8X10 cameras: Phillips, Canham, Ebony..???

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Any experienced user comments on the Phillips Compact II vs. Canham vs. Ebony as far as quality of construction, rigidity, and ease of use are concerned?

-- Mark Nowaczynski (archivalprints@home.com), October 26, 1999


All three are extremely well made and designed. I have a hard time imagining anyone except a dealer who'd have enough extensive experience with any two of these cameras much less all three to give you a good user's comparison. I like Keith Canham's philosophy about how cameras should feel, work & look, and how that philosophy is expressed in the design and construction of his cameras, but have no experience of the other two. I have read that earlier this year Phillips stopped making cameras larger than 4x5.

-- Ellis Vener (evphoto@insync.net), October 27, 1999.

I e-mailed Phillips and they assured me that they do continue to make two different 8X10 cameras (Compact II and Explorer). They no longer make 11X14 cameras, but the purported demise of their 8X10 models was an incorrect extrapolation and hence only a rumour. Phillips only sells direct to the customer and therefore dealer experience and support is non existant. The US distributors of Ebony only import 4X5 cameras and hence again there is no possibility to obtain any dealer input on the elusive 8X10. Canhams are more widely available. The end user therefore is the only source of experience and wisdom regarding the intruiging Phillips and Ebony offerings...

-- Mark Nowaczynski (archivalprints@home.com), October 27, 1999.

Have you contacted Ted Bromwell? When I was first shopping for an 8 X 10 he sent me exhaustive info on the Ebony 8" X 10", including the price.

-- Sean yates (yatescats@yahoo.com), October 27, 1999.

Badger Graphics sells 8 X 10 Ebony Cameras, quoted me a price and a time to delivery, all within the last week. The guy with whom I spoke there(sorry, I'm not great with names) spoke pretty knowledgeably about Ebony cameras, and did seem to have experience with them. I would call Badger about this if you want to know more. The price, as noted elsewhere in this forum, is somewhat of a deterent. Their (cheaper) mahogany model is $US5500, and the ebony one is $US6300 in 8 X 10. It did seem to me that it might offer some advantages over the Wisner Expedition/Pocket Expedition. I will post further if I do end up getting any hands-on experience with the Ebony camera in 8 X 10.

-- Nathan Congdon (ncongdon@jhmi.edu), October 27, 1999.

The 8 x 10 Phillips is superb, my standard 8x10. It is light, compact, rigid. Plus,it uses the same lensboards as my Sinar (studio work). I've also got an 8x10 Wisner expedition, which larger and heavier than the Phillips, and no more rigid. Also, the Wisner requires an odd size lensboard.

-- J C Metcalf (jocome@cris.com), October 31, 1999.

Hate to confuse you even more... I use the Toyo 810MII, more solid than all the above, the company offers every accessory, local support which is excellent. The only drawback is wieght...15lbs and size, almost 15"x 15" x 5.5", not the most back pack friendly, however, it does offer a choice of horizontal or vertical on the back, which is very nice. The other drawback is, unlike Wisner, there is no way to hold it, i.e. no handle. Good luck...

-- Bill Glickman (Bglick@pclv.com), November 01, 1999.

I would go with a Canham, but if you are really comparing take a look at Lotus and Wisner as well. All are nice cameras. But having had the chance to work with Canham, Lotus and Wisner in formats from 8x10 to 20x24, side by side, my personal choice would be Canham or Lotus. You wouldn't go wrong with any of the main three & Wisner is highly thought of by those who use them.

-- Dan Smith (shooter@brigham.net), November 01, 1999.

Bill's post seems to imply that the Phillips Compact II doesn't have a reversing back. It does. I own one, and am extremely pleased with its rigidity, especially considering the weight of 7.8 pounds. This camera and attached Kirk quick release plate, along with four holders and a BTZS focus cloth, drops right in to the top compartment of a Kelty Super Tioga pack. Three mounted Fuji lenses, each having 52mm filter rings, filters, meter, jacket, lunch and water occupy the other compartments, with room to spare. A Gitzo 1325 Mountaineer (with spiked end sections from the 1338) topped by an Arca B-1 - - that's right, 1, not 2 - - travels in my hands, switching from side to side as necessary. This is an amazing setup, easily managable even by a lightweight like me. If you have any intention of carrying your 8x10 some distance into the field, IMHO, there is no better choice.

-- Sal Santamaura (bc_hill@qwestinternet.net), November 01, 1999.

Dear Phillips Users,

Thank you all for your input. I am beginning to get the sense that the Phillips Compact II 8X10 camera is an undeservedly unknown gem with a loyal and enthusiastic following. It appears to be light enough to be used with a medium sized ballhead (Arca Swiss B1) on a medium weight tripod (Gitzo 340) yielding a very portable system.

I am interested in environmental portraiture (210 mm lens) and portraiture with a 360 mm lens. Can the camera handle such a heavy lens with good rigidity at the longer bellows extensions required for relatively tight shots?

Regards from Toronto,

Mark Nowaczynski

-- Mark Nowaczynski (archivalprints@home.com), November 02, 1999.

As a Phillips user for the over 5 years, I have yet to find a lens or lens and bellows combination it cannot support with absolute rigidity. Many of my lenses are in #5 shutters and weigh in excess of 2.5#; never a movement due to the camera. You will likely doubt the rigidity capable in a Phillips until you try it.There is no other camera like them in the world. The Phillips is a photographer's camera.

-- michael jones (michaelwardjones@worldnet.att.net), November 04, 1999.

May I use the opportunity to ask is there anywhere in the net more information, e.g some pictures about Phillips 8x10? Tryed, but couldn't find. Thanks. Jan

-- Jan Eerala (jan.eerala@itameri.net), November 04, 1999.

I was friendly mailed a German site where's pictures of the 8x10. The url is: http://www.mono-c.de/fotograf/compactll.htm and the Dick Phillips email address is rhphill@concentric.net

-- Jan... (jan.eeral@itameri.net), November 05, 1999.

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