View Full Version : Chamonix 045F-1 first impressions

Dave Gesell
21-Apr-2013, 11:52
After several months of research, reflection, hemming and hawing, I made the decision to order a Chamonix 045N-2. I contacted Hugo and found out that they were out of stock, and there was a waiting list for the next batch that would be ready in the fall.

Drat. Foiled.

Hugo then informed me that the newly released 045F-1 was in stock and ready for immediate shipping. A couple days of hemming and hawing and Hugo patiently answering my questions later, I decided to go for the 045F-1. I picked up the camera from the post office Thursday evening, and was able to get out shooting with it earlier today.

After playing with the camera for a couple of days and shooting with it this morning, I can say that the camera is really pretty, very light and very rigid. Even my friend who hasn't shot film in 10 years thinks it's pretty great, and considers me only slightly insane. Once I figured out how to unlock the front tilt and rear asymmetric movements, I was able to operate the camera from inside the darkcloth (black t-shirt), pretty intuitively, and that will improve with more experience. It would be nice if the camera was packaged with a sheet or card of basic operating instructions, as it took me a few minutes to realize the front tilt locks are under the standard, and 10 minutes to figure out how to unlock the rear asymmetric tilt (you first have to slide in the tabs that keep the rear standard from tilting back). One thing I discovered is that my Arca Swiss 6x9 back fits loose on the camera. I started looking for a way to adjust the lock wheels on the camera, found none, but then noticed that the back is at fault. The face plate on the Arca isn't thick enough along it's whole length to work in a Graflok back. There are 2 raised sections on the top and bottom that would be pushed by a 'normal' Graflok sliding plate lock, but the lock wheels on the Chamonix miss these by about 1/2". I'm going to try epoxying some appropriate shim stock in between those raised sections so I can use the Arca back. Just something to be aware of if one wants to use a rollfilm back with this camera.

In summary I think it's a great camera (though not perfect, nothing is), at a great price. I'm really happy with my decision, and Hugo is a good man to deal with. The camera even packs small enough that I can fit it, a lens and a couple film holders into my Tenba Messenger bag and take it to work for shooting before or after hours if the mood strikes. Having only owned Linhof monorails up to now that sort of boggles my mind.

I apologize for rambling. Now I have some film to develop. :)

Brian Ellis
21-Apr-2013, 17:56
You did better than I did in figuring out how to work some of the movements. By the time I bought my Chamonix I had owned about 10 different LF cameras. I didn't think there was a LF camera in the world that I couldn't figure out on my own. But the Chamonix proved me wrong. I ended up asking here about three different things I couldn't figure out. You (one) could actually write a pretty nice little manual based just on the answers to questions asked here.

21-Apr-2013, 18:07
I couldn't figure out how to unlock the asymmetrical tilt, but after Hugo mentions about the 2 "stoppers," it was so simple to figure out the rest.

Great camera. I love it. My only other view camera is the Shen Hao 617, and I will have to say the Chamonix is better designed, IMHO.

21-Apr-2013, 19:02
Google is amazing. https://www.google.com/search?q=chamonix+camera+instructions&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en&client=safari
That won't help with the f-1 but you get the idea.