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View Full Version : Wehman and Chamonix 810s



Jrewt
20-Jan-2011, 07:57
I was wondering how these cameras stacked up to one another. Unfortunately, a Ritter 810 just isn't going to happen, but the Chamonix seems like it could be a very nice camera.

Have any of you used both the Wehman and Chamy 810?

jeroldharter
20-Jan-2011, 09:48
I have not used both but I have a Wehman. I think it is a great camera. Very compact and durable. When packed, the ground glass is fully protected so it is certainly the easiest 8x10 to pack safely. With the plexiglass groundglass that is included it is very lightweight. I have the standard version but the lightweight version shaves off at least a pound, and even more if you remove the cover/extension board. Even with that removed, you can use a 450mm lens at infinity which satisfied most use.

The camera has more than ample bellows extension for my 600 mm Fujinon. At the minimum, I can use a 90 mm lens (with minimal movement due to bellows compaction) with a 4x5 reduction board. If you send Bruce Wehman a camera back in a smaller format, he will build a reduction back around it for ~$100 which is a great deal. So the Wehman is a very cost effective camera for multiple formats. I don't do 5x7 but it would be a great 5x7 camera. I have been tempted to do that for travel because the film holders would be smaller/lighter but I have not had time to work it out.

The camera has base tilt on the front and back. It has a lot of front rise. It has an asymmetrical rear swing which took me awhile to figure out. But now I find it very handy for slight tweaks in focusing and it requires much less refocusing and fiddling than regular swing.

Most of the movements have detentes. Rear swing is zeroed by feel which you do automatically when you set up the camera so it is not something you can forget.

I have seen a Chamonix 11x14 and it is a beautiful camera. The Wehman is not beautiful. However, a handy person could easily give the aluminum shell a custom paint job and have some fun with it. But the Chamonix look fragile compared to my Jeep-like Wehman. I have taken the camera on multiple trips in checked baggage in a pelican case and no problems. Some of the hardware can come off if completely unscrewed so I like to carry an extra set even though I have never had a problem. I have a custom lens board that he constructed for a nominal fee so that it accepts Canham lens boards.

I was a little skeptical about buying one at first because they are not that common so I called him. I live not too far away, so when I was in the area I stopped by his house. He showed me his workshop where he assembles the cameras and gave me a test drive with one in his yard. I found that very helpful, especially since I was new to 8x10. I ordered one that day and had it in hand within the week.

I have used several other cameras including Toyo AX 4x5, Toyo M 8x10, Arca Swiss B 8x10, Arca Swiss F-Line 4x5, and Canham 4x5DLC. I could not be happier with the Wehman and it is an excellent value.

I bet if you called him he would send you one to check out. Worth an inquiry if you are serious.

bbauer
20-Jan-2011, 09:57
Had a Wehman, sold it, and miss the deceptively simple design and ruggedness.

I was sharing several lenses with someone who had a Deardorff V8, and only wish the Wehman took the same lens board, since the owner didn't want them being remounted when I used them.

jeroldharter
20-Jan-2011, 10:06
... and miss the deceptively simple design and ruggedness....

IMO, it is a camera built by someone who uses a camera and has a very small marketing department. No bells or whistles but well thought out and functional.

Sanjay Sen
20-Jan-2011, 10:53
I will add my recommendation for a Wehman, it's a great camera. (I have not used a Chamonix.) As jeroldharter said, Bruce will adapt any back for the camera for just $100. I bought a Rittreck 5x7 back from eBay and Bruce adapted it for my Wehman. I also had Richard Ritter make me a 4x10 back designed around the Canham 4x10 holders, so now I shoot three formats with the Wehman.

BTW, the Wehman can also handle the massive Nikkor-W 360/6.5 (1420 g / 3.13 lb) without any problems.

And the best part? Bruce is a pleasure to deal with. He responds to emails promptly (unless he's traveling), and I have got a number of lensboards - standard and custom - from him, all delivered promptly.

Good luck with whatever you decide on!

Steve Hamley
20-Jan-2011, 11:39
I've not used the Chamonix, but have a Wehman and like it. I had mine built to take a Sinar board (I have a Sinar/Linhof Tech adapter), and put a Steve Hopf GG in it. The plexi was just too dark for me, but it did pop into focus exceptionally well and it was light. It's now a spare.

The only criticism I have is that the bellows is quite stiff, and not easy to overcome if setting the camera up in cold weather, especially quickly. I think Vinny carries his Wehman in the truck unfolded at near it's shortest configuration on a tripod, so that would help. The bellows, I assume is very durable and waterproof, but I have thought of having Richard Ritter replace it with something a bit more manageable.

And the bail is the best in the business - every LF camera maker should be required to equip all cameras with one just like it. Simply superb.

I actually think it is sort of pretty in an industrial sort of way.

Cheers, Steve

Sanjay Sen
20-Jan-2011, 11:46
I agree with Steve on both counts - the bellows indeed is quite stiff and can be a pain to use movements, but then I have not exercised the camera as much as I should. That may, or may not, help make it a little more flexible. The bail, as Steve mentioned, is a great feature and makes inserting the film holder so much easier!

Jrewt
20-Jan-2011, 13:15
Great info here, thanks guys!

Looks like the chamonix has no votes so far, which is interesting.

jeroldharter
20-Jan-2011, 13:43
I am sure that they are both fine cameras. It is just a matter or features and your preferences and aesthetics. Some people really like a (mostly) wooden camera. Have you seen this video?:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOjJTnuZUdY&playnext=1&list=PL40112768810AA980&index=5

I suggest muting the music. I don't think I would like having to unscrew the front standard and then screwing it into a different hole every time I wanted to change the extension range.

jeroldharter
20-Jan-2011, 13:49
How much does the Wehman weigh?

Per the website, 8.7 pounds for the regular version and 7.2 pounds for the lightweight version. That seems about right for my regular version.

For really lightweight, you could remove the clamshell cover and the lightweight version would probably weigh just over 6 pounds:

http://www.wehmancamera.com/instructinos%20gallery/images/15.jpg

engl
20-Jan-2011, 13:58
Great info here, thanks guys!

Looks like the chamonix has no votes so far, which is interesting.

Well, you've only heard from the Wehman owners so far :) It has been in production 10 years and is cheaper, while the Chamonix appeared 2007.

It looks like quite a neat design, had there been a 4x5 version I'd consider one.

Scott Davis
20-Jan-2011, 14:09
Just to answer engl's comment, there IS a 4x5 Chamonix. Or were you asking about a 4x5 Wehman?

chris_4622
20-Jan-2011, 15:28
Jerold,

Thanks, I didn't see it at first when I visited the website.

Stripped down it is right in there with the Chamonix WP. I don't care for the front standard design where you have to screw and unscrew every time you pack up.

John NYC
20-Jan-2011, 16:06
Another happy Wehman owner. I have the lightweight version and use it with 300mm, 240mm and 150mm lenses. I also had Bruce build me a 4x5 reducing back. I have the lens board adapter as well as regular Wehman lens boards.

I can move very fast with this camera now, and I really, really love it. It is tough as nails. While it is not pretty in the old fashioned wooden sense, it has its own charms. I liked that expression of it being "Jeep-like"... that is a perfect description.

I did a ton of over analysis before I decided on this camera and I am glad I did. I made the right decision for my purposes and have not once regretted buying it. I can't say that for every camera I have bought.

As noted before, Bruce is a pleasure to deal with. He is a true gentleman and a very responsive person to requests. When I had a problem with my 4x5 board, it was fixed so fast it would make your head spin.

There is only one thing I would change about the camera. I would like a ground glass with a grid. I don't know -- maybe Bruce offers that. I need to ask! By the way, the plastic ground glass is very nice. I typically use the glass one (the camera comes with both), but if I were to travel instead of shoot here in the city, I would reinstall the plastic one... one less thing to worry about.

Two very enthusiastic thumbs up, if you cannot tell by now.

eddie
20-Jan-2011, 16:21
chamonix. period.

talk to hugo zhang

engl
20-Jan-2011, 16:22
Just to answer engl's comment, there IS a 4x5 Chamonix. Or were you asking about a 4x5 Wehman?

Sorry about my poor language, what I meant was that I would have liked to see a 4x5 Wehman.

jeroldharter
20-Jan-2011, 16:35
...There is only one thing I would change about the camera. I would like a ground glass with a grid. ..

I agree. I asked Bruce about this and he gave me the obvious response: "Use a pencil."

I still have not done it though! The advantage of doing it myself is that I can put any dimensions I want on the grid.

evan clarke
20-Jan-2011, 17:50
I think Jerold is talking about my 11x14 Chamonix. I have used it for a year, made about 100 sheets with it and am very satisfied. I don't think you can go wrong with either camera..Evan Clarke

jeroldharter
20-Jan-2011, 17:52
I think Jerold is talking about my 11x14 Chamonix. I have used it for a year, made about 100 sheets with it and am very satisfied. I don't think you can go wrong with either camera..Evan Clarke

Yes, Evan, I was talking about your camera. It is a beauty and looked very well made.

John NYC
20-Jan-2011, 17:57
I should add that I, too, agree you probably cannot go wrong with either camera. It is just that I have only used the Wehman, so I can only speak for that one.

Jiri Vasina
20-Jan-2011, 23:12
As there are so few voices for Chamonix, I have to step up with one... Although I have not had any contact with Wehman and therefore can not compare. I even did not try the 8x10 version of Chamonix, but have been using the Chamonix 58" camera for 2 years (and ~400 sheets of film). I am still happy with the camera, no real problems with it. And would recommend it without a hesitation...

If you are in the mood and want to read more, I have (quite) a few words about the Chamonix 58" on my website (http://www.vasina.net/?p=94).

Jiri