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Thread: Focusing aids for Chamonix 4x5 cameras

  1. #1

    Question Focusing aids for Chamonix 4x5 cameras

    I am about to buy my first large format camera. It is going to be either the Chamonix C45F-2 or C45H-1 (I am still undecided, I will kindly ask for your help on this topic too in another post).

    JOBO, the German Chamonix reseller offers many different focusing aids made by Chamonix. I will for sure get a classic dark cloth (not offered by Chamonix) and I already got the Chamonix-JOBO „artisan“ focusing loupe.
    Now my question is which of those other focusing aides should I get? What are the applications, ideal situation, advantages/disadvantage of each of those different things?

    1. CV45F Viewfinder 4x5”
    Click image for larger version. 

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    2. CV45FC Viewfinder 4x5” - carbon
    Click image for larger version. 

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    3. CV45RX Reflex-Viewfinder
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Kornscharfsteller; 26-Feb-2021 at 14:11.

  2. #2
    Photographer
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    Re: Focusing aides for Chamonix 4x5 cameras

    To start out, just use the loupe and darkcloth. You can consider these later when you have some experience with the camera.
    Keith Pitman

  3. #3
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Focusing aides for Chamonix 4x5 cameras

    Most 'aids' do not work with my crappy eyes

    I found a loupe that works for ME which is now unavailable

    I have tried them all
    Images vastly preferred

    not game trying to


    focus


    In Time

  4. #4
    David Schaller
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    Re: Focusing aides for Chamonix 4x5 cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Pitman View Post
    To start out, just use the loupe and darkcloth. You can consider these later when you have some experience with the camera.
    What Keith said. +1 The best focusing aid is practice, practice, practice.

  5. #5
    Alan Klein's Avatar
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    Re: Focusing aids for Chamonix 4x5 cameras

    I started 4x5 photography last year and bought a Chamonix 45H-1. I don't like viewing upside down. So I bought the reflex viewfinder. It works better on long lenses, such as my 300mm. It's hard to see the sides of the ground glass with wider angle lenses like my 90mm and 75mm. I use it to set up the shot, sometimes. Then I switch to dark cloth for precise focusing.

    Same is true with the #2 viewfinder which I also have. One thing about this, is you can leave it on the camera for protecting the ground glass instead of using the protector that comes with the camera. So it doesn't take up any more room in your bag. But you have to remove to use a dark cloth. You can't use it with a loupe unless the loupe is long enough.

    I'd get the camera first as others have said and use a dark cloth. Get familiar with the camera first before deciding how to move forward. You may find a dark cloth is fine.

    I'll tell you about the camera on your other thread.

  6. #6
    Alan Klein's Avatar
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    Re: Focusing aids for Chamonix 4x5 cameras

    I couldn't find your thread for cameras in general so I'll comment here. I have the 45H-1 for about a year. It was recommended to me by Chamonix over the F2 since I don't hike and don't need to fold the whole camera up every time I put it away. When I'm out photographing, I keep it in a camera bag in my car and then carry the whole thing not more than 100 meters. You can leave the lens on the camera and just put the whole thing away right off the tripod into your camera bag. You do not need to assemble or disassemble. The F2 you can fold down to a smaller size for taking up less room in a hiking bag. But you have to set up a couple of things each time.

    I like the H-1 except for one thing - the way it focuses. You focus with one hand but need the other hand to tighten the movement so it doesn't drift. That makes it hard to use your loupe. There is a way of compensating. You tighten it first with just a little slack. Then focus. But I find it inconvenient. Apparently, the F2 has a single focus knob so you don't have that issue. They should change the way the H-1 focuses.

    If you have any questions, contact Chamonix representative in the USA - hugo zhang <hugoz_2000@yahoo.com>

  7. #7

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    Re: Focusing aids for Chamonix 4x5 cameras

    We should clarify that there is a difference between a "focusing aid" and a "composing aid".

    A focusing aid is something that enables you to achieve fine focus. These are primarily loupes.

    A composing aid will help you view the full image on the ground glass. These are dark cloths, viewing shields, reflex mirror boxes, and fresnel screens.

    Other than dark cloths and fresnel screens, all the other conventional composing aids don't work easily with loupes.

    As with everything, there's no free lunch, or perfect solution.

  8. #8

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    Re: Focusing aids for Chamonix 4x5 cameras

    I have the middle one 45FC I use with my Chammy 45F2. The main reason I like it is that it's a much better ground glass protector. It's easier to install and remove. It's function as a hood is merely ok. Sometimes it works great but when it's very bright outside I usually will remove it for critical focusing. Where it is useful is as an initial composition check without having to break out the dark cloth. So I do recommend it, but do you need it day 1? Nah. I bought mine after I got my 45F2 when I ordered some Chamonix 4x5 holders (which as wonderful, by the way).

    I'm really a huge fan of Chamonix. I have my eye on their 8x10V but oof it's out of reach for me at the moment.

  9. #9

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    Re: Focusing aids for Chamonix 4x5 cameras

    If you're having trouble seeing the sides of the image with the reflex viewfinder, do you have a fresnel on the ground glass? I use one of the plastic fresnels which are sold on Amazon, etc. as reading magnifiers, that I cut with a knife to fit over the ground glass. It helps a lot in seeing the whole image at once. You can buy fresnels made specifically for camera use, with better attachments rather than some tape.

  10. #10

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    Re: Focusing aids for Chamonix 4x5 cameras

    Another vote for a loupe (doesn't have to be an expensive one) and a dark cloth. You quickly get used to the upside down image. I'm not sure if you gave me a choice of having it right side up these days I'd take it. I have grown accustomed to it upside down and like it that way.

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