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mohan
20-Dec-2006, 05:46
hello!

I am curious to know if there is someone that has done a comparision of the 20x24 cameras that are being currently manufactured...Wisner, Lotus, Ebony, Canham, Tracy's and anyone else :)

Thanks for any pointers!

Mohan

C. D. Keth
21-Dec-2006, 10:12
I'm under the impression that any new 20x24 you get is essentially a custom deal. If that's the case, there's not much point comparing them since you could get it exactly how you want. I'd contact manufacturers directly. Since you're looking at a 15 or 20K expenditure, the companies should cater to you ;)

Kerry L. Thalmann
21-Dec-2006, 11:16
Mohan,

You might also want to add Chamonix to your list of 20x24 candidates. I will be acting as the North American distributor for Chamonix Cameras. We are currently working out the final details on pricing, but expect to announce prices for Chamonix ULF cameras and film holders shortly after the first of the year. So, I don't know the final price for the 20x24 Chamonix 20x24, but it will be considerably less than 1/2 the low end of the 15K price mentioned by Christopher.

Every ULF camera is unique and has it's own set of advantages and disadvantages. While the only other 20x24 I've seen in person is the Ebony (and it is indeed a beautiful extremely well made camera), I have personally used cameras from Wisner, Lotus and Canham in smaller sizes. All of these manufacturers (and Tracy, too I'm sure) are capable of building excellent cameras. Given the cost, limited number in use, long lead times, etc., you probably won't find anyone who has used all the cameras on your list. In fact, other than Tracy, you might be hard pressed to find anyone whose used more than one brand of 20x24 camera. There just aren't a lot of them out there. So, it's best to match the camera to your needs, as best you can, based on specs and limited user experiences and reviews.

The 20x24 Chamonix is quite light (less than 28 lbs.) for a camera of this format, making it well suited for field work. In order to keep the weight down, the maximum bellows draw is limited to 920mm. If you're looking for a camera to shoot 1:1 portraits in a studio, one of the heavier, more expensive cameras with longer bellows draw would be a better choice. The lightweight 20x24 Chamonix is better suited to location shooting where portability is more of a concern. In addition to the light weight and portability, the low selling price is the main advantage of the 20x24 Chamonix.

The good news is the manufacturer currently has both 20x24 cameras and holders in stock. So, there will be no extended waiting period (often >12 months for custom made ULF cameras) to get a 20x24 Chamonix. Once the final selling price is announced in January, we will be ready to start shipping cameras and holders in this size.

We also plan to have our English-language web site online by the end of January, but in the mean time you can see a few small photos of the 20x24 Chamonix on the manufacturer's Chinese web site (http://www.bjshanshui.com/sha/20x24.htm).

Kerry

scott_6029
21-Dec-2006, 12:49
Kerry, any word on 7 x 17 film holders from these guys? Thanks!

I think it's great that we have more choices.

David Karp
21-Dec-2006, 23:07
Good luck to you Kerry. What an exciting undertaking.

sanking
22-Dec-2006, 08:58
The 20x24 Chamonix is quite light (less than 28 lbs.) for a camera of this format, making it well suited for field work. In order to keep the weight down, the maximum bellows draw is limited to 920mm. If you're looking for a camera to shoot 1:1 portraits in a studio, one of the heavier, more expensive cameras with longer bellows draw would be a better choice. The lightweight 20x24 Chamonix is better suited to location shooting where portability is more of a concern. In addition to the light weight and portability, the low selling price is the main advantage of the 20x24 Chamonix.

Kerry

I briefly considered getting a 20X24" Chamonix but the model available, though light, did not have a reversing back. To use it in portrait orientaiton you woud have to turn the camera on its side, which I suspect would very cumbersome for a camera of this size. Not having a reversing back is somethiong one can accept with panormaic formats (7X17, 12X20) , but for 20X24" it just does not make sense to me.

Sandy King

Kerry L. Thalmann
22-Dec-2006, 12:29
I briefly considered getting a 20X24" Chamonix but the model available, though light, did not have a reversing back. To use it in portrait orientaiton you woud have to turn the camera on its side, which I suspect would very cumbersome for a camera of this size. Not having a reversing back is somethiong one can accept with panormaic formats (7X17, 12X20) , but for 20X24" it just does not make sense to me.

Sandy King

Sandy,

It may be possible, eventually, to have custom versions of the camera made to meet specific user needs. A custom-made 20x24 Chamonix with a reversing back is not out of the realm of possibility.

Of course, any such custom-made camera would cost more than the standard, stock cameras, but I expect it would still cost considerably less than other brands with similar capabilities.

Kerry

David A. Goldfarb
22-Dec-2006, 12:47
I'm very interested to hear more about that 7x17.

Kerry L. Thalmann
22-Dec-2006, 13:44
Kerry, any word on 7 x 17 film holders from these guys? Thanks!

I think it's great that we have more choices.

Scott,

I just sent out the one 7x17 holder I had in my possession to Michael for his review. A couple more have been shipped from China and should be arriving soon. I am getting ready to place an large order of holders and cameras that we hope to have on hand in time for our "official" launch around the end of January. We want to be able to start taking orders and shipping products as soon as all the details are workled out and the web site goesd online. Exact pricing details are still being worked out, but expect the Chamonix holder prices to be competive (in other words, they probably won't be either the least expensive, or the most expensive ULF holders on the market).

The good news is the manufacturer has several completed 7x17 holders on-hand in China. So, we hope to have a good number available for our initial product launch.

Kerry

Kerry L. Thalmann
22-Dec-2006, 14:07
I'm very interested to hear more about that 7x17.

David,

Here's a couple digisnaps of the 7x17 Chamonix in action.

http://www.thalmann.com/Chamonix/Chamonix_7x17_1.jpg

http://www.thalmann.com/Chamonix/Chamonix_7x17_2.jpg

Those photos were takes last month (sorry about the harsh lighting, I had to use the on camera fill flash as I was handholding the digicam) at the Japanese Gardon here in Portland, OR (talk but an international experience - using a Chinese made camera named after a mountainous region in France at a Japanese garden in the United States of America).

The 7x17 Chamonix will be available in to versions. The lighter (both finish and weight) version shown with a weight of approximately 9 lbs. (the sample shown in the phoso weighs 8 lb. 14Żoz.) and a slightly heavier (~10.5 lbs.), darker version made from Chinese walnut. I don't have pictures of that version, yet. You can see some small photos of a walnut 12x20 Chamonix here (http://www.bjshanshui.com/sha/12x20.htm).

Maximum bellows extension for both 7x17 models is 620mm. I've been able to use a 600mm Fujinon C ftf = 573mm for distance subjects and general landscapes.

As mentioned above, final prices are yet to be determined, but expect the selling price to be less than $4000 including one 7x17 holder.

Kerry

David A. Goldfarb
22-Dec-2006, 16:45
Looks interesting and it sounds like the price will be within reason. So that looks like it's got front rise, shift, axis tilt, swing, and rear base tilt, with front focus? Does the back slide forward to keep the bed out of the way with wide lenses? And are there three or four different holes for rough positioning of the front standard? Does it fold easily?

scott_6029
22-Dec-2006, 18:18
Thanks Kerry. Looks very promising! Scott

Eric Leppanen
22-Dec-2006, 18:44
Kerry,

I know this is a ULF thread but I am intrigued by the Chamonix 8x10 camera:

1) What will it weigh (light version)?
2) How much extension?
3) Will it have a reversible back?
4) It looks like it takes a Sinar-sized lensboard, is that correct?

Thanks,
Eric

Michael Jones
22-Dec-2006, 19:38
Kerry,

I know this is a ULF thread but I am intrigued by the Chamonix 8x10 camera:

1) What will it weigh (light version)?
2) How much extension?
3) Will it have a reversible back?
4) It looks like it takes a Sinar-sized lensboard, is that correct?

Thanks,
Eric

Kerry:

Like Eric, I'd like to know more about the 8x10, including the price and whether you are planning to distribute it, too. Thanks.

Mike

Michael Kadillak
22-Dec-2006, 20:01
Kerry,

I know this is a ULF thread but I am intrigued by the Chamonix 8x10 camera:

1) What will it weigh (light version)?
2) How much extension?
3) Will it have a reversible back?
4) It looks like it takes a Sinar-sized lensboard, is that correct?

Thanks,
Eric

Wow!

People getting excited about a new line of LF and ULF cameras and holders. We are truly fortunate.

I think that the most exciting news for conventional photographers is if folks in the Pacific Rim start discovering the marvel of LF/ULF. We all know that they have been coveting certain LF lenses recently at big dollars. When the name of the game for sheet film manufacturers is consumption, in this day and age I could care less where the numbers reside.

Keep making images and we will all be doing well for a very long time.

Cheers!

Amund BLix Aaeng
23-Dec-2006, 03:25
From the pictures it looks like they`re using some of the same parts as the Shen-Hao FCL-series, same same type of focusing too. Looks great. :)

Kerry L. Thalmann
30-Dec-2006, 11:48
Looks interesting and it sounds like the price will be within reason. So that looks like it's got front rise, shift, axis tilt, swing, and rear base tilt, with front focus? Does the back slide forward to keep the bed out of the way with wide lenses? And are there three or four different holes for rough positioning of the front standard? Does it fold easily?

David,

You are correct on the front movements. It also has rear swing using the Phillips method (slide one side forward and the other back). Yes, the rear standard moves forward for using wide angle lenses. There are four holes for rough positioning of the front standard, but unless you have something like a Hypergon, you probably won't be using the first hole much. And yes, it folds easily and compactly.

Kerry

Kerry L. Thalmann
30-Dec-2006, 12:01
Kerry,

I know this is a ULF thread but I am intrigued by the Chamonix 8x10 camera:

1) What will it weigh (light version)?
2) How much extension?
3) Will it have a reversible back?
4) It looks like it takes a Sinar-sized lensboard, is that correct?

Thanks,
Eric


Kerry:

Like Eric, I'd like to know more about the 8x10, including the price and whether you are planning to distribute it, too. Thanks.

Mike

Eric and Mike,

At this point, we do not plan to import the 8x10 Chamonix - at least not initially. Given the number of 8x10 field cameras currently on the market (Phillips, Canham, Ebony, ARCA-SWISS, Wehman, Shen-Hao, Gandolfi, Tachihara, Toho, Toyo, etc.) I'm a little surprised by the level of interest we are seeing in the 8x10 Chamonix. It seems to me that market segment is already pretty crowded compared to the ULF market where choices are fewer and lead times much longer.

I know Dick Phillips has a batch of 8x10 Explorers planned for this year. I believe that will be Dick's final batch of 8x10s. Once Dick is out of the 8x10 business, we will revisit the possibility of importing the 8x10 Chamonix.

I don't currently have the specs on the 8x10 Chamonix, but like the other Chamonix cameras, it is based on the Phillips design and takes Sinar boards.

Kerry

David A. Goldfarb
30-Dec-2006, 12:09
David,

You are correct on the front movements. It also has rear swing using the Phillips method (slide one side forward and the other back). Yes, the rear standard moves forward for using wide angle lenses. There are four holes for rough positioning of the front standard, but unless you have something like a Hypergon, you probably won't be using the first hole much. And yes, it folds easily and compactly.

Kerry

Thanks, Kerry. I was hanging out with Tsuyoshi Ito yesterday at his Project Basho studio in Philadelphia, and this seems to have worsened my 7x17" envy.

Kerry L. Thalmann
30-Dec-2006, 12:14
I think that the most exciting news for conventional photographers is if folks in the Pacific Rim start discovering the marvel of LF/ULF. We all know that they have been coveting certain LF lenses recently at big dollars. When the name of the game for sheet film manufacturers is consumption, in this day and age I could care less where the numbers reside.

Keep making images and we will all be doing well for a very long time.


Mike,

I agree 100%. If we can grow the market globally, we all win. The more people buying and using ULF cameras, the greater the availability of ULF film. The greater the long term viability of film, the more people there will be willing to buy ULF cameras, holders and lenses. It's all one big snowball.

So, while I'm technically about to enter into competition with other makers of ULF cameras and holders, I wish them all a most prosperous 2007 (and beyond). I hope they all sell all the cameras and holders they can possibly make. Market growth is good, and if the market grows we all (both manufacturers and photographers) will share in the benefits of that growing market. What's good for one of us is good for all of us.

Kerry

Kerry L. Thalmann
30-Dec-2006, 12:27
Thanks, Kerry. I was hanging out with Tsuyoshi Ito yesterday at his Project Basho studio in Philadelphia, and this seems to have worsened my 7x17" envy.

David,

We expect the 7x17 format to be our best selling size. It seems to be a real sweet spot and the most popular ULF format by a significant margin. Of course, everything is smaller, lighter and less expensive compared to the larger sizes, but it is still big enough for nice contact prints. The cameras, holders and lenses are light enough and compact enough to carry around in the field and lenses that cover 7x17 are much more plentiful (and usually less expensive) than the those capable of covering the larger formats. It was these very reasons that lead me to choose 7x17 as my entry point into the world of ULF (plus the fact that the aspect ratio is very close to the 4x10 format I've been shooting off and on for over 12 years).

I really like the 7x17 Franken-ARCA I assembled last spring, but the 7x17 Chamonix weighs over 4 lbs. less. For now, I'm using the Franken-ARCA, but once the summer hiking/backpacking season rolls around it may be impossible to resist the much lighter weight of the Chamonix.

I think 14x17 will be my next format. Most of the lenses I acquired for 7x17 have enough coverage to be usable on 14x17. Originally, I'd thought of adding a 14x17 conversion kit to my Franken-ARCA, but I'm not sure if the rear function carrier could handle the added weight of the larger, heavier 14x17 rear standard and film holders. So, it looks like a 14x17 Chamonix may be in my future as well.

Kerry

Kerry L. Thalmann
30-Dec-2006, 12:45
From the pictures it looks like they`re using some of the same parts as the Shen-Hao FCL-series, same same type of focusing too. Looks great. :)

Amund,

Actually, to be correct, the Shen-Hao is using parts similar to the Chamonix. Both cameras are based on the Phillips design. The Shen-Hao is more familiar to users outside of China, but the Chamonix ULF cameras have been around longer (for sale within China since 2003), than the Shen-Hao FCL series (debuted in 2005). The designs may share common traits, but the two companies are completely separate.

Kerry