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Thread: Chamonix Whole Plate Camera!

  1. #1

    Chamonix Whole Plate Camera!

    I am so excited, I just ordered a Chamonix Whole Plate Camera, with a 5x7 reducing back. I was also able to order 6.5x8.5 film from B&H. I canít believe it was in stock! I plan on learning the platinum palladium printing process eventually, but for now will either scan or contact print. Iíve been doing 4x5 since the early 80s, and really looking forward to the larger format.
    Anyone go this esoteric route?
    Thanks in advance for any insights.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Madisonville, LA

    Re: Chamonix Whole Plate Camera!

    I think most folks move up from 4x5 film to 5x7 or 8x10, but going to Whole Plate is certainly understandable if you like the format. 5x7 and 8x10 are more popular thus the used inventory is larger! Good luck with the PT printing!

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Dec 2018

    Re: Chamonix Whole Plate Camera!

    I am getting into Whole Plate, after finding an Improved Seneca WP camera at a great price.
    I shoot 5x7 also, but I like the proportions of WP for some compositions.
    I contact print my 5x7's, and will do the same for WP on 8x10 paper.

  4. #4

    Re: Chamonix Whole Plate Camera!

    Quote Originally Posted by Luis-F-S View Post
    I think most folks move up from 4x5 film to 5x7 or 8x10, but going to Whole Plate is certainly understandable if you like the format. 5x7 and 8x10 are more popular thus the used inventory is larger! Good luck with the PT printing!
    I agree 5x7 or 8x10 are much more popular (that’s why I also got the 5x7 back). but I like the proportions and the size is between the 2.

    It should be easy to use in the field at least compared to 8x10

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2001

    Re: Chamonix Whole Plate Camera!

    I've been using whole plate since 1998, prefer the size and the aspect ratio to 8x10. Started with an Eastman No. 2, over the years since have added a few more WP cameras including an early version of the Chamonix. I shoot primarily for silver contact printing - WP negatives print conveniently on 8x10 paper, leaving a margin for safe handling and corner mounting.

    Congratulations, good luck and have fun!

  6. #6
    Nodda Duma's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Brookline, NH

    Re: Chamonix Whole Plate Camera!

    I’m a big fan of whole plate as well! The Chamonix whole plate film holder is awesome btw.
    Newly made large format dry plates available! Look:

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    San Clemente, California

    Re: Chamonix Whole Plate Camera!

    See this:

    Even when shooting digital, I find my most pleasing inkjet prints are "whole plate" image size on 8-1/2 x 11 paper.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Collinsville, CT USA

    Re: Chamonix Whole Plate Camera!

    Welcome to the format. I think that it's been almost 5 years since I acquired my whole plate Chamonix. It is by far my preferred format to shoot for making Platinum/Palladium prints. Last year I had a small retrospective show in which I exhibited whole plate sized prints both from my Whole Plate camera and from several 645 and 6x7 B&W negatives that I had shot about 20 years ago, using digital whole plate sized negatives.

    Mat size for exhibiting whole plate prints has always been a bit of a dilemma for me. A while back was the OP on this topic. When putting together the retrospective show I decided to frame my whole plate, 8x10, and 11x14 prints all in 16x20 frames. There was a distinct visual consistency for hanging the matted prints using the same sized mats and intern frames. Presently I am continuing on doing this with the plans and hopes for a larger retrospective show in the future. Recently I have been making 20x30 inch metal prints (with a satin finish) from scanned negatives. These (future for exhibition) prints are truly amazing. Definitely not for any but a few whole plate images. They seem to especially work for the images that I have shot with my 90mm f/5.6 Schneider Super-Angulon XL without using a central ND filter.
    For film holders I use the ones made by Chamonix. Before that acquired some vintage whole plate holders. Went through all the trouble of restoring them before actually using them in the Chamonix... dope head slap here: they didn't fit in the back of the Chamonix.

    For lenses I have mainly used the following three:

    90mm f/5.6 Schneider Super-Angulon XL: A really huge lens (a serious consideration) that fully covers the whole plate format when on axis. Definitely an extreme wide angle for the format and there is definitely noticeable light falloff in the corners. The optic can be had for around $600 if you are willing to wait a bit to acquire it. 95mm Circular ND filter was discontinued by Schneider and, if you can find one, will most definitely go for more money than the lens. I actually prefer the light falloff with this lens. An ultra wide wide angle lens and not for everyone for sure. For most users I'd recommend a 120mm WA Nikkor.

    180mm f/5.6 FUJINON-W: Not all that large of a lens and can be acquired for a reasonable amount of money. Allows for some front standard movements. But lately have been using a 210mm Nikkor since it allows for more front rise for architectural photography.

    330mm f/6.8 IA Raptar, 508mm (20Ē), 647mm (25 ĹĒ): Again not all that large of a lens. I use it as a 330mm optic and also as a 508mm optic. Am presently fabricating an extension lensboard to use it as a 647mm optic on my whole plate. Also is my go to optic for the 8x10 format. Have a 355mm G-Claron and a 360mm f/6.5 NIKKOR-W, but both are an overkill for the whole plate format as far as coverage and weight.

    For carrying the system, I either use a hard Pelican case with padded partitions or a F/64 backpack. The Pelican case and the F/64 backpack both easily carry everything. Tripod is a wooden Ries when shooting from the back of my car. When backpacking the whole Plate Chamonix I use a Gitzo CF tripod with a RRS ball and socket head.
    Only criticism of my whole plate Chamonix is that the lens board locking mechanism is on the bottom of the front standard. Actually more of a non preference than a criticism. Much prefer it to be on the top as is with my Sinar Normas, but it is not even worth the time and trouble to change/modify. It's just that after changing lensboards on my Sinars thousands of times over the years, I unconsciously go to the top of the front standard to release or lock in the lensboard.
    Hope the above is of some use to whole format users.

    I think Adget used the whole plate format?... someone please confirm or correct me on this?

  9. #9
    Ron (Netherlands)'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    The Netherlands

    Re: Chamonix Whole Plate Camera!

    Whole plate is the 'perfect' format / aspect ratio - have two cams, British made Eastman and a rebranded National from Butcher (yep I'll stick to vintage) - and ordered film in the special Ilford program ...should be there in december
    When day is done......

    My Flickr

  10. #10

    Re: Chamonix Whole Plate Camera!

    I just heard from Hugo that my camera shipped! Can’t wait

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