In the footsteps of Ansel Adams, Yosemite National Park photo shoot with Joe Cornish

Professional photographer Joe Cornish is based in North Yorkshire, UK. He specialises in landscape photography, producing exquisite images for gallery print and book sales. Joe also runs workshops and courses to new and advanced photographers wishing to hone in on the skills to produce beautiful landscape images.

Joe Cornish with Actus DB

Joe Cornish using the Cambo Actus DB

Our paths have crossed a few times and since Joe saw the Cambo Actus in action he was particularly interested to test the medium format version, the Actus-DB.

“I am not the sort of person given to dispensing advice, but if I were I would say, ‘Never go on assignment (or holiday/tour) with an unfamiliar camera. Still, I do love breaking rules, and especially my own advice, and was excited to have the totally unfamiliar Actus DB with me on a memorable and amazing trip to Yosemite, co-leading with my great friend, large format photographic maestro David Ward.

Yosemite National Park 1 © Joe Cornish Photography

Yosemite National Park 1 © Joe Cornish Photography

Since the proof is in the pudding the accompanying pictures will have to suffice for evidence that the camera clearly works. Overall it proved pretty easy to work with (admittedly for someone with 30 years experience of technical cameras). It’s greatest virtue is its diminutive size, and modest weight. This would be a great choice for anyone wanting a full-featured MFD technical camera in the mountains. The construction is excellent, and given how light it feels remarkably robust. The base rail is also an Arca-Swiss compatible dove tail track, a truly elegant and ingenious feature. There are short or long rails, depending on your lens priority; I selected the short for easier packing, although this did limit me to a longest focal length of 125mm. The magnetic bellows is ingenious, quick to change (as it needs to be, as lens changes always include detaching the bellows) and flexible/capacious enough for any imaginable movement. Finally, the bellows magnifier, which is used elsewhere in the Cambo system, is bright and very easy to focus with.

Yosemite National Park 2 © Joe Cornish Photography

Yosemite National Park 2 © Joe Cornish Photography

Needless to say, I got some stick from David Ward for using such a small camera, but when I tried lifting our respective bags I quickly felt quite smug about it. Cambo have now incorporated some improvements to the DB, including positive zero clicks, which I must say I think were needed. The DB+ model also incorporates geared horizontal rear shift; that would certainly be my preference and would greatly enhance the camera’s claim to offer a genuine alternative to the sliding back for lateral (pano-style) stitching. The Actus DB is a unique offering in the MFD technical camera world currently and deserves success. Its lightness alone is a huge selling point for the back-packing photographer, with a very decent range of movements (sadly only lacking rear base tilt to make it irresistible). Many thanks to Charles Woods for the extended loan, and also for explaining the philosophy that drives Cambo. It’s a company that listens to its customers and aims to improve products based on their advice and feedback. As a working photographer this is music to my ears.”

Yosemite National Park 3 © Joe Cornish Photography

Yosemite National Park 3 © Joe Cornish Photography

Actus DB+ update… Since Joe used the Actus DB, Cambo have added infinity scales for Rodenstock and Schneider lenses. The standard rail has also been extended to 175mm so longer lenses may be used and the lens panels also have a second locking position to give lens 24mm rise.

Many thanks to Joe for an informative overview of the Actus DB and producing some fabulous images. I agree it must have been a nervy experience as he also had the added pressure of showing other photographers how to shoot landscapes – as we said in a previous review the Actus works straight out of the box!

To see more of Joe’s images and workshop information click here Joe Cornish Gallery.

The Actus DB+ is available now from Cambo UK or your nearest Cambo professional stockist, price including bellows, digital back interface and #0 lens plate €2,459.00 (£1,795.00 approx.) ex.VAT and shipping.

Digital back interfaces are available for Mamiya Leaf, Phase One (plus the new IQ3) and Hasselblad.

For more information please contact Cambo UK on M:07863 116150 or send us an email request; cambouk@gmail.com

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