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Thread: Chamonix C45F-2 vs. C45H-1

  1. #1

    Question Chamonix C45F-2 vs. C45H-1

    I am about to buy my first large format camera. It is going to be either the Chamonix C45F-2 or the C45H-1. I will do some hiking and backpacking with the camera so I lean toward th F-2. I shoot suburbia, street life in cities, portraits and a little bit of landscapes.

    But on paper the H-1 seems to be more flexible. Will I miss the advanced movements of the H-1 when I get the F-2? What is most likely the longest lens I can use the with the (not so extensible) H-1?

    For some strange reason Nico from „Nicos Photography Show“ thinks that it is actually the F-2 that is more versatile and that „you can do a bit more“ with it in his comparison Youtube video. Unfortunately he doesn’t explain why he thinks this. In the comments he says:
    I find the H1 a great camera is your focus is architecture or similar. The F2 is more flexible as it can do more things in my eyes. But its all a personal preference depending on what you shoot. The bigger amount of movements does not always become a benefit unless you really need them.
    Which one should I buy? I just can’t decide. I even made a detailed comparison table.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Chamonix comparison.pdf

  2. #2

    Join Date
    May 2019

    Re: Chamonix C45F-2 vs. C45H-1

    I've got the 45H-1 and is very pleased with it.

    But if you go with the H-1 it's not for the movements. I think the F-2 has movements enough for any real world situation.
    Things that should matter are:

    - weight. The F-2 has the upper hand
    - setup. H-1 is faster.
    - bellow extension. The F-2 has an extension. With the H-1 you are limited to 340mm and that's it. This is my biggest gripe with the H-1, but if you never plan to shoot longer lenses then it doesn't matter.
    - super-wide angles. The H-2 is shorter and is less prone to pick up it's own rail with super wide angels. But if you never plan to shoot SWA then it doesn't matter.
    - focusing. Very different on either camera. The H-1 has reputation for being quirky. It's least as accurate but you need two hands and is a bit fiddly before you get hang of it.

    Both are very good cameras I guess, it's a matter of taste and preference.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jan 2019

    Chamonix C45F-2 vs. C45H-1

    That was a good summary.

    This question comes up frequently. If you want minimum setup time with some quirks and limitations, go H, if you want max flexibility and backpacking compactness, go F.

    You really canít go wrong with either, and if something proves too much for your taste once you use it (unlikely) you can probably sell it for little or no loss and get the other one.

    Beyond that, youíre just going to get a bunch of answers that correspond to peopleís decisions when they had to make a similar choice.

  4. #4

    Re: Chamonix C45F-2 vs. C45H-1

    I got this answer in another thread:

    Quote Originally Posted by roscoetuff-Skip Mersereau View Post
    A word on the Chamonix: I'm not sure whether the H models have more control over the displacement of the standards or not (looks like they do), but FWIW, I bought the F2 and kind of wish I'd bought the H model instead. I think there is more control with this model although it's billed as better for wide angle lenses. There's less extension with the H model (350 vs. 395mm), but you have the option of using wider backs - either 5X7 or 4X10, and this opens some sweet options unavailable on the F2. Either way, enjoy!
    While I don’t plan to go larger than 4x5, it’s still an interesting info. So with the H-1 I could use wider backs but can’t with the F-2?

  5. #5

    Re: Chamonix C45F-2 vs. C45H-1

    Yeah, they offer 4x10 and 5x7 backs according to their website (at 1200$ each, don't seem to be available atm). A 5x7 back would allow for a more simple 6x17 roll film back, but if this is a priority you can get a new shen hao or etone 6x17 back for 4x5 for about the price of a used 6x17 roll film holder for 5x7, without getting a new back standard in the first place - the only real draw back in that case would be that these will be cropped by shadowing of the back/bellows when using lenses > 150mm.

  6. #6
    Alan Klein's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    New Jersey was NYC

    Re: Chamonix C45F-2 vs. C45H-1

    Here's my comment from the other thread. 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 <>

  7. #7
    Andrej Gregov
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Seattle, WA

    Re: Chamonix C45F-2 vs. C45H-1

    I would say if you were shooting a lot of architecture or making images requiring lots of front rise/fall, the H1 would be the pick. For your purposes, mostly field work via backpacking, I think a traditional field camera is the way to go. The note on the focusing clunkiness of the H1 would concern me. I'd love to see Chamonix update that. If I were to pick up a fixed standard (non folding) camera, I'd look for an Ebony SU series.

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