View Full Version : Canham JMC810 vs Wood

Richard Fenner
2-Jul-2004, 17:53
Cost aside, is there a reason people would choose one over the other? They're both light-ish, the wood camera has more movements (inc rear swing and shift, unlike the JMC, but I rarely use these movements). Wood front tilt is axis and base, metal is base only (I prefer axis). Wood has slightly longer bellows, but both are adquate. Aesthetics are different, but are irrelevant to me. Strength - If I knock my Toyo 810M down in the field, and the gg is intact, I pick it up (just the once, really!) and run so nobody sees the damage I've done to the ground - will the JMC survive better than the wood, or will it bend? Other comments?

I hope this fits alongside Chris Jordan's recent query about the (less common) Phillips 8x10.


2-Jul-2004, 18:28
The JMC is very elegantly designed, but not all that rigid. I don't think it would do well when dropped to the ground.

Michael Kadillak
2-Jul-2004, 19:12
I own a wood Canham 8x10 and have a friend that has the metal version. The metal offering is clearly a great camera but make no mistake about it - it was designed to be a less expensive alternative to appeal to those that cannot cough up $3,500 for the wooden one. In this regard, it has its unique qualities to accomplish this objective such as only fixed back with only tilt.

The focusing/tightening knobs of this camera IMHO are not in the optimal position and require some getting used to, but if taking abuse was a dominant criteria in selecting a model, I would always take a metal camera over a wooden any day of the week for obvious reasons.

I must confess that given a choice with cost being secondary, I would much rather have all camera movements that I could ever need rather than compromise - weight being equal. My Canham wood 8x10 is my main camera for the field and it did not require lensboard changes from my Toyo 810M. Give one a try for yourself, and it will be an easy decision.


Richard Fenner
5-Jul-2004, 15:55
Looks like I chose a bad weekend to ask the question! It seems the metal doesn't really have anything over the wood - by strength, I was just wanting to make sure I got something which wouldn't complain at being regularly used in the field under less than ideal circumstances, rather than something I can mistreat.

Michael, I also have the Toyo 810M, but I hate the large panels (they take up a lot of backpack space), so I bought the adaptor and keep it almost permanently on the Toyo, with the lenses on Technika boards. I have to use the 150/8 SW on the larger board, but it fits nicely into my back as just one larger board. I'm after the Canham as something to let me go slightly further than I'm comfortable with when using the Toyo. This has meant rethinking some of the gear in the back, and I've been able to take out about 12lb (inc. the weight loss with the Canham), which should help a lot.

Michael Kadillak
6-Jul-2004, 10:51
The dominant weight criteria for me with 8x10 is not the lens panels but the film holders. Put a half dozen holders in a case and that will be nearly a load into itself. The second criteria for me are the lenses themselves. That is why I have both a 450 Nikon and a 450 Fuji C. The Fuji C is about as small as they come although I prefer the Nikon results just a tad bit more.

I deal with the Toyo lens panels in a Gnass case that I carry in my hand in the field and personally like a large smooth surface to work the f-stop ring from behind the camera when watching the image rather than fumbling blind and getting hung up on adapter fixtures. It works for me.

While out shooting yesterday I used the significant rear shift on my Canham wooden camera twice with great success and would be lost without it if I had the fixed metal camera from Canham.


Richard Fenner
6-Jul-2004, 11:33
Michael I agree about the weight of film holders - one of my compromises was to stop insisting on carrying typically 8 holders with me!

Diane Maher
28-Jul-2004, 16:28
I use the Gnass gear film holder file for my 8x10 holders. I know, I don't have eight. Actually, I do have six, but a couple of them have light leaks, so I'm down to four. The file only holds three, but when folding this past weekend, I was able to put the fourth one in there loose. The velcro holds the file closed and can be hung from the bottom handle of my 3047 tripod head.

I've been considering getting a Canham wood 8x10 camera, so it's good to see a user describe it here. Thanks Michael! Right now, I have an Ansco, which works well enough, but having the rear bed between me and the glass is rather a pain. I saw someone at a workshop with a 5x7 wood Canham with a 4x5 back and I thought it looked pretty nice. He had no problems using it and liked it.

Richard Fenner
29-Jul-2004, 02:43
Thanks Diane and Dan. I have acquired a Canham 8x10, and it came with serious damage right out of the box. The seller is known and well-liked, but I still think that with no damage to the box itself, the packer damaged it before boxing it. It's currently being repaired (seller offered full refund).

For transporting holders, I prefer to keep everything in one backpack, and to hold the tripod in one hand. The new Super Trekker AWII (super-sized, super-heavy, and super-expensive) comes with a daypack which clips onto the front. I find that with my full gear in the pack, I can get another three holders in the pack itself, and six more in the daypack, which is exactly the right size to firmly hold this many holders. But I'm cutting down on holders to save weight, hence the move to the Canham instead of the Toyo.

That said, with this damage, it might be a false economy to save weight - if I experience such damage in the field, it could be inconvenient! I'm always going to carry glue capable of repairing walnut with me, just in case.