View Full Version : Tachihara 8x10 vs Canham 8x10

10-Aug-2006, 10:10
I'm looking at what's actually available out there at the moment (from web inventories) and these two are. The Tachi is about $1400, the Canham is $3500. Both look pretty good in the few picks available and appear to have similar movements. At 110x110 it looks like my Toyo AX lensboards might fit the Canham, where I would need some kind adaptor board for the Tachi. Both have had reported here some rigidity issues at 8x10 (I think I saw some comments to that effect here). So here's my questions - 1) Does anyone know if Tachi makes a 4x10 back? 2) There is $2000 difference in price. I'm wondering what that extra $2000 is buying me with the Canham? 3) Are there any differences in film holders for these cameras? 4) Any movement quirks or bellows limitations with either that you all have found?

My impressions are that the Canham will be more versatile and probably allow me to leave lenses on their Toyo lensboards, but again that is an assumption. And if anyone has strong feelings about not going with the Tachi, but waiting for a Shen Hao to wind up in country I would like to hear those opinions as well.



Frank Petronio
10-Aug-2006, 10:14
You can buy a lot of lensboards for $2000! Or for that matter, how hard would it be to have a good woodworker make a new front end for a Tachi to use 110 lensboards? Or for Grimes to make an adapter with a slight extension (since the Tech and 110 boards are close in size).

Walter Calahan
10-Aug-2006, 10:39
I have a 4x5 Tachihara and an 8x10 light weight wood Canham.

You get what you pay for.

The Tachi now sports a pinhole shutter. For 4x5 optical work, I use an Arca-Swiss.

The Canham is great. I bought it used for $2500.

You'll be very happy with the Canham new or used.

Ralph Barker
10-Aug-2006, 10:53
While I'd agree that the Canham is probably more versatile, and has more extensive features, I own a Tachi 8x10 (the double extension version). The Canham was just more than I wanted to spend. I made my own lens board adapter, and mount most of my lenses on 110mm Toyo boards, as I use a Toyo 45AX in the field and Toyo monorails (45C and 810G) in the studio. I haven't encountered any rigidity issues with the Tachi, and the build quality is quite good - especially considering the price. There are times that I wish the Tachi had interchangeable bellows, and a bit more flexibility in movements, but overall, I've been happy with it.

As far as I know, Tachihara doesn't make either a 4x10 or 4x5 adapter back. Again, I made my own 4x5 adapter using Toyo components.

Ted Harris
10-Aug-2006, 11:24
There are other differences. AFAIK, at the price you are quoting you are talking about a double extension Tachi and the Canham has more extension. Second, the standard lensboards for Canham ARE Toyo (at least in 4x5 and 5x7). If you want to change to Technika boards Keith can do a conversion.

I have used the Tachi 8x10 and use a Canham 5x7 extensively, different beasts. Not really a comparison. If you shoot 8x10 infrequently and if the bellows extension is sufficient then go withthe Tachi,it is a solid camera. OTOH, the Canham is somewhat more precise and locks down better, IMO.

10-Aug-2006, 13:03
...If you shoot 8x10 infrequently and if the bellows extension is sufficient then go withthe Tachi,it is a solid camera. OTOH, the Canham is somewhat more precise and locks down better, IMO.

This LF thing is a bit of an exploratory journey for me. I shot 35mm for years, have a Pentax Pz-1p that I have enjoyed alot. Have a 20D Canon to get me into the digital side and action (plus some G-1 Powershots). The MF and 4x5 climb upward is only recent. I want to experience the whole gammit of this LF experience before settling into a particular medium, but really like the deliberate nature of setting up and shooting both MF and LF. Cost is a factor for sure and so I would say I will shoot a ton of 120 based images, fewer but still a lot of 4x5 and it will be infrequent shooting with the 8x10. I like panoramic imaging and the 4x10 component of the 8x10 add-on is an attractive part of the Canham model (as well as 5x7). That said I appreciate quality build and don't mind paying for it if it will last for a lifetime. Since I have some longer focal length 4x5 lenses that will cover an 8x10 frame size, I'm really only looking at the addition of a camera and film holders.

Thanks again for all your comments.


10-Aug-2006, 19:41
I would strongly recommend looking into a Wehman - Very sturdy, Very light, great field camera - new about $1800?

Brian Ellis
10-Aug-2006, 21:36
I agree with Scott, I've had three 8x10s. If I were buying one today it would be a Wehman, especially now that he's got it down to something under 8 lbs I think. I've never used either a Canham or a Tachihara 8x10 (I did use a Tachihara 4x5 for several years and liked it a lot). However, I've played around with the double extension Tachihara and it felt like it weighed a ton. An 8x10 under 8 lbs that has as good a reputation as the Wehman does would make it my choice.

Diane Maher
11-Aug-2006, 05:10
I have an Ansco 8x10 and a Canham 5x12. I am considering replacing the 8x10 with a Wehman 8x10 when I can get the money together.

Michael Kadillak
11-Aug-2006, 09:37
By all means look at the Wehman as the price is right and I have heard good things about its functionality. The camera looks bullet proof and is very light weight.

No camera is without its strengths and weaknesses so at the end of the day it all comes down to what feels good for you when you photograph with it. If you can find a used Canham wooden camera you have considerable amount of operating flexibility (long bellows, compendium etc. as accessories) directly from the manufacturer. I went ahead and acquired the 8x20 back for my 8x10 that I purchased used and it converts in less than a minute from regular 8x10 to 8x20. However, Keith can also set you up with a 7x17 conversion back as well as that format seems to be the hot item these days probably because of the ability of more lenses that can do double duty with coverage (8x10 and 7x17).

I like the fact that Keith uses American Walnut and through bolts in his cameras as opposed to endangered woods and wood screws. The double front standard locking mechanism is also great because it allows you to lock down the front rise and independently apply front tilt with your fingers as needed and lock it down when it is in the right position. I am not thrilled about the bar that locks the camera closed but such is life.

No matter what camera you acquire the challenge is to use it as often as you possibly can. More aggregate film users is our trump card to a positive outlook to the future of sheet films. Always use a compendium of a lens hood and always protect your holders in the camera with a dark cloth over the camera back. Learned that lesson the hard way.

Good Luck!

11-Aug-2006, 11:31
Thanks for the comments on the Wehman. I realialized that I had visited his site and seen what I would describe as a non-traditional bellows camera. Still, it certainly looks functional and is substantially lighter than the Tachi. I am probably more a roadside photographer than someone who hikes for miles for a picture. Weight is important to me from mounting standpoint, but less so for getting there. My Toyo 45AX is in a more traditional rectangular camera bag. The Canon 20D, Mamiya 645 and RB67 cameras are in backpacks, although certainly not all in the same one. I need to weigh a lot of what you all have said. I still like a lot of things about the Canham but am not yet sold on cost versus use value to me. That, at this stage (entry) of an 8x10 experience, is what I am trying to quantify. I know that as I go forward, I will appreciate the ability to have freedom to use movements and how well a camera does things will matter. I have decided to stick with new at this point. Will talk to a few more dealers and get some comparitive commentary from the guys that sell them. Have spoken to Keith at Canham and found him very informative. Certainly will contact Bill Wehman as well.

I too have given some thought to the digital effect on film use and manufacture. My freezer is getting some stacks of stuff for the long haul.

Thanks again.


Robert Skeoch
11-Aug-2006, 14:16
Hi Stew,

I'm not sure what area you are in, but if you want to check out a canham 8x10 before you buy, I have one. I live in Burlington, Ontario.
It's a great camera, as are the others you're considering.

14-Aug-2006, 05:56
I live in Denver and have lots to the immediate west to photograph in the way of landscapes. :D

I have done lots more reading, and have begun aquiring lenses. I am pretty much settled on the Wehman at this point, not the least of which reason is its weight and construction. Bruce designed the camera using some thoughts based on his rebuild of a Speed Graphic. I like the movements on my Speed and think the shift/swing on the single knob in front would be fairly easy to get used to. I also like the asymetrical rear geared focusing. Availability will be the next issue to cross and I'll chat with Bruce today if he's around.

On the lens side I am looking at things from the 4x10 as well as 8x10. My Super Angulon 120 will cover 4x10 quite nicely as will my 180 Apo Symmar S. I bought a 210 Wollensak wide field and am in the process of locating a shutter for that lens. Then I got a 480mm Apo Ronar. Now I need something in the 300mm range to wrap things up.

Any current favorites out the for film holders? How about changing bags compared to the tent thing for loading film holders? And since I have never handled film before (alway use Quickloads in my 4x5) do you need to wear cotton gloves to keep from getting fingerprints on the film? Outside the scope of the original post, but comments still appreciated.

Thanks again for all your thoughts.


14-Aug-2006, 06:03
I bought a Canham 8x10 and returned it. I was completely disappointed with it. I have a 5x7 Canham and thought the 8x0 would be of the same quality and sturdiness and I was wrong it isnít. Save yourself money and get the Wehman. In time, I will end up getting a Wehman instead as I have heard nothing but good about it..

Frank Petronio
14-Aug-2006, 06:20
Get the largest tent you can manage and simply have clean dry hands. People have been loading film for a hundred years, it isn't rocket science. Just try to keep things clean with a vacuum cleaner, air blower, and camel hair brush. Hold the film by it's edges and keep a fingernail long enough to use to separate the sheets. If you have never handled it before, try to find an exposed sheet or existing negative to practice loading with in the daylight.

If you can afford it, this is probably the best tent: http://www.visualdepartures.com/shdwbx1.html in light of the Harrison tents having some fabric coating issues. The Calumet/Redwing/Photoflex options are less expensive but probably too small for easy 8x10 loading.

Bathrooms and basements with the windows blocked work too. I have a friend who has shot around the world and never used a changing bag or anything other the hotel bathroom.

Avoid changing bags, they are only for emergencies.

All of the Fidelity/Lisco plastic film holders are virtually identical. Any of the plastic holders from the last 40 years will be fine provided you check the light traps and they aren't filthy. And some people still use the old wooden ones because they are lighter, but you may have to do some quality control checks on them to make sure they are lightproof, unwarped, and have a consistent film plane depth. Sometimes the dark slides can crack (you can get replacements) and sometimes the cloth tape on the bottom hinge wears out. And sometimes the felt lightseal is so filthy it isn't worth using the holder. In general, if you buy clean holders, keep them clean and they will last a lifetime. Big Ziplocs are great!

Michael Kadillak
14-Aug-2006, 09:32
I bought a Canham 8x10 and returned it. I was completely disappointed with it. I have a 5x7 Canham and thought the 8x0 would be of the same quality and sturdiness and I was wrong it isnít. Save yourself money and get the Wehman. In time, I will end up getting a Wehman instead as I have heard nothing but good about it..

The divergence of personal opinion is the marvel within LF photography. I own an Canham wooden 8x10 and love it. The issue with "rigidity" is highly overblown IMO as the camera was designed as a lightweight field camera with long bellows. Keith could have made the camera back as solid as a 4x5 Linhof, but the camera would weight 30%+ more and then what niche would it fill? I have never made anything but a razor sharp image with my camera in over two years of continuous use and that is the criteria I use.

My first 8x10 was a Kodak Master and it was very solid in the rear but it was much heavier and did not have as many operating flexibilities built into it as the Canham has. I also currently use a Toyo 810M but it is also on the heavier side albeit a marvelous camera. However when I want to pack a camera into the field it is the Canham that is in the F64 pack.

The Wehman clearly fits a very important niche within those that shoot 8x10. Much cheaper than the Canham and it also is light weight. I hope one of these days to get to look at one in person to see how it operates and how it compares ot the other 8x10cameras I am familiar with.

How fortunate we are to be able to have so many choices in 8x10 cameras to consider.

14-Aug-2006, 15:22
Hello MIke,

I have the Woodfield 5x7 Canham and love it. Maybe I got a bad 8x10 as the rear standard was not sturdy at all. It was extremely wobbly. The 5x7 it rock solid and I was seriously surprised with the 8x10 wood camera. I was expecting it to be as sturdy as the 5x7 model.

This is only my opinion but based on the fact that I bought the camera, tried it out and was highly disappointed when comparing it to the 5x7 version I already own.

I would like to say that the Canhams are well built with a high level of craftsmanship put into them.

I guess I had high expectation as I was looking for a replacement for my Deardroff.

It didn’t work for me but it has worked for others.



Michael Kadillak
14-Aug-2006, 16:44
Hello MIke,

I have the Woodfield 5x7 Canham and love it. Maybe I got a bad 8x10 as the rear standard was not sturdy at all. It was extremely wobbly. The 5x7 is rock solid and I was seriously surprised with the 8x10 wood camera. I was expecting it to be as sturdy as the 5x7 model.

The only conclusion one can arrive at is that there must have been a problem with the wooden Canham 8x10 that you received and that is most unfortunate for your trouble. I have operated the wooden 5x7 woodfield Canham and my 8x10 version of this camera is equally as rigid as the 5x7 model. One would expect this to be the case because they are in fact the identical camera as the larger dimensions of the 8x10 is the only difference.

At the end of the day as long as one is making photographs, the choice of tools is relatively inconsequential. The only thing that really matters is that we collectively all continue to purchase and consume sheet film.

Good Shooting!

14-Aug-2006, 17:51
Where is the wedsite of Wedman camera?

I remember a brand called Philip camera which is a light weight 8x10 camera. Do you know how to find it?

14-Aug-2006, 18:01
The website for Wehman is www.wehmancamera.com.

I ordered my Wehman 8x10 this afternoon. It will ship on Wednesday and probably be here on Monday or so. I am not sure how the 4x10 back will work out as Bruce hasn't adapted one of those yet to his backplane. Holding off on that for a bit. I will have him build a Toyo field lens board adaptor besides the two lens boards that come with the camera. Very excited and time to start putting together the odds and ends that will go with this.

Thanks for all your comments. Will let you know impressions when it arrives.