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Chroma 5×4 Technical Field Camera Launches on Kickstarter

Chroma – a new 5×4 field camera has just launched on Kickstarter, and I’m really bloody excited about it!

There’s a whole load of reasons that I’m excited about the launch of a new to market 5×4 camera on – so many in fact that I’ve decided to do a bit of an announcement/news post about it. This pretty out of the ordinary for me, as I’m usually a little too lazy to be on the ball enough to write about “news”. But this is different!

It’s made by my mate Steve

The fact that it’s made by my mate Steve might seem like a small thing, but I’m really happy to be able to consider the guy a mate. I first stumbled across his tinkerings through one of his earlier camera related projects, a little Olympus 35rc he’d modified. I thought it was ace (if a little mad) so I got him to write a post about it. We stayed in touch after that, and at some point since we got chatting about how he might modify a technics sl1210 for me – he did a bloody good job of it too.

Throughout our various conversations he quite often showed me pictures of his latest camera projects, each slightly more mad than the last. Then one day he told me about a 5×4 large format camera he was making out of laser cut acrylic. To be honest, I thought he was a bit of a lunatic when I first saw pictures of some absurdly coloured contraptions he’d put together, but having experienced his handy-skills first hand through the work he did on my turntable I had a feeling it was a fairly safe bet to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Since then, I’ve been watching the many iteration of the camera get more and more impressive… not to mention the computer aided designs he’s sent me getting more and more complex. It has been absolutely fascinating watching this camera come to life, and now seeing it get to the stage that he’s actually happy with the damn thing, has settled on a design, and is now launching it on Kickstarter, well, I couldn’t be happier for the guy. It quite genuinely makes me proud to know him!

I’m getting first(ish) dibs

I had a tinker with a previous iteration of the Chroma camera when I went up to Liverpool with my mate James to help film the Kickstarter video. When I visited, I also had the pleasure of meeting Rachel from the Sunny 16 Podcast – who now writes for 35mmc once every two weeks (thanks Rach!). She was actually pretty canny on that day and managed to sweet talk Steve into making her a pre-launch Chroma camera through some blag about helping him “beta test” it. As such, she was technically the first to own one (apart from Steve).

That acknowledged, I’m still going to be the first to get my grubby paws on a production version of the camera. Steve was actually hoping to have it to me for today, but as of me publishing this it’s still sat on his work bench waiting on a part or two… still, next week I hope…

Of course all this is pretty personal to me, and therefore likely fairly meaningless to you the reader without a spattering of the quite exciting details, and quite exciting they are too…

The Exciting details

For a start, the Chroma it’s ready to shoot out of the box as it comes with a pinhole lens board. Alongside the pinhole also comes a lens board cut with a choice of Copal 0/1/2/3 hole. It’s compatible with standard double dark slide film holders, is pretty light weight, folds up nice and small, is available in a load of different colours.

This is all great, but the most interesting thing about the Chroma is it’s price point vs. what it offers. This camera has the full range of technical movements on the front standard, all of which are lockable and independently controllable. It also has rise and fall on the rear standard which can also be tilted back so the camera can be used with wide angle lenses. In short, it has more technical movements than the Intrepid and is only £250!

I shall be back with more details about the Chroma as soon as I have my hands on mine – in the meanwhile, get yourself over to Kickstarter and support this project – this guy deserves every inch of success that comes to him!

You can also find out more about this project in an interview with Steve over on Emulsive.org

 

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9 Comments

  • Reply
    Ashley Carr
    February 9, 2018 at 6:00 pm

    I’ve been hankering for another Technical Camera after selling my Toyo 45CF 8 years ago. Intrigued by the intrepid and following it from its birth yet never convinced enough to plonk some money down.

    Now this! This is already ticking most of the boxes for me and I’m very very tempted. Thanks for bringing this to my attention!

  • Reply
    Evan Bedford
    February 9, 2018 at 6:04 pm

    Bravo! Looks really sweet! And the low price is stunning! (hopefully he can make enough profit to feed himself). (and hopefully, there will be a 2×3 at some point in the future).

  • Reply
    Terry B
    February 9, 2018 at 7:37 pm

    Hamish, leaving the price until last was a good ploy, and what a shock! Just £250. Not a kickstarter rip off that we often see. Looking forward to your upcoming review(s).

    There isn’t a shortage of true technical 5×4 cameras from the likes of Linhof, Graflex and MPP but these go for much more, albeit they do have a few extra features and will be heavier. But this should open up the world of LF to many who would otherwise baulk at the entry fee.

    Am I correct in assuming that it doesn’t have an international back, so use of conventional RF backs and which would significantly increase its versatility, may need a modification?

    The downside is getting hold of 5×4 enlargers, but those who already own the Canon and Epson scanners that can do up to 5×4 have got it made.

    • Reply
      Steve Lloyd
      February 9, 2018 at 8:39 pm

      Hi Terry, I’m Steve Lloyd, and this is….

      Sorry, I’ve already said that one somewhere before ;0). Firstly I wanted to thanks for your interest in Chroma. I’ve designed it to be assembled as efficiently as possible to save both weight and basic material cost as I really wanted to deliver a camera that was available to a wide range of photographers without any major compromises. As per Hamish’s article (he’s a top guy isn’t he!), I’ve truly “crowd-sourced” the Chroma’s design so if there’s something specific that you’d like to see on it, let me know and we can look at the options. I’ve built it to hold standard DDS holders, as well as Fuji Quickload to make it as simple to pick up and use straight away but am also working on a few other options for down the line.

      Cheers
      Steve

  • Reply
    Rick Rios
    February 9, 2018 at 8:06 pm

    Thanks Hamish! Got my pledge in.

    • Reply
      Hamish Gill
      February 9, 2018 at 8:07 pm

      good man!

  • Reply
    ScottP
    February 11, 2018 at 4:56 am

    Yes. This.
    I want to test one too.
    Please send to…………..

    OK, fine, I’ll pay for it. I went over and pledged.
    This looks much better than the average home-start-up 4×5 (5×4?) The choice of materials is innovative and makes a lot of sense.

    • Reply
      Steve Lloyd
      February 15, 2018 at 10:32 pm

      Thanks a lot ScottP for your pledge, I’m seriously overwhelmed by the support shown for Chroma. I can’t wait to start building them!

      • Reply
        ScottP
        February 17, 2018 at 5:52 am

        Now that I’ve made my pledge, my childlike need for immediate gratification has kicked in, full strength.

        Any chance these could be delivered by, say, Tuesday?

        More seriously, how does the Kickstarter process work? You definitely made your goal. Looks as though you got enough pledges for almost 100 cameras. Can you access that financial support immediately and start ordering components and materials? (But you can’t really order materials until you know how many of each color are needed. So how does that work?) Are you concerned about being able to produce all those cameras?

        Perhaps you could write a short article for 35mmc about the process. Or a series of articles as you work it through. Although you probably don’t need another task.

        Please understand, I’m cheering for you. I have several 4×5 cameras, but nothing that looks as light, yet capable as yours. I hope you are forced to hire 5 people and rent a factory space in order to fulfill 10,000 orders.

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