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Thread: 8x10 opinions - Phillips Compact II or Wehman?

  1. #1

    8x10 opinions - Phillips Compact II or Wehman?

    Greetings LFers

    Knowing the full risk of possibly raising the ire of everyone who hates camera comparison questions, I am taking the chance and asking for any opnions of the Wehman field camera vs. the Phillips Compact II. Any takers from anyone who has experience with both? I'm searching for a strong, relatively "lightweight" alternative to my Deardorff. Thanks for any responses. Regards, John

  2. #2
    Whatever David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    Honolulu, Hawai'i

    8x10 opinions - Phillips Compact II or Wehman?

    I'm always surprised at how lightweight Deardorffs are. Are you sure you can't trim a little weight elsewhere in the kit?

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jun 2002

    8x10 opinions - Phillips Compact II or Wehman?

    Isn't it more a matter of fit and finish, pride of ownership, etc.? Both are great cameras but one's a more like a sports car and the other is a like dune buggy.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Knoxville, Tennessee

    8x10 opinions - Phillips Compact II or Wehman?

    The Phillips certainly seems to be a trendier camera. IIRC, the Wehman has a considerably longer bellows if that's a factor, and is well suited to rough use according to Bruce.

    Other nice options are the Canham traditional or lightweight (9.4 and 8.4 lbs), the Ebony RW810 (10 lbs), and if you can get one used or money is no object, the mahoghany Ebony SV810 (about 11 lbs). The SV810 is considerably lighter than either of the two Deardorffs I've owned, but not much difference than the Canham traditional.


  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jan 2001

    8x10 opinions - Phillips Compact II or Wehman?

    You can have the Wehman for Christmas. You can have the Phillips for Christmas Next Year. (Maybe.)
    Wilhelm (Sarasota)

  6. #6

    8x10 opinions - Phillips Compact II or Wehman?

    Having lived true to the motto "Moderation in NOTHING", I have owned a lot of cameras, four or five 8x10s and all manner of smaller ones.
    Check out the kit: Are you a long trekker? If not, camera weight is insignificant compared to:

    tripod, lenses, how many 8x10 holders does it take to weigh 10 lbs, etc.

    It boils down to format size more than a particular camera. I use 8x10 and 5x7, and the 5x7 seems like nothing after a day of 8x10, but I still use mostly 8x10.

    there ain't no perfect camera

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Dec 1997
    Baraboo, Wisconsin

    8x10 opinions - Phillips Compact II or Wehman?

    With 4x5 I think it makes sense to worry about camera weight if you're walking with it. But 8x10 is so big and heavy with other things (film holders, probably bigger lenses, boards, tripod, backpack, etc.) that I'm not sure a camera weight difference of even 3 or 4 pounds makes much of a difference. I used to own a Deardorff that weighed about 12 pounds, now I own a Kodak 2D which weighs about 10 pounds and I sure don't notice any difference when the pack is fully loaded and on my back.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  8. #8
    tim atherton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 1998

    8x10 opinions - Phillips Compact II or Wehman?


    I think it can do - it probably depends how obssessive you are... (and what your goals are)

    Although i do many other things with it, my inital aim with 8x10 was to be able to put the camera over my shoulder on the tripod and walk around for a few hours making urban landscapes (I now also do much the same making forest scrubscapes or along the shoreline)

    Originally I hade a Dorff - mine was something over 13lbs. With a strong/sturdy enough tripod and head to support it, that came to about 23+ lbs - then there were 3 or possibly 4 lenses in bigger boards, plus 5 max film holders.

    Now, with a Phillips 8x10 + lighter tripod/head it comes in at around around 15lbs (and with my new Explorer will be around 12lbs). Lighter film holders means they either weigh less for just 5 or I can more easily carry 8 or 10 for close to the same weight. Lenses are in smaller Technika boards.

    (Also - most of my lenses have always tended towards smaller/lighter - 159mm Wollensak, 210mm kowa, 450mm Fuji - even the 250mm Fuji isn't too large. By comparison, the 165mm SA is massive and only goes along when I know I really might wanrt it - and the 12" Ektar is in between)

    I find my current set-up is much more easily carried around and useable than the Dorff set-up - overall, probably 10lbs+ lighter at best - for me that makes a big difference - carrying a kit around for a few hours that weighs maybe 20lbs+ rather than 30lbs+
    You'd be amazed how small the demand is for pictures of trees... - Fred Astaire to Audrey Hepburn blog

  9. #9

    8x10 opinions - Phillips Compact II or Wehman?

    Thanks for the reponses.

    I guess my perspective is a bit different from more experienced LF photographers. I primarily shoot 35mm or 2 1/4, where a net weight savings of 8 or 10lbs is a big, big deal.

    I'm fairly new to 8x10-- shooting for about two years, long enough to know that I'd like to stick with it. If weight is the only thing I don't like about the format, there's no harm in trying to improve the situation as much as I can, especially if it's going to bring me more enjoyment. That's how I'm rationalizing it.

    I settled on the Wehman and Phillips because of their touted rigidity, ease of handling, and weight. The Canham I tried and fairly liked but passed on because I did not like the knobs. I imagine that the Wehman would set up a little faster than the Phillips. The 4" bellows difference between the two cameras isn't such a factor for me as I tend to use short- to medium- lenses. The cost difference of $1000ish is significant but because I'm seeing this as a long-term investment I'm trying not to let this influence me too much.

  10. #10

    8x10 opinions - Phillips Compact II or Wehman?

    John, I am coming from where you have been, a 35mm/6x7 user (and 4x5), and several months ago began using 8x10. I have no experience with the Wehman, but from what I have read from owners they all like it very much, and consider it to be 'bullet-proof' in construction.

    I was fortunate enough to purchase a Phillips 8x10 Explorer (5.9 lbs) from Dick Phillips with only a two month wait, the result of a phone inquiry at the right time. It is a superbly constructed camera, and a pleasure to use. The lack of weight compared to the previous 8x10 I had bought, a Tachihara (about 11lbs), is considerable. I am from a photojournalism background, and so assembling a kit that is as light as possible was a priority. If your needs are similar then you will not regret buying a Phillips.

    You commented about the Canham. I am not familiar with them, but a professional acquaintance of mine, who over the last two years has become well known for his 8x10 color photographs and was invited to join a legendary photo agency, had this to say in a recent correspondence: "I love the Phillips. I recently bought a Canham and it is just too slow and complicated. It does more, but without the simple elegance of Phillips."

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