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Thread: Buy used Toyo w/accessories or brand new Chamonix

  1. #1

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    Buy used Toyo w/accessories or brand new Chamonix

    I hesitated posting this because there is so much information out there comparing different models. But without having anyone one else to really help sort this decision out I figured I'd come here.

    A little background: I've been shooting LF for about 2 years now. I started out with a Sinar Norma 4x5 but recently sold it because it was just too heavy for my use. I did a couple hikes with it and boy is that thing a beast!

    So now I'm in the market for a field camera. I've always had my eye on the Chamonix. It's just so nice to look at. I could buy one and not feel bad about it. But there is a Toyo 45ax for sale in my area for a couple hundred dollars cheaper that has given me something to think about. It comes with accessories (tripod, camera bag, loupe, lens holders and a Fujinon W 150 w/lens board). I know I can also get great results with the Toyo, but I'm not sure how it will feel on an all day hike. I wonder how it would compare to the heft of my Sinar Norma.

    I do know it's not as pretty as the Chamonix.

    So if anyone can help me brainstorm the decision process I would appreciate it. So in a nutshell, what's important to me are ease of use, weight savings, durability and money savings.

    Here's a link to my flickr album of LF shots to give you an idea of the kind of things I shoot: https://flic.kr/s/aHskYRdhaX

    ETA: I already have accessories and don't really need the ones coming with the Toyo. I have film holders, a tripod, camera bag, lenses and all the other important stuff.

  2. #2
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    Re: Buy used Toyo w/accessories or brand new Chamonix

    FWIW, the weight of the 45AX is specified at 5.8 lb. The various current Chamonix 4x5 models range from 3.2 lb to 4.3 lb. I think a 4x5 Norma is in the ballpark of 7 lb, but you could weigh yours to be sure. Of course, the field cameras will pack more compactly and will be a bit easier to set up and take down when you're on the go.

  3. #3
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    Re: Buy used Toyo w/accessories or brand new Chamonix

    If in a year or 2 you decide you want a wider or longer lens which will accomodate the 65 or 90 or 210 or 370 you might buy?
    its not necessarily what you have and use tomorrow but the day after tomorrow. then again probably in a few years these 2 cameras or one
    nicer will cost even less than you can get them for now ... IDK a couple of pounds difference probably isn't going to make that much of a difference..
    personally, id buy the toyo. its a tank compared to the chamonix.
    Last edited by jnantz; 6-Jun-2019 at 18:49.
    enjoy your coffee

  4. #4
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Buy used Toyo w/accessories or brand new Chamonix

    Buy old used.

    I bought a bigger Chamonix new and it was lovely.

    Too lovely, as I didn't want to use it in the real world.

    So I sold it and got something used.
    sin eater

  5. #5

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    Re: Buy used Toyo w/accessories or brand new Chamonix

    One thought I had is that if I buy the cheaper, used Toyo I could invest in some filters, which I need.

  6. #6
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Buy used Toyo w/accessories or brand new Chamonix

    Well, my main camera for the last 20 years has been a Toyo AX. I've also used a Chamonix.

    The Toyo is a solid camera, with easy to use controls. It has enough movements for most things, and it works fine with a 90mm.

    The Chamonix is lighter and a bit more fiddly. For instance, if you use the xtra back extension, you have to be careful you don't create unintentional rear swing. It might have more rise, and is a bag bellows available? That would be important if you want to use superwides.

    In your situation, I'd buy the Toyo for a good price. The only real way to know if it's too heavy is to use it. For me, it's fine for day hikes, but if I was doing multiple day backpacking trips, I'd want something lighter. At one point I had a Toho FC45x, a much lighter camera, but it was a pain to use. If you pay a good price, odds are you can sell it for little loss down the road. I bought a Chamonix just to try out, but I ended up sticking with my Toyo.
    You often feel tired, not because you've done too much, but because you've done too little of what sparks a light in you.
    ― Alexander Den Heijer, Nothing you don't already know

  7. #7
    Roger Thoms's Avatar
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    Re: Buy used Toyo w/accessories or brand new Chamonix

    Tough Call, although I would certainly lean toward the Chamonix. I own a 45N-2 and it's a great camera, light, plenty of movements, will handle a wide range of focal lengths. I don't have any problem with it being to nice to use and I there are plenty of other users who have no problem taking their Chamonix cameras out in the field. Support is also very good if you ever need parts for it.

    I checked out the ad for the Toyo, looks like a good deal and the Toyo's certainly have a good reputation. Plus you could get the Toyo right away. I would take a close look at the bellow, as they look a little wonky. The camera was probably folded up incorrectly at one point.

    Roger

  8. #8

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    Re: Buy used Toyo w/accessories or brand new Chamonix

    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Thoms View Post
    Tough Call, although I would certainly lean toward the Chamonix. I own a 45N-2 and it's a great camera, light, plenty of movements, will handle a wide range of focal lengths. I don't have any problem with it being to nice to use and I there are plenty of other users who have no problem taking their Chamonix cameras out in the field. Support is also very good if you ever need parts for it.

    I checked out the ad for the Toyo, looks like a good deal and the Toyo's certainly have a good reputation. Plus you could get the Toyo right away. I would take a close look at the bellow, as they look a little wonky. The camera was probably folded up incorrectly at one point.

    Roger
    I noticed that about the bellows as well. I did mention to the seller that if he decides to sell at a cheaper price without the accessories I would seriously consider it. We'll see what he says. An even cheaper price for the Toyo would probably trump the Chamonix. Or at least that's how I feel right now.

  9. #9

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    Buy used Toyo w/accessories or brand new Chamonix

    I was in a similar conundrum some time ago and opted for the Chamonix.
    I dont think you can make a bad decision here but I value the lightness because I hike a lot and 2+ lbs make a difference on top of everything else. Id say think about how youd use it, whats important to you, and make a decision accordingly.
    I am not worrying about using it. Its a tool, and tools needs to be used to do stuff with them. The Chamonix is not a delicate flower, its built to last if you treat it with the care it deserves, like anything else.

  10. #10

    Re: Buy used Toyo w/accessories or brand new Chamonix

    Used a wista for 30 years and loved it but it got sold
    I just picked a like new as in from the factory Calumet metal and I'm having s blast with the precision
    Buy the toyo...those were fine cameras

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