 03:39
Thanks for that info, i may just wait for the new model. Is the Maxwell universal for all cameras, or do i have to get one that fits the Chamonix ?

BTW, Awesome photography you have there on your site.

cheers - Rupa

:)

EDIT: Forget my question about the Maxwell, i only just read the link to your blog you posted.

pocketfulladoubles
17-Feb-2010, 19:04
The Maxwell is universal, but you need to change the pads on the Chamonix to get it to fit snugly. It's not hard to do. Or, you could just pull out the fresnel altogether. The Maxwell is great though, just another cost. Figure $300 to $400 (for ultra brilliant) plus an $800 camera and you're a little more than a grand in for a terrific camera. That said, it's a very lightweight field camera, and it's very good at being so, but the durability is not going be up to the all metal counterparts. To answer your question, I like to shoot wide open and I don't notice focal shift between GG and film plane.

Rakesh Malik
4-Mar-2010, 08:27
I've not had focus problems with mine. I used it for this image, which is printed at 24x30 and shows excellent detail.

I also have one listed for sale by coincidence... :)

http://whitecranephotography.smugmug.com/Landscapes/Wilderness/Large-Format-Landscapes/eTidepool-Detail-24x30360dpi/614211898_aP2Ls-M-8.jpg

rugenius
6-Mar-2010, 10:05
I love my 045N and have not seen any gross focus problem.
It is a beautiful and well constructed camera.

The Schneider 210mm lens produces incredible work... But, I sense some error between screen focus versus end result on developed film using the 150mm Wide Fujinon. Right now that's the widest lens I use on this camera. So I'm sure it could be an issue for smaller focal lengths/ wide angle lenses. I'll just buy the Maxwell screen intensifier at that point.
The brunt of other camera accessory costs are way more than picking up a screen. And, the Maxwell screen intensifier is normally considered an upgrade for any camera... not just a "fix" for the issue previously described. As mentioned you could easily remove the Frenel and just stick with GG.
My 2 cents: If you are concerned about the $300 improvement on a few thousand dollars of investment... I recommend you not enter LF photography unless you want to stay on a strict budget using vintage equipment and/or DIY.
True, the Chamonix 045N is a "price conscious" LF camera in comparison to the entire range of camera costs in the same format.
Juxtaposed... Spending $900 on new 4x5 Chamonix will not give you an instant ticket to producing extraordinary photographs in comparison to some other guy using his $200 Crown Graphic press camera....
But it could put a smile on your face?

Bill

kev curry
7-Mar-2010, 00:55
The 'focus issue' is dealt with by simply changing the position of the fresnel. All you need to do is remove the fresnel from its factory installed position i.e between the lens and the GG to directly on top of the GG at the viewers side, that's how Linhof, Sinar and Tachihara cameras are configured.

The Chamonix GG/fresnel combination is bight and works well, its completely unnecessary to get hung up thinking that you need a Maxwell screen for the camera, you dont.

rugenius
7-Mar-2010, 09:59
I'll try it out and then compare it to just GG.

mortensen
9-Mar-2010, 15:33
I bought my first LF cam in august, a 45n-1 - so I'm still very new to the whole thing.
Once locked, the camera feels very rigid. But personally, I don't find the front nor rear locking mechanism ideal. When screwing in the front standard, you have to lock it pretty tightly to make sure it doesn't swing a tiny bit, when, say, using rise and composing the image. As pointed out by numerous others in other threads, the scales that is supposed to make alignment of the back simple, is difficult to read in anything but bright light (at least for me, and I'm still very young with properly working eyes, haha). These issues only reflect the chosen design and can 'easily' be dealt with as long as you are patient and accurate, when setting up. The more I use the camera though (which is quite a lot recently), the more I miss locking/zero mechanisms, that would guarantee that the standards were parallel.

so... to make a long story short: The camera is rigid and precisely made (imho), but the design is very loose.

.. and the fresnel issue - just remove it and use the ground glass. When researching for a camera I was very keen on getting a good fresnel, but now, when it's gone, I really don't miss it. Unless you only have f8 lenses and only shoot night/twilight, I would just get rid of it. When the fresnel was in the wrong place (from the factory), all my shots taken below f16 with both my 90 and 210 were more or less ruined by focus shift. So unless you shoot strictly f22 and above, you will have issues, I think.

good luck with it all...

shadowleaves
9-Mar-2010, 16:04
I bought my first LF cam in august, a 45n-1 - so I'm still very new to the whole thing.
Once locked, the camera feels very rigid. But personally, I don't find the front nor rear locking mechanism ideal. When screwing in the front standard, you have to lock it pretty tightly to make sure it doesn't swing a tiny bit, when, say, using rise and composing the image. As pointed out by numerous others in other threads, the scales that is supposed to make alignment of the back simple, is difficult to read in anything but bright light (at least for me, and I'm still very young with properly working eyes, haha). These issues only reflect the chosen design and can 'easily' be dealt with as long as you are patient and accurate, when setting up. The more I use the camera though (which is quite a lot recently), the more I miss locking/zero mechanisms, that would guarantee that the standards were parallel.

so... to make a long story short: The camera is rigid and precisely made (imho), but the design is very loose.

.. and the fresnel issue - just remove it and use the ground glass. When researching for a camera I was very keen on getting a good fresnel, but now, when it's gone, I really don't miss it. Unless you only have f8 lenses and only shoot night/twilight, I would just get rid of it. When the fresnel was in the wrong place (from the factory), all my shots taken below f16 with both my 90 and 210 were more or less ruined by focus shift. So unless you shoot strictly f22 and above, you will have issues, I think.

good luck with it all...

I agree that the design is indeed very "loose". I never liked the design of 045n-1, but honestly for a 4x5 camera with 45mm to 390mm bellow extension and 490mm maximum extension with the extension rack used, a total weight of 1.4kg is simply amazing. There are simply no competitors whatsoever who can reach that specification at a total weight of 1.4kg. The closest maybe Toho 45X, but its maximum extension is 390mm and no extension rail is provided. To some extend the Toho is also very "loose" in design - for example its focusing mechanism is far from perfect.

That said, the lack of any zero detents for swing is apparently a disappointment on 045n-1. Swing zeros are perhaps the most important zero detents on a large format camera given that swing is the least used function; however the whole concept of Philips' design - which Chamonix follows - pretty much rules out the possibility of having reliable front swing zero detents, and makes the rear swing detents very difficult to design as well. Once you enter the the lightweight realm of Philips cameras, you'd realize that you are forsaking swing zeros and willing to live with all the troubles of aligning front/rear stands all the time, from setting up the camera to changing a lens to making shift/tilt movements. That's the price you pay for using such a lightweight camera.

mortensen
9-Mar-2010, 23:44
I certainly agree, Shadowleaves, the camera is great value and have impressive specs! :) When I went looking for an LF cam, my impression was, that no other camera could match its combination of price/specs/build quality.

the simple fact, that the camera looks good was/is also important to me.

but, I think that I belong to the people, who in the long run will look for loads of geared movements and zero detents...

shadowleaves
10-Mar-2010, 06:01
I certainly agree, Shadowleaves, the camera is great value and have impressive specs! :) When I went looking for an LF cam, my impression was, that no other camera could match its combination of price/specs/build quality.

the simple fact, that the camera looks good was/is also important to me.

but, I think that I belong to the people, who in the long run will look for loads of geared movements and zero detents...

Me too. I'm curious to see what they can offer on the 045n-2 model a few weeks later (March 25). My guess is that 045n-2 will have rear swing zeros, but still no front swing.