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Thread: Chamonix Hs-1 Review

  1. #11
    austin granger's Avatar
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    Re: Chamonix Hs-1 Review

    Here are a few pictures of the focusing mechanism:

    Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #12

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    Re: Chamonix Hs-1 Review

    Thanks Austin. I cannot distinguish it on your photos, but yes, I tend to think the new system instead of a dentated rack and a dentated pinion use something like a flat beam and a flat wheel. I may be wrong. So I assume the left knob controls the friction, but I`m not sure. I have seen this on many devices, but never on a LF camera. If so, it is certainly a very interesting approach.
    Anyway, this camera looks amazing. It`s sooo sexy.

    Kent (and others), just another question: Do you find the Chamonix worm drive system comparable to the usual rack and pinion method? My fear is about any play or clearance while moving the standard back and forth for focusing. Also, does it have any "clutch" system to quickly extend or close the camera without the need of using the focus knob?

  3. #13

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    Re: Chamonix Hs-1 Review

    I use an older Chamonix 4x5 and an 11x14 Chamonix. The worm-screw mechanism for focusing on the 4x5 can be loved or hated. For many years I used a 4x5 Sinar Norma and was able to make any adjustments without removing my head from under the dark cloth. Unfortunately the Norma was anything but backpackable, so I got a 4x5 Chamonix for backpacking and have never looked back. After a while I becalms very comfortable using the worm-screw mechanism for focusing.
    Now with the 11x14, using the worm-screw mechanism for focusing is a dream come true. I really think the worm-screw mechanism shows its advantages most as you get into the ULF Chamonix view cameras. Have corresponded with an owner of a 16x20 (could be a bit off on the format) and he told me the worm-screw mechanism was a "God's send" to him.

    just my 2 cents

  4. #14

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    Re: Chamonix Hs-1 Review

    Thanks for the review Austin. I've been interested in one of these or an H1 for a while, although that weirdo focus lock routine does sound a little clumsy.

    I wonder why they went to the trouble of including a focusing scale but omitted mm markings?

    No camera is perfect, but this looks darn good for short or normal focal lengths.

  5. #15
    austin granger's Avatar
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    Re: Chamonix Hs-1 Review

    Michael, Hi. You really do get used to the focusing technique. I don't even think about it anymore. I mostly wanted to convey that it does require two hands at once.

  6. #16
    Recovering Leica Addict seezee's Avatar
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    Re: Chamonix Hs-1 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by austin granger View Post
    Here are a few pictures of the focusing mechanism:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_4968.jpg 
Views:	207 
Size:	51.1 KB 
ID:	158481 Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_4966.jpg 
Views:	189 
Size:	49.8 KB 
ID:	158482 Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_4967.jpg 
Views:	192 
Size:	51.5 KB 
ID:	158483
    That's definitely a friction mechanism. If it were rack & pinion, the track would have grooves or teeth.
    "Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig."

    seezee at Mercury Photo Bureau
    seezee on Flickr
    seezee's day-job at Messenger Web Design

  7. #17
    Unwitting Thread Killer Ari's Avatar
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    Re: Chamonix Hs-1 Review

    Congrats, Austin! It's a very handsome camera, and it sounds like you'll be very happy with it for years to come.
    Every camera has its quirks, strengths and weaknesses; our job is to either live with the shortcomings, or sell the gear on eBay!
    Nice review as well.

  8. #18
    hacker extraordinaire
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    Re: Chamonix Hs-1 Review

    I think I would like this. I really adore simplicity, and having to set up view cameras is just fiddly enough to hamper my flow, yet MF cameras feel stifling due to lack of movements.
    Science is what we understand well enough to explain to a computer. Art is everything else we do.
    --A=B by Petkovšek et. al.

  9. #19

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    Re: Chamonix Hs-1 Review

    Austin, your review is spot on! I only have the camera for about week, and took only one fujiroid but I fell in love with it already.

    The chamonix web site doesn't mention two things:
    * fresnel is extra option
    * if your quick release plate is using 1/4-inch screw, you need to buy an adapter (it is so cheap, it should be included)

    JaZ

  10. #20

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    Re: Chamonix Hs-1 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by seezee View Post
    That's definitely a friction mechanism. If it were rack & pinion, the track would have grooves or teeth.
    It's definitely a rack and pinion like any other similar camera (Ebony, Walker, ShenHao etc). The toothed track is on the underside of each standard carrier, and geared axle is inlaid into the base of the camera, and hence both not visible in the above photo.

    The only difference between the focussing on Chamonix H models and other comparable field cameras is that the focus runs very loosely and lightly compared to Ebony etc. The locking mechanism functionally is the same as on an Ebony or ShenHao, but there is less inbuilt friction in the running forwards and backwards of the standards. This gives rise to the issue described by the OP where you have to hang onto the focus knob when locking otherwise locking will push the focus forwards/backwards (also if you point the camera downwards without the focus locked the weight of the lens can pull the front bed out). It can be mitigated to an extent by partially tightening the locking knob before focussing.

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