View Full Version : Wehman 8x10

Juergen Sattler
7-Apr-2005, 07:01
I am contemplating the purchse of an 8x10 camera and have narrowed my selection to the Wehman and the Canham JMC810 (I already own the DLC45 and am very happy with it). What I can't find on Wehman's webpage is the minimum bellows draw. Could someone who owns a Wehman chime in and help me out? Also any comments about either the Canham or the Wehman would be greatly appreciated (I know there was a thread not long ago, but this is specific to the two cameras). Thanks.

Steve Hamley
7-Apr-2005, 08:00

I asked Bruce about minimum bellows when I was contemplating a purchase (and may yet). IIRC, the camera will use a SW-Nikkor 120mm but not a 110mm Schneider SS XL without vignetting a bit. So that would practically put the minimum bellows around 110mm to 120mm. Which ain't bad for a field camera!


7-Apr-2005, 10:19
I have used my SSXL 110mm with my Wehman, and didn't notice any vignetting. That is a very wide lens for 8x10, everything disappears off in the distance.

Don't be afraid to ask BruceW questions directly; he responds to emails. KeithC you would have to call.

The Canham will give you more movements and more extension. If you routinely use your 4x5 at its extremes, and expect to shoot similarly in 8x10, the Canham is the way to go. For instance if you are going to use a (non-telephoto) 800mm lens, because a 600mm isn't long enough.

The Wehman is quite bomb-proof when folded up, and has asymmetrical rear swing. IMHO the first feature is invaluable, and the second trivial, as I find normal (center) rear swing quite easy to perform; it's the tilt that is tricky. Also the price is a grand less. Unless you are shooting highrise architecture or table top, the movements should be adequate. I speculate that the Wehman may be more rigid, given its solid metal bed, but I have never handled the Canham so it's just a guess.

The Rube Goldberg aesthetic of the Wehman is not for everybody, though I appreciate it, whereas everybody can see the beauty of the Canham.

As I own a Wehman and have a Canham on order (though granted a wood model (11x14)), clearly I'm biased in favor of BOTH cameras!

Tony Karnezis
7-Apr-2005, 12:42
Chris, I envy you.

7-Apr-2005, 15:07
dear christopher hole punch,

please adopt me.



7-Apr-2005, 16:32
Hey, if you guys drove a 5-year-old Honda Civic like I do, you could splurge on nice cameras too! All us boys have our toys, and cameras are mine. Also I had to give up skiing (middle-aged knees), freeing up even more disposable income.

paul stimac
7-Apr-2005, 17:26
I have a Wehman and I use it with a 1200mm tele - a lot...as well as an 800mm. The aluminum shell that protects it so well folded is also the bed the plates lock together tightly and this makes it very stable - about as stable as my Calumet C1. I doubt the Canham is as stable. I could be wrong though, I have never used the Canham. Both will probably do the job just fine but the difference in price you'd save on the Wehman will buy lots of film.

Steve Hamley
7-Apr-2005, 19:20

The Canham certainly is uninspiring in the rigidity category, but in its defense, it took as sharp a picture as I've ever taken. Reportedly, when questioned about it's "limberness" Keith asks if it causes problems and no one's heard of any.

I sold mine because I didn't like the unconventional lever locks and parts falling off. But for a lightweight full-featured field camera, it is on the "short list" of 3 or 4 cameras.


8-Apr-2005, 08:58
Regarding the "parts falling off" issue, I must say I never took it seriously, until a knob fell off a 4x5 field camera of mine, and got lost. It was no laughing matter: the rigidity and structural integrity were compromised. No one is careless on purpose, but we all make mistakes, so optimally a camera would minimize the opportunities for mistakes, e.g. with knobs that don't come off.

I find the number of different knob designs astounding. The fact that they haven't become more or less standardized around a "best" design indicates to me that it is a non-trivial issue. Either that or it is a chance for the designer to have some fun.

Regarding the rigidity issue, KeithC makes an undeniable and important point: if your pictures come out okay, then the rigidity is sufficient. Then again, who wants to work with a floppy camera?

Kevin Crisp
8-Apr-2005, 10:16
The defacto standard on this forum for stability seems to be pushing on one standard or another with your thumb. I am not sure this relates to taking photos in the field. I've been using several models of Canham metal cameras for several years now, and the photos I have taken with long lenses in the wind have been plenty sharp. I do use a golf umbrella, a useful suggestion (like so many others) that I have gratefully derived from this forum. So while it is more flexible than others, my experience has been that this makes no difference in practice. I like the cameras, the bellows is great, having the flexibility of a monorail in a reasonably small and lightweight camera is a big plus. Great ground glass. Long extentions when necessary. As I have indicated in previous posts, the much complained about too weak detents on the front standard are not in my opinion problems. Once, I had an allen screw back out of one of the lever knobs. I put it back in and added a little lock-tite. It hasn't budged since. I do carry the small size allen wrench, taped in the back cover of my notebook, just in case this becomes an issue someday out in the field. I haven't needed it in three years, but it is there. It would take me 15 minutes or less to add a tiny bit of lock-tite to the allens set screws on the camera and prevent knobs from loosening, ever. I just haven't done it. If I had bothered to give the camera a once over before the trip where I had the one problem, I would have noticed it. Most of this doesn't apply to the JMC (8X10) anyway, which was the point of the original question. The JMC has round knobs instead of levers, I have not heard of the JMC knobs falling off or coming loose and I have not had any trouble with them. The JMC has a different method of securing the front and back standards perpendicular to the bed when you set it up, so if the detents on the DLC and MQC bothered you, that problem has been eliminated. It also appears that Keith has the message about more levels, since they are all over the place on the JMC. My only complaint about the JMC is the close proximity of the release knob and the focus knob, and this is only an issue at certain focal lengths. Once I figured out that just the slightest turn on the release knob locked the rear standard in place, this became a trivial issue for me and finger access is sufficient. I haven't seen or touched a Wehman. It sounds interesting.

Steve Hamley
8-Apr-2005, 10:32

Your point is well taken. My Canham traditional arrived sans one of the T-bars on the front standard, compromising the rigidity and integrity as you note. Then a few months later I was focusing on a waterfall and when I moved my hand away from the focusing knob, the knob came away with it. Fortunately I didn't lose anything but well could have. And lacking a tool, I was through for the day. And it doesn't have to be: the technology has existed for years to prevent loosening parts. In fact you can do it with Loctite, but you shouldn't have to. One of my friends shoots a Canham and told me he carries a tool for every fastener on the camera.

But this isn't why I sold mine. The limberness concerned me from the standpoint of what it would be like when it got some wear on it (maybe a valid concern and maybe not), and the ergonomic issues bothered me; the lever locks and the T-bars that are all the same when you're under the dark cloth. I ended up with a used like-new Ebony that weighed 1/2 pound more, has more traditional controls that are easily distiguished without looking at them, better ergonomics, and better rigidity for a price too good to pass up.

Still, if I were in the market for a light 8x10 field camera to hike with, the Canham would be a strong contender based on its features and performance. It is an excellent camera by any measure.


8-Apr-2005, 13:01
Do metal Canhams wear out? They have been around for a while, and I have yet to hear a report to that effect. OTOH, if it even just distracts you to worry about it, I would consider that a valid element of the decision-making process: avoid unnecessary worries.

Let me clarify that the knob I lost was NOT off a Canham.

If somebody who has used a metal Canham for 10 years or more would care to comment on its longevity, we would all gain from the knowledge.

Juergen Sattler
11-Apr-2005, 14:25
Just wanted to report back that I did decide to go with the Wehman - I just ordered it from Bruce - what a nice guy and so easy going. The main reason to chose the Wehman over the Canham was how bullet proof the camera is and price. I also called Jim at Midwest Photo exchange and he helped me pick a 300mm Fujinon f8.5 lens in a Copal 1 shutter. It is a very light lens with an 380mm image circle and should have enough room for movements (I do landscapes, not architecture) and has a 52mm filter thread and is very resonably priced. With the lens I am still below the price I would have paid for just the Canham.

Thank you for all your comments and suggestions. I will report back once I have the camera and had a chance to put some film through it.