Intrepid vs Chroma vs other new brands

Recent Classifieds

Forum statistics

Threads
179,473
Messages
2,470,954
Members
94,824
Latest member
Linaz0191
Recent bookmarks
1

horacekenneth

Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2012
Messages
515
Location
MD
Shooter
Multi Format
Interested in how these new 4x5 makers compare with each other but I don't really know what I'm looking at other than material (3D printing, plywood). Anyone have thoughts on the pros and cons of these models?
 
OP
OP
horacekenneth

horacekenneth

Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2012
Messages
515
Location
MD
Shooter
Multi Format
One difference I've noticed is that the Intrepid front standard seems to require to be detaching for collapsing or changing focal length. The Chroma looks like it just requires loosening and sliding.

Specs of the Intrepid have it's minimum at 75mm and the Chroma is 65 but I believe the creators have said the Intrepid can do 65 with no or limited movements.
 

paulbarden

Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2014
Messages
1,700
Location
97333
Shooter
Large Format
One difference I've noticed is that the Intrepid front standard seems to require to be detaching for collapsing or changing focal length.

That's correct: the Intrepid front standard has to be detached completely from the baseboard in order to fold the camera up. Its actually a pain to do because the screw is quite long and it takes longer than it should to remove, IMO. I can't speak to the build quality or design of the others, but I have the Intrepid 4x5 and it's a serviceable camera, but the build quality leaves something to be desired. The weaknesses of the 4x5 version become much more significant in the 8x10 version.
 

Trail Images

Subscriber
Joined
Apr 7, 2010
Messages
3,114
Location
Corona CA.
Shooter
Multi Format
And Stenopeika
If you're thinking about this product line I would hold off on their Carbon Fiber X-Camera in that brand for awhile. I have one and I'm still working with the group on refining the front standard. It was way too flexible for my liking. They are very willing to sort through the issue at this point. Thankfully I still have my rock solid Wista DXIII after 20+ years in excellent shape and usage going forward.

I looked at the Chamonix & Shen Hao units that had the detachable front standard similar to the Intrepid and thought they all looked too fiddly in colder weather for setup. As well as the need to change the front mounting hole for various focal lengths?
I'm too use to quick setup and racking any lens out to near focal point before fine tuning with loupe.
 
Joined
Dec 24, 2017
Messages
9
Location
Hamburg
Shooter
4x5 Format
Hi Folks,
as I have owned both an Intrepid 4x5 Field camera Mk1 (original Kickstarter) and an Intrepid Mk3, as well as a Proxima 4x5 Field Camera (early series) I can tell you something about them.

First of all, Intrepid's are cheap and you get what you pay for. They do work, but to get where you want them to be (movements, focusing, locking things down) is considerably rougher than say a much more expensive camera like a Chamonix. Really big difference (I now use a Chamonix C45 F-2). From my own experience I would consider the Intrepid a good camera to start on a tight budget, to get a camera which is quite compact and light, and – compared to say a used Graflex, which is heavier – offers considerably more movements. But build quality varies quite a lot from what I heard (and experienced), though Intrepid Co try to make things right through customer support – when you ask for it. Do not expect to see modifications to correct flaws being sent to you without reporting a problem. (As an example: they changed the GG holding mechanism from rubber bands to plastic springs with the Mk3. Spring tension was not enough then, so there was a new modification to the springs. I got these mods, when I asked for them, freely without charge. Others might nit have noticed the problem or just wondered about unsharp shots from loose film holders in the slot… ) They do change their line frequently and improvements usually cannot be implemented in earlier releases. So ne could end up with buying a series of cameras…
In my experience one of the strong point is the rotating back, as well as the bellows, which is quite good in my experience (I have read that this has changed with later models, but I cannot say from my own experience). The original model required some upgrades, notably a different ground glass (I chose and excellent borosilicate GG by Steve Hopf with cutouts – the factory GG had none), my later model's ground glass was better (again no cutouts) but a no name replacement from China was better in my experience, especially combined with a no name fresnel.
The camera uses Technika stile lens boards.
Operation necessitates locking and unlocking the front standard with a screw to the base, the later model has a fixed screw, which one cannot easily loose (but which needed some breaking in, like the swing mechanism on the back, screws didn't turn, when it arrived). The later model now had independent control for rise & fall and tilt, swing and shift were controlled by the single lock down screw, mentioned before. The back has forward and backwards tilts and the Mk3 had some 30° swing as well (which has been removed from the Mk4, which sports an aluminum base). I did use the camera with a Grandagon 6.8/90 (recessed board) and a Tele-Arton 5.5/270 (bellows draw like a 180mm for infinity) without much problems, heavier lenses like a Fujinon 5.6/210 were usable but the roughness in operation with rise and fall were a nuisance. There is as of now, no bag bellows available. The construction of the rotating back makes it very difficult to peek through the cutouts to check for vignetting!

I moved away from the Intrepid (which at this time meant the original Mk1), because of a feeling of wanting more precision and smoothness of operation, no more problems with the focus not locking down etc. (starting with the Mk4 the camera now uses a central focusing rod, which might work better, I just cannot say from my own experience).

For lack of funds I chose a newly developed 3D printed Camera by Gibellini, the 4x5 Proxima. Quite a big difference, especially the smooth back focus was a pleasure to use. The camera offers a similar amount of movements than the Intrepid Mk3, swing on the back is much larger and one can move the back forward to accommodate shorter lenses. Setting up was faster, as one does not have to fix the front standard. Lens boards are of a special size, a – quite expensive – adapter board for Technical's boards is available. Bellows draw, rise and fall were similar t the Intrepid, but operation was much smoother. The Proxima does NOT sport single control for rise & fall and tilt, swing and shift are controlled by two screws, as on the back (only swing); back has forward and backward tilt. In my experience I had not difficulties with the 3D printed material, it was flexible to some extend but was stable enough (except in one context, see below). I did not test the camera with extreme temperatures, both hot or cold because I did not own it long enough (almost all my gear, 135 film systems, 120 film systems and LF gear was stolen in a burglary in Summer 2018, I was able to replace some of my gear recently, only. I did receive a replacement Intrepid Mk3 for free when Intrepid Co heard from my predicament!). The camera sports an interchangeable bellows, a bag bellows is available; I bought one, pricey in my opinion). The footprint of the camera is larger than the intrepid, it is quite a bit much wider and deeper, the folded camera is a bit thicker, while the weight is similar.

I did experience some serious usability problems, though:
a) construction of the back: the simple spring back had much too strong springs, opening the back and – combined with the roughly printed surface inside of the slot – made inserting a film holder literally a pain on my fingers, getting a holder out even more so! The camera shook a lot from this – quite usual! – operation.
When I started to use the camera with Lisco Mark II film holders (or similar brands) which sport an automatic dark slide lock, the lock would not be triggered. I did send a Lisco Mark II film holder to Gibellini to measure it up and modify the production, but never came around to get an install the modified spring back.
b) construction of the tripod mount: the surface of the camera is quite smooth, especially on the base, makes sense for the moving surfaces between front and back standards. Problem was the tripod mount on the underside, because I never managed to get a proper hold for my Arca Swiss compatible plate. Even the smallest push or movements against the side of the camera would turn the camera on the plate. Screwing the locking screw tighter did in fact work the metal screw-in point out of the plastic! I ended this problem with a modification of my own: adding a second screw-in-point to the base, so a plate would be fixed with two screws and would not turn any more. Gibellini came up with a round aluminum replacement part. As far as I know, the newer versions have this feature implemented, Gibellini "generously" offered me that replacement part for 50€!
c) the ground glass: the ground glass features very large cutouts (about an inch) necessitated by the construction of the GG holder part which sports thick ribs for the spring back attachment point. But the acrylic GG, while being quite light, was very very roughly graded (as far as I know by laser), making it virtually impossible to use a loupe. I had it replaced with another one by Steve Hopf.
All in all – without a lot of field testing, though! – I was less than satisfied, in my opinion the price was too high for what the camera offered in features and quality of construction (less than 3D printed material itself).

When I compare the field cameras with my current Chamonix, the difference is striking, the comparison of course is less than fair.
Hope that helps!

Cheers Rolf
[some spelling corrections and clarifications added in edit]
 
Last edited:

James Bleifus

Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2004
Messages
375
Location
Currently Thailand
Shooter
Digital
When I compare the field cameras with my current Chamonix, the difference is striking, the comparison of course is less than fair.

I bought an 8x10 carbon fiber Gibellini some years back that was quite expensive and the quality was nowhere near my Chamonix. Chamonixs are just wonderful cameras. If someone is buying a LF camera, I encourage them to try and fit a Cham into their budget. It will save a lot of frustration in the long run.

Cheers, James
 
Joined
Dec 24, 2017
Messages
9
Location
Hamburg
Shooter
4x5 Format
I bought an 8x10 carbon fiber Gibellini some years back that was quite expensive and the quality was nowhere near my Chamonix. Chamonixs are just wonderful cameras. If someone is buying a LF camera, I encourage them to try and fit a Cham into their budget. It will save a lot of frustration in the long run.

Cheers, James
Hi James, yes I am quite happy. But there are quirks too: when my Chamonix arrived I tried to check for vignetting by peering through the cutouts… didn't work because the built-in fresnel was having too small cutouts… I was able to make a diy fix (enlarging the cutouts in the fresnel) but when posting about this on IG, the problems as not apparent with the manufacturer. But they stated, they will modify the design accordingly, but I have had no chance to check this out (one Chamonix is enough for me).

Rolf
 

Maris

Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2006
Messages
1,370
Location
Noosa, Australia
Shooter
Multi Format
Hi James, yes I am quite happy. But there are quirks too: when my Chamonix arrived I tried to check for vignetting by peering through the cutouts… didn't work because the built-in fresnel was having too small cutouts…......
Rolf
There is an easier way to check for vignetting. Walk around to the front of the camera and look through the lens. If you can see all four corners of the format the lens can see them too.
 

Pioneer

Member
Joined
May 29, 2010
Messages
3,288
Location
Elko, Nevada
Shooter
Multi Format
I use a Chamonix and an Intrepid Mk1 (original kickstarter.) I also own a few 8x10 cameras but they are a different story and I don't use them the same way I use my 4x5 cameras. The Chamonix is a far better camera but I have shot a heck of a lot more film with the Intrepid over the past few years. I know that sounds weird but it's true.

The biggest reason is that I really am not afraid to pack that Intrepid with me anywhere I go. Half the time it isn't even in a box. It just bounces around on the seat beside me along with a few film holders wrapped up in a darkcloth. I know I am not very easy on cameras but even though the Intrepid is light and inexpensive, you can call that cheap if you want, it just keeps on working. If it breaks I'm pretty certain I can fix it, maybe even right there on the spot. In many ways it really is a pain to use. It is so light that there were a few shortcuts taken in the construction so it really isn't the most solid box you can buy. But none of those little problems have prevented me from getting really good images. It can sometimes be a little tougher to get the image, and I have to be a little more careful, but it still seems to work.

I do agree though that most people would like the Chamonix much, much better. Heck, I like the Chamonix much, much better. Unfortunately it cost me so much money to buy it I am half afraid to pack it into the same spots I take that Intrepid. Besides, an interesting fact that I have observed is that my little Symmar 50 seems to come up with much the same image quality whether it is on the Chamonix or the Intrepid as long as I do my part.

If you have the money then take my advice and go buy the Chamonix. It truly is a marvelous box and I doubt you will regret it.

But if you don't have the money then go buy an Intrepid and use it to take some pictures. It actually does take pictures pretty well. If it breaks I hear that they will help you fix it. And I do think they have improved a few things on the camera since I bought mine. When I wear mine out I may just buy a new model.

But then again maybe I'll just start packing my Chamonix. :D
 

paulbarden

Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2014
Messages
1,700
Location
97333
Shooter
Large Format
There is an easier way to check for vignetting. Walk around to the front of the camera and look through the lens. If you can see all four corners of the format the lens can see them too.

This is what I do also. Much easier to see this way.
 

JWMster

Member
Joined
Jan 31, 2017
Messages
976
Location
Annapolis, MD
Shooter
4x5 Format
Great discussion. Thank you and thank you for putting this topic on the table.

Good to see a number of Chamonix users here. Been drooling over a Chamonix 45-F2, but not exactly clear on the differences with the N2. I think I understand the H series and with that you get the ability to do quite a number of things the smaller brothers (F2 and N2) can't - like change backs and sizes for 5X7 and panorama. Presently, that's not in my wheelhouse.... so not on my ambition list. Haven't seen a lot of folks actually going for the H models on the Chamonix Flickr group... so maybe the real forte' is simply the F2 and N2. H's additional backs are almost as expensive as the camera itself. Other than that, one of the things that I like a lot is the no frills simplicity, and utility of the camera and less of the brass and cherry wood glitz... which while making for a beautiful camera in so many examples, I think tends to discourage hard use, risking a resistance to actually asking it to do what it was meant for.... aka Pioneer's lament.

Yet like you say, Chamonix is not cheap, and I have yet to crank my Arca Swiss Model B up and work with what it can do. Model B's a real nice camera, and so far, it's main defects are size and weight for mobility, and the time it takes to get setup. But for me, the key is that I'm not going after another camera until I confirm that shooting LF actually is something I want to do. "Whoaaah.... hold the GAS!" Much as GAS is fun.... it's whacky in this case f'sure. So FWIW, I figure to shoot with it for a year or 300 shots and if it changes my practices, and fits into the "serious creative photography slot" versus the other sorts of photography I do (travel, family, practice.... etc), then it might lead to rationalizing (down sizing) the other shuttering critters with which I share my habitat. I try hard to keep what I use and get rid of the best, and I'm almost beginning to feel a bit over-camera-ed / over-systemed at the moment.... which is fine if it leads to a decision and concrete steps afterward.

Good luck in your hunt! Have fun!
 
Joined
Dec 24, 2017
Messages
9
Location
Hamburg
Shooter
4x5 Format
Been drooling over a Chamonix 45-F2, but not exactly clear on the differences with the N2.
Hi, as far as I know, the F-2 has asymmetric tilt on the back. There is a simpler version without it, as well as two similar non-folding models with and without it. Main difference is price.

Hope that helps. R.
 

JWMster

Member
Joined
Jan 31, 2017
Messages
976
Location
Annapolis, MD
Shooter
4x5 Format
Thanks Rolf. Am I right that of the 3 axis moves (Rise/Fall; Tilt and Swing) Chamonix decision and economy is to cut swing? and if so, how do you do the landscape with the horizon paired with a swing towards a nearby cliff wall? or do you just skip that? I'd imagine it's uncommonly needed as a "difference maker", but just curious what exactly the limits for folding LF are.
 
Joined
Dec 24, 2017
Messages
9
Location
Hamburg
Shooter
4x5 Format
Am I right that of the 3 axis moves (Rise/Fall; Tilt and Swing) Chamonix decision and economy is to cut swing? and if so, how do you do the landscape with the horizon paired with a swing towards a nearby cliff wall?
The back doesn't not have swing (on my model) saves predominantly weight and I gladly trade it in for asymmetric tilt. And it still can be done: not with the back but with the front (swing towards canyon wall) and turning the camera at an angle, so the back "simulates" swing for a proper sheimpflug moove! R.
 

Bob S

Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2019
Messages
387
Location
georgia
Shooter
Hybrid
It can be done by rotating the camera, on its head, 90° so back tilt becomes back swing.
 

JWMster

Member
Joined
Jan 31, 2017
Messages
976
Location
Annapolis, MD
Shooter
4x5 Format
Rolf + Bob: So it sounds as though you both suggest that 1) Best Chamonix is the cheapest Chamonix, and 2) Asymmetric tilt is perhaps easier with an F2, but not exclusive to the F2... and if priority is mobility over "easier to execute asymmetric tile"... then it's worth it in your view.
As I read it, the weight savings is minimal. The cost of the N1 is 20% less than the F2 and the weight less 9% less. I suspect that in the scheme of things, the weight of the rest - lens, lens board, film holders + film, filters, tripod, etc. taken altogether, the 80 gram
weight savings is negligible. Save more weight by carrying less of the rest? I'm still not sure of the difference between the N2 and F2... other than $200.
 
Joined
Dec 24, 2017
Messages
9
Location
Hamburg
Shooter
4x5 Format
Rolf + Bob: So it sounds as though you both suggest that 1) Best Chamonix is the cheapest Chamonix, and 2) Asymmetric tilt is perhaps easier with an F2, but not exclusive to the F2... and if priority is mobility over "easier to execute asymmetric tile"... then it's worth it in your view.
As I read it, the weight savings is minimal. The cost of the N1 is 20% less than the F2 and the weight less 9% less. I suspect that in the scheme of things, the weight of the rest - lens, lens board, film holders + film, filters, tripod, etc. taken altogether, the 80 gram
weight savings is negligible. Save more weight by carrying less of the rest? I'm still not sure of the difference between the N2 and F2... other than $200.

umm, that was simplification, I think:

a) asymmetric tilt (on the back) is really quite handy for specific situations, like some line going through the shot front to back of the image, while using swing on the front for Sheimpflug… (difficult to explain, easier to show – VERY clumsily).
The two images show a situation, where I used asymmetric tilt to get the rails sharp all the way front to back (was not – yet fully – though) while first focusing on the corner of the rail. With just tilt I would have had to adjust focus on that point.
IMG_6283-kl.jpg IMG_6278-kl.jpg

b) the weight difference between the folding and non-folding is something to compare directly: F-2 is 1500g, the H-1 is 1950g, so that's 500g difference actually and indeed significant in my opinion. Both F-2 and H-1 have asymmetric tilt,
H-1 has swing on back thus the weight difference.

Cannot say anything about the N-1 …

[edited to include images]
 

Attachments

  • image.png
    image.png
    9.6 KB · Views: 173
Last edited:
Joined
Aug 29, 2017
Messages
4,782
Location
New Jersey formerly NYC
Shooter
Multi Format
There is an easier way to check for vignetting. Walk around to the front of the camera and look through the lens. If you can see all four corners of the format the lens can see them too.
I going to use on my new 4x5, a 77mm compendium hood that attached to my medium format Mamiya RB67 6x7 camera. I'm using the RB67 77mm filters too on the 4x5. Also a Cokin Grad ND filter setup used with the RB67 now for the 4x5 . I just bought a step up ring to fit the 58mm filter size Schneider 150mm lens so I can attached the Cokin, filters, and hood.

I assume your method of check for vignetting works with a compendium hood. Does it? Also, with a compendium hood, if you lock it's length on one lens, and then change to a different size lens, I'm assuming you'd have to change the length of the hood? Anything else I should be careful of using this MF hood? Or filters? Or Cokin?
 
Joined
Aug 29, 2017
Messages
4,782
Location
New Jersey formerly NYC
Shooter
Multi Format
umm, that was simplification, I think:

a) asymmetric tilt (on the back) is really quite handy for specific situations, like some line going through the shot front to back of the image, while using swing on the front for Sheimpflug… (difficult to explain, easier to show – VERY clumsily).
The two images show a situation, where I used asymmetric tilt to get the rails sharp all the way front to back (was not – yet fully – though) while first focusing on the corner of the rail. With just tilt I would have had to adjust focus on that point.
View attachment 236712 View attachment 236713

b) the weight difference between the folding and non-folding is something to compare directly: F-2 is 1500g, the H-1 is 1950g, so that's 500g difference actually and indeed significant in my opinion. Both F-2 and H-1 have asymmetric tilt,
H-1 has swing on back thus the weight difference.

Cannot say anything about the N-1 …

[edited to include images]
So I got the 4x5H-1 because I won;t due any backpacking. I'm not happy with the little levels. They seem off but maybe that's me newness. How have you and others with Chamonix found these levels?
 
Joined
Dec 24, 2017
Messages
9
Location
Hamburg
Shooter
4x5 Format
I going to use on my new 4x5, a 77mm compendium hood that attached to my medium format Mamiya RB67 6x7 camera. I'm using the RB67 77mm filters too on the 4x5. Also a Cokin Grad ND filter setup used with the RB67 now for the 4x5 . I just bought a step up ring to fit the 58mm filter size Schneider 150mm lens so I can attached the Cokin, filters, and hood.

I assume your method of check for vignetting works with a compendium hood. Does it? Also, with a compendium hood, if you lock it's length on one lens, and then change to a different size lens, I'm assuming you'd have to change the length of the hood? Anything else I should be careful of using this MF hood? Or filters? Or Cokin?

Hi Alan,
using a compendium hood is the way to go to provide proper reduction of reflection into the lens, but there are some caveats:

When using movements, especially shift (up or down, left or right, ON THE BACK TOO!!), the compendium might be not wide enough, that needs to be checked. Some people use a Lee wide angle compendium for that reason, even though the amount of protection might be less with a compendium geared towards a standard lens and used without movements. And yes, the angle of view differs between say a 210mm lens and a 90mm, independently of image size (4x5 or 8x10), so it cannot be extended as much with a 90mm as with a 210mm.
Basically, if you change your set up (different focal length) you have to start anew (zeroing in all controls, opening the lens fully for focusing) and that includes adjusting the compendium, adding filters etc. . It pretty much needs to getting into a routine, a standard mode of operation to get into, or one risks to – for example – forget to close the shutter bevor removing the dark slide. We all have experienced the last example, I am sure…
 
Photrio.com contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.
To read our full affiliate disclosure statement please click Here.

PHOTRIO PARTNERS EQUALLY FUNDING OUR COMMUNITY:



Ilford ADOX Freestyle Photographic Stearman Press Weldon Color Lab
Top Bottom