Wehman 8x10

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by jeroldharter, Jul 11, 2009.

  1. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    I have been researching 8x10 field cameras. I have an 8x10 Arca Swiss (older model) with a bunch of accessories already. It is a great camera but I think I want a field camera design. A new Arca F-Line is out of my price range so the Wehman looks intriguing. I have not seen any comments posted for a few years.

    Any Wehman users willing to give a review or advice? The controls look a bit eccentric or fiddly. Is that so? How well does it hold up to use? Any regrets? Etc. Thanks.
     
  2. coriana6jp

    coriana6jp Member

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    Hi Jerold,

    I have had a Wehman for 3 years now, it works perfectly and travels very very well. The camera is well built, sturdy, and quite stable. It folds up into a rather indestructable clam shell case.

    The controls work quite well, I rather like the rear asymmetrical swings. The bellows are a nice 32 inches and allow me to focus my 110mm Schneider with movements. Its built like a tank and has served me quite well.

    The only dislike I have is I dont like the way the front swing works. Mine was a little tight and hard to swing smoothly, a little lube and it works much better, but still I find myself using the rear swing most of the time.
    Bruce is a joy to work with: he make a couple of custom accessories for me at very reasonable prices. My only regret is I didnt buy an Ebony, but at 4 times the price its not that much of a regret.

    Hope it helps.

    Gary
     
  3. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    Gary,

    Thanks for the info. That does help.

    I studied the Wehman website but I don't yet understand the asymmetrical rear swing. What is that? The cameras I have used all swing around a center point. How does the Wehman differ from that?

    Also, is the standard size Wehman lensboard large enough to cut out as an adapter for Toyo/Canham field camera lens boards?

    The website sort of promotes a "use and abuse" mentality for the camera. Given that you have had the camera for while, does it stand up to typical field use well, or does it look worse for the wear and need repair or maintenance?

    Thanks.

    Jamie
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 12, 2009
  4. coriana6jp

    coriana6jp Member

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    Hi Jerold,

    Trying to explain asymmetrical rear swings is rather difficult. Easy to use in practice hard to explain(makes sense when you use them, not so much when reading about them) If you go to the Ebony Camera website or search the LF forum somebody had a good write of about it not too long ago.

    The front standard is big enough for a Toyo/Canham adapter, somebody on here had that exact board made. The Canham/Toyo boards are 110mm square the Wehman boards are about 6 inches (150mm) so it wont be a problem. Bruce supplied Linhof adapter board foe me and it works quite well.

    The use and abuse mentality is good way to think about it. It certainly not as pretty as an Ebony or other wood field camera, but its designed to take alot of punishment and be easy to carry. My camera looks like new, though I need to baby my gear (keep things in soft cases, etc) I have never had any repairs. The only thing I have done is put a little lube on the front standard to make it easier to move.

    The camera certainly will not win any beauty contests, but as a light weight simple to use 8x10 its pretty good. Like all cameras its not perfect and has its shortcomings. That said mine was worked very well for me and I have had good luck with mine and I am happy with it. I have hiked up mountains with mine and it has traveled all over Japan. It has been a good camera.

    If want to know more, let me know.
    Gary
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 12, 2009
  5. matt miller

    matt miller Subscriber

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    I owned a Wehman for a while. It's definitely very light and rugged. It won't have the same feeling of precision as an Arca though.
     
  6. coriana6jp

    coriana6jp Member

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    I own an Arca 4x5 & fully agree the Wehman is no Arca. But its a heck of a lot lighter than 8x10 Arca as well.

    Another option is a Richard Ritter 8x10, which would be my second choice after and Ebony for a field camera.

    Gary
     
  7. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    Thanks for the feedback.

    The features on the Wehman that appeal to me are:

    • cost
    • durability
    • simplicity
    • packability

    An 8x10 Arca loses badly on cost of course and is bulky and relatively fragile. Same with the Ebony but less bulky. The Ritter looks good on weight but not the rest.

    Questions on the Wehman:

    • Compendium
    Any suggestions for using a compendium hood? I have an Arca compendium and wonder if a small hole can be drilled in the lens board frame so that I can just drop in the compendium support rail by gravity.

    • Reducing back
    Did you have a reducing back made? Was it really functional as a 4x5 replacement or simply to use in a pinch? Which 4x5 back did you use? If I go that route, I think I would like a 4x5 back with a bail but the ones I find are all very old.
     
  8. eclarke

    eclarke Member

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    Jaimie, How do you have your Arca consigured? I split the carrier rai on mine and it drops into the exact pack I use for my 4x5 and I can even set the 8x10 up faster than my 4x5 which is fast. I have a 171 to 110 adapter for the lensboards so all my lenses are mix and match form my 6x9 up through the 8x10...TTYL..Evan
     
  9. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    Hello Evan.

    I admit that I should get my Arca rail split so that the overall package is not so thick. That would help with the overall size issue. Even so, the Arca is 14 inches wide by 17 inches high. If I cut down the rail to the shortest possible length, then the bundle would be ~4 inches thick as well.

    So it is 14 x 17 x 4 for the Arca vs.
    12 x13 x 3.6 for the Wehman.

    Not huge differences but the Wehman is also enclosed in a metal case with a protected ground glass and a 300 mm lens attached. I did have SK Grimes fabricate an adapter board for the Arca 8x10 so I use the same boards as on the the 4x5 Arca (I use Canham boards).

    I use the Photobackpacker Kelty P2 bag for my 4x5 Arca and that works really well. Do you just place the 8x10 in the pack without any additional padding or protection? Maybe I need to loosen up a little? Perhaps wrap it in the huge dark cloth. I also worry about breaking the ground glass. It came with a homemade groundglass protector made of foam board. What do you use for that? Even that large pack is only ~13 inches wide so the unpadded knobs of the Arca would be pushing at the sides.

    The Arca is a very nice camera but seems just a bit too big (I know, it is an 8x10).
     
  10. eclarke

    eclarke Member

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    I use an Expedition 8 by Tamrac and lay the camera flat on the ground glass, This gives me compartments for 3 lenses and I leave one on the camera. I have an accessory pouch for their MAS system that hangs on the side of the pack and is the pocket for my rail. I can put 4 holders in the zippered accessory pouch. TTYL..Evan
     
  11. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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    Jerold, I've been using the Wehman for 8x10 and 4x5 with a homemade (graflock w/folding hood) reducing back. It works with everything from my 90mm to 600. Not more than an inch of rise available with the 90mm though due to the bellows. For about a year I didn't touch my 4x5 camera since the wehman did everything I needed it to. The clamshell design is great for travel and the plexi ground glass works well too. It's a great camera for the landscape work I do. The front swing is a bit "sticky" but I use the rear swing mostly. There would be room on the front standard to drill holes for accessories. I drilled and threaded a hole in the top of the front standard so I can attach a hot shoe mount and a flexible lens shade into that. No repairs or maintenance needed so far. The finish is very durable and the camera is quick to set up, use and break down. The only things I don't like: the rear standard has a bit of play left to right (where it pivots) which I've fixed with some plastic washers. The bottom of the camera would benefit from two holes spaced further apart for longer quick release plates. I think it would make the camera more rigid with long lenses, maybe not. I think Bruce offers that modification or something along those lines. The Wehman/Linhof adapter I have sucks for use with factory spec linhof lens boards because the light baffles collide with the grooves cut into the face of the adapter. Sometimes it takes a minute to get the lens attached. The tolerances are just too tight.
     
  12. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    Are you the guy with the Wehman in the snow from his website?
     
  13. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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    Maybe.
     
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  15. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    Today I was able to pay a visit to Mr. Wehman at his home and workshop to check out the camera. I was really impressed. The camera is quite simple and remarkably light. The gound glass (plexiglass) is bright and very nice. The bellows allow fairly extreme extension. The camera seems a little loose in terms of rigidity with a lot of extension, sort of like the flex in a Canham. Mr. Wehman is very personable and was agreeable to making some modifications for me. I have not quite pulled the trigger but I am fairly certain I will buy one. Thank you all for the input. I think it is just what I was looking for. I told him he should advertise here.
     
  16. coriana6jp

    coriana6jp Member

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    Hi Jerold,

    Glad you had a chance to play with one of his cameras in person. Bruce is a very nice guy and has always been helpful when I have contacted him. I think you will be happy with one of his cameras.

    Gary
     
  17. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    How do you carry the reducing back if you are shooting both 8x10 and 4x5 (or do you do just one or the other)?
     
  18. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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    Jerold, I throw it on top of the camera inside my pack. The ground class is recessed enough the buckle on the camera doesn't get in the way. My reducing back is made of 1/4" ABS cut on my table saw and finished with a router. The first one I made was out of MDF painted with flat black paint. That actually held up quite well too. If you make your own be sure to add a 1/2" of material between the base and the 4x5 back you're using if you intend to use any instant film holders. They need more clearance than standard cut film holders.
     
  19. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    It's here

    I received by new Wehman 8x10 camera today. Looks great. He modified it to accept Canham lens boards so I don't need adapters. He also drilled the top of the front standard and chamfered the material so it will accommodate my Arca Swiss compendium which fits nicely.

    When I get a chance, I will try to post a review.

    Thanks to all of you for the advice and information.
     
  20. coriana6jp

    coriana6jp Member

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    Jerold,

    I think you will be very happy with the camera. Let us know what you think after you have had some time to use it.

    Garyy
     
  21. mjs

    mjs Member

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    My only regret is selling my old Wehman last year. I had intended to get a new one this year but with the price increase as well as the ecomomy the way it is, well, rats. :sad:

    Mike
     
  22. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    I took it out today for a first run in the field. My first go-round with 8x10. Setup is of course slower than 4x5 but I kind of liked that. I am using a reather light tripod, a Feisol 3342 with an Arca Z1 ball head so the camera looks a bit ponderous up top but the tripod held reasonable well. I did take one exposure of some water with a 2 sec shutter speed which I divided into 2 separate 1-sec exposures and somehow the camera got nudged so the neg looked like a double exposure.

    I only exposed 3 sheets and found the 450mm lens just right for each. I need to invest in some longer arms to manage the front standard. Front tilt worked well. Need to figure out back tilt. The rear standard tends to get hung up on the zero detente and I haven't learned the trick yet. The back rotates easily from vertical to horizontal. The bail back works great. I love how compact it is folded and it is indestructable. 2 of the three negs look like they came out ok and are drying upstairs.

    I am also getting the hang of BTZS 8x10 tubes. I think I prefer them to the Jobo (unless I had a lot of negs all exposed the same way so that processing times would be identical).
     
  23. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    Jerold it sounds like you are on your way with the Wehman camera, what film are you using with it. At 18 inches of bellows you were out there, what was the wind like? What is the maximum bellows extension for the camera? I still haven't selected a Feisol tripod for my use do you see yourself getting a heavier model now that you are doing 8x10 with larger lenses?

    Best,
    Curt
     
  24. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    Curt,

    I bought my Feisol for an Arca Swiss F-Line 4x5 so the 3342 works great and weighs under 3 pounds. I would consider it the absolute minimum for the Wehman. With the 3342 I might ditch the head and use the leveling base but I have not personally tried that. Were I to buy another (?), I would get the 3471 for the Wehman. I wish that Feisol made an ultralight. The wind was not too bad, a breeze but the camera was steady without any special care.

    The maximum bellows draw is 30.5 inches (~775 mm). Doubt I would do any front tilt at that point.
     
  25. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    With 30.5 inches of bellows you aren't limited by bellows that's for sure. I have a Calumet C1, a Seneca 8x10 and two Kodak 2D 8x10 cameras, it's still exciting to see that much of a scene on the gg. What are your impressions of 8x10 if you are new to the format?

    I have a 5x7 reducing back for the Calumet C1 but that only gets used for studio photography, I would not take it out in the field. I actually wouldn't take the Calumet away from the car. I have a nice restored 5x7 Kodak 2D with extension and it worked out well at Arches. My ultimate would be a 5x7 Ebony but it would bring an end to my 37 year marriage. :D I'm going to make a 5x7 field camera with the new Canham bellows I found on the eB** and some Deardorff parts but the Wehman is well worth looking at for 8x10.

    Do you know if there is a 5x7 back for the Wehman camera?

    I have a Beseler 45 and a Durst 138 that only needs a head, I was going for an 8x10 but I'm thinking about getting an Aristo 5x7 head and just doing 5x7 and smaller. I got a contact print frame for 8x10 and have been making some contact prints on Lodima, the sample I got. It makes for some nice images. I have 1000 sheets of Azo to use so enlarging 8x10 isn't necessary for me right now.

    I use Kodak hard rubber tanks and SS hangers for many but tray for a few sheets and have been using Pyrocat HD and Amidol for printing. I tried Ansco 130 from Formulary and the Lodima prints well with that too and it's less toxic to use.

    Good luck with the process,
    Curt
     
  26. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    I love the 8x10 format. The ground glass is a lot to take in and I need to slow down. I like it that it is more contemplative (at least for me) and forces me to think through. It is also a bit intimidating because of that so I look forward to more practice.

    Reducing backs are a great feature of the Wehman. Just supply him with a back of your choice and he will fabricate the reducing back. I bought a Sinar back (I have never seen one but assume they are good) from KEH, had them ship directly to him, and he is working on it now. I think I could squeeze down to 90 mm with minimal movements but no closer. But I could easily use the 450 with 4x5.

    Sell off the old stuff, get a Wehman and keep your wife. It is light enough that she might agree to carry it. I have been trying to cajole Mr. Wehman into making a Wehman 8x10 enlarger but I don't know if he will bite. I found a Beseler 8x10 conversion light source. Have not had a chance to use it but I fired it up, focused a negative, and it seems like it will work well. If you can find an 8x10 light source, go for it. You can still enlarge the 5x7 on it. Or, you could use the 8x10 camera for contact prints and the 5x7 for enlargements which will eventually result in the purchase of an 8x10 light source.