Canham 6x17 back update? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Haven't heard anything in the last 6 months or so about the status of the 6x17 back for the MQC.

Does anyone have an update?

(or better yet, an early review?)

-- Tim Klein (, June 27, 2001


I talked to Keith several weeks ago about the roll film back. He completed all of the design and testing and went to the manufacturer to get them started. Unfortunately, he is being forced to wait for the contractor to finish a very expensive spur of the moment machining job for another client that is tying up all of his equipment. He said that he hopes to start delivery of the roll film back around September. The price has not been finalized yet, but it should go for about $900-$1000. Hope this helps.

-- Michael Kadillak (, June 28, 2001.

Michael (or anyone else who might know)- Will this rollback fit any standard 5x7 (like a Calumet C-2 fits any 4x5) or will it only work on the MQC?


-- Mark Parsons (, June 28, 2001.

I believe it is unique to the Canham. As I understand, it will be attached to the camera in the space voided by decompressing the ground glass arms and removing the ground glass. There are two metal slides that are used to hold the 4x5 reducing back in place that will also serve to secure the roll film back.

Until we actually see a final production item, it would be pure speculation to assess its compatibility on other cameras.

-- Michael Kadillak (, June 29, 2001.

There are a couple of posts in the archive about it being a graflok style back that's compatible with the MQC.

(I must have missed the post originally because the description provided there is not at all what I had pictured in my mind. Michael Mutmansky's description states that the film advance is battery powered!)

-- Tim Klein (, June 29, 2001.

Well, the last prototype I saw had a 9volt battery and a small stepping (I think) motor, with a little microprocessor to set the proper film advance distance.

I had heard back in Feb or so that Keith had to redesign the back a bit because of a problem with the motor, I think he found the source unreliable.

Then, he was all ready to go with production, and the machining facility that does all his CNC machines started having production problems with their primary CMC machine. At that point, even running 24 hours a day, they were months behind.

That's the last I have heard. If Keith has gone to manual advance, I would be suprised, because he said the machining and design to do a geared advance mechanism would mean a huge increase in the price of the unit.

Lastly, Keith was talking about making a 6x17 camera front to fit the back, for you point and shooters out there. That's several years off, in my estimation.

You remove the MQC back, (a Graflock style attachment) and then replace the entire back with the 6x17 back. It does not slip under the GG. I think this makes a lot of sense, because the back is so easy to remove without jostling the camera. I do not know if the wood Canham will fit, but I can't imagine why Keith would make a back that was incompatable with his wood 5x7.

Finally, there's no reason a decent woodworker can't make an adapter frame to fit the 617 back to one of the Pandora's box of other cameras out there. Of course, each brand will need a different adapter.


-- Michael Mutmansky (, June 29, 2001.

OK. I just talked to Keith Canham on another subject and he was able to bring me up to speed on the roll film back. Here is the latest. September delivery. It will be a 9V battery operated advance system. It should be about $1,000. It will fit in any 5x7 camera (including Canham's wood 5x7 camera) behind the ground glass that has 1 1/2 inches of space for it to fit in. Most B&J, Deardorf or Agfa cameras have less than the minimum clearance of 1 1/2 inches. Should be easy to modify for most cameras. On the Canham metal 5x7, it will be graflok attached to the space where the ground glass is removed.

-- Michael Kadillak (, June 29, 2001.

I called Keith last week for a minor part and he mentioned than his machine shop subcontractor had received a directive (an order they couldn't refuse, legally) from the Pentagon to fabricate parts for some military system: ABM prototype, or a spy satellite, or some such malarkey. Naturally if true these people would have no incentive not to re-order parts remade 'til the cows come home. I wish I was a machinist.

For the moment I'll shoot 5x7 and crop the top and bottom.

-- skip roessel (, July 03, 2001.

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