I have been researching 7 x 17 camera for the past year and half. I have tried the Korona and looked at a Wisner, Canham and the Shen hao. In my quest I talked to Richard Ritter about his camera and have seen it in the prototype stage and have since worked with a production model. Richard has put a lot of time and reseach into his camera.
I find I do a lot of verticals and there were posting of how to do verticals on this forum. What it comes do to is you need a second tripod and the camera is not easy to work with in a vertical position. I tried it when I was working with the Korona big pain in the backside. This would hold true for most of the camera being made today. Richard Ritter camera on the other hand is a simple change and the weight is over the tripod in stead of hanging off the side wanting to tip over onto the ground and no second tripod to carry around .
As to size Richard camera footprint in the close position is the same size as a Wisner. Weight wise a lot lighter. As to looks it grows on you and I dont care what it looks like, its how it works. The sturdiness of the camera and the fact it can be change very quickly to other formats is a big plus.
I have a camera on order with Richard and expect to be able to pick it up in a few weeks I had him do a modification to it to need my needs. The reason I went with Richard is its made in the USA by someone who is committed to this field.
As far as I know, Chamonix is a very nice camera, the maker of the camera not only took the merit of Dick's design, he also studied a lot of other camera designs too before he came up with his model; and he aslo try to integrate some monorail camera concept along with flat-bed camera concept. The material he used and the build quality is far better than shen-hao.
From the comments of the users in China, it seems like they all like the light weight and stability of the camera.
I am glad to see Mr. Thalmann is willing to bring this camera to US market because it's really going to make a lot people happy.
I have seen the Chamonix 7x17 camera in person. It's build quality and usability features (Chinese engineering innovation that makes good sense) is quite outstanding. The Chamonix may well be worth a close look for those in the market for such things.
It will be interesting to see what other format cameras Kerry is able to bring to the US market too.
Originally Posted by photobum
I own a 7X17" Canham and find it to be a great camera, very light in weight, lots of movements and lots of bellows draw.
Originally Posted by cperez
If I were in the market today for a 7X17 I would definitely consider Richard Ritter's camera. As pointed out, it has quite a bit of bellows draw and the great feature of setting up either in veritical or horizontal format. That would be a very important consideration for me because puttiing the Canham in vertical format is not at all easy.
That said, any camera that copies a Phillips design is gong to be a good one.
If the build quality holds up to inspection, and the principles of the engineering that Dick used are understood by the designer of the camera.
Originally Posted by sanking
I would suggest that there is considerable difference in build quality between the Shen Hao 8x10 camera and an 8x10 Phillips camera, based on my exposure to it last year at the VC conference. If the same holds true in the 7x17, then they are not truely equals.
This is the same condition that holds in the post-war Leica knockoffs (with some exceptions coming from Japan), the russian Hassleblad copies, and just about every other camera copy that has been made. It makes no sense to make an exact copy, because of the costs involved. Generally, some quality and design modifications must be made to be able to hit a different market.
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