5x7 camera choice

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Well, after much deliberation, I've decided I would like to try working in 5x7 more regularly. While I have had some experience using an old Century Grand Sr. that I've modified, I now am in need of a camera that will function more like my Wisner Traditional 4x5. Logic would dictate that I simply buy a 5x7 version of that same model, but I'd like to get something light in weight and I know there are other cameras out there that might be worth considering. Rigidity and long bellows draw are a requirement. Anyone with Canham woodfield experience out there? Other suggestions? Oh, almost forgot, the Wisner only has a 115mm minimum on the bellows and that creates a problem for me in that I use a 110 XL.

-- Robert A. Zeichner (info@razeichner.com), May 27, 2002


Consider a 5x7 extension back for your 4x5 as it may fill the bill without purchasing another camera. If you need to get a new one consider a 5x7/4x5 Deardorff. 22-24 inches of bellows draw, easy to use and a standard by which all others are measured. Not too expensive depending on who you are buying from. Much more user friendly than many on the market.

-- Dan Smith (shooter@brigham.net), May 27, 2002.

I've had the hots for a 5x7 camera for some time. After studying everything I can find on the web and asking around, I decided to give myself a GANDOLFI Traditional for my 70th birthday (which comes up a lot sooner than I really wish). The quality is at least as good, and perhaps even better, than the Ebony, while the price is competative with Wisner and Canham, and the weight and rigidity are exceptional. Meanwhile, I've bought a 45/57 extension back from Dan Smith to tide me over.

-- Willhelmn (wmitch3400@hotmail.com), May 27, 2002.

I have a Canham Metal 5x7 camera.It is lighter than most of the wooden cameras,very rigid,and has 24 inches of bellows extension.I have the 4x5 reduction back for it,and they are developing a panoramic back for it 5x12 or larger I can't remember.Having the 600mm of bellows draw is a big advantage over trying to modify a 4x5 camera.I regularly use a 450 mm RD Artar which would be some what limited on a 4x5 bellows.The only wide angle lens I use is a 159 mm Extreme Wide Angle Velostigmat.I don't know how well it works with a lens needing a bellows.Good Shooting

-- asher galloway (asherg@bellsouth.net), May 27, 2002.

Check out the Canham all metal MQC (I think that is the designation). The 5x7 weighs about 5.5 pounds, will handle even a 90mm without wide-angle bellows, will take a 24" artar focused at infinity, and is very compact when folded up. I really like this camera, and have tried quite a few. I think his web page is www.canhamcameras.com. Worth a look. I'm totally getting out of 4x5 after using this camera for a while.


-- clay harmon (wcharmon@wt.net), May 27, 2002.

Robert, the original Canham would fit your requirements quite easily. It is a 5X7 chassis with a 4X5 reducing back. It can be found on the used camera market with the 5X7 back. Although it is called a wooden camera, the oiled walnut is more of a trim feature than an integral part of the construction. The focusing tracks are black anodized aluminum girders, not wood. You should be able to use your 110XL with a flat lensboard. Quality Camera in Atlanta may have one. Also, check with Midwest Photo Exchange in Columbus and Photomark in Phoenix. All, are View Camera mag. advertisers.

-- Eugene (TIAGEM@aol.com), May 27, 2002.

When I asked Dick Phillips some time ago whether he might be making a 5x7 version of the Compact II, he said no, citing possible problems with continued film availability. Since then it seems that the number of emulsions offered in this size has been stable (or even increased), and I sense more interest by photographers in what might be the perfect format. If anyone shares my desire for such a camera, please lobby Dick Phillips to produce it. He can be reached at rhphill@concentric.net.

-- Sal Santamaura (santamaura@earthlink.net), May 27, 2002.

Your impressions of Wisner are wrong. Here is two possibilities:

(1) With the technical, you can lean the front standard backward at a 45 degree angle keeping the lens board assemble vertical to achieve 0 minimum distance. Some people don't like doing this, but I do. This configuration allows me to easily grip the lens board assembly to apply tilts without using a bag bellows.

(2)The Wisner 5x7 Pocket Expedition is feature rich with full geared movements on both standards, 0 minimum distance, and only weights 4.9 lbs. My Wisner 4x5 Expedition weights 4.2 lbs. From my point of view you would be hard pressed to match the versatility of this camera. I do not have this camera yet, but I plan on ordering one soon. Wisner says 6 to 8 weeks, but I think his units are wrong knowing Wisner. Try 6 to 8 months.

Hope this helps.

-- Stephen Willard (willard@peakpeak.com), May 27, 2002.

I believe that, with a bag bellows, the minimum focus on a Wisner Technical 5x7 is a lot less than 115. Also, the flange focal length on the 110mm is 117, so it's possible that the 110mm will work with a standard bellows.

-- neil poulsen (neil.fg@att.net), May 27, 2002.


I have been using both 111mm and a 480mm on a 5x7 Wooden Canham with the MQC uber-bellows, and have only positive things to say about my set-up. It is light, I don't (ever) have to pack my bag-bellows, and it feels really comfortable to me. It is solid, although not "rock' solid--I have never had a problem with it, but at full extension it is a bit wobbly. At times I think I should have bought the metal MQC, which has more movements and is lighter, but then again, I really like looking at the wood, and this must count for something. They are difficult to find used, although MidWest had one last time I looked.

-- jason (sanford@temple.edu), May 28, 2002.


I have been using the wood Canham 5X7/4X5 for about a couple of years now. Very pleased for the most part. Weight is in the 6 pound range. Has plenty of bellows extension and plenty of movements - at least for me. I have used my Nikkor 90 on it. Rise can get a little tight, but a little is possible. I have the 4X5 back also. All in all, a very well made camera. And Keith Canham is a very helpful person if you ever have any questions.

-- Jim Becia (jimbecia@aol.com), May 28, 2002.

Deardorff of course! But where do you get those new ones Dan?

-- Jim Galli (jimgalli@lnett.com), May 29, 2002.

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