Ebay is selling a rare Chamonix 16×20 camera, the second largest film format.
16 x 20 inches, or 40x 50cm, is the film size for this spectacular camera and makes it a true giant with an area four times larger than the 10×8 format. Each negative has an area of 320 square inches – compare that to the 1.5 square inches of a 35mm negative. The film can be special-ordered once a year from Ilford.
16×20 inches was the size of the wet-plate glass emulsions used by the US survey photographers in the 1860s, Timothy O’Sullivan and others, so the camera definitely has a romance built into it.
Chamonix is a camera workshop in China, making specialized hand-crafted film cameras in large format sizes. The name is for a mountain area in alpine France alongside Mont Blanc, Europe’s highest mountain. The cameras are largely pitched at the landscape market.
We are a small workshop of eight experienced craftsmen and we are located in Haining city of Zhejiang Province, China. The company started a few years ago by a Chinese photographer and mountaineer.
The model for sale on ebay is a fold-up field camera made from timber and carbon fibre and weighs over 15kg or 34 pounds. That’s without lens, film holders and tripod, so if you do decide to buy this for your mountain photography, you might want to invest in a mule as well.