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Thread: Considering an 8x10 - Chamonix or Richard Ritter

  1. #1

    Join Date
    May 2017
    Ipswich. MA

    Considering an 8x10 - Chamonix or Richard Ritter

    Hi all:

    I am actively considering getting an 8x10 camera and was looking for feedback on both the Chamonix and the Richard Ritter. I have searched as extensively as I can on this site, APUG, and others, and here is what I have gleaned:

    • The RR is lighter (by almost half) than the Chamonix
    • The RR allows for more movements of greater degrees than the Chamonix (although query whether those additional movements are of actual practical value in most shooting scenarios
    • The Chamonix is generally considered "prettier" by some, although this is hardly a universal perspective
    • Given its lightness, the RR may be less "stable", although everyone agrees that this just requires more attention to detail when setting the positions of the standards (i.e tightening them down)
    • Cost seems more or less even
    • Customer service with RR seems a bit over the map, but the general takeaway seems to be that once you find him (preferably by phone) and he is actively engaged, his work is nothing less than top notch

    What am I missing? To be clear, both of these cameras look fantastic and I suspect I would be happy with either (and I am quite positive that the capabilities of either far exceeds my ability to express myself as a photographer at the current moment). Are there other things I should be considering? Has anyone ever had anything go wrong on a Chamonix that required sending something back to China and, if so, what was that experience like?

    Again, all information would be helpful as I would love information about these cameras, both of which are obviously beautiful and at the top of their class.

    Thanks in advance,

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Madisonville, LA

    Re: Considering an 8x10 - Chamonix or Richard Ritter

    I use a Deardorff but given the two choices I'd go with the RR. Richard is a good guy and it is made in the USA. He's also been making cameras much longer than the other.

  3. #3
    ghostcount's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Condado de la Naranja, CA

    Re: Considering an 8x10 - Chamonix or Richard Ritter

    Quote Originally Posted by MaximumFu View Post
    Are there other things I should be considering?
    List of 8x10 Field Cameras

    Intrepid 8x10 Camera
    "Sex is like maths, add the bed, subtract the clothes, divide the whoo hoo and hope you don't multiply." - Leather jacket guy

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Mar 2015

    Re: Considering an 8x10 - Chamonix or Richard Ritter

    The Richard Ritter work is perfect !

  5. #5
    bob carnie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Toronto, Ontario,

    Re: Considering an 8x10 - Chamonix or Richard Ritter

    Richard Ritter is also quite close to the OP

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Orange, CA

    Re: Considering an 8x10 - Chamonix or Richard Ritter

    If you haven't researched him already, Ben Horne is a Ritter 8x10 user who has posted some of his findings on the web, such as this review posted shortly after he initially purchased the camera:

    In this and some of his newer videos, he shares some of his field experiences with the camera, including some of the trade-offs involving light weight vs stability: having to take additional steps to secure the camera; having to reconfigure the camera and drop the front bed slightly when using wide angle lenses; some difficulties locking down focus of the camera while pointing the camera down at subjects on the ground; etc.

    The Chamonix uses a Phillips design and is very rigid and stable for its weight. Some folks object to the additional step of having to screw the front standard onto the bed of the camera, although this characteristic allows for a goodly amount of extension in a compact package.

    IMHO it largely comes down to the usual trade-off between some increased fiddlyness versus reduced weight.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Westport Island, Maine

    Re: Considering an 8x10 - Chamonix or Richard Ritter

    Full disclosure: Richard is a close friend.

    Yup, phone contact is best, although his internet situation has improved. Until about 8 (?) months ago, he was still on 50 kbps dial-up because high speed was not available. That said, while he is not a fan of email, he'll spend all the time you need on the phone.

    I like my 8x10 a lot. I haven't had the stability problems others seem to, nor do I understand the pointing-down-to-focus problem. Fine focusing is a worm screw. If you tighten down the rails, there's no problem that I can imagine.

    I don't own wide 8x10 lenses - it just ain't my style. But remember that Richard can customize the rails to suit your requirements, including, I suspect, accommodating wider lenses. He's a clever boy. Ask him.

    OK, yeah, it's American-made, so we'll wave a flag. More to the point, Richard is available for service should you need it. A good friend of ours will attest that the camera often does not do well when the tripod goes over, but the modularity of it makes repairs fast and easy. Richard also made all the knobs replaceable at the local hardware store - to this I can attest, having lost one once and replaced it at True Value.

    So, with my friendship in full view, I can nevertheless recommend the Ritter 8x10 highly. It replaced my beloved Sinar Norma, and I am a happy guy.
    Bruce Barlow
    author of "Finely Focused" and "Exercises in Photographic Composition"

  8. #8

    Re: Considering an 8x10 - Chamonix or Richard Ritter

    Ditto on the RR!!

  9. #9

    Re: Considering an 8x10 - Chamonix or Richard Ritter

    Hey Matt,

    I love the RR 810 so much I have two of them. I am not far from you so if you are interested, you are welcome to come over and take it out for a spin. Email or PM me.


  10. #10

    Join Date
    Sep 2006

    Re: Considering an 8x10 - Chamonix or Richard Ritter

    I purchased a 20 x 24 from Richard Ritter. I found him to be a very straight shooter, an excellent craftsman, and very cooperative in negotiating the hurdles of overseas shipping; in short, a real gentlemen –an endangered species in my experience. I wish he worked on MGBs and Volkswagen buses and sold real estate, too. You will get a fine product and sound advise from him.

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