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Thread: I'm Excited!

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Brisbane, Australia

    I'm Excited!

    Like a few others I have also just taken delivery of a Chamonix 45-n2. This is my first LF cam and I have spent many weeks scouring through as much info here and elsewhere as possible. As well as collecting all the other odds and ends I required to get started.

    Although I am a complete noob I am very happy with the workmanship of the camera. I think it is a wonderful piece of handy work. I too would love to see a manual! It took a while but I think I have it mostly figured out - in terms of what knob does what and so on.

    I have spent a bit of time practicing loading film with some old sheets. This afternoon I loaded up 7 holders and a Grafmatic with the real thing in preparation for a hiking trip on the weekend. I was amazed by how quickly I got the hang of loading!
    I am officially excited! I just hope I can keep everything in my head but retain the capacity to be creative....

    Thanks to everyone here who's posts have helped me get this far. What a great resource.... I can't wait to press the shutter release and then find out how I went!

  2. #2
    Andrew's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Sydney, Australia

    Re: I'm Excited!

    don't get so excited that you forget to remove the darkslide before you click that shutter

  3. #3

    Re: I'm Excited!

    I was still in the process of getting all my gear together when amazing lighting conditions were about to happen. There was a very even layer of clouds over the whole sky and the clouds were open to the west so I was fairly certain that the clouds would light up underneath at sunset and be incredible. I had never once set up my camera and practiced with it but I had made copies of the steps of how to use the view camera, which is on the LF home page here.

    The sky was changing quickly and in a half panic I raced home, grabbed all the camera gear, which was spread around the house, and retrieved the film from the fridge. It was amazing to have actually been able made it to where I wanted to shoot and having never made one image before it seemed kind of hilarious to be using the list step by step to take the pictures – and it worked! The pictures are great! What you see on the ground glass is what you will get on film if you don’t miss a step on the list and do things in sequence.

    I have since made my own additions to that list based on input from members here

    13a. Test fire the shutter – this will let you know if you forgot to close the lens which may save you from ruining the film, and you can sometimes tell if your shutter speed is not set correctly, and the cable release may glitch or stick.

    15 Look at the subject, moving objects will be blurry at slow shutter speeds ALSO look at the lens to make sure nothing has landed on it.

    18a Look at the ground glass to double check the image you just recorded, is it still in focus or did something move?

    19b. Reset all the movements back to zero if you have used them – rise, shift etc.

    19c. Open the lens and the aperture so you have one less thing to do on the next shot.

    I also used Velcro to stick a small 6” stainless steel ruler (in mm) in it’s sheath to the bed of the camera so I could slide it to measure the focus spread and set the focus point.

    Just focus on distant hills, slide the ruler in the sheath to set it to an easy number to remember eg 10 mm, focus on a near object and note the measurement in .mm then 1. Turn your focus adjustment knob to set the focus point on the halfway position between the near and far measurements on the ruler and 2. Calculate the length in mm to pick the optimal aperture from the chart below.

    You could also just stick small pieces of masking tape on the rail to mark the near and far focus points and measure the difference to get started. The difference in mm (D mm on the chart) will give you an idea of the optimal F-stop. The F 45 numbers should be rounded off.

    D mm---- F-stop
    .17-------- F8
    .13---------F 11
    .7----------F 16
    1-----------F 16.6
    1.3---------F 22
    2.7---------F 32
    3-----------F 32.2
    4-----------F 32.6
    5-----------F 45
    6-----------F 45.2
    7-----------F 45.4
    8---------- F 45.6
    9-----------F 45.8
    10----------F 64
    11----------F 64

    The chart above was created from this info

    I eventually made a focusing knob out of PVC plumbing parts (a 1” coupler that is tightened by hand and some other bits) using a Dremel and it was well worth the effort. You will eventually not need this but it is great to get started.

    I think that making a list to follow when you get started can save you a lot of film.

    Have fun with it!

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Brisbane, Australia

    Re: I'm Excited!

    Haha. Nice one Andrew. Much more concerned I'll forget to put it back in!

    Dave. Wow. Amazing advise. Thank you so much. I have spent some time with my head in a t-shirt trying different movements and doing my best to get a sense of what is going on. It's great to finally have the camera so I can try putting the things I have read into a practical framework. I will certainly start simple. I got to this point because I want to take much longer to make an image. I want to think the process through. Of course the light won't wait for me so I will need to get routine down too.

    You have certainly provided plenty of great tips in your list. Thanks. Now I have some more reading to do!

    It sure felt good to put real unexposed film into those holders though.

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