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Thread: Canham MQC 5x7, Honestly

  1. #1
    Beverly Hills, California
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    Feb 2000
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    Canham MQC 5x7, Honestly

    What's the honest truth about the stability of the front and rear standards of t hese cameras, whether you appreciate the man's effort who makes them or otherwis e? Do they creep? Users opinion appreciated.

    There seems to be two opinions on the 4x5 version, the one on this site which is highly favorable. But I was suprised to find elsewhere on net, some very unfavo rable reviews, with complaints about the camera's lock downs easily slipping, mu shy zero detents, etc.

    Is Keith making any attempt at all to modify his design on subsequent cameras? Or is there complacency with resting on the camera's good-looking laurels?

    Thanks for your honest advice. Andre

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Apr 2000
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    166

    Canham MQC 5x7, Honestly

    Andre,

    I had the opportunity to work with this camera for several weeks (wearing my Contributing Editor hat, researching a magazine article idea). There may be confusion about two points here--standard lockdowns, and detents. The lockdowns are just fine, as strong as you will find anywhere.

    The detents are barely detectible, by intention. I questioned Keith about this, and his position is that heavy detents make it difficult to make small tilts with perfect accuracy. I argued that I might want exactly 1/2 a degree of tilt twice a year, but have to set up the camera every time I use it so I want monster, unmistakeable detents. He was not convinced.

    The camera is sturdy as a rock once locked down. But the phantom detents make it much slower to set up in exactly neutral position than a wooden field camera with the expected strong detents. This is a concious design parameter and potential customers simply must decide whether they agree with it or not.---Carl

    PS: Not all detents are created equal. A recent workshop student had a 4x5 Zone VI field camera whose front standard in "neutral" detent position introduced nearly five degrees of forward tilt. This 'feature' had quite a bit to do with why the owner was having focusing problems

  3. #3

    Canham MQC 5x7, Honestly

    Andre,

    Well, my review of the DLC is on this website, so you know my opinions of the camera. However, let me reinforce one aspect of the review in direct responce to your question.

    My DLC does not creep. If you lock down the standards, it will not move on it's own. If you are rough with the rear standard while putting in a filmholder, you may move the standard, if you have not locked it down solidly. However, if you are gentle with the camera, you will never have that problem.

    That's why I mentioned the Thumb-Index Finger technique for loading filmholders in the review. It is the easiest way to open the back and slide in a filmholder without applying a lot of force to the back.

    You have to consider that a view camera has to be sturdy enough to hold the lens and filmholder in accurate relative position for a length of time under _reasonable_ environmental conditions. Complaints that I have seen about the camera range from flex in the standards to the bellows frame popping out when changing the back, to the standards not locking down.

    Once you have the camera set up, load the film (gently, don't slam the holder in there!) and then let it sit. If the camera is not able to stay still then you have a problem. If it's windy, the problem won't only be in the camera, but the tripod and the EPA (effective projected area) of the camera.

    What I'm getting at is that Keith makes his cameras 'rigid enough' (in his opinion) for the tasks that a vc should perform in the environmental conditions that are reasonable to take a picture with that kind of camera.

    All that said, I have not used the MQC, so there may be a fundamental difference that is not apparent in the two cameras that does not manifest itself in the DLC. I can tell you that the larger the camera is, the more important it is to have solid locking mechanisms due to the increased moment arms that the larger dimensions of the camera establish.

    It is possible that the camera is pushing the limits of the lockdown screws that Keith is using, however, I don't think that this is a real issue if you are a conscientious camera user.

    Lastly, this is an issue of perspective. If you are coming from studio view cameras that are big, heavy, and generally solid, you may have issues with the MQC over rigidity (remember that phrase 'rigid enough'?). Also, if you use large, heavy lenses, this can also pose a problem.

    I'm very satisifed with my DLC, and although I don't think it is the 'perfect' camera, it does what I need it to do very well. When I get slippage or standard movement (very occasionally), its because I wasn't thorough to check that all the locks were sufficiently tightened.

    My opinion alone, you may come to another given the same experiences that I have had. That's the beauty of individuality.

    ---Michael

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Nov 1998
    Posts
    339

    Canham MQC 5x7, Honestly

    I've made the back of my DLC creep into tilt; however, I was trying to get extre me front rise with a short lens with the standard bellows on the camera.

    Or iow, I was trying to force the camera w/standard bellows into a configurati on it simply wasn't designed to do.

    In normal usage nothing's ever moved.

  5. #5

    Canham MQC 5x7, Honestly

    From a user of the Canham MQC 5x7, I can tell you that after many exposures with this camera, I had no problems with creep. Due to the design that placed premiums on compactness and to the degree possible weight reduction, I can tell you that when locked down the back does have what I would label as a moderate amount of elasticity since it is hinged at a low base point. But it maintains its position after film holder insertion and extraction. A simple act of using two fingers to assist film holder insertion has become a normal part of the user process and is almost second nature to me when I use the camera.

    The bottom line is simply this. I consistently take razor sharp photographs with this camera without failure and am always thankful for its nominal weight when I put it and its monogrammed case into the backpack.

    I have also been pleasantly pleased with the continued offering of B&W films in the 5x7 format. I am waiting on another six boxes of T- Max 100 as we speak. Good Luck.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Aug 1999
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    Manhattan
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    Canham MQC 5x7, Honestly

    I've had my MQC for a year and found the tilts were easy to use; a little experience was necessary to learn how much to load the locks when tightening them.

    But I have found the swings difficult to keep sufficiently tight, as it's tough to get purchase on the knurled thumbscrew. I was horsing around with this on a shoot last week and was pondering whether to introduce something in there that would grab better: perhaps a tiny ring of fine sandpaper or maybe a bit of honey or corn syrup. Dancers' rosin? Bubble gum, dissolved in gasoline and painted on?

    But my wife thinks if I put gum or sugar in the joint I'll wind up dunking the camera in boiling water to reset the controls.

    Skip

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