No, it’s not click-bait. It means exactly what it says. I’ve been walking around Elland, making photos, whilst handholding a 5×4 camera. This week I’ve been out a couple of times with a 5×4 film camera in my bag, a couple of film holders and a Reveni light meter in my pocket. Not even a mini tripod hidden in the side pocket of my shoulder bag. This set up was lighter than pretty much every camera combination I own except perhaps my wooden pinhole cameras.
So, to what do I owe this lightweight and eminently portable large format set up? Well, in part to Andy Smales who lent me the camera so I could road test it before deciding whether or not to place an order. But largely to the Chroma Snapshot camera from Chroma Cameras.
But, let’s step back for a moment.
Whilst I’ve been playing with cameras for 50-years or so I only entered the realms of large format in the last three or four years. I was starting with zero prior knowledge and made a few mistakes early on in terms of kit purchase despite extensive reading. Most were small purchases but one, the purchase of a 65mm lens, still rankles. On my Intrepid camera it didn’t focus to infinity and more importantly it needed a recessed lens board, which rendered the cable release/shutter inaccessible. Despite being advertised as a 5×4 lens I eventually determined that it was intended for smaller formats so rather than being the advertised 5×4 inches it’s coverage was in medium format, 6x9cm territory despite its physical bulk. I’ve been looking for a way to use it ever since the penny dropped that I’d been sold a pup. Caveat emptor and all that.
Anyway, chatting to Andy on Twitter one evening the vexed topic of my unused lens came up. Long story short, the following morning his Snapshot was winging its way north and less than two days after that original discussion I was testing the theory that this thus far unused lens was usable with the Snapshot. I tested it wide open at f5.6, at f8 and f11 then finally at f32. A tiny, tiny amount of vignetting at f5.6 but less to be honest than I usually add myself. It was more than usable so the following day I was out with camera, four sheets of film and no tripod.
Now isn’t the occasion for a review. I need to use it for longer to provide a cogent and reliable review. Initial impressions are very positive. It has worked well both tripod mounted, and more importantly, hand held. Suffice to say, I exposed 29 sheets of film and my order is in at Chroma Towers.
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