View Full Version : Canham MQC

Larry Gebhardt
28-Sep-2012, 15:06
I bought a Canham MQC off of one of the members here. Other than a bent knob (which I knew about before buying) it's in really good shape. Some of the locks needed adjustment, and I am having trouble making the standards open up square to each other because of the very weak detents. I called up Canham to order a new knob and got a huge amount of information on the how to adjust the camera, and how to fix the bent thread on the knob. After a an hour of adjusting the camera now locks down consistently for both front and back standards and focus knobs.

I asked Canham about the detents and he said they could be drilled out a bit bigger which would make it setup more consistently, but would also make small tilts more difficult. Basically he said it was intentionally designed this way, as most users put a small bit of tilt in every shot. Once you do that it you need to adjust by eye so it's more important to be able to make small adjustments than to have the standards square. This isn't how I normally have been working, but I'm willing to give it a try.

After the fall is over I will probably send the camera in for a cleaning and check over by the factory, where it will also have some modernization done (stop pins added to the focus locks) and possibly the detents drilled out. Have any MQC users had the detents drilled out, and if so, are you happy having done that? Have only of you gotten used to the non existent detents after being initially bothered by them?

It was also suggested that the back could lock down stronger by using brass washers, but they would rub brass into the anodizing. I bought some when I got a new thread for the knob. I must say it does lock down much better with the brass than the nylon washers. The camera now feels really rigid.

Kevin Crisp
28-Sep-2012, 15:19
At least on mine, I can hear and feel it at the detent, but easily push or pull it through that point. I think that was exactly his design intent. It is a trade off; if you make them more dramatic, then pushing it out of the detent position just a little becomes harder and you will overshoot where you intended to go. I don't think it will take you very long to get used to it, but if it bothers you, they have great customer service and get it changed.

Gem Singer
28-Sep-2012, 17:06
It's easy to feel the slight detents on my MQC. They have not been drilled out.

The bubble levels on the top of the front and rear standards can be used to verify the positioning.

Found some 3/4" thin black aluminum washers to use under the smaller nylon washers that come with the MQC.

Aluminum to Aluminum increases the frictional locking surface with no problem with the anodizing.

The camera now locks down solidly with a minimum amount of force needed to tighten the Canham "T" type knobs.

Larry Gebhardt
28-Sep-2012, 18:42
Gem and Kevin thanks for your input. It's good to hear that you are both happy with the default way the camera works. I'm going to shoot with the camera for a while before I do anything that can't be undone.

I can feel the detents, but when I tighten the back down using the detents the top or bottom is a couple of mm out of square when checked with a known good carpenters square. Since mine is an older camera I wonder if the detents changed a bit over the years. Or maybe the ball bearings or springs have worn a bit.

Gem Singer
28-Sep-2012, 19:00

The detents were designed to give you a close approximation.

Use the bulls eye spirit levels on the top of the front and rear standards for the final squaring up.

They are fairly accurate.

Kevin Crisp
29-Sep-2012, 06:57
I am sure I'll get flamed for saying it, but for the vast majority of shooters, stopping down regularly to f:22 or f:32, a mm or so isn't going to matter. Being off a mm is actually quite common in many brands of field cameras. My MQC makes a snapping sound when the ball pops into position. It is very close to being on when that happens.

I understand what people are saying on this criticism, but I've never understood how important it can be to some people. Just as I've never understood the endless discussions of the unworthiness of Gitzo twist leg locks, the claimed special technique needed to insert a film holder in an MQC, and some other frequently discussed hardware issues. I hope you enjoy it. The gg appears identical to me to a Maxwell, and if you call Maxwell and tell him you have a Canham he'll suggest you leave it alone.