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  1. #21

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    Well said Michael. I have only used the Canham 4x5, and I must agree with almost everything that has been opined. All cameras have pros and cons. Keith has built his camera to be as light weight as possible, and to allow the use of as many lenses as practical without the use of a bag bellows. One must get used to the controls, and such controls must be carefully locked before the film holder is inserted ( as is the case with all LF cameras of course ). Of the controls that are more prone to be over looked I have found the lever controlling rear swing to need checking regularly or a small bit of play will make the edges of the negative a bit soft. However the camera is quick and easily set up and collapsed, has more movements that most of us will use, and is certainly cost effective. Indeed, that auction site almost always has a selection of Canham cameras in good condition, and serious money can be saved. Moreover, Keith himself often answers the phone, and is available to help and advise.

    Edwin

  2. #22

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    Now the wait for it to arrive. Hopefully tomorrow will be the day.

    It seems as though the negative comments have been from folks that don't have much experience with LF. Most all the experienced users are very pro Canham. The Canham company sounds much like the old Deardorff company in Chicago. My 8x10 is a rare one that there were only 5 made. It originally has a no FS model and i wanted to add the front swing standard. I called Deardorff one day (back in the mid 70's) and Jack Deardorff answered the phone. I told him what I wanted to do and he explained that there were only 5 cameras in a transition that had the correct dimensions and they knew where three of the cameras were. I measured the camera on his request and shure enough I had number four. I sent a check for the parts and after a couple of month they hadn't come. I called again and jack answered the phone. He explained that the metal parts had come form the plating company but weren't up to their standards. He said they should be back and shipped in a couple of weeks. He was correct and the parts arrived and fit like a glove. About a month later I received a call from Jack asking if everything was to my satisfaction and I said it was. Jack then said I will now deposit your check. What a great company that would wait untill the customer is satisfied fegore depositing the check. Sounds like Canham is in the same class. Not many companies like this today.

  3. #23

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    Let us know how you do, and your experience with your new Canham! Regarding the negative comments....I read on APUG once that many negative comments regarding equipment, film, chemicals, etc. were thought to issue from those who have never used the equipment or materials being criticised...

    Edwin

  4. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mahler_one View Post
    Let us know how you do, and your experience with your new Canham! Regarding the negative comments....I read on APUG once that many negative comments regarding equipment, film, chemicals, etc. were thought to issue from those who have never used the equipment or materials being criticised...

    Edwin
    On the other hand some negative comments emerge from extensive experience with the equipment and materials. I have owned ( and used) several Canham cameras, including 7X17 and 12X20 wood models, and metal and wood 5X7. Therefore, you should assume that my comments are based on use.

    With respect to the metal versus wood 5X7, I would recommend the wood version. The metal 5X7 has many wonderful features, but it also has a couple of flaws that are very undesirable.

    One of the flaws is the single lock down feature on the rear that holds the back to the base. Another is the method in which the levers tighten down. If you don't tighten down enough, the bed moves. If you tighten down too much, you ruin the mechanism. On the other hand, the camera is very light, with almost unlimited movements, and has a great bellows. It is also very intuitive in use, i.e. you tighten down levers on the front to lock the front, and levers on the back to lock the back.

    The 5X7 wood Canham, by contrast, is not very intuitive at all. You tighten knobs on the rear and rack from the front, or tighten knobs on the front and rack from the rear. On the whole I would classify it as a very quirk camera that demands a lot of practice to use optimally.

    Good thing is that the 5X7 wood Canham locks down very easily, has a wide range of movements, and great bellows draw.

    On a range of 1-10, I rate the metal Canham 7.5, the wood version about 9.0.

    Sandy King
    Last edited by sanking; 02-19-2008 at 06:32 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  5. #25

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    Sorry to have gotten under your wig Mahler_1. I thought the OP wanted honest opinions, even if they run afoul with the fan club. But clearly once you've ponied up several grand for a camera this is no longer the case - at least for the time being.

    It's entirely possible I got a dog and that not all of his cameras are as poorly put together as mine. It turned out that the front and rear standards diverged 7/100th's of a degree from parallel - something that can be disastrous for critical focus at large aperatures...especially for landscapes enlarged really big

  6. #26

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    ...but what really drove me bananas was not only that Keith couldn't find this problem but that he lacked the tools necessary to diagnose it. The good news is that this experience got me into using monorails again and now I'm safe in the arms of a nice bench camera that when placed in its zero detents is actually zeroed out.

  7. #27

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    Oct 2002
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    Sandy....with your reputation as a LF photographer and innovator I take everthing you say very seriously! And frotog...absolutely no sweat;you did not get under my very necessary wig at all. Heck, if we can't have friendly and informative discussions here, then what is the use of this thread? Its hard to believe, and very upsetting, that Keith was unable to diagnose and fix the problem with your camera. I have no affiliation with Keith, and was merely giving you my own limited observations. As was stated, no one camera can be all things to all people. Moreover, I did point out the annoying problem with the rear shift lever. In addition, Keith's cameras certainly don't have the sense of rigidity that one gets when working with an Ebony. However, once one knows the idiosyncracies of the Canham camera then one can learn to live with them because the advantages that Sandy and others alluded to makes the Canham a reasonable choice. I think that Sandy's point about over tightening of some of the levers has been noted by Keith because the newer cameras ( I think ) incorporate a "post" that prevents over tightening of the levers. It may well be that Keith can retrofit the "limit posts" ( my words, not Keith's ) if the camera is sent back to him. Worth a call if the over tightening is a problem.

    Sandy...with your extensive experience, if you were to suggest an "all purpose 4x5 field camera" now would you care to share your choice with us? Thanks.

    Ed

  8. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mahler_one View Post

    Sandy...with your extensive experience, if you were to suggest an "all purpose 4x5 field camera" now would you care to share your choice with us? Thanks.

    Ed
    If cost were an issue I would consider a Shen-Hao. The Tachihara is in the same cost range but of the two I prefer the Shen-Hao. If cost not an issue, an Ebony would be tempting.

    Sandy King

  9. #29

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    I'll chime in and add that I have been using the new Chamonix 4x5 for the past month to write review on it and have come to the conclusion that of all the 'budget' priced 4x5's it is my clear favorite. If cost is not an issue I'd take another tack. Look at the available metal fields such as the Toyo AX and AII also Linhofs, Horseman and Wista.

    The Ebony is a beautiful camera but IMO it is over engineered and way more complicated than it needs to be. I used one for a while a few years ago and was underwhelmed.

  10. #30
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    Ted- I think it sounds like the Ebonys are more like Rolls Royces - Rolls Royce describes their vehicles as "over-engineered", but as a critic once put it in a car magazine, they're "overbuilt and under-engineered". The Ebonys are overbuilt so they don't have to be engineered to the same degree that a Canham or a Linhof has.

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