View Full Version : 5 X 7 Camera Comparison

John Minor
20-Nov-2003, 12:13
I am about to buy a new 5 X 7 camera and have narrowed it down to these four, The Wisner Technical Field, Canham Wood Field, Gandolfi Variant Level 2, and the Anba Ikeda. I am leaning towards the Wisner but am looking for advise from those who have used these cameras. I will be shooting landscapes for the most part, and weight is not my greatest concern. Any advise or words of wisdom will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

clay harmon
20-Nov-2003, 12:22
Check the archives here and on photo.net about Wisner's delivery habits. Caveat emptor. Or order one through a dealer who will do the yelling for you. I have both Canham and Wisner cameras, and I think you will find the fit and finish is a little 'tighter' on the Canhams. My Wisner regularly loses screws, and its finish is laughably amateurish compared to the Canham. They will all work for you, and it will just be a matter of getting the one you ultimately 'just gotta have' and learning its quirks.

QT Luong
20-Nov-2003, 12:45
The first three cameras that you list are comparable, the latter being an ultralight. If you live in the US, Keith Canham provide outstanding service, which might not be the case of the two other manufacturers.

20-Nov-2003, 12:45
Don't overlook the Gandolfi Traditional.

Reinhold Schable
20-Nov-2003, 13:32
My one and only encounter with a Wisner 5x7 was on a snowy day a few years ago... The dinky knobs on that thing were a joke in cold weather.

The T shaped knobs on my Canham are far superior, especially when wearing gloves. Kieth's locking system can't be beat, in my opinion.

Jason Greenberg Motamedi
20-Nov-2003, 14:42
A few years ago I was looking at the Wisner, Canham and Gandolfi cameras. I ended up with the Canham and have been very pleased with it: The Canham was the lightest of the bunch (6lbs, four lbs lighter than the Wisner), and seemed to be the most wide-angle friendly. The Gandolfi came a pretty close second, it was quite light (7.5 lbs) but I was a bit concerned with the availability of repair and parts in the US, since I tend to be rather abusive. In that way you can't top Keith Canham's service. In terms of rigidity, they all seemed about the same. Many have positive things to say about the Lotus, although I have never seen one.

Frank Petronio
20-Nov-2003, 15:30
Canham has nicest fit and finish, no question.

Bruce E. Rathbun
20-Nov-2003, 16:42
I sold my Wisner 5"x7" Traditional last month. This was after I had a 7"x17" conversion back for it. The one thing that I did not like was the front knobs. They are in my opinion way too small. Overall the feel of the camera was excellent. The gears were smooth and the fit was nice. The weight was only 7 lbs. I sold the camera so I could purchase a used Wisner 11"x14". I also sold my Hasseldblad to purchase an 8"x20" conversion back for the Wisner 8"x10" I bought. The 8"x10" replaced my Deardorff. Had I bought the 8x10 first I would have had a 5x7 reducing back made versus buying the 5"x7". The 8x10 Wisner is very sturdy. I will have both a 5x7 and a 4x5 reducing back made.

The wait for the cameras can be frusterating. I deal with Ron Wisner direct and have had no major problems...other then longer then usual wait times. Maybe a dealer would be better. Usually the time to wait is dictated by what model is in the largest demand.You might consider an 8"x10" with a reducing back as the 8"x10" is not much more money. By using the 5x7 reducing back you can have longer bellows as well. The Wisner 8"x10" traditional model is one sturdy camera. The larger knobs are easy to use no matter if you have gloves or not. You could also have a 4"x10" conversion back fitted on the 8"x10". These are just thoughts to consider. Had I had this advice I would have ordered the 8"x10" with the reducing back. The 8"x10" is also easier to get. Again these are my opinions after using the Wisner brand for over 4 years. If money was not an option I would also consider an Ebony. They are top notch.<Bruce>

20-Nov-2003, 19:31
Where can you buy a new Anba Ikeda 5x7? Or even a used one. This camera is really not in the same class as the other three. It's main purpose is light weight. I find it sort of flimsy compared to even my old Wista Field 4x5. The shorter bellows will also limit use of long lenses. And if you go to telephoto lenses you tend to lose the weight advantage. Shortest focus without playing tricks with the front standard is around 110mm. I use my 90 by taking the standard out of the vertical track and tilting backward, but very hard to tighten small knobs for solid lockdown. But it's probably the lightest cheap 5x7 camera around. Wish I could justify ungrading to a Canham.

William Blunt
20-Nov-2003, 20:05
I use a 5x7 Canham wood as well as a Wisner Tech. 4x10. Both cameras work great but the Canham is built better and is a bit studier.

Michael Heinrich
21-Nov-2003, 04:02
There is no new Linhof Technika 5x7, but you can find a 20 years old Technika like new. It is a great camera for landscape and architecture. I am using a Technika IIIE and a IV with lenses from 72 to 620mm. Even my Technika III is solid like a new one.

Michael Heinrich, Munich

Roger Hein
21-Nov-2003, 05:55

I've used/owned the Canham 5x7/4x10, various Wisners and the Gandolfi Traditional. They are ALL good cameras and they ALL have their own weaknesses/faults. It's a shame that many of us do not live near a dealer that actually stocks all these different cameras so a hands on decision can be made.

Cheers, Roger...

Jim Becia
21-Nov-2003, 08:09

I am another very satisfied Canham 5X7 owner. While I can't comment on the other cameras, the Canham is extremely sturdy, easy to use (in my opinion), and great if you like to use long lenses (which I do). No complaints here. Jim

Christopher Condit
21-Nov-2003, 10:54
If you want delivery within the next twelve months, Wisner is not your ideal choice. You can't go wrong with a Canham.

Frank Petronio
21-Nov-2003, 13:32
I had a Linhof Tech III for a short while and can confirm it is bulletproof and 10X more solid than the cameras mention here. But I have no idea what kinda of monster could handhold the thing as a press camera, it is really heavy!

A really nice practical camera, but very rare, is the old Wista Rittreck 5x7. A lighter weight metal Linhof copy, very nicely made, and I really miss mine. But rare! Also there was a 5x7 Toyo Field in metal that turns up on eBay - it is also a nice camera. Neither of these is as heavy as the Linhof but they are far more solid than the wooden cameras.

Ron Bose
24-Nov-2003, 10:23

Harry's Pro Shop has a used 5x7 Wisner for a good price ...


Cheers, Ron

Martin Patek-Strutsky
24-Nov-2003, 13:04
Have I missed something?

Heard from several sources that the film industry has already decided to bury 5x7. In another thread on this forum you can read that you can special order it if an order size of $10,000 is ok for you.

So where did you get the courage to buy a new 5x7 camera in todays world?

BTW, without this constraints I would be glad to follow you and move from 4x5 to 5x7...

Jason Greenberg Motamedi
24-Nov-2003, 19:14
5x7 film isn't going away. There are many many B&W 5x7 films, and enough color to keep many folks here going; Kodak even recently rereleased EPR in 5x7. Even still, you can always cut down from 8x10.

John Minor
25-Nov-2003, 06:02
Thanks everyone for all the great input. It is wonderful for a beginer like me to be able to come to this forum and tape into the temendous experience out there, this is the mother load of Large Format information. Thanks to all. And now to sleep and to dream of the camera that is on its way....

John Minor
25-Nov-2003, 06:03
opps, I mean TAP not tape...

25-Nov-2003, 07:16
Okay John, what did you finally buy?

John Minor
25-Nov-2003, 08:34
I will be getting the Canham 5 X 7 Wood Field

17-Jun-2004, 15:42
I considered the same problem for at least one year, when I was still using a Master Technika 4X5 and a Fuji 617, because I obviously wanted to carry only one camera for both panoramic and traditional format. For me the problem was only one: HANDHELD USE which means: VIEWFINDER.
Of course most of my photos are taken on a tripod, but I'm pretty sure that most notable of all are taken handheld. So I realised that the only 5x7 camera with the viewfinder is the (out of production) Super Technika V which you can find, used, in very good condition on e-bay. I bought one of them two weeks ago for 3,050 $, a little expensive probably, but now there is one for 2,200.