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Thread: Chamonix 4x5 advice, please

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    Chamonix 4x5 advice, please

    Hello All,

    I'd appreciate some info and advice from people who've used Chamonix 4x5 cameras, please.

    The Chamonix F-2 is appealing in design and cost, and I'm looking to find a lighter weight camera for field work than the Cambo SC monorail I've taken out of the studio.

    As a field camera, I recognize the F-2's movements will be more limited than a monorail, and wonder if Chamonix users have found this to be an impediment when shooting, say, buildings and trees?

    I also wonder which lens board people use if they need a recessed one, as Chamonix don't seem to offer one? And do people find a wide angle bellows is useful/needed for the F series?

    And, if someone would like to delve into how "the base and asymmetrical tilts of the rear standard. . .makes the camera much easier to use when applying the Scheimpflug principle in compositions involving landscape and architecture photography" ~ that would be awesome : )

    My current lenses are Rodenstock Grandagon 90mm F6.8, Fujinon W 125mm F5.6, and Caltar II-N 210mm F5.6.
    I print up to 24 x 28.

    Thank you for your time!

    David

  2. #2
    Foamer
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    Re: Chamonix 4x5 advice, please

    I have the 045N and rarely seem to run out of movements. I usually run out of image circle first. I have the "universal" bellows and don't need a recessed board. The widest lens I have is a 75mm.


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

  3. #3

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    Re: Chamonix 4x5 advice, please

    I have and use a 45N-1 Classic with lenses ranging from a 65mm to a 500mm Tele. I have never run out of available movements. I find that lately I have been using the camera with Chamonix's reflex back pretty much all the time.

  4. #4

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    Re: Chamonix 4x5 advice, please

    Well, I've got the 45H-1 with is a bit different from the F-2, in that it's not foldable. So I couldn't comment of that, lens boards and movement's on the F-2.
    But I think the asymmetrical tilt is more or less the same on the F-2 and the 45H-1. The idea is that the tilt rotates around an axis about a third down (or perhaps a fourth, I really never measured) on film plane. This is also marked as a horizontal line on the ground glass.
    So if you focus on something that is on that line, for example a distant mountain, you can then tilt the foreground in the upper part into focus, still maintaining the focus on the lower part.
    It works when you have a suitable composition, and is convenient, but adds nothing you can't do on your own.
    I use it, but would not miss that much. It's not the main reason I like the camera.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Calgary, Canada
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    61

    Re: Chamonix 4x5 advice, please

    I also got started with a Cambo SC monorail, and since getting my 45F-2 the Cambo has never left its case. I have not run into a situation where the Chamonix felt particularly limiting to me - it's very versatile and well-designed. You may find setup a bit fiddly, but that's the price you pay for just how small it folds down. If you are used to using a large amount of front rise with the Cambo, remember you can always use the old trick of leaning the body back and using front+rear tilt to effectively get more rise if you find yourself running out of rise on the Chamonix.

    The only situation where I have found a recessed lensboard absolutely necessary is when using a 75mm or 65mm lens with a 6x17 rollfilm back, as the back is offset rearward and the recessed board is needed to hit infinity focus. When using the standard 4x5 back, you can achieve infinity focus with a 65mm quite easily and no recessed lensboard is needed. Granted, the bellows are almost totally collapsed at that point, so if you are the sort that likes to use max movements on ultrawide lenses, a recessed lensboard and/or bag bellows may be helpful (I'd lean towards the bag bellows in that situation, Linhof recessed boards are a pain to use).

    I use my 90mm/6.8 Grandagon and 125/5.6 Fujinon with standard lensboards and have not felt constrained by the Universal bellows, they work very well. No recessed board or bag bellow necessary, in my opinion.
    Trevor

  6. #6
    Alan Klein's Avatar
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    Re: Chamonix 4x5 advice, please

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg View Post
    I have and use a 45N-1 Classic with lenses ranging from a 65mm to a 500mm Tele. I have never run out of available movements. I find that lately I have been using the camera with Chamonix's reflex back pretty much all the time.
    Greg I have the reflex back with my 45H-1. I notice that on my 75mm, the side sometimes have like a double picture and harder to focus and compose. What's your experience with wide angle lenses?

  7. #7

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    Re: Chamonix 4x5 advice, please

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Klein View Post
    Greg I have the reflex back with my 45H-1. I notice that on my 75mm, the side sometimes have like a double picture and harder to focus and compose. What's your experience with wide angle lenses?
    Doesn't work well with my 65mm, but that lens I very seldom use. Focus in the center and take off the hood to view the corners of the image. I do remember that maybe 40 or 50 years ago one manufacturer (Was it Linhof Bob?) offered fresnels with different "focal lengths" for wide angle lenses.

  8. #8

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    Re: Chamonix 4x5 advice, please

    I have a 45 F2 and could not be happier. The O.P will find all the lenses he lists fully usable, no need for a recessed board. If the need arises, any Linhof-style board should fit. Caveat : with the Universal bellows. It doesn't appear to be well known that the knobs that control the fore/aft movement of the back standard don't just lock, they can be loosened from below, and moved to allow a wide range of stable bellows movements. Plus the camera is,well,handsome. If you acquire one,plan on leaving it on display. Minor niggle - the bails are a pain to release if you often need to remove the GG to fit a RF back. Adding grippable tabs of your own design can be rewarding. If separate locking of front rise and tilt is important to you, the F2 has them.

  9. #9

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    Dec 2014
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    Re: Chamonix 4x5 advice, please

    I have the 45-N2 and it works great with 65mm to 315 with no extension board needed. Easy to clean/replace ground glass layers and reflex viewer clamps on easily. Its a well thought out camera. I doubt I would ever use the asymmetrical tilts of the F series. The horseman 6x9 MF back works with the standard graflock back and ground glass removed (No extra back required).
    I also ordered a 5x12 from Chamonix due this fall, so I like the brand and their design features.
    Adventure is worthwhile in itself. ... Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn't be done. -- Amelia Earhart
    http://www.searing.photography

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    32

    Re: Chamonix 4x5 advice, please

    Thanks to Everyone for the very useful and encouraging replies, I appreciate it!

    It may be the teak model of the 4x5 F2 is no longer available. Do people have thoughts re: teak vs. cherry vs. maple? I thought cherry was a relatively soft wood, so am surprised by the choice for a field camera. I don't think maple is offered any more. Which model, of any Chamonix, do you have, and your thoughts?

    Many thanks,
    David

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