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View Full Version : CatLABS quick review of Intrepid 8x10 camera



Fred L
23-Dec-2017, 18:28
Gotta admit I'm a bit nervous about what issues mine may have when I get it. Hope the details have been worked out properly before the bulk of shipments are sent out. Some issues sound like simple design oversight, others, maybe manufacturing tolerance issues. Fingers crossed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xeEiU9OMpY&feature=youtu.be

Tim V
23-Dec-2017, 21:16
Looks a bit dire... maybe just an initial lemon from early run? Seems odd such obvious faults would not be caught during assembly and QC.

Sal Santamaura
23-Dec-2017, 21:43
I owe Dick Phillips an email reply, and will include that YouTube link when sending it. I'll not do so for a couple of weeks, however, in order to avoid ruining his holidays. :)

Fred L
24-Dec-2017, 07:39
I foresee people hacking their cameras with mods to improve usability. Replacing the bungee seems inevitable and perhaps adding a knot to keep the back from sliding back and forth would help. But these are issues they should have encountered/dealt with while in beta phase.

Will try and remember to post my impression when I get mine.

Alan9940
24-Dec-2017, 07:59
Wow, I was so hoping this was a prototype or early production model, but I checked the date on the YouTube posting and it's 12/23/2017! Crap. Having shot LF for nearly 40 years and having a perfectly functioning, though heavy, 8x10 already I'm seriously considering canceling my Kickstarter order. I was looking for something lightweight and, though for the price I wasn't expecting Ebony quality, I sure thought it would be better than what's shown in this video.

mdarnton
24-Dec-2017, 08:16
Most of the things I see don't bother me, but I'm basically a hacker and have ideas how to tune up the things that would bother me. Some of the complaints are things I deal with all the time with my older wood cameras, which though they appear hefty are underdesigned in some respects. I did forsee the front instability problem, since none of the wood cameras (Ansco, Korona, Crown) I have are any better than that, even though they look sturdier. I think to be stable a wooden camera really needs a triangular stance for the front standards, which would have taken this camera into a different price zone.

The magnet idea for mounting the back screws is interesting. I had already been wondering about using adhesive magnetic strip all around to mount the back itself, which would fix the potential of a warping light leak and make changing orientation fast. And I was wondering if a clip to hold the center of each bungee cord down would improve its function.

I don't know how the front track works, but I would have tightened the focus lock BEFORE tightening the track screws. He may have locked the track in an unlocked position with the small screws.

But basically I am a wood repairman by occupation, and consequently these kinds of problem gets a shrug and a fix from me.

Tin Can
24-Dec-2017, 08:19
Yes, it appears Intrepid delivered a poor example with a bad GG frame, made incorrectly as they fixed it easily without a major redesign.

Intrepid did fix it immediately.

Other niggles are Monday Morning Quarterbacking.

Merry Christmas!

Corran
24-Dec-2017, 18:56
I'm still wanting to get my hands on a 2nd-gen 4x5. Thought I had someone who was going to trade me one for an extra Speed I have but I guess not.

Anyway, not sure I like the GG bungee system but it doesn't look that bad, once fixed. It's pretty amazing for the price and at the weight. There will always be compromises for the savings in both those categories. I'm not sure it's fair to compare this camera to one that costs on the used market 10x more. I am sure it's perfectly capable of making good images without technical issues, as long as one is careful. It's not a Linhof but neither is a Chamonix (after using a Cham 8x10, I didn't want one). I'm not in a rush to get rid of my Wehman, though. :)

Ianf
24-Dec-2017, 23:15
Mine didnít have any loose screws, and my Polaroid holder fits nicely, the big thing is how light it is, it fits into a back pack and means I can use a lighter tripod and head, itís a massive improvement over my Bulldog kit camera and good value for money. The focussing is smooth and it holds my heavy Schneider 300mm fine . Iím a happy owner.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

bjsmith7474
25-Dec-2017, 19:23
Also, I'd keep in mind who the reviewer is and what his interests are. My interactions with him have been, unfortunately, less than stellar. And in my opinion, his knowledge of photography and large format gear is largely limited to what something costs and how much he can sell it for. And, I almost forgot, I just got my Intrepid today! Yes, it has some limitations, but for the costs and weight I think it's going to be great.

AuditorOne
25-Dec-2017, 20:09
Nice review. I am actually interested in the long term survival of this design and that was actually one of the reasons that I did not jump on the Kickstarter for this camera.

My 4x5 Intrepid is an absolutely awesome camera and the design for that size of a camera seems almost perfect. After two years bouncing hither and yon in a Lowepro backpack my own Kickstarter 4x5 is still very solid and works as well as it did when the box that contained it first arrived at my door.

Of course 8x10 is a lot larger. This Intrepid is a very light camera for 8x10 and it will be interesting to see how the owners feel about these cameras after having backpacked with them for a year. Will they be robust or will they come apart on the trail too easily? A smaller, 4x5 camera is almost certainly less affected by the stresses of backpacking than this larger camera will be, so there may be more need for revisions than there was on the 4x5. I do want to buy one but instead of being an early adopter I think I'll wait a bit until the bugs are worked out.

Max Grew
26-Dec-2017, 04:56
Hello, Max from Intrepid Camera Here,

A few comments on the video, if I may. It seems that the main problem Catlabs had was a faulty part, we did get that fixed very quickly and it sorted out the problem. As for the robustness of the camera, the bungee cords are designed to be used out to sea for years in much harsher conditions than that of on an 8x10 camera. They are the same type we use on our 4x5 camera and in over 1500 camera no one to my knowledge has had an issue with them. In the video to test the sturdiness of the front standard they grab it right at the top and wobble it, I think the front standard of most 8x10s would wobble if you did this, fortunately though it is never something you would do out in the field. I appreciate i'm going to be a little biased here but the camera is well made and robust, it was a shame Catlabs got one with a fault and I think that strongly influenced the tone of the video. We have had feedback from several other users, users who have put film through the cameras, and that feedback has been very positive. We have also learnt from the fault on the Catlabs camera and that will not be made again, I will keep an eye on this thread if anyone has any questions

Robert Brazile
26-Dec-2017, 07:10
For what it's worth, I received mine last week and have put a few sheets through it, and so far, so good. I did not have the issues that Omer did (loose screws, etc.) and feel that, as Michael suggested, my older cameras react much the same way to the various pushing and prodding that the camera received in the video. It is an inexpensive, lightweight camera, and its flaws, such as they are, mostly stem from that. So do its virtues.

I look forward to carrying mine out and about, which I am far more likely to do given its lightness and flexibility. I am able to repair just about anything on it myself, should something go wrong, and don't mind modifying it if I see an interesting opportunity to do so. That's worth something to me.

For those who want the best in precision, solidness, beauty, etc., it is not the right solution. But for those looking for a starter camera, something easy to carry, something you might want to modify yourself, or something inexpensive, I think it's a good option. They have good customer service, which I have made use of, and seem to be working to improve the models over time. I have no regrets for my purchase and wish them success.

AuditorOne
26-Dec-2017, 11:26
Hello, Max from Intrepid Camera Here,

A few comments on the video, if I may. It seems that the main problem Catlabs had was a faulty part, we did get that fixed very quickly and it sorted out the problem. As for the robustness of the camera, the bungee cords are designed to be used out to sea for years in much harsher conditions than that of on an 8x10 camera. They are the same type we use on our 4x5 camera and in over 1500 camera no one to my knowledge has had an issue with them. In the video to test the sturdiness of the front standard they grab it right at the top and wobble it, I think the front standard of most 8x10s would wobble if you did this, fortunately though it is never something you would do out in the field. I appreciate i'm going to be a little biased here but the camera is well made and robust, it was a shame Catlabs got one with a fault and I think that strongly influenced the tone of the video. We have had feedback from several other users, users who have put film through the cameras, and that feedback has been very positive. We have also learnt from the fault on the Catlabs camera and that will not be made again, I will keep an eye on this thread if anyone has any questions

Thanks for your response Max. You and your partner's commitment to this project is the single biggest reason I was interested in this camera in the first place. That and the fact that my 4x5 has been so terrific.

I am particularly impressed with your obvious focus on building cameras for those who would probably never try one without Intrepid. That is truly awesome.

Good luck and I hope it all works out wonderfully. Your company has a lot going for it and may you never get bored. :D

mdarnton
26-Dec-2017, 12:18
I'm viewing it as a hotrodding platform, and already have a couple of ideas.....

Fred L
26-Dec-2017, 12:39
post photos of the mods !!

Tim V
26-Dec-2017, 12:54
For what it's worth, a friend a colleague, one of NZ's most celebrated photographers, recently went to the Intrepid workshop and saw the camera. He is going to buy one and thinks it looks great, especially for big walks where his Deardorff would be really difficult to carry. He's a fussy guy, so in essence his endorsement is good enough recommendation for me.

Still want a Chamonix though :-)

Andrew Plume
27-Dec-2017, 05:36
Also, I'd keep in mind who the reviewer is and what his interests are. My interactions with him have been, unfortunately, less than stellar. And in my opinion, his knowledge of photography and large format gear is largely limited to what something costs and how much he can sell it for. And, I almost forgot, I just got my Intrepid today! Yes, it has some limitations, but for the costs and weight I think it's going to be great.

mmm, that's interesting, the Cameras that he sells aren't the cheapest, however he is providing a service, particularly for used 8 x 10's (through his ebay shop)

it's difficult to see anything other than that this is a pretty negative review..............I haven't checked any of his other you tube reviews etc. The bottom line is that this is obviously an entry level Camera in that format which works, has decent movements and is without the dreaded light leaks. Prices of used 8 x 10's have (to me) increased considerably during the past few years and I had found it really difficult to find anything in Europe priced at under, £1,250. I'd pretty well given up before finding a seriously good Toyo G with accessories for considerably less than my budget. Pure luck imo

...........but for Students/those on a small budget or just enthusiasts looking at this format, the price is an absolute steal - £480 for the Camera and £25 for a board, assuming that one has a lens and a holder.............terrific and I'm neither financially associated with the product nor related to the guys involved

whether it's solid enough outside on a windy day............? who knows but if your interest is portraiture in a studio, well here's your entry level camera......and if it was me, I would always remove the back before inserting the holder

best wished to all past and future buyers

Andrew

Steven Tribe
27-Dec-2017, 08:46
Very sensible comments Andrew! I hadn't noticed the drift in 8x10 camera pricing, but there never were many 8x10 camera in Europe anyway, apart from "installed" big Sinars.

Like everyone else, I was struck by the lateral movement of the whole front standard. But I can see the assembly system and metal members are exactly the same on just about all of the newly-made prestige cameras. I don't know whether it really will influence performance in the same way ensuring the front and rear standards plane relative to each other does. I don't have the problem of side-ways movement as I use tailboard cameras (18x24, 24x30 and 30x40cm) were there is zero displacement - but less movements, of course.

Perhaps 18x24 tailboards could be economic replacement for 8x10 (and full plate)? You would have to struggle to find one that costs more than 300 gbp with a set of 3 double book film holders. Most photography is done with very little use of "full" movements.

Andrew Plume
27-Dec-2017, 08:50
Thx indeed Steven

Andrew

EH21
27-Dec-2017, 09:30
Also, I'd keep in mind who the reviewer is and what his interests are. My interactions with him have been, unfortunately, less than stellar. And in my opinion, his knowledge of photography and large format gear is largely limited to what something costs and how much he can sell it for. And, I almost forgot, I just got my Intrepid today! Yes, it has some limitations, but for the costs and weight I think it's going to be great.

I have to agree here. I've had several disappointing purchases from CatLabs including one where I paid for an item and found out later it was sold to someone else. He did refund my money later but the communication left a lot to be desired and I will avoid purchasing anything from him in the future. I don't see CatLabs as a unbiased or trustworthy source for information.

docw
27-Dec-2017, 20:25
I have had good experiences with CatLabs. Omer is not chatty but he has been extremely helpful to me, often giving me good advice when there was nothing to be gained by doing so.

AuditorOne
27-Dec-2017, 22:04
I have had good experiences with CatLabs. Omer is not chatty but he has been extremely helpful to me, often giving me good advice when there was nothing to be gained by doing so.

Likewise.

Tim V
27-Dec-2017, 23:58
Seems he might be selling the camera with lens and film holder at quite a markup on flea bay...

Steven Tribe
28-Dec-2017, 03:47
Which is really only to be expected, considering the nature of his business. There was quite a lot of similar activity with the LOMO russian "Petzval" for those who were "lucky" enough to get hold of an early one! It is certainly a good piece of public relations for Intrepid - if it sells!

Andrew Plume
28-Dec-2017, 06:43
Seems he might be selling the camera with lens and film holder at quite a markup on flea bay...

...........err, yes..................and even with a lens that's one heck of a mark up....................go direct, has to be the route

Andrew

Tin Can
28-Dec-2017, 06:56
Attacking stores or sellers for their pricing is Against LFPF Valuation Policy!

It's also an attack on free enterprise.

Andrew Plume
28-Dec-2017, 07:00
well Randy no offence intended at all........................

I was just making a point, calm down, to say I'm "attacking" is pretty strong and has the potential to 'whip up' something from a cold start - I'm not trying to flame anyone, just making a valid point and at the same time possibly helping some potential buyers out

My regards and btw I always appreciate your very knowledgeable posts on here

Andrew

Andrew Plume
28-Dec-2017, 07:04
just to add Randy that I'm not sure whether your comments were aimed at me or at 'Tim V' too...........?

anyhow here's a link to his non-eBay store so that everyone can see:-

http://www.catlabs.info/product/intrepid-8x10-camera-with-rodenstock-300mm-lens-holder-tested

regards

Andrew

Andrew Plume
28-Dec-2017, 07:04
and I also should have said that I'm a big fan of "free enterprise"

Good morning

Andrew

axs810
28-Dec-2017, 07:40
"Skip the 18 month waitlist" for some is worth the extra cost. In my opinion I would rather wait but you know there are always those who want to have it now. Especially with 2018 coming up I'm sure there is someone who will want to have this ASAP for some new year's resolution of going out and shooting more 8x10.


In the end who cares? I'm sure we all do something similar ourselves and overpay on shipping just to get items the next day or the same week etc.

Tin Can
28-Dec-2017, 08:05
Some get 10% off. http://www.catlabs.info/gendergap

vinny
28-Dec-2017, 09:42
Do the intrepid cameras come with some sort if finish on the plywood? If not, I recommend you put some poly on it before using it outdoors.

Graham Patterson
28-Dec-2017, 09:58
Check the Intrepid 5x4 thread - there is a fair bit about the finish and treatment of the wood.

DaveF
28-Dec-2017, 10:07
Just out of asking, where did the '18-month waiting list' come from??


"Skip the 18 month waitlist" for some is worth the extra cost. In my opinion I would rather wait but you know there are always those who want to have it now. Especially with 2018 coming up I'm sure there is someone who will want to have this ASAP for some new year's resolution of going out and shooting more 8x10.


In the end who cares? I'm sure we all do something similar ourselves and overpay on shipping just to get items the next day or the same week etc.

Max Grew
28-Dec-2017, 10:52
Just out of asking, where did the '18-month waiting list' come from??

No idea, our lead time for 8x10s is currently 12 weeks, maybe its a tongue in cheek comment about the delay on kickstarter :p. I will be interested to see if the camera sells for that amount. On a side note I think CatLabs 10% discount for all non male buyers is fantastic, around 90% of our customers are men and I suspect that a chunk of the other 10% are buying for men.

Jimi
28-Dec-2017, 10:52
As far as I can judge it, the camera is at the limit of what is possible to do with the given materials at that price point.

The issue of "losing the screw" to the front standard is the same as with other, more expensive cameras.

The bungee cord (not rubber) likely holds up well over time, but perhaps a broader one, or some other construction that keeps the cord from moving up and down too much would be a good thing. Going from 4x5 to 8x10, every issue is squared, not doubled. Maybe getting rid of the cord and going in some other direction? It is actually only that lateral movement that I found a bit iffy.

The video itself ... well, I have seen better, more thoughtful takes on constructive criticism. :)

It is impressive how much Intrepid keep on their toes to improve things. I am looking forward to see how the 5x7 back works out.

AuditorOne
28-Dec-2017, 17:00
So it would appear that the CatLabs review was totally independent since he obviously purchased the camera with his own money. Now he is attempting to recoup that money.

That seems to me like it is a good thing, not something to cast aspersions at.

But, what do I know?

axs810
28-Dec-2017, 22:08
Just out of asking, where did the '18-month waiting list' come from??

Ha! I totally overlooked that...I thought it was 18 weeks but he is probably just joking at how long it takes to get the intrepid camera lol. Like Max said maybe it's a tongue in cheek comment

bjsmith7474
3-Jan-2018, 02:01
So it would appear that the CatLabs review was totally independent since he obviously purchased the camera with his own money. Now he is attempting to recoup that money.

That seems to me like it is a good thing, not something to cast aspersions at.

But, what do I know?

1. We don't know he bought it with his own money
2. A review isn't independent b/c you bought it with your own money
3. Recouping your investment isn't selling something at twice the going rate.

AuditorOne
3-Jan-2018, 14:04
1. We don't know he bought it with his own money
2. A review isn't independent b/c you bought it with your own money
3. Recouping your investment isn't selling something at twice the going rate.

1. True. But the camera was not given to him by the company.
2. Unless Intrepid asked him to do this review (which is possible) then it would be independent. Of course someone else could have purchased the camera and then given it to him to do the review.
3. Since he is re-selling the camera I would suspect that (1) he did buy it with his own money and (2) it wasn't purchased for him by someone else. Exactly how much he sells the camera for is immaterial as long as it is for more than he paid for the camera and shipping. Since you confirm he is selling for more than the camera cost then I would expect he will recoup his investment. Yes?

Irregardless, I personally thought it was a decent review of the camera. My reasons?

1. He did not just gush all over it like some addled fanboy.
2. Neither did he completely trash it.
3. He provided good points to consider for anyone interested in buying one.
4. This was not a comparison between different cameras so we don't know whether or not the points brought up would affect all cameras of this type.
5. He contacted the manufacturer when he found potential problems, giving them an opportunity to correct those issues.
6. When they corrected the problem he promptly gave credit.