Cambo Actus GFX and Fuji GFX50s Camera review

Cambo Actus GFX and Fuji GFX50s Camera review

It makes sense for Fujifilm to have a medium format camera system, as there is space in the market for photographers to invest in a good quality system – and its also mirrorless which adds a few advantages to this system.

The equipment we used in the test was; Cambo Actus GFX, Fuji GFX50s body, Cambo Actar 60mm lens with standard bellows and Genesis tripod.

The video below covers the set up and capture process. If you prefer to read about the review then my commentary is detailed below the video.

When mounting the camera to a tripod there is a choice of attaching the rail as this is Arca Swiss compatible, there are several ball heads available with this fitting. Or you can screw the camera rail direct to a tripod with 1/4” or 3/8” thread.

The Actus GFX comes complete with the Fuji GFX camera mount. This mount is a new type that can be quickly swapped out by releasing the locking lever. As the GFX50s is mirrorless it will focus with lenses wider than 60mm. DSLRs cannot do this due to the mirror box, the rear element is too far from the sensor.

Once the camera is fitted you can change the camera from horizontal to vertical position by simply flicking the lever on the left side, there is a positive click when the camera has completely turned.

The lens is fitted at the front into a location stop and locked into place using the lever on the left of the camera. There are many lens mount options available, the one we are using today is a Copal 0 style, the Actar 60mm lens is permanently fitted into this mount.

Fitting the bellows is a simple process. There is a locating pin which clicks into the rear of lens mount and a magnetic plate fixes to the camera plate.

You will find two types of movements on the front standard; Tilt and Swing. There is a total of 19º Tilt, +10º and -9º. Although the Swing rotates 360º, sensibly 10º Swing right and 10º Swing left. Check out my previous video to discover why the Front rotates a full 360º.

On the rear standard there is Rise and Fall (also known as Vertical Shift) +12mm and -15mm. Horizontal Shift 20mm left and 20mm right. The amount of rear shift movement enables us to capture more from the lens image circle. We’ll talk more about this later.

The Fuji GFX50s is an electronic camera and when you take off the lens the camera body will not fire. There is a setting to override this enabling you to use a technical camera platform such as the Actus GFX. In the Fuji menu go to Menu>Setup>Button Dial Setting > Shoot without Lens> Select ON to enable the shutter release. Now you can use GFX50s on the Actus GFX.

Before shooting its important to find the lens infinity point. To do this turn the focus knob so that the arrow aligns to the infinity symbol and lock this focus movement. Then move the complete rear standard until you see the horizon image displayed by the camera pull into focus. Now you must lock up this full rear standard movement and unlock the focus knob. Your focus scale is now set for this lens and will stop at infinity.

Now zero the camera, by resetting the swing, tilt and shift movements  back to the zero position. You now have the default and this will be your starting point.

We have already set the infinity point of the lens. To focus the camera I chose to use the “Red” peaking effect from the menu in the GFX50s. This is particularly useful when using the screen display and makes it easier to find the focus point. Remember though peaking works by calculating the contrast so you are reliant on how much light can be read by the sensor. You will notice a black flashing area in the sky, this shows that the highlights are blown out.

We have the option to capture an image “as is” (without any movements applied) producing a RAW uncompressed file. The ratio is 4:3, measuring 4000 x 3000 and 8256×6192 (51.4MP) This is the maximum resolution this camera can produce and if necessary we can always reduce the image later within our Photoshop workflow presets. Its handy to have the option to capture a JPG at the same time so you can quickly flick through the images and also deliver on-screen shots for your client or for catalogue page inserts.

Capturing a single image in a studio environment with tilt or swing applied would show the advantage of using a technical camera. We’ll show this in another video blog soon. However for this exercise we are going to shoot multiple images and stitch them together. This will require additional work at the capture stage and also when stitching at the post production stage. Once you have used a technical camera and created panoramas the whole process becomes second nature.

Every photographic lens produces an image circle, this will determine how much movement and shift can be applied. In our example we will use the vertical and horizontal shift to produce the panorama. Three horizontal shots for a nice wide panorama and nine shots for the maximum capture area.

The Actar 60mm lens has an image circle of 75mm, if you shift beyond the circle you will get cut off at the edges. I tend to go beyond the image circle and crop to print size in post production. Again, after you’ve done this a few times you can work out your own capture process.

From previous experience, when I shot with the Sony A7R and shifted 19mm left and right. In the video above you’ll see I’m pushing it to 23mm and then I’ll crop for print later. The GFX50s sensor size is 43.8 x 32.9mm we’ll round this up to 44x33mm. If the image circle is 75mm and the long edge of the sensor is 44mm we’re capturing approx 1.7x the sensor size.

The final results will be posted here shortly with an overview of the image processing and workflow.

The Actus GFX is available from you local Cambo dealer, to find you dealer check the map or contact Cambo by email with your enquiry.

Posted in ACTUS, Architecture, Landscape, Technical | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Christmas 2017

Christmas 2017

Seasons greetings from Cambo.

Cambo Christmas card

The Cambo factory will be closed over Christmas, please contact your local Cambo dealer or you can email Cambo for delivery times and operating hours.

Posted in General | Tagged

Cambo Actus Focus Rail Extension

Cambo Actus Focus Rail Extension

We have yet another mistake made by our Youtube friends or should I say reviewers. Unfortunately they don’t use technical cameras or have little experience using different lenses and camera combinations.

It’s important to point out these mistakes so that they don’t mis-guide you and influence your next camera purchase.

One reviewer asked “Why does the front standard rotate 360 degrees? Is it for 360 degree photography?” Quite simply the answer is “No, it’s not!” 

So the question is, why does it rotate?

It’s quite simple really and relates to the digital camera and lenses you wish to use.

Some longer lenses may not focus and the lens may have to be further away from the sensor.

So Cambo very cleverly designed a way to extend the front of the focus rail by 45mm without adding extra length to the Actus camera.

This is done by simply rotating the front standard 180 degrees, by doing this the lens panel is moved to the front and this is where you gain the extra 45mm.

Once the front is completely round, making sure you zero the movements, take the lens out and reverse it. Now you can see the lens panel has moved forward by 45mm. 

Another very useful function, now that the lens protrudes further forward, is that you can add a filter system with a holder, as it is positioned away from the front standard enabling you to add  more tilt.

The lens in the video measures 22mm depth, a filter holder is 15mm, this extra 37mm gives you more tilt to play with without the filter touching the front standard of the Actus. This is especially useful if you are using a graduated filter longer than 100mm.

More information about the Cambo Actus system and accessories contact your local Cambo dealer or you can email your questions directly to Cambo.

Posted in ACTUS, Architecture, Landscape, Technical | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cambo Actus Focus Stop

Cambo Actus Focus Stop

We see many Youtube type reviews, some good and some not as well informed about the features the Actus system provides.

One blog that I recently viewed suggested the lens would hit the sensor should you be using a Digital Back. It’s wrong and let me tell you why.

The Actus system is modular and can be used with several digital systems. The Actus Mini designed for DSLR and mirrorless, Actus GFX and XCD for Fuji and Hasselblad.

When is comes to using a Digital Back from Phase One, Mamiya Leaf and Hasselblad the Actus DB2 is designed slightly different as there are a multitude of lenses that photographers already own and want to adapt them to their camera system.

To prevent the rear element of the lens from hitting the digital back Cambo include a Lens Stop or Focus Stop which is marked with the most popular Schneider and Rodenstock lenses. Simply slide the Stop to the lens being used and lock into place. That’s it!

Here is a video showing the Actus-GFX and an image showing where the Stop would be when using an Actus DB2.

Posted in ACTUS | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cambo UST Studio Stand

Cambo’s UST camera stand is popular worldwide and used by many high quality companies that require stability time after time. Whether you have a large, medium or small sized studio, Cambo have a studio stand solution available.

Here’s the team from Miggo, as with many professional studio they use a Cambo studio stand and produce high quality photographs for their marketing materials. You can see their products here.

Cambo UST

Cambo UST Studio Stand

Do you own a Cambo Studio Stand? If so would you like a mention on the blog?

 Complete your details above and we’ll add any interesting projects that you have been assigned to photograph.

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Cambo X1D Lens Adaptor

Cambo X1D Lens Adaptor

Regular readers of the Cambo blog already know how inventive the company is when they created the ACTUS camera system. It provided options to add the latest digital camera bodies such as Canon, Nikon, Sony, Hasselblad, Fuji and a wide range of lens options.

Now there are options to add manual legacy lenses directly to the Hasselblad X1D and Fuji GFX50s.

The new HV-XCD is a manual lens adaptor to add the Hasselblad-C lenses to the X1D camera body using the electronic shutter function.

Cambo HVXCD Cambo HVXCD_2

When using this lens adapter and lens combination its important that you disable the X1D lens shutter and select the electronic shutter function. This is available when using the latest firmware update v1.17.2 and you can read how to change this on page 92 of the Hasselblad X1D instruction manual.

More information about Hasselblad X1D camera accessories can be obtained from your local Cambo dealer or you can email your questions directly to Cambo.

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , ,

New Cambo PCH Tripod Head

New Cambo PCH Tripod Head

Cambo is pleased to announce the new PCH (Precision Controlled Head) tripod head to complement the Actus range of technical cameras and DSLR systems.

Cambo PCH Tripod Head

Cambo PCH Tripod Head

The PCH features tilt, swing and rotation just the same as a ball head however with the addition of precision gears for fine tuned tilt and swing. The precision geared movements are self locking and available in any position of the head.

As with other Cambo heads the top plate rotates 360 degrees, however the new PCH has a full 360 degree rotation at the base enabling precise nodal capture.

The PCH features a quick release top and includes a 1/4” plate. This is the same QR plate that is supplied with the CBH-6, which has a safety lock preventing your camera loosening in the mount. 

When the 1/4” QR mount is removed you can attach the Cambo ACTUS camera and Wide RS camera system. This is an ARCA style mount, and is useful for quickly attaching your camera system, balancing the ACTUS on the head and how close/away you need to position the camera when shooting in the studio or setting up copy stand and macro shots.

PCH Adjustment

An additional function that will benefit most photographers is the ability to adjust the controls to your own preferences. You can adjust the manual and geared movements to the way you want them to be.

  • 360º manual panning at the top and bottom plate
  • Position click indication every 90º at the top and bottom plate
  • 140º X-axis tilt (30º backwards 110º forward)
  • Separate manual (fast) or geared (fine) movement around the X-axis
  • 140º Y-axis pivot (30º backwards 110º forward)
  • Separate manual (fast) or geared (fine) movement around the Y-axis
  • X-, Y- and Z-axis rotate over the same point
  • When X-, Y- and Z-axis locking knobs are open the PCH can move freely
    like a normal spherical head.
  • Adjustable geared friction
  • Adjustable manual friction
  • Arca compatible clamp
  • 4 large spirit levels
  • Durable stainless steel 3/8’’ and 1/4’’ tripod mounting options. 

Size and Weight

  • height: 130 mm (incl. plate)
  • width:  110 mm
  • depth:  102 mm
  • weight: 1200 gram

Availability and Price

The PCH is available now at €984.00 ex.TAX/VAT and shipment. Cambo are taking orders now please contact your local dealer for further information.

Posted in ACTUS | Tagged , , ,