Detents are valuable on 4x5 cameras for quick setup. I have them on my Ebony folder. Of course, if you want a tilt, for example, to be just
barely off the zero setting, a ball detent will want to kick back into the zero position. But a few degrees off, no problem. I can't afford an Ebony
8x10, but shoot a very early (serial no. 9!) Phillips 8x10, which the Chamonix basically copied with respect to key innovations. Typical studio
monorail camera all have detents or locks for every zero setting, on every feature; but they're harder to install on small field cameras. With
the big groundglass of 8x10, small adjustment errors are easy to spot with a loupe. With 4x5 you have to look closer. One just gets accustomed
to whatever after awhile, so no big deal.
My 4x5 is a Walker Titan SF, and I was at a gathering of LF photographers about 5 years ago and had a technical issue with my camera which rendered it useless. I was loaned a Chamonix 4x5 for the day - no idea what model but it left a very favourable impression. Fit and finish were top notch, the movements were never a limitation weight was less than my Walker Titan, and controls were intuitive. I don't have detents on the Walker Titan, so I never noticed that they didn't exist on the Chamonix.
Hey Drew, On your Phillips do you screw your front standard down into a threaded hole on the bed like the Chamonix? If you do, how do you like this feature? I know it saves weight.
Originally Posted by DREW WILEY
Yes. That was an innovation invented by Dick Phillips and has since been copied by several manufacturers, with his blessing. He was also the
first to ignore making a "pretty" camera and use lightweight custom laminates for the bed. I made a number of minor modifications on the hardware to improve function prior to him introducing his second generation camera. Although these old Phillips rigs sell for a lot of money now, they were ironically introduced as entry level budget "alternative" 8x10's. But I absolutely love the simplified construction, which is quick to set up and quite resistant to wind and vibration (provided you don't have a bouncy tripod head - I don't even use one of those things). The sheer durability of this camera over the years has amazed me too, except for the few pieces I did replace and improve myself. So yes - I'm a big fan of those threaded holes for the front standard. And if I didn't have one of the originals, I'd certainly be tempted by a Chamonix.
I've been using a Chamonix 045n for the past couple of years. It's very solid, and pretty! It's also lighter than my Nikon D7100. I have no hesitation in recommending the Chamonix. You might find 4x5 just as satisfying and 8x10, and it's a lot easier to use too. The Chamonix is very modern but has kept the classic look. I take a lot of shots in the Dakota/Minnesota winters here, and the Chamonix has had no problem with that.
Kent in SD
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I have an early Phillips 8x10 and a 7x17 Explorer. As Drew says the Chamonix is a copy of that design. You mention the weight of the Ebony slowing your use of it down, Dick Phillips had an 8x10 Deardorff @ about 13 pounds. He dreamed up the new design literally over night in his sleep.
I am 74 with a bad back. If you haven't tried it, consider carrying your new camera around in a baby jogger or one of the other popular methods of transport. It has made large negatives possible for me. Get one with large wheels, mine has 20" bicycle wheels. They even out the rough surfaces. You can't do stairs or climb down cliffs, but maybe that is not realistic hunting grounds for you if you are approaching my age.
A baby jogger or something similar might let you use the Ebony a bit longer or it might make you more mobile with the lighter Chamonix.
As you age another reason to stay with the larger format is the amount of light that gets to the ground glass. i have early age related macro degeneration. It became harder to properly focus my Linhof TK45 even with a light enhancing screen. I looked through an 8x10 Linhof one day and it looked like a lighted TV by comparison. I bought the Phillips 8x10 as soon as I found one and sold the 45.
Last edited by jp80874; 07-03-2014 at 09:21 PM. Click to view previous post history.
"If you want to be famous, you must do something more badly than anybody in the entire world." Miroslav Tichý
I love my Chamonix 4x5 F1, especially the asymmetrical base tilt. If it has detents, then it's a nearly perfect camera to me, IMHO.
Thank You All
Thank you all for your contributions to this thread thus far.
John ~ great idea re: baby jogger. I used to carry my 8x10 Ebony in a backpack but the current condition of my neck/back will not allow me to do so any longer. My experience (4x5 vs. 8x10) parallels yours . . . I can focus much more easily when I am using the 8x10! The smaller the image, the harder it has gotten for me to focus.
Originally Posted by DREW WILEY
It's an interesting design and I have always wondered what it would be like in use. It appears to set up a little slower but not much. I think it would easily be worth it for the weight savings.
I have the 045-N2 from Chamonix and I almost regret buying it. I have been using view cameras for over 35 years and I too have health issues and that is why I bought mine, it's lighter for sure.
However, I don't like having to pick which hole I am going to screw the front standard in, there must be a better way.
The bellows at the front standard is not pleated but sort of like a bag bellows that is about 2 inches long. This causes the bellows to vignette in some cases.
The ground glass cover is a joke in my opinion, I have never been able to get it back on correctly, even after working with for an hour carefully tracking which side and corner I am using. I no longer have it.
I have found the levels to be inaccurate. I have compared against some high quality levels and they never match up.
I will say it is easy to set up once you decide on which hole to put the front standard in.
I do like the way it focuses.
Just be sure to lock everything down once you have you image composed, that goes for all view cameras though.
My 2 cents.
"He who expecteth nothing,
Shall not be disappointed." Robert Willingham, 1907