View Full Version : Screen for Canham 810 Traditional

Steve Howard
10-Aug-2004, 06:50
I am wondering if anyone has tried a different focusing screen than the standard groundglass that comes with the Canham 8x10 Traditional? I noticed that Canham sells an 8x10 fresnal, and am wondering if anyone has any experience with it? How about the Ebony 8x10 fresnal? Would it fit a Canham? Has anyone tried a Bosscreen?

Richard Fenner
10-Aug-2004, 07:00
Hi Steve

There are many posts on this topic - a good starting point is on the Recent Topics page (see top left of the page): at the bottom under the questions, you'll find the questions categorised. Try 'Focussing, Screens'. Or alternatively, just a search on any of the topics Boss screen (as one or two words, I noticed), or fresnel, or Maxwell, will produce many answers. The topics list is a good start for most issues, and the search box produces answers perhaps mis-filed!

Michael Kadillak
10-Aug-2004, 07:42
When I acquired my Canham 8x10 traditional used, I had a long phone conversation with Keith Canham about focusing screens and fresnels. The camera came with an early version of his fresnels that provided very even illumination, but I found that there was a very small angle of view when focusing the camera that was not the optimal situation for me (particularly with wide angle lenses). Just prior to acquiring the wooden Canham camera, I have a friend that purchased the new metal Canham 8x10 camera and I had an opportunity to experience the new version of Keiths fresnel first hand and really liked it. As a result of this very positive experience and considering the benefits of having the camera manufacturer make the back modifications to accept his new fresnel/glass combination, I had Keith put one of these on my camera and it has worked out great. Even though Canham Cameras is busy as hell these days, my camera came back to me in a little over a week. How's that for customer service?

The new fresnel does have a bit of illumination falloff in the corners, but it has a broader angle of view with the focusing loup and I really like the course image grain for focusing. view.

Before you install any focusing screen/fresnel combo on your camera, I would recommend that you find a dealer or someone that has one you are considering and try it out with various lenses and lighting conditions. Only then will you find out what works for you because a LF camera glass/fresnel combination is a subjective personal decision.


Steve Hamley
10-Aug-2004, 09:12

I used to own a Canham 8x10 traditional, and the back is built so that a Maxwell fresnel is a "drop in". The back has a shelf underneath the GG that is the proper depth for a fresnel of the proper thickness - the Maxwell is according to Keith and Bill, and I'm assuming the one Keith supplies is also correct and may even be made by Maxwell.

BTW, I traded the camera and the Maxwell fresnel is at Midwest if you want it.


Diane Maher
10-Aug-2004, 10:01
Out of curiosity, why did you trade in the Canham?

Steve Hamley
10-Aug-2004, 11:28

A combination of things actually. I'm used to a more conventional 4x5 (Ebony) and I found the Canham's ergonomics - controls and levels - difficult to get used to, and this was probably the biggest factor. I'd also choose a Deardorff over the Canham if it were "tight" for the same reason. I also noted as have many others, that the back does not lock down very solidly, although admittedly I never had a problem with it. Finally, as others have noted, parts tend to fall off unless you Lock-Tite them or carry tools to fit every fastener on the camera (and I know someone who does with his 5x7 traditional).

It's a wonderfully capable camera, and if you "grew up" using Canhams there would be no question that this would be the 8x10 of choice.

I ended up with a mint used Ebony SV810 with a 5x7 and 4x5 reducing back, all of which were still in the boxes for marginally more than a new Canham with no reducing back(s). The Ebony is as well specified and considerably more rigid, the levels are by far better, and the ergonomics more conventional. And it's within a half-pound of the Canham.


Brian Ellis
11-Aug-2004, 05:45
I used a BosScreen on my former 8x10 Deardorff and liked it a lot. I've always preferred the BosScreen to the Fresnels I've had, the BosScreen provides even illumination without any noticeable light falloff regardless of the lens focal length, you're not locked into looking at the screen from one particular position, and it's also is easier to focus since it doesn't have the lines of a Fresnel. I've had two cameras with Fresnels that I sold before replacing the Fresnels with a BosScreen. Otherwise I've replaced whatever screen came on each camera I've owned with a BosScreen. I photograph in Florida and the heat/humidity hasn't been a problem with the wax. I don't photograph in real cold weather so I don't know about that.

I had a delivery problem with the last one I ordered (it took about six months to arrive) but I understand the financial problems that the company had and that supposedly caused that problem have now been solved. If you order a BosScreen through Bromwell Marketing, the U.S. distributor, you might discuss delivery dates with Ted Bromwell, he's a very nice guy and very honest I think.