View Full Version : K.B. Canham DLC2 4x5

20-Oct-2019, 02:03
Does anyone own this field camera?
I saw the video by Viewcamerastore's owner Fred Newman about this camera's functionalities and quirks and it looks pretty great. Considering the fact it's all metal it's pretty light. I like the fact it extends all the way to 510mm from 58mm without an optional extender like the Chamonixs. The double focus knobs and lock levers and the ability to move the back standard forward are also very appealing.
Since I'm up for an upgrade from my Intrepid, I was all sold on the Chamonix F2 until I saw this one. I just can't seem to justify the price though (will probably go over three thousand euros as there is only one importer in Germany).


Eric Woodbury
20-Oct-2019, 13:17
I had the first version. Sounds nearly the same as the second. It's an interesting camera. Light weight. Lots of movements. I used it with lenses from 47mm to 600mm tele. That's cool. But of all the 45s I've used, probably my least favorite. All my lenses were on Linhof type. So I built an adapter rather than change a dozen boards. As mentioned, plenty of movements; actually too many movements for me. I don't use that many for my work. Of course, everybody needs different stuff. Biggest problem is that setup is unconventional, tricky. As my friend called it, 'like a Chinese puzzle'. It is a puzzle, especially late in the day when it's getting dark and you're tired and cold.

After the Canham, I had an Ebony. It was a good camera too, but it was difficult to use with longer and shorter lenses. In the middle, it was great. Also a beautiful camera. Hated to sell it, but I now use a Chamonix. I have issues with it, too. So maybe I'm the problem. But it is fast to operate, works with all my lenses, very light weight, and didn't cost a fortune.

Good luck. e

20-Oct-2019, 15:16
Thanks Eric. I didn't know the Canham used a different size of lens board. I'm using some Linhof standards (copal 0 and 1) on my Intrepid so that would be a problem.
I was wondering if the holes in the frame of the back standard are threaded or simply made to reduce the total weight.
As always it would be better to test it out in person but these days it's just not possible.

20-Oct-2019, 15:22
good review at
Used one a few times and really didn't like it all that much (personal tastes for sure), but the owner loved it.

Eric Woodbury
20-Oct-2019, 15:50
The holes are not threaded and it would be a pain to thread anything. I believe the black coating on the camera frame is HARD anodize. It is hell on tools.

Cameras are like cars. Most people like the car they presently drive. After it is gone, they still like the one they presently drive.

Best camera is the one with film in it.


Peter Lewin
20-Oct-2019, 16:25
I have a DLC^2, originally a DLC and upgraded to the stronger rear standard. Unlike previous posters, I love it. The set-up may be different, but with practice it becomes second nature. I originally went to the Canham because it had packability similar to my wooden Wista, but the movements and range of my Sinar F. Like every view camera it makes compromises to achieve its “Swiss army knife” ability to cover many situations.

Now some specifics. Keith makes an adapter so that you can use Technika sized boards, so that is a easy issue to overcome. I use mine with lenses from 80mm through 300mm. You can handle the entire range with the standard bellows, but with the 80mm the bellows restricts displacements. For extensive use with that short lens it is worth getting the interchangeable bag bellows. Keith Canham himself is great to work with. When I broke my GG (which has an integral fresnel) Keith sent me a replacement immediately. When I complimented him on the speed, he says he wants his cameras out in the field, not awaiting repairs!

Michael Kadillak
20-Oct-2019, 17:22
I owned the 5x7 version of this camera and sold it. The reason why is I fundamentally do not feel a camera with only a relatively small base tension screw / compression screw is that is the small configuration on this and the 5x7 camera did not set well with me. I will be straight up in the fact that I am an engineer by degree and professions. There are exceptions in this regard. Case in point. My go to 8x10 camera is a Toyo tan 810M that has a base tightened screw. But the difference in the Toyo versus the Canham metal cameras is simply "compression surface area" that overcomes the issues of operating pressure on it when making photographs. The Toyo 810M has a very large make up screw and is rock solid because the base screw is large and has a large screw "compression" area. Bottom line is my replacement camera in 5x7 / 4x5 format is a Canham wood that has a support arm that adequately supports the back that gives me comfort that it will function as intended. Just something to consider as a photographer.

jose angel
21-Oct-2019, 00:12
I have the original DLC which is almost the same. I wonder if the bubble levels on the v.2 are a real advantage. After years using several cameras I found the DLC to be the most versatile field camera I have ever had, but also slow to use and to "fine setup" (I don`t mean to open/close the camera but to place the standards actually parallel and to set the right bellows distance to a given lens). Other than this, is capable of almost everything. If needed, you just have to find and perform your own configuration procedures (I always carry a small square, measuring tape and a separate bubble level for that task).
Michael is right, but I don`t find it wobbly or awkward to lock the rear standard on my 4x5; not the greatest feel, but it simply works. The whole camera controls are not the smoothest, nor the biggest, but they work. It is made for field versatility; a Sinar definitely have much better controls but size and weight is certainly different.
"Classic" two knob rear focusing, compact size, a really versatile bellows, etc. are great features.

But if I'm sincere, I use to work with technical cameras (press or flatbed type cameras); much faster to use, way more positive locks, much tighter feel, better to be carried, etc. At the end, I use two lenses maybe 95% of the times, three at much, nor too long or too short. If I want to use, say, a +400mm lens, I have to take the DLC (if not in the field, I prefer a monorail).
And as said, you can always use Technika type lensboards for your cameras, via adapters. Here I use to disagree, I usually avoid adapters in certain cameras, one is the DLC (btw, I think the choice of the Toyo 110 type board was a wise decision for the DLC). It will depend on your lenses.

21-Oct-2019, 04:01
I have both cameras, and I like the Chamonix more. There is nothing seriously wrong with the DLC2. The Chamonix was simply easier to operate, feels like its better made, and represents a better value.