Discussion in 'Talk About Anything Photography Related' started by martin henson, Oct 27, 2016.
David how would you rate the intrepid?
I have the Mark 1 model with the rectangular base and the plywood front standard. I haven't handled the Mark 2.
It arrived later than promised but I put that down to the necessary transition from optimistic student to real-life manufacturer.
The rear standard is fixed and has non-adjustable struts. The front standard has rise, fall, shift, swing and tilt. Both swing and shift are controlled by one common knob, as are rise and tilt. Ebony made a model with similar specifications, but the Intrepid is no Ebony; nobody is going to intone "...just stroke an Intrepid."
It is very, very much cheaper – the current price (Mark 2) is £250 but mine was cheaper through Kickstarter.
It seems important to mention, for other readers, that photons are no snobs, cannot tell the difference and do not care about attractive grain patterns or polished brass.
When the camera arrived its surface was little rough, as though the finish had been sprayed in a dusty workshop. A light rub with with fine sandpaper cured this easily and I didn't resent doing it. More seriously, the focus rack was a bit loose but I fixed that by inserting a sliver of veneer. (I quite enjoy tinkering.) After that that, focusing was smooth and the lock worked well.
There are some ingenious cost-saving details; the tripod is fixed to an ordinary nut held captive by a metal plate instead of an expensive machined unit.
It's a very simple to erect. You simply unfold the back, clip the struts into place and tighten the screws. Then you unscrew the locking bolt from its parking place in the baseboard and fix the front standard to one of three brass-lined screw holes. It would be nicer if the screw were fixed into the standard, but that's a small detail. On the Mark 1 there are small supplementary screws to centre the standard. They were not quite in the right place on mine, but I had no problems without them. There is a notch to centre the height of the lensboard and this means that the lens moves backward by about a millimetre, so you might need to check focus if you used this halfway through taking a shot. As tilt is locked by friction, it might not be suitable for very heavy lenses.
In principle, the rear standard can be slid forward by about an inch, for short-focus lenses but you need an Allen key to do this.
The screen seemed to work well, not as brilliant as more expensive ones, but I found that I liked this. Very bright screens seem to require the eye to be accurately centred and I find this uncomfortable. (Both my eyes are a bit dodgy, but in different ways). It's a simple ground glass with no markings and no Fresnel.
The elastic band that holds the spring back worked well and Intrepid claim that this is marine grade elastic, designed to outlast a boat.
The back rotates, rather than unclips, to change from landscape to portrait so there's nothing to drop with cold fingers. I remember using this (on an MPP?) to square up a horizon when I was too lazy to adjust the whole camera. When you rotate the back, you can see the fixing for the elastic so it should be easy enough to replace. One small point is that when using a short focus lens, the sliding bed projects behind the camera and obstructs the rotating back, so if you change your mind halfway through a shot, you will have to rack out the camera before you can rotate the back. Not a major defect, but worth remembering if you are intending to use both orientations. There are sliding clips to fix roll-film backs and suchlike, but I haven't used these. The bellows are fixed and seem flexible enough for me.
It's a little bit stiff to insert a dark slide; it seems to need a final extra push to go right home. This might be just the effect of newness. (It is; I very lightly sanded the sharp edges of the opening and everything worked well.)
Mine was supplied with a ply pinhole lensboard and red bellows. Red is apparently the most popular colour. It takes Linhof-type boards.
To be honest, I haven't used it a great deal, but I can see no reason why it shouldn't work very well where a simple and very lightweight camera is needed. Architectural photographers might find they need more movements of course. For any established LF photographer it would make an excellent reserve or back-up camera.
It is of course, absolutely outstanding value for money. Intrepid are to be congratulated. The Kickstarter target for the new 10x8 was reached in twelve minutes. There must be a huge hidden interest in LF photography, held back by the price of entry. Who knows what Intrepid might produce next? An enlarger, perhaps? A film processor? A changing tent? They've apparently redesigned the 10x8 film holder, which I have not seen. I'd like to see what they could come up with for a dark cloth, even if it was just matching the colour of the bellows.
My sister-in-law, who knows nothing about cameras, thought it looked charming.
I've had a few medium format cameras, my first being a Mamiya RB67 which I loved and then a Mamiya 645 and most recently a Mamiya C330. Since taking up large format photography in 2009, I've found the format suits me very well and the kind of photography I like to do.
So now my camera collection consists of my Toyo 45AX and my Tachihara 8x10. I've found that if I purposely go out to make photographs, then it's one of the two large format cameras, otherwise it's casual snapshots and I've found my Google Nexus 6p phone suffices more than well.
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