View Full Version : Canham Trad 5x7 6x17 back unique or generic?

emo supremo
13-Apr-2010, 15:59
I'm going (I hope) to "panorama heaven" on the Amtrak's Zephyr with a side trip up to Yellowstone. Yup, I've planned my very first LF excursion out west for this summer and was considering taking either a 4x5 or 5x7 camera. This is the first time I've boarded a plane and train with LF gear. I'd like to shoot with the Canham 5x7 Traditional with a half dark slide but acquiring color emulsion has become a problem in 5x7 (Badger's special order has not come in yet and it IS April; their ETA target delivery date). Apart from stitching I have two choices:

1. 4x5 with that marvelous Ektar film
2. purchase a 6x17 back that takes 120 film for the 4x5's standard Graflock back.

I assume you folks compose on the ground glass, remove the glass, attach the 120 holder, pray for film flatness and change the roll every fourth shot. Is that right?

3??? Is this an option: purchase a non-Canham 6x17 roll film back that will fit my Canham Traditional 5x7? Are there such things

(BTW: I have no problem developing color and I use an Epson 750 scanner.)

:eek: It occurs to me I'm going to spend a lot of my vacation LOADING film one way or another! (hey, another first: use of emoticon)

The weeks following my acquisition of the 5x7 saw two Canham backs go for about the same price but that was a big month of bills for me. Anyway... what would you suggest I do?

Lachlan 717
13-Apr-2010, 16:40
Whilst not related directly to your topic, you mention film flatness with these roll film backs.

I have used several and never had an issue.

I would suggest that the accuracy of the camera back and the front standard being in true parallel is by far a greater issue for across-film focus than any film flatness issues (especially with timber view cameras).

With the current 6x17 back that I use, both of the spring-tensioned plates (it has 2) on the back section press against the frame around the film window of the front section. As such, there cannot be any rear bowing of the film. Ergo, the film is held flat.

To be honest, I think this theory is one that is expounded by owners of "exotic" 6x17 owners to help to justify the cost of their cameras over the flood of new cameras predominantly coming out of China.

Two other things to consider: whatever brand back you consider, they're not light. When travelling, I usually pack my film back into checked luggage to save weight with carry on. Second, make sure you check the usable focal length range; some of these backs can mechanically vignette long FLs and don't allow the use of short lenses due to the film plane being moved back from its normal location.

13-Apr-2010, 17:02
I used to have a Canham 5x7 Traditional and, I just keep thinking...man, that's an awful big camera to lug around to shoot roll film! The idea just seems crazy to me.

I think I'd buy some Provia and shoot 5x7...or, buy / rent a purpose built 617 camera....like the new Shen Hao or a fotoman...or something.

I wouldn't dream of relegating that monster to roll film.

emo supremo
13-Apr-2010, 19:50
Great stuff: "some of these backs can mechanically vignette long FLs and don't allow the use of short lenses due to the film plane being moved back from its normal location." Who could have known that unless this (and all those other tidbits) were offered. Beaucoup thanks! Emilio

Don Dudenbostel
13-Apr-2010, 19:55
One of the major reasons I purchased the Canham back for my traditional was the ability to use long lenses. I find myself using my 300 and 450 a great deal and rarely use the 90 or 120. Actually I use my Canham and 617 back more than I do my Fuji G617.

I don't know if there are any other backs that wil work with the Canham traditional.

Daniel Stone
14-Apr-2010, 20:47
I'd take the 5x7, with a 4x5 reducing back, as well as the 617 back. Shoot rollfilm if you want 6x17. bracket a 1/2 stop either way on 2 of the 4 frames, and take 2 at the 'metered' exposure.

unfortunately, I don't see 5x7 color film being around much longer. 4x5 and 8x10 should be with us for a while, but 120 rollfilm will probably outlast them all in color film, but this is my opinion after all ;).

besides, you have all these choices on emulsion speeds & types(vc,nc, ektar, chrome, neg,b/w, etc...)


emo supremo
15-Apr-2010, 04:04
So let's say I take the reducing back. Has anyone ever put a DaYi or some other manufacturer's 6x17 back on the the canham 4x5 reducing back?
It's beginning to dawn on me that shooting 4x5 and cropping will be a better option for me and my laminectomy.

emo supremo
5-May-2010, 07:03
Unfortunately the bulk order of 5x7 did not come as promised by Fuji this past April. Yesterday I bought 20 rolls of film, most of it Ektar 100, and will take the Hasselblad's 50 and 250mm lenses anticipation of stitching.