View Full Version : Phillips Compact 8x10 Original

22-Feb-2015, 08:46
What is it about these cameras that they demand the prices they do. They were very basic cameras (compared to the II) so is there something special other than weight or is it cult status?

Daniel Stone
22-Feb-2015, 09:16
Lightweight, rigid, and dead simple. "Cult status" helps too. They were not "small" production runs, but they were no Deardorff in terms of numbers, either.
Very nice cameras. If I were to get back into 8x10, I'd probably search one out.

Marco Milazzo
22-Feb-2015, 09:50
I had a Phillips 8X10 (can't remember which model), and sold it because it gave me an inferiority complex. I'll eventually replace it with something I feel equal to.

22-Feb-2015, 09:54
They take better pictures than any other field camera. besides mine.

22-Feb-2015, 10:01
I know Linda Connor had one of the blonde originals, I can definitely understand the benefits for someone traveling as she did.

Kirk Gittings
22-Feb-2015, 11:18
I've played with that 8x10 but own a 4x5. Sugimoto uses one too http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/09/arts/design/hiroshi-sugimoto-at-the-american-museum-of-natural-history.html?pagewanted=all. I have also managed to destroy a couple of wooden 4x5s so......all the Phillips are rigid as hell, elegantly simple in function, relatively light and made of extremely durable materials.

22-Feb-2015, 12:09
They take better pictures than any other field camera. besides mine.

I feel exactly the same way about my camera.

Drew Wiley
23-Feb-2015, 14:41
Since I own serial no. 9 of all of Phillips' production, I know a thing or two about these. I made a few critical hardware modifications myself; but otherwise the camera has held up superbly after all these years of outdoor use. It is wonderfully simple and functional - no nonsense - which is exactly why Dick Phillips first described it as an INEXPENSIVE entry-level 8x10! For what they go for used nowadays I could literally buy a minor CNC rig, a small milling machine, and the
startup materials to mass-produce them. ... which is what Chamonix has essentially done. I like this early version the best, although I do need to use a slight
tophat extension in order to shoot my 600C Fujinon. It's fast to set up and relatively stable in the wind. No rear swing. I have a Sinar for when I need all the bellsn' whistles.

Oren Grad
23-Feb-2015, 15:37
Lightweight, rigid, and dead simple.


A replica of the original Compact design ought to be quite a bit simpler and less expensive to build than the Compact II sort-of-clones sold by Chamonix and Shen Hao. Maybe someone will be inspired to give it a try.

Drew Wiley
23-Feb-2015, 16:23
The trick was the custom-made plywood he used, which was a combination of some kind of ligthwt blonde wood and cherrywood laminated to fiberglass, then
impregnated with penetrating epoxy. Nowadays one could substitute carbon fiber to the layers, as Chamonix had done. The specific hardware changes I made I
discussed with Dick, but by then he was already working up his model II design. I prefer the original, with my modifications of course. The groundglass was Satin
Snow. The problem with epoxy resin is that it will break down if continuously exposed to UV, unpainted. This has not been an issue for me because the camera
always goes back into the pack after each shot. His later cameras were obviously painted black.

1-Apr-2015, 16:48
I would like to thank Dick Phillips for his contribution to photography in producing a lightweight ,rigid, and functional large format camera. I'm moving from 4x5 to the 8x10 format and look forward to using the compact II #552