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Thread: A Question For Chamonix Owners

  1. #31

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    Re: A Question For Chamonix Owners

    Quote Originally Posted by dave_whatever View Post
    Bit of clarity on this alleged "lack of zero detents" on the 045F1:

    Front tilt - no 'detent' but has a lock which can only be engaged at the zero position. I.e. best of both worlds, you can put only a tiny amount of tilt on without fighting a detend, but if you're not using tilt you can lock it at zero.
    Front rise/fall - zero mark on that front standard (calibrated for centre-drilled boards, add your own dot 5mm lower for normal offset boards)
    Front shift - zero marks, lock if shared with front swing
    Front Swing - markings only.
    Rear base tilt - has a lock/bar which stops it at 90deg if you remove it it is free.
    Real asymmetric tilt - has a zero detent, can only be moved if the lock/bar is disengaged.
    Rear swing - no detent but if you keep the sliding rear tilt knobs/axles either fully back or fully forward in their tracks (depending on how long a lens you're using) you effectively get a reliable zero point.

    Basically the only one which does not have a zero detent OR any kind of practical mechanical zeroing ability which can impact on shooting is the front swing. You're setting it by eye only, but even with extreme care using the dots on the standard is not that prescise with superwide lenses this could lead to a lack of parallelism, especially if you're trying to use front shift without moving your swing, which is virtually impossible. I drew a sharp pencil line on my front track where the hole I normally use for wides is. This is really the only thing that bothers me about the Chamonix, but is part and parcel of the flexible and lightweight design, and is shared by other Chamonix models, the Shen-Hao knockoffs, and the Phillips. For most uses with lenses say 90mm or longer zeroing by eye is fine, but I have some shots on 6x12 with a 65mm lens that I think have some unintended swing and sharpness across the frame suffers. It would not be my camera of choice for regularly shooting things like the 47mm XL.

    I once saw a chamonix on the german eBay site where the seller had made a wooden block that screwed into the front track holes with a wingnut, and the top of this block contained a groove to hold the front standard exactly parallel, which you then screwed the front standard into, effectively locking the front standard swing out. The block caused about 20mm of rise, which presumably you just re-zero your rise 20mm lower. I wish I'd saved the photo of it. This seemed like a good solution but I have not got round to making one myself yet
    Dave,

    Thank you for your detailed response! Your website was the first place I came across when researching the Chamonix. Thanks for all of this info!

    I do plan on working my way down to wider lenses eventually. What would you say the widest lens you would use with the F1 would be?

  2. #32

    Join Date
    Sep 2015
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    25

    Re: A Question For Chamonix Owners

    The F1 is the only LF camera I've used, and only for the last six months. As far as I can tell, the front and rear locks let you quickly zero the tilt, and the painted marks on the base make it pretty easy to zero the swing (or close enough) by eyeball. Front shift and swing is controlled by just the one bolt, so adjusting *only* shift *or* swing may be frustrating. These and other tradeoffs I'm happy to make for a camera that's small and light enough to pack for miles uphill, and miles back downhill.

  3. #33

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    Re: A Question For Chamonix Owners

    Quote Originally Posted by N Dhananjay View Post
    Detents are a mixed blessing. Any kind of detent mechanism will let youzero easily but small adjustments will be problematic because the standard will have a tendency to drop back into the detent setting. The markings are pretty good at getting things zeroed in. Also, the camera is designed to operate by feel. Set up the camera with everything zeroed, get under the dark cloth and pass your hand over the entire camera to get a feel for where everything is. You will find that the standards also have a reference surface for setting things by feel. Once you get the hang of things, it is very fast to set up and adjust - you just have to work by feel and with attention to the ground glass. I rather like the fact that there is no detent system.

    The focus creep is a bit of an issue when the camera is pointed significantly up or down with a heavy lens and a focus lock is the one thing I miss. You can adjust the tightness of the focus mechanism which helps quite a bit but there is that nagging thought that interferes with work. To me, that is the real cost. Having said that, it affects things only for that occasional shot, for me, and I can usually find some way to work around it.

    It is a good design and is meant for fast working by feel in the field with minimum cerebral intrusion.

    Cheers, DJ

    Great description here, DJ. Thanks for this!

  4. #34

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    Re: A Question For Chamonix Owners

    Quote Originally Posted by seandavid View Post
    Dave,

    Thank you for your detailed response! Your website was the first place I came across when researching the Chamonix. Thanks for all of this info!

    I do plan on working my way down to wider lenses eventually. What would you say the widest lens you would use with the F1 would be?
    The widest lens I would use personally? Hard to say really, I don't own anything wider than 65mm. Personally, I think I've got my ability to judge the parallelism OK for use with 65mm with care, which is fine for my occasional needs, but I feel better shooting 65mm on a rigid body (my 65mm nikkor f/4 is now on a chinese rigid 5x4" with helical) but if I was regularly using anything wider than 65mm then I'd be looking at using a setsquare or building a parallel front standard lockout block or similar. So it depends on how careful you can be and how much effort you're prepared to put into making it work. I was much happier shooting my 65mm when I had an Ebony RSW45, so if I was a fulltime ultrawide shooter I'd probably pass on the chamonix and get an Ebony or Walker XL, or at least something with a hard mechanical zero position for both front and rear swing and tilt.

  5. #35
    I live in Connecticut now.
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    Re: A Question For Chamonix Owners

    The Chamonix cameras in my experience highly underrate their ability to shoot wide angle, for example with the basic 22mm reducing board I'm able to shoot a 65mm on my 8x10!!!

    That's crazy, I'm able to shoot a 90mm without reducing board. I suspect the 80mm SS XL would be fine, without reducing board too, and would of course make more sense shooting that since it almost covers.

    I hope that you get it soon so that you can give us your own report.

  6. #36

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    Re: A Question For Chamonix Owners

    I don't think anyone is questioning the ability of the design to focus very short lenses. Whether the user can set the camera up reliably with the level of parallelism required for ultrawide lenses is another matter however.

  7. #37

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    Re: A Question For Chamonix Owners

    Reviving this, as I'm hopefully getting closer to ordering my camera (the Canadian dollar is terrible!!!)

    Ground glass... What do you guys recommend? Did any of you opt for the Chamonix Fresnel?


    Thanks!

  8. #38
    I live in Connecticut now.
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    Re: A Question For Chamonix Owners

    Quote Originally Posted by seandavid View Post
    Reviving this, as I'm hopefully getting closer to ordering my camera (the Canadian dollar is terrible!!!)

    Ground glass... What do you guys recommend? Did any of you opt for the Chamonix Fresnel?


    Thanks!
    I believe it comes standard now. I like it very much and sometimes wish they had included one on the 8x10. The 4x5 is really nice and clear and bright.

  9. #39

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    Re: A Question For Chamonix Owners

    Quote Originally Posted by StoneNYC View Post
    I believe it comes standard now. I like it very much and sometimes wish they had included one on the 8x10. The 4x5 is really nice and clear and bright.
    Awesome. Thanks again for all of your advice!

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