Chamonix 5X8 cameras are primarily designed for outdoor landscape use. They are made with maple/walnut and high density carbon fiber. The carbon fiber mertieral is mainly used for the camera's base plate to ensure the stability and rigidity of the camera.
There are two reasons behind the development of Chamonix 5X8 camera:
1. In many parts of the world, the supply of 5X7 films is limited
while 8X10 films are easy to find. Photographers can easily
cut one sheet of 8X10 film in half to get two sheets of 5X8 film.
2. The second reason is perhaps more important: 5X8 is more
aesthetically appealing, especially when looked at
horizontally. It is only one inch longer than 5X7 format, but it
will show the difference immediately. Its physical dimension
and weight have increased slightly compare to the 5X7
camera, but the 5X8 contact prints or enlargements are very
For this unique 5X8 format, Chamonix has two models: horizontal only model and convertible model. The former has a weight of only 2150g and the latter has a weight of 2840g. The horizontal only model uses Linhoff lens board while the convertible model uses Sinar lens board so a wider range of lenses can be used.
For both models, Chamonix can make the front standard to take Acra-Swiss lens board for Acra-Swiss users.
Chamonix 5X8 cameras are strictly handmade and all wood parts are hand coated. For 40 days, 12 coats of paint applied to the wood carefully. The wood polishing and painting job required a total of 90 days.
The metal part of 5X8 is anodized aluminum with black finish. The wood choices are Canadian maple and black walnut. Different wood will cause a slight different weight of the cameras.
There are three types of 5X8 camera, they are 058N horizontal, 058W horizontal, and 058W convertible. The difference is the "N" model has no metal side arms connecting camera back and the base, "W" model has that metal arm just like you see in the pictures below.