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Thread: Considering an 8x10 - Chamonix or Richard Ritter

  1. #11

    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Ipswich. MA
    Posts
    24

    Re: Considering an 8x10 - Chamonix or Richard Ritter

    Thanks to all who have responded and I look forward to more responses! I am fortunate to have a mentor in the area who has a RR and so I was able to see (and hold) one in person today. I definitely see what folks are talking about in terms of the "fiddly-ness", but the tradeoff in weight (or lack thereof, more accurately) is truly phenomenal and, by the account of my mentor and others, while the RR might fairly be considered "fiddly", you just get used to the intricacies of Richard's design, at which point all is good.

    Heavily leaning toward the RR as I am scheduled to take a Intro to LF workshop with him this coming fall and would love to get everything from the proverbial horse's mouth.

    Having said all the above, the Chamonix truly does look like a work of art and in my (albeit somewhat limited) research, I have never heard someone say anything even remotely negative about those cameras.

    With all this talk of decline...its kinda easy to be fooled into thinking the opposite!

    -Matt

  2. #12

    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Nashville
    Posts
    245

    Re: Considering an 8x10 - Chamonix or Richard Ritter

    Quote Originally Posted by MaximumFu View Post
    Heavily leaning toward the RR as I am scheduled to take a Intro to LF workshop with him this coming fall and would love to get everything from the proverbial horse's mouth.
    I attended the workshop last year, enjoyed myself, and learned a lot. Both Richard and David Speltz are knowledgeable and generous with their time and expertise. The facilities are exceptional.

  3. #13

    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Collinsville, CT USA
    Posts
    633

    Re: Considering an 8x10 - Chamonix or Richard Ritter

    The RR is lighter (by almost half) than the Chamonix
    I consider the difference in weight in practice to be negligible.

    The RR allows for more movements of greater degrees than the Chamonix (although query whether those additional movements are of actual practical value in most shooting scenarios
    I use a Chamonix and have never come to close of running out of movements

    The Chamonix is generally considered "prettier" by some, although this is hardly a universal perspective
    agree, all in the eyes of the beholder

    Given its lightness, the RR may be less "stable", although everyone agrees that this just requires more attention to detail when setting the positions of the standards (i.e tightening them down)
    Have heard the same from other 100% satisfied owners

    Cost seems more or less even
    good!!!

    Customer service with RR seems a bit over the map, but the general takeaway seems to be that once you find him (preferably by phone) and he is actively engaged, his work is nothing less than top notch
    I have only had experience with Chamonix and have been more than 100% satisfied with how well Hugo has taken care of me, my purchases, and my questions. Have heard the same about Richard.

    Good luck, either camera will serve you well.

  4. #14

    Re: Considering an 8x10 - Chamonix or Richard Ritter

    Why not call or Email me and see when you can come and play with a camera for a day. Just bring film.
    Richard T Ritter
    www.lg4mat.net

  5. #15

    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Westport Island, Maine
    Posts
    1,168

    Re: Considering an 8x10 - Chamonix or Richard Ritter

    Quote Originally Posted by RichardRitter View Post
    Why not call or Email me and see when you can come and play with a camera for a day. Just bring film.
    True! Why wait until fall? Richard is a relatively short hike for you. He'll take you out and you'll basically get a day to use the camera, and instruction on how to use it. But take advice elsewhere and call him, skip email.

    Richard and I used to do "The 8x10 Tire-Kicker" workshop, where you showed up and we handed you a full 8x10 outfit, including film, meter, etc. (between us we could muster 5 outfits). We showed you how to use it, you made pictures, changed film in the holders, developed film in a nearby community darkroom, proofed negatives - the whole banana in three days. Richard usually sold at least 1 8x10, and sometimes I had to pry fingers off my Sinar Norma.

    Richard believes that it's actually easier to learn LF with an 8x10 than a 4x5, and I have won only one argument with Richard about photography in 30 years of friendship... Of course, I still remind him of that one instance. These days, I usually have the good sense to just listen. He's forgotten more about photography than I know.

    So, think just a little about going to see him in Vermont, and then do it. You'll be glad you did.
    Bruce Barlow
    author of "Finely Focused" and "Exercises in Photographic Composition"
    www.brucewbarlow.com

  6. #16

    Join Date
    May 2017
    Posts
    18

    Re: Considering an 8x10 - Chamonix or Richard Ritter

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Barlow View Post
    Full disclosure: Richard is a close friend.
    I like my 8x10 a lot. I haven't had the stability problems others seem to, nor do I understand the pointing-down-to-focus problem. Fine focusing is a worm screw. If you tighten down the rails, there's no problem that I can imagine.
    With a normal or wide lens, the Ritter does pretty well, but with a longer lens (to take advantage of those long bellows), the slightest of a breeze will shake the camera. I found the solution for this was to tension the camera by tying some cord around the front of the camera, loop it down around the tripod, then back up to the back of the camera. This tension made the camera much more stable. This was while using it with my Fuji 600c Lens. I still made a habit of using the cord when using a normal lens just to help make it more stable. I think the design would be even more genius if there was a built in way to tension some cords on it. Set up the camera, pull the cords tight, and everything is locked down.

    When it comes to angling the camera downward, the issue isn't that the focus changes, it's that the front standard will fall forward a bit. I could lock everything down, but the front end was frustrating when aiming downward at the ground. I was in a constant state of focus, adjust the front standard, focus, adjust the front standard, etc. Eventually I was able to wrestle it into place. This was with using a lightweight Fuji 300c Lens. When aiming the camera horizontal like normal, it's all fine, but the design has some play when you aim downward, and unfortunately much of my photography consists of intimate landscapes.

    When using the camera with my wide angle, I had to reconfigure the front of the camera and detach the bellows. Nothing with large format is fast so that wasn't a big deal, but doing the drop bed means that the lens needs to be situated VERY high on the front standard, and when you have a Nikon 150mm SW up that high, it's much less stable. A slight breeze will shake it. My workaround was to use some cord at 45 degree angles from the base up to the locking knob on the side of the front standard, then back down the other direction at a 45 degree angle. This made an enormous improvement in stability.

    The camera is very light which is great, but I'm looking forward to the new Intrepid 8x10 as my backpacking camera. It will be very slim when folded to save bulk in the pack, and the Phillips design should give it some decent strength. The price for the Intrepid should be just over $600 once they get through the backlog of the 300+ cameras they sold on kickstarter.

  7. #17

    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    869

    Re: Considering an 8x10 - Chamonix or Richard Ritter

    NIce to see Ben Horne on here! I have always been inspired by your stuff that you post on the FM Landscape forum. Please post here too, I am sure others would appreciate it also.

    also 2nd the recommendation for the Speltz/Camera Commons facility. I keep meaning to join up but just haven't gotten to it yet, but probably will soon. Mostly for access to the scanners... and the fact I live nearby so it's an easy location to get to.

    Not that I am an 8x10 shooter, and don't have experience with the RR cameras, but the one camera I have from Chamonix is a fantastic piece, and well engineered all around. (the Saber).

    -Ed

  8. #18

    Re: Considering an 8x10 - Chamonix or Richard Ritter

    My friend was making the same observation about the jiggly nature of the RR when it's all stretched out and manhandled. I didn't know this before but the common camera rigidity test seems to be mounting camera on whatever tripod system one intend for the camera to sit on, have the camera set up then tug at the front and rear standard and observe the flex. I guess the theory is that translate to how much it potentially vibrates/shakes in windy situations? But is this an absolute truth? Somehow I have never acquired this habit of testing a LF camera since I failed to see the logic in it. My thinking is that in practice I never go jiggling the camera during exposure, and I have rarely photographed in windy environments. Having said that, I totally see the potential validity of the test since obviously different cameras do react differently to this jiggliness test. In my observation it seems to come down to two criterias, one the stiffness of the camera base and two, the tripod head mount. I am basing this observation on owning and using Sinar P/F system, Zone VI, Wisner, Deardorff, Charmonix and the Richard Ritter, and the four tripod head systems I am comparing against, Ries A250, Gitzo PL5, Manfrotto 410, and AS B1 with QR plate. So with the RR810 mounted on the Ries head, it does not budge at all in regular focal length range(150mm-300mm) and expected amount of jiggliness when it's all stretch out (600mm range), and it get slighly more jiggly with Gitzo PL5, and progressively more with Arca B1 and the worst with Manfrotto 410. Charmonix fairs a lot better in this aspect all the way down to Manfrotto 410 since it has a much larger base surface, hence structure rigidness(?) This is also true with classic design like Deardorff. Given this observation, I now uses a large platform to mount my RR whenever possible but I am really liking Ben's idea of using bungy cord to taunt out the flex.

    Robert

  9. #19

    Join Date
    May 2017
    Posts
    18

    Re: Considering an 8x10 - Chamonix or Richard Ritter

    Quote Originally Posted by EdSawyer View Post
    NIce to see Ben Horne on here! I have always been inspired by your stuff that you post on the FM Landscape forum. Please post here too, I am sure others would appreciate it also.

    -Ed
    Thanks Ed!

  10. #20

    Join Date
    May 2017
    Posts
    18

    Re: Considering an 8x10 - Chamonix or Richard Ritter

    Quote Originally Posted by fuegocito View Post
    My friend was making the same observation about the jiggly nature of the RR when it's all stretched out and manhandled. I didn't know this before but the common camera rigidity test seems to be mounting camera on whatever tripod system one intend for the camera to sit on, have the camera set up then tug at the front and rear standard and observe the flex. I guess the theory is that translate to how much it potentially vibrates/shakes in windy situations? But is this an absolute truth? Somehow I have never acquired this habit of testing a LF camera since I failed to see the logic in it. My thinking is that in practice I never go jiggling the camera during exposure, and I have rarely photographed in windy environments. Having said that, I totally see the potential validity of the test since obviously different cameras do react differently to this jiggliness test. In my observation it seems to come down to two criterias, one the stiffness of the camera base and two, the tripod head mount. I am basing this observation on owning and using Sinar P/F system, Zone VI, Wisner, Deardorff, Charmonix and the Richard Ritter, and the four tripod head systems I am comparing against, Ries A250, Gitzo PL5, Manfrotto 410, and AS B1 with QR plate. So with the RR810 mounted on the Ries head, it does not budge at all in regular focal length range(150mm-300mm) and expected amount of jiggliness when it's all stretch out (600mm range), and it get slighly more jiggly with Gitzo PL5, and progressively more with Arca B1 and the worst with Manfrotto 410. Charmonix fairs a lot better in this aspect all the way down to Manfrotto 410 since it has a much larger base surface, hence structure rigidness(?) This is also true with classic design like Deardorff. Given this observation, I now uses a large platform to mount my RR whenever possible but I am really liking Ben's idea of using bungy cord to taunt out the flex.

    Robert
    You do get a pretty good feel for how the camera will perform in the wind by jiggling it a bit. The wind will push on the bellows and if the front and/or rear standard aren't extremely rigid, you will most certainly have some issues with camera shake. When I had the RR 8x10 with my 600mm on it, you could see the image bounce around a bit on the GG in a slight breeze. By tensioning the camera, it calmed that quite a bit. The more rigid the front and rear standards (as well as the main part of the camera), the more it will resist this. When I was in Zion this past January, I was shooting a detail photo of a log covered in frost, and a rock was embedded in the log. The area I was photographing was maybe 18 inches wide, so I overextended the bellows and used my super lightweight Fujinon 300C. I made two exposures, and the exposure time was somewhere around 5 or 10 seconds. During the first exposure, there was a VERY slight breeze for part of the exposure, and the second was absolutely calm. The first photo suffered vibration, and the second was tack sharp. Even the slightest of breeze can make a big difference at times. For that photo, I didn't tension the camera with cord. Had I used the cord, it would have been fine.

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