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Thread: How do you like your Chamonix 57Fs-2 ?

  1. #1
    Eric Woodbury
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    1,438

    How do you like your Chamonix 57Fs-2 ?

    I'm using the equivalent 45 and I like it as much, or more, than all the other 45 I've used. The 57 looks much the same, but there are some curious changes there. I'm composing a long letter to Hugo for more info. I'd love to see one in the 'flesh'. Any insight to this camera would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

    --ejw--

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Orange, CA
    Posts
    955

    Re: How do you like your Chamonix 57Fs-2 ?

    I have a 57Fs-1 (I think it is the same as the 57Fs-2 aside from the Graflox adapter) and love it. I also purchased a Sinar-to-Technika lens board adapter, bag bellows (for use with my SS110XL lens, which supports considerable movements; I also rarely use a SA72XL) and elected to have SK Grimes fabricate a short Technika extension board so that I could better close focus my Fuji 450C. I also equipped it with a Really Right Stuff Arca-compatible quick release tripod mounting plate. I hike with it so I've limited my lenses to Copal 1 or smaller.

    There are a few idiosyncrasies to keep track of. There is no detent for zeroing the rear standard's base tilt, so I level the camera using the spirit level on the front standard, then level the rear. The clamps securing the rotating back are small and can potentially get bumped and open up if one is not careful, but I quickly got into the habit of checking them periodically and haven't had a problem. Some folks may object to the Phillips-design and its multiple front standard mounting holes, but since you're already a happy Chamonix 4x5 user that won't be a problem. Some folks may want a brighter fresnel screen, but I elected to keep the standard plastic screen and use an adjustable Horseman loupe and bright f/5.6 lenses (at least for focal lengths at or below 210mm). Used in this way, I find the standard screen to be adequate even when shooting outdoors shortly before sunrise, and a standard screen will be a bit sharper than a fresnel.

    Because there are no detents, one needs to hold the rear standard while loosening the base tilt knobs before folding the camera. I once carelessly loosened both rear base tilt knobs simultaneously and the rear standard flopped backwards suddenly, ejecting the rotating back which went crashing to the ground. Fortunately the rotating back is light (and the plastic ground glass is impact resistant) and survived the experience with only a few scuffs. There are tabs at the base of the rear standard that can be extended to reduce its rear travel, but I have never bothered to use them.

    The asynchronous tilt on the rear standard is a time saver, and reminds me of my Ebony cameras (of which I have owned several).

    Overall I find the 57Fs to be a well engineered, lightweight yet rigid field camera supporting a wide range of lenses from ultra wide angle to 450mm non-telephoto.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    Leitrim, Ireland
    Posts
    13

    Re: How do you like your Chamonix 57Fs-2 ?

    Hi there. I've been debating which LF camera to go for and now am looking at picking up this camera for my first LF camera, jumping into 5x7. I want to shoot B&W, develop myself (after a break of nearly 30 years...), scan for proofs in the studio, and send off for drum scans when finally ready. I live in Europe and I think 5x7 seems to be more available here.

    I shoot mainly landscape, and quite intimate landscapes at that. Considering FP4 as my main stock and a 210mm 5.6 as my main lens which would parallel how I've approached my digital work. Also looking at a wider 150mm for when I need that on location. Any insights or thoughts welcome. Hoping to use my manfrotto tripods, even with their quick releases. Flash and lights I'll leave for another day but curious as to experiences there.

    Still researching how to set up my darkroom and what a good starting point might be. Any guides out there for setting one up? Formulae to follow?

  4. #4

    Re: How do you like your Chamonix 57Fs-2 ?

    I ordered a 57N but I think shipping has been delayed by the outbreak over there. 5x7 to me is a great landscape format, and 4x5 is a great portrait orientation format. So I got the reduction back, and I'm guessing this will see a lot of 4x5.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Taiwan
    Posts
    16

    Re: How do you like your Chamonix 57Fs-2 ?

    Quote Originally Posted by sperdynamite View Post
    I ordered a 57N but I think shipping has been delayed by the outbreak over there. 5x7 to me is a great landscape format, and 4x5 is a great portrait orientation format. So I got the reduction back, and I'm guessing this will see a lot of 4x5.
    Hi Sperdynamite,I also have a 57N and its back is horizontal only.I don't have reduction back for it but I assume it is also horizontal only.
    So if you want to use it for portrait orientation you may need to rotate by tripod head.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    Leitrim, Ireland
    Posts
    13

    Re: How do you like your Chamonix 57Fs-2 ?

    It's a saving of nearly 1200 USD to take the horizontal only 57N, and a weight savings of nearly a kilogram too. Certainly something to consider.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Canmore Alberta
    Posts
    557

    Re: How do you like your Chamonix 57Fs-2 ?

    I had a Chamonix 57N as a backup to my Deardorff, & used it some, before realizing the Deardorff didn't need a backup. It's a great camera. Light & trim definitely worth the cost saving too. I mostly shoot landscape orientation, so it was just perfect for me. These days i use a Chamonix 45 as my main camera.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    Leitrim, Ireland
    Posts
    13

    Re: How do you like your Chamonix 57Fs-2 ?

    Does anyone know if the reduction back when used on the 57N also limited to landscape orientation? It shouldn't need to be right?

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area, California
    Posts
    106

    Re: How do you like your Chamonix 57Fs-2 ?

    I'm curious about this exact detail of the 57N 4x5 reducing back as well.
    Quote Originally Posted by TommyW View Post
    Does anyone know if the reduction back when used on the 57N also limited to landscape orientation? It shouldn't need to be right?

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Canmore Alberta
    Posts
    557

    Re: How do you like your Chamonix 57Fs-2 ?

    Quote Originally Posted by cp_photo View Post
    I'm curious about this exact detail of the 57N 4x5 reducing back as well.
    Since the back of the 57 N is rectangular rather than square, i'd assume the 45 reducing back is landscape only as well...

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