View Full Version : canham for architectural

15-Apr-2008, 21:34
hey all out there. i've been toying with the idea of getting a Canham 5x7 with 4x5 reducing back to shoot architectural with. 5x7 for b/w(ilford and efke), and 4x5 for color(quickloads)

any of you have any experience using this as a "working" camera?

i would also have it do double duty as my field camera in place of my cambo.

much better to backpack with.

also, do you know if the 5x7 canham has a bag bellows option?



Walter Calahan
16-Apr-2008, 04:25
All accessories are on Keith's web site. http://www.canhamcameras.com/accessoryf.html

All of Keith's cameras are 'working' cameras. What do you mean by your statement?

Are you getting architectural assignments? If so, best to get a camera that is specific to that industry. Field cameras are great, but in architecture there are times when you need to go to extremes to achieve the results for your client.

For 80% of the time, view cameras and field cameras do the same thing very well. It's when you get into those 20% difficult situations when the added abilities of a view camera are needed.

Only you know what you want to do with the architectural shoots, so you need to start exploring solutions for the problems you will face. For us to simply tell you 'yes the Canham will do the job, nor no it won't' isn't enough of an answer.

You need to do more homework.

Joseph O'Neil
16-Apr-2008, 05:10
For 80% of the time, view cameras and field cameras do the same thing very well. It's when you get into those 20% difficult situations when the added abilities of a view camera are


I agree. Ever since I bought my Zone VI field camera, I find I almost never use my monorail anymore. Very few times I need the extra movements on my monorail. Your mileage may vary.

Scott Davis
16-Apr-2008, 06:25
As to fitness for architecture specifically, As Walt said, it will work, but the question remains will it work well enough for 100% of your architecture shots? Only you will know that for sure. If you're not shooting skyscrapers and you're not doing macro product photography, then probably yes, it will. If the above are in your list, and in your list often enough that renting a substitute is not a viable option, look at another camera.

I have the Canham 5x7 wood field. I love it for everything I have used it for, from portraiture to landscape to still life, and even some floral macro work. The Canham 4x5 reducing back is a thing of beauty. They also make a bag bellows for it. I have taken mine to Argentina and Uruguay, as well as around the US East Coast. I am planning on taking it on another international trip soon. As a field camera, I highly recommend it.

Ed Richards
16-Apr-2008, 06:49
If you are shooting architecuture with 5x7, I assume this is not commerical work, so sure, it will be fine. If you are doing commerical assignments, 4x5 should be enough and you would be better off with with a cheap Sinar F1/F2. Nothing like being able to use the bag bellows and flat lens boards for everything from ultrawides to a 210mm. You can probably get one for the price of a reducing back on the Canham and just use the Canham for fun.

Kirk Gittings
16-Apr-2008, 09:04
I don't have any direct experience with the Canhams. The issue for architecture is primarily how well it will handle wide lenses. You will need a camera that will give you decent movements (and not show the bed) on say a 75mm (preferably on a flat lensboard), also handle at least about a 350mm, that will set up and align quickly and stay aligned.

Jet Lowe at HAER uses a 5x7 Canham camera and loves it.

I prefer a camera with universal bellows (which Canham has I believe) so that I don't have to change bellows until I get to super wide lenses. The universal bellows on most cameras allows me to go from a 90mm up, which are my most often used lenses.

Dave Aharonian
16-Apr-2008, 10:06
I have a Canham 57MQC which has worked very well for me and I shoot architecture. I bought the 4x5 reducing back which is what I use for architecture. With the reducing back in place, the rear film plane is slightly further back which does compress the bellows a bit more. I use a 75mm lens on a 10mm recessed lensboard with the Canham bag bellows and this works fine. For extreme front rise it does start to get a bit tight, but it works fine. If I was using a wider lens I may get into trouble, but wider lenses don't have as much image circle anyway. The standard bellows with the reducing back will bind before you run out of image circle on a typical 75mm lens - especially a Schneider XL. The standards can be moved forward on the base so there is no problem with the bed getting into the shot.

If you want a good amount of front rise, the MQC has much more movement than the wood 5x7.

My only beef with this camera is that I need to verify that all the movements are properly zeroed, as the default zero positions are a bit sloppy - primarily for front and rear swing.