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Has anyone used the Intrepid Camera?
Old 10-31-2016   #1
newfilm
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Has anyone used the Intrepid Camera?

Hi guys, I'm contemplating to jump into 4x5 from 35mm, and while looking around for something that is light and cheaper to starts with I found this guys are making new 4x5 camera:
https://intrepidcamera.co.uk

I'm curious if anyone have and use one of these? It looks like majority it is plywood construction, so I wonder if it will stand up to regular use and also in freezing/dry temperature (like will the plywood crack and separate)?

I'd love to get my hands on a tachihara, but it seems that starting price of a used one are not less than 500 EUR

many thanks for any input
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Old 10-31-2016   #2
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I shoot with a Crown Graphic for large format, butI've looked at that camera as well for the movements. I'm watching this thread with interest as well.
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Old 11-03-2016   #3
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I guess not too many people are using this camera, however I did found this guy who have one and have a pretty good explanation in the actual usage:

https://fstoppers.com/film/fstoppers...-camera-151966


I'd sent the intrepid guys an email some question I have about two weeks ago now, but they don't seems to be responding.
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Old 11-03-2016   #4
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Check ebay for Calumet or Orbit (essentially the same) cameras, You will find them much cheaper. There are others as well, that have full or sufficient movements.

One example is at http://www.ebay.com/itm/4x5-Orbit-Mo...3D252617169505 (no connection with seller) with a low starting bid. You will see lots with broken tightening knobs, but most are still usable. I suppose the are replaceable but I have two with broken knobs that are sufficiently usable I haven't even tried.

Of course you will have to get a lens. But with careful looking, you can sometimes find cameras with lenses for surprising little money.

I would suggest you asked questions of any seller to ensure there aren't pinholes in the bellows, the controls work, nothing is misaligned, etc.
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Old 11-03-2016   #5
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I use the camera regularly and, so far, it has stood up quite well. The only small problem I have begun to notice is a very slight upward bowing of the bottom plywood piece in the front standard. At this point it has not caused any problems but eventually I may have to replace it. I also notice in the photographs on their website that the front standard has been changed and strengthened so I doubt the problem will occur in future models.

The camera hasn't been exposed to anything below -1C so far but it has certainly been exposed to above 37C on a project where I spent about a month following the California Trail from Idaho to California. It performed perfectly and I am just now finishing the developing of those photographs. So far no prints or scans but I have been quite satisfied with the negatives.

One of the things I do appreciate about this camera is its weight. It is half the weight of my Crown Graphic and does not require a really heavy tripod. I use a light duty Slik magnesium tripod on mountain hikes and love the light weight combo.

Mine only has movements on the front standard but so far that has worked out quite well for me. For more experienced photographers it might become a bit limiting. Mine seems to be happy with anything from my Schneider Symmar S 300/5.6 down to my Angulon 90/8. However, 90% of my use has been with the CZJ Tessar 150/5.6.

Bottom line, it is not fast in use, nor is it as beautifully finished as other, more expensive, large format cameras. But you can certainly create photographs that are just as beautiful. I have no idea how it will stand up over time but, if cared for, I suspect it will be just fine. For those who are looking for a decent, light weight camera I can certainly recommend it.
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Old 11-03-2016   #6
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A friend of mine has one, and is making his own glass plates to use in it. It's a basic field camera, and so far he has no complaints about it, but then I think he is more worried about making decent plates than he is with how the camera handles. Maybe it's a good sign that there is nothing about the camera to take his mind off the glass plate project.

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Old 11-04-2016   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pioneer View Post
I use the camera regularly and, so far, it has stood up quite well. The only small problem I have begun to notice is a very slight upward bowing of the bottom plywood piece in the front standard. At this point it has not caused any problems but eventually I may have to replace it. I also notice in the photographs on their website that the front standard has been changed and strengthened so I doubt the problem will occur in future mo.....
That's good to hear! By the way do you have any input on the focusing mechanism? Are they using metal teeth to move forward and back? Also, do you have any though regarding the rotating back as well?
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Old 11-10-2016   #8
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Okay, a bit of update, I have sent the Intrepid camera guys a couple of email (for over 2 weeks now) asking detail about the camera and possible shipping option and price (so I can make informed decision) however to my dismay none of those email are replied. Seems that they only reply if you make some noise on some social media

Mean while, while continues my "research" on something light weight and relatively cheaper to starts with I found that the good'o Bulldog Camera resurface! They also have 10x8 options too, I'm guessing I'm putting this down here for reference purposes of the options available out there.

http://www.ebay.com/sch/bulldog_came...m=122197647046

The bellow on their 4x5 seems a bit shorter from the picture, I've sent them an email to ask and lets see if they reply.

EDIT:
The guy at the Bulldog Camera replied on the same day! I'll leave the detail here for anyone interested:

- Bellow extension from 52 mm - 162 mm
- Rise 48 mm / fall 16 mm
- Shift +- 28 mm
- Tilt +- 32 degree
- Swing +- 45 degree
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Old 11-14-2016   #9
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Looking at these plywood and 'hard board' camera's I wonder how well they would take moist weather (we have that a lot here in the low countries).
Like OFTHEHERD says, I would always check out used camera's and compare. The LF camera's are quite cheap these days.

If you start with LF you'll probably soon like it and won't look back :-)
here's a pic made recently with one of my old 13x18 Tropicas:

Garden foliage 13x18 flat film
by Ron (Netherlands), on Flickr
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Old 11-14-2016   #10
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I would very much like to find an economical 8x10 to use for shooting with the intent of contact printing. The Intrepid design is appealing, as is the Bulldog. Hmmm...
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Old 11-14-2016   #11
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162mm bellows draw is pretty short for a normal lens. You'll barely be able to focuse closer than infinity with a normal (150mm) lens. You could use a 135mm but still you're not going to be able to focus very close. It's really designed for a 65-120mm lens.

You can get lens cones but they move the optical center of your lens forward which makes for an awkward setup and tilting the front to increase depth of field becomes more of an issue from both added bulk and mo one the lens optical center.

My father gave me a new Pacemaker Crown Graphic in 1964. I shot hundreds of jobs with it and still have it. It's still in great shape. I'd suggest a Crown Graphic preferably a Pacemaker. There close to your budget. Second I'd look at the old Kodak and Calumet monorails as described above if you're not planning on carding it long distances. They're heavy but very good cameras. They are t the best choice for wides but your Angulon isn't going to allow much movement. You'd have to use a re Essex board and they're a pain on that camera. I never owned one but was issued one while I worked for the department of energy in the 70's and tge studio I apprenticed in in the early 70's had several including the wide angle version.

If it were me I'd look for a good Ikeda or Nagioka. They're more but well worth the cost. Also a used calumet wooden flatbed is great. It's either a Wista or weisner, can't remember which. You might find one for $500 or so.

Look for a nice Fujinon W, Nikkor W, Symmar (S), Caltar or Rodenstock lenses are very good but imo they're over priced. Be sure to buy a plasmat design if you need movements. In wides look at the same brands. They're all excellent. I've owned and used a mix of lens brands in my studio and have been extremely critical. I can say no brand has an edge over the other.

Don't bother with exotic or cult lenses like Zeiss Planars. Biogons and Goerz Dagors. Theyre wonderful but way over priced and no better than the above mentioned.

Good luck and enjoy LF. I still love it and shoot 4x5-8x10.

In your budget a Crown is your best bet.
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Old 11-14-2016   #12
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Wood sealer will prevent most damage.

Check out film holders. Also 4x5 enlargers.

It is vastly harder to move around with 4x5. It is a whole different world. All pics from a field camera are from a tripod. And it has to be a heavy pod.

Make sure to get a lens with good coverage to take advantage of movements. Cheap lenses are not better than 35mm.

You also need a focus loupe and darkcloth and cable release.

Then we can talk about developing film.
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Old 05-03-2017   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pioneer View Post
I use the camera regularly and, so far, it has stood up quite well.

One of the things I do appreciate about this camera is its weight. It is half the weight of my Crown Graphic and does not require a really heavy tripod. I use a light duty Slik magnesium tripod on mountain hikes and love the light weight combo.

For those who are looking for a decent, light weight camera I can certainly recommend it.
I bought an Intrepid and chose it for a few reasons:
A) Much like Pioneer posted up-thread, the experiences as related by people who are actually using them seems to be mostly positive.

B) The camera is light weight--900 grams (about 2 pounds) which means the bigger tripod I already have may work just fine for it. And maybe not but I won't know until I get the camera and see. Still, I'm optimistic on this point.

C) It is new. As much as I have enjoyed using all the various old cameras over the years, there is a point where I don't want to fiddle with making the camera work but I want to spend my time making photographs.

And, D) The Intrepid is relatively inexpensive. When I paid for it the exchange rate was definitely in my favor so the 250 price was just barely above $300--it is currently about $323--and that means I will have a bit more available to spend on all the other stuff I will need to start shooting. I think I will be "all in" at about $600.

The lead time for the Intrepid is stated as six weeks and I am about halfway through that as I'm typing this post. Which means I've got about three weeks more to finish gathering the rest of the gear I'll need to actually make some photographs.

Am I recommending the Intrepid for anyone else? No. Not yet, at least. Not because I think it's a bad camera or a bad deal but because I don't have mine yet. Once I've actually got it and used it, I will post what I think of it.

I will say that I think the design choices and the compromises the guys at Intrepid made make sense for their stated goal and the product they are making is interesting enough to me for me to have accepted the risk and spent my money.

Rob
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Intrepid A Year (or so) Later
Old 05-03-2017   #14
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Intrepid A Year (or so) Later

Quote:
Originally Posted by newfilm View Post
That's good to hear! By the way do you have any input on the focusing mechanism? Are they using metal teeth to move forward and back? Also, do you have any though regarding the rotating back as well?
First thing, I missed this question earlier.

The focus gears and track are nylon but the bed is so light I doubt that the focus system will give any trouble. Nylon is also self lubricating so it should hold up pretty well. If it ever gets really dirty it is pretty easy to slide the moveable insert off and clean things out.

I live in Nevada which is high desert so the air is usually dry. We do get quite a bit of snow and rain in the winter and spring but I doubt the humidity ever gets anywhere near as high as a few of you see. However, I do believe that the boys at Intrepid used a marine varnish, and everything is sealed inside and out, so it should be pretty well sealed from moisture. After all, this was built in England. Of course, if I ever do have to refinish and seal the wood again it is such a simple camera it will be very easy to do.

I will say this. I have a very nice Deardorff V8, that I like very much, that has been gathering dust for the past year. This Intrepid is so much fun, and is so easy to pack around and use, that every time I go out for a bit of LF fun, the Intrepid is usually the one I grab.

I noticed that one person posted that a very heavy tripod would be necessary for 4x5 large format, but that really isn't true, especially with this camera. My hiking tripod is very light and stabilizes the camera very well. If I do get worried about wind gusts I hang my camera bag from a hook under the center of the tripod. That pretty much takes care of any vibrations from the wind. But, if you really want to pack a heavy tripod, go for it. I surely would not want to stop you.

BTW - the minor warping of the bottom cross bar on the front standard has stopped and is causing no problem at all. At some point I should probably fix it, maybe I'll just replace it when and if I ever have to refinish the wood in the future.

The camera is still just as easy to use and as solid as it was when I bought it. The bungie cords that hold the back in place worried me a bit in the beginning, but they are just as tight now as they were before I started. I'm not sure what those things are made from but they are certainly robust.

I should probably also buy a ground glass protector at some point but for now a piece of bubble wrap glued to a piece of heavy cardboard I cut to size is working fine.

To put this in perspective, if this little camera continues to hold up this well, I will certainly be an early adopter of their 8x10.
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Crown Graphic
Old 05-03-2017   #15
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Crown Graphic

I also own a Crown Graphic and it is an excellent camera in its own right. I will say up front that if any of you decide to buy one, look for one in good condition. They are not new cameras so condition is important. If you get a nice one then you will not be disappointed. I enjoy using mine.

However, it is a completely different experience. Though it can easily be used off of a tripod, it is really designed for handheld use. When the rangefinder is properly calibrated for the lens you are using it is very fast, just like using a 35mm rangefinder camera, though obviously a LOT bigger.

One difference between the Intrepid and the Crown is weight. At a bit over 6 pounds it is almost 3 times heavier than my Intrepid. This may not seem like a huge deal until you are 4 or more miles along the trail. There have been many times on the trail where I only pack a fanny pack that holds the film backs, attach the camera to my tripod and sling it over my back for day hikes. Add a small hydration pack, some granola bars and a jacket and I am good for a several hour day hike.

Another difference between the Crown and the Intrepid is movements. Some people really don't use movements and don't care. The Crown does provide some limited movement on the front standard but nothing at all like what you get with the Intrepid.

There is one thing I consider an advantage on the Crown that I am trying to transfer to the Intrepid. It is the folding hood that closes down over the ground glass. The hood provides protection on the trail and also gives shade to the ground glass when you are focusing.

To summarize, they are very different cameras though they use the same film. When I am out with the Boy Scouts on a camping trip and know I will need to keep up with and get some shots of active boys having fun, I pack my Crown with a few Graflex film holders. If I am out relaxing on my own in the wilderness and want some nice landscape or environmental photographs, I pack the Intrepid.
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Old 05-03-2017   #16
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Someone brought up a question of moisture and components.

A quality wood sealer should resolve any problems and then a wood finish.
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Old 05-03-2017   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronald M View Post
Someone brought up a question of moisture and components.

A quality wood sealer should resolve any problems and then a wood finish.
Thanks Ronald M, but as I mentioned earlier, if you check with the boys who built them, the Intrepid is already sanded down, sealed and covered with a marine varnish on all surfaces. I haven't noticed any wear problems with mine yet and I have had it out and about in all kinds of weather for the last year.

I suspect a bit of paste wax or Pledge applied occasionally wouldn't hurt as long as it isn't allowed to build up too much.

Whenever it does need refinishing, or if you have another wooden field camera that requires some refinishing, this is an ideal way to treat the wood.
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