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Thread: A Question For Chamonix Owners

  1. #21

    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Connecticut, USA

    A Question For Chamonix Owners

    Front standard tilt zeroing lock and centering dots to line up for the lens to be centered

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    Dots for aligning shift/sway to zero

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    Hope that explains things. (Mind the Velcro, I added that before I realized how to properly close the camera, it's not needed but I now use it to hold a pencil )

    This is the 8x10 but the n-2 should be the same to my knowledge. The newer one has individual tilt and rise/fall knobs, my older model has a single knob for tilt and rise/fall together which I have never had an issue with and works much better with gloves than separate knobs do in -10 degree weather

  2. #22

    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Connecticut, USA

    Re: A Question For Chamonix Owners

    Almost forgot... The focus tightness adjustments we've been talking about is this small hex screw, it tightens the ... Plastic sheath (it's actually another material but I'm blanking on the name, like plastic but takes rubbing and compression better) so it holds the adjustment screw tighter or looser to your preference, but it's not something where you can easily tighten it on location after you have focused, imaging being 3 days from civilization and dropping your hex key in the tall grass or sand!!!

    It's really only been an issue for me when I was shooting the moon and once shooting at the beach down at the sand with the heavy 150 SS XL and it was not holding it, I fixed it with a rubber band enough that it held for the shot, but a dedicated lock would REALLY be nice.

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    This thing....

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  3. #23

    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    San Clemente, California

    Re: A Question For Chamonix Owners

    Quote Originally Posted by Kirk Gittings View Post
    My Phillips doesn't have detents and never missed them.
    But it does have a turnbutton to set the front frame vertical as well as an adjustable stop to set the rear standard vertical.

    It also has a focus lock as well as a carrying handle.

  4. #24

    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Collinsville, CT USA

    Re: A Question For Chamonix Owners

    You can come close to solving the lack of zero detents by carefully aligning your standards and making your own custom alignment lines on your bed and standards. On my 11x14 Chamonix I had to do this in order to use my 183mm Protar V on it. I swear if the front standard was out of alignment by 2 degrees I'd get no coverage in 1, 2, or 3 of the corners of the film. I did this by taking the back off, stopping down the lens, and visually aligning the standards by making sure that the light coming through the lens cut off equally in each of the 4 corners. Does that make sense?.. so much easier to do than to explain. Lot more accurate alignment marks (better than the alignment dots on the Chamonix) can be had by aligning the standards and making alignment marks with the blade of an X-Acto knife and fill in in the fraction of a mm cuts with colored paint (small cans available from a hobby store). I really took my time and made those very thin alignment lines with colored paint... easy to use and didn't ruin the finish of the camera.


  5. #25
    Robert Oliver Robert Oliver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Shell Beach, CA

    Re: A Question For Chamonix Owners

    I mis-typed on my original post... I meant to say I love my N-1. I don't have an F1
    Robert Oliver

  6. #26

    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Montreal, Canada

    Re: A Question For Chamonix Owners

    Quote Originally Posted by vinny View Post
    Michael, the n-1, n-2, and F1 all have a zero "detent" of sorts by engaging the latches. You can easily feel where zero is while under the cloth though.
    I didn't know there were latches on the front standard. Anyhow there will be a learning curve for me since I haven't used a camera of this type before.

    Edit: and it appears to have just arrived, so I guess I'll be up late playing.

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    South Dakota

    Re: A Question For Chamonix Owners

    I've owned several 4x5 cameras. The Chamonix is my favorite. (I have the 045N-1)

    Kent in SD
    Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris,
    miserere nobis.

  8. #28

    Join Date
    Feb 2013

    Re: A Question For Chamonix Owners

    Thanks, everyone, for taking the time to reply with all of your insight (and pics, StoneNYC). This forum is the best.


  9. #29

    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Sheffield, UK.

    Re: A Question For Chamonix Owners

    Bit of clarity on this alleged "lack of zero detents" on the 045F1:

    Front tilt - no 'detent' but has a lock which can only be engaged at the zero position. I.e. best of both worlds, you can put only a tiny amount of tilt on without fighting a detend, but if you're not using tilt you can lock it at zero.
    Front rise/fall - zero mark on that front standard (calibrated for centre-drilled boards, add your own dot 5mm lower for normal offset boards)
    Front shift - zero marks, lock if shared with front swing
    Front Swing - markings only.
    Rear base tilt - has a lock/bar which stops it at 90deg if you remove it it is free.
    Real asymmetric tilt - has a zero detent, can only be moved if the lock/bar is disengaged.
    Rear swing - no detent but if you keep the sliding rear tilt knobs/axles either fully back or fully forward in their tracks (depending on how long a lens you're using) you effectively get a reliable zero point.

    Basically the only one which does not have a zero detent OR any kind of practical mechanical zeroing ability which can impact on shooting is the front swing. You're setting it by eye only, but even with extreme care using the dots on the standard is not that prescise with superwide lenses this could lead to a lack of parallelism, especially if you're trying to use front shift without moving your swing, which is virtually impossible. I drew a sharp pencil line on my front track where the hole I normally use for wides is. This is really the only thing that bothers me about the Chamonix, but is part and parcel of the flexible and lightweight design, and is shared by other Chamonix models, the Shen-Hao knockoffs, and the Phillips. For most uses with lenses say 90mm or longer zeroing by eye is fine, but I have some shots on 6x12 with a 65mm lens that I think have some unintended swing and sharpness across the frame suffers. It would not be my camera of choice for regularly shooting things like the 47mm XL.

    I once saw a chamonix on the german eBay site where the seller had made a wooden block that screwed into the front track holes with a wingnut, and the top of this block contained a groove to hold the front standard exactly parallel, which you then screwed the front standard into, effectively locking the front standard swing out. The block caused about 20mm of rise, which presumably you just re-zero your rise 20mm lower. I wish I'd saved the photo of it. This seemed like a good solution but I have not got round to making one myself yet

  10. #30

    Join Date
    Mar 1999

    Re: A Question For Chamonix Owners

    Detents are a mixed blessing. Any kind of detent mechanism will let youzero easily but small adjustments will be problematic because the standard will have a tendency to drop back into the detent setting. The markings are pretty good at getting things zeroed in. Also, the camera is designed to operate by feel. Set up the camera with everything zeroed, get under the dark cloth and pass your hand over the entire camera to get a feel for where everything is. You will find that the standards also have a reference surface for setting things by feel. Once you get the hang of things, it is very fast to set up and adjust - you just have to work by feel and with attention to the ground glass. I rather like the fact that there is no detent system.

    The focus creep is a bit of an issue when the camera is pointed significantly up or down with a heavy lens and a focus lock is the one thing I miss. You can adjust the tightness of the focus mechanism which helps quite a bit but there is that nagging thought that interferes with work. To me, that is the real cost. Having said that, it affects things only for that occasional shot, for me, and I can usually find some way to work around it.

    It is a good design and is meant for fast working by feel in the field with minimum cerebral intrusion.

    Cheers, DJ

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