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Thread: Nobody's using the Intrepid 5x7 camera...Is it that bad?

  1. #1

    Question Nobody's using the Intrepid 5x7 camera...Is it that bad?

    Why aren't there more videos or articles by people using the Intrepid 5x7 camera?

    There's only one YouTube video that I can find about the camera. In the video, CatLabs shared their complaints. They'd only used the camera for a few days and didn't share any sample images. The comments section was not kind.

    I understand that 5x7 is not a popular format, but several large websites promoted its announcement in 2020. People interested in 5x7 know it exists.

    Are any of you using this camera? Can you share your experiences with it and your work? I'm interested in 5x7.

    The Intrepid is impossible to ignore considering the combination of price, weight, and features of most 5x7 camera bodies.

  2. #2
    Niels
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    Re: Nobody's using the Intrepid 5x7 camera...Is it that bad?

    Difficult to imagine that you can't interpolate the many Intrepid 4x5 Mk.4 or 8X10 mk.2 reviews onto the 5x7 model - as far as I can see Intrepid employs the same design on all current models.
    The only 5x7 model specific nuisances I heard mentioned in the CatLabs video was the length the bellows can extend and the non-standard lens board.
    ----
    Niels

  3. #3

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    Re: Nobody's using the Intrepid 5x7 camera...Is it that bad?

    The lens board is 108mm square flat ABS. Perhaps good for off lens centering mounted wide angle lens?

    Length of bellows is max 380mm, which make anything longer than 300mm unusable, or 360mm for landscape only. Not my biggest concern.

    He also mentioned a tightening screw on bottom that may come loose.

    But the main thing in my opinion is lack of bail arm, hard to do several identical exposures or guarantee sharp focus when the back is too easy to move while putting the film holder in.

    Sent fra min SM-G975F via Tapatalk

  4. #4

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    Re: Nobody's using the Intrepid 5x7 camera...Is it that bad?

    I bought the 5x7 Intrepid in June 2021. I saw the CatLabs review and found my own experience with the camera to be quite different from theirs. (in fact, I think the CatLabs review is far more harsh than the camera deserves.)

    Yes, you may need to take extra care inserting and removing film holders, but the stability of the rear standard is quite satisfactory. You'd have to be a real oaf in removing/inserting the the film holders to push the rear standard out of position. I think the CatLabs demonstration of this is grossly exaggerated.
    Bellows extension is quite sufficient. I use my 5x7 for close-up still life type work and found it perfectly capable of close focus.
    I don't miss the bail arm back. The spring clips are firm without being overly stiff to use.

    I 3-D print my own lens boards as needed, so the odd size isn't an obstacle. I did buy one of Intrepid's own boards and its made of nice material and has an attractive finish. Its far better than the lens boards they were printing 3 years ago.

    My only complaint about the camera pertains to the base board/tripod mount design: long tripod mounting screws WILL conflict with the focus mechanism and you won't be able to rack out the focus. Intrepid is aware of this issue and they state this in the product description, I believe. (We discussed it in private emails) The remedy is to either get a shorter tripod screw to mount it, or add some washers between the base of the camera and the tripod. I found it simpler to use my smaller Manfrotto tripod (normally for the Hasselblad and TLRs) which has a short mounting screw. As the camera is very light, its not a problem using it on this lighter tripod.

    I would not hesitate to recommend the Intrepid 5x7 camera. I'm enjoying using it and find it entirely satisfactory in functionality, design/build quality, and ease of use. If you don't have $2K to spend, this is a perfectly good option.

    You can see a few photos I have made with the Intrepid 5x7 here. (Not all of these are made with the Intrepid, but Flickr tagged all of them as relevant, so read the descriptions to see which ones are made with the 5x7 Intrepid)
    Last edited by paulbarden; 29-Jan-2022 at 09:12.

  5. #5
    Niels
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    Re: Nobody's using the Intrepid 5x7 camera...Is it that bad?

    As much as I appreciate reseller honesty, the criticism expressed in the CatLabs review puzzles me - they could say the same things in a more constructive manner.
    That the random YouTube'er can't differentiate between deal-breaker and minor nuisance with a workaround is more understandable.
    Luckily there are plenty of Intrepid 4x5 and 8x10 walkthroughs online where, if tripod mount or instability was a major issue, we would probably have heard about it to no end.

    It certainly appear to be an amazing value, even if you have to adapt to a few idiosyncrasies - and realistically which camera doesn't have room for improvement regardless of price?
    ----
    Niels

  6. #6
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Nobody's using the Intrepid 5x7 camera...Is it that bad?

    That's great work, Paul!
    “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
    Niels
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    Re: Nobody's using the Intrepid 5x7 camera...Is it that bad?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter De Smidt View Post
    That's great work, Paul!
    Oh, so you can see photographs at the end of the link? I just get a Flickr error:
    Oh noes! We couldn't process your search.
    Please change it up a bit and try again.
    ----
    Niels

  8. #8
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Nobody's using the Intrepid 5x7 camera...Is it that bad?

    Quote Originally Posted by nitroplait View Post
    Oh, so you can see photographs at the end of the link?
    Yes.
    “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

  9. #9

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    Re: Nobody's using the Intrepid 5x7 camera...Is it that bad?

    Quote Originally Posted by nitroplait View Post
    Oh, so you can see photographs at the end of the link?
    I see them as well.

  10. #10

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    Re: Nobody's using the Intrepid 5x7 camera...Is it that bad?

    I've never owned the 4x5 or 5x7 Intrepid, but I do have the 8x10 Mk1 (from the Kickstarter campaign) and the 8x10 Mk2. IMO, the Mk2 version is a significant step up from the first version, though I never had any real complaints with the Mk1. On both cameras, I did make a few minor modifications that I think are an improvement; for example, I painted the entire wood area of the lens mount with black india ink to minimize any chance of stray light. My only issue with the 8x10 Mk2 was that the clips at the end of the "springs" (on the back) were too short. When I inserted/removed my dry plate holder, they would slip of the ground glass frame. Not a big deal...I just popped 'em back on, but it was a nuisance. A brief communique with Intrepid and they sent me some replacements "springs" with longer clips (they were aware of this issue already.)

    My only general comment regarding the Intrepid cameras is that the beginner LF photographer may not get the best out of it. For example, they are lightweight which lends itself to using lighter weight tripods which is a potential issue in windy conditions. Experienced LF photographers are aware of this and know how to mitigate the issue, if possible. I don't know about the other Intrepid cameras, but both my 8x10's require careful setup to ensure correct standard positioning and the everything is securely locked down. None of these things are difficult to overcome, one just needs to be, perhaps, a slightly more careful worker with these cameras.

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