King Kilimanjaro

©Stéphane Gautronneau, for Condé Nast France, Air France Madame Magazine

We don’t hear it too often, but we do like it: A photographer carrying the Cambo Actus in his back-pack, all the way up the Kilimanjaro. Stéphane Gautronneau did it. He was assigned by 360 Voyage Events expedition planners and Commune Image Media to realise a documentary along the Marunga tracks, reaching the Uhuru Peak of Mount Kilimanjaro. Stéphane’s movie Pole Pole, which means “slowly” in Swahili, will be broadcasted next year at BBC’s Geography channel. The resulting article was published in the most recent issue of Air France Madame Magazine.

In the bag were a Fujifilm GFX-100, Cambo Actus and Mamiya RZ 65 and 90mm lenses.

©Stéphane Gautronneau, for Condé Nast France, Air France Madame Magazine

This is not our first blog about Stéphane. If you’d like to read more Wild At Heart

Posted in ACTUS, General, Landscape | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

New applications for the X-Shutter

About a year ago, Phase One introduced their XT system. A technical camera developed in close cooperation with and manufactured by Cambo. At the core of the XT is the X-shutter. It’s a robust #0 leaf shutter that can take the place of a mechanical shutter, like i.e. the Copal-0.

In the past Rollei, Sinar/Rodenstock and Schneider manufactured their own electronical leaf shutters. Unlike these earlier attempts, the X-Shutter doesn’t require an external controller. It’s powered from and operated directly at the Phase One IQ4 digital back. The downside of this: You can’t use it with any other digital back than the IQ4. The beauty of it is an ease of use that’s unprecedented for technical and view cameras. Although you’re going to miss the wonderful sound of releasing a mechanical Copal shutter set at long exposure.

The X-Shutter was first used in the XT system. November 2020 Phase One will start supplying shutters for other applications. This requires a cable, to connect the shutter to the digital back when it’s not connected via the XT’s integrated connectors. After a firmware update the IQ4 will be able to distinguish between cable connection and use on the XT and switches to the proper mode automatically.

Cambo will supply new Rodenstock Digaron lenses fitted with the X-Shutter. Not only for use on our WRS and WRC technical cameras. Lenses can also be mounted to #0 lens plates for view cameras. Here’s a Rodenstock HR-Digaron 90SW attached to a Cambo Actus-XL. When you’re using a view camera and IQ4 back in a studio environment, the X-Shutter can certainly make your workflow more efficient. All shutter and aperture settings can be controlled in Capture One. No more need to open, close, cock and release the shutter manually, as required when working with a mechanical shutter.

Existing Rodenstock Digaron lenses and a selection of Schneider Kreuznach lenses can be upgraded to the X-Shutter. Every lens added to this list requires a unique piece of firmware. It tells the shutter in which lens it is. Not only necessary to mention the lens used in the EXIF info, but – more important – to get the aperture right.

Cambo WRS lens panels fit onto the Phase One XT. If you’d like to use tilt and swing on your XT, using one of Cambo’s WTS lenses was already an option. Now these lenses will be a available with the X-Shutter as well.

And vice versa XT lens panels fit onto the Cambo WRS. Which makes sense, in case a larger shift range is needed than the XT’s 12mm.

This is a list of lenses that can be fitted with the Phase One X-Shutter:

Rodenstock Digaron:Schneider Apo-Digitar:
23 HR-S47-XL
32 HR-W60-XL
35 HR-S72-XL
40 HR-W80-M
50 HR-W90-N
60 HR-S100-N
70 HR-W120-N / Asph.
90 HR-SW120-M
100 HR-S150-N
180 HR-S180-T


To summarise the new applications of the X-Shutter:

  • XT lens panels can be used on Cambo technical cameras
  • Cambo Tilt & Swing lens panels fit onto Phase One XT cameras
  • Cambo view cameras are available with X-Shutter lenses
  • New Digaron lenses are available with X-Shutters
  • Digarons and a selection of Schneider lenses can be upgraded with X-shutters

The X-Shutter has been used in the XT camera for over a year now. It’s proven itself as robust and troublefree. Being a further development of a shutter that is build by Phase One’s Industrial division, it’s been tested and tried in i.e. aerial photography. That version, btw, has a fastest shutter speed of 1/2000 and shows outstanding longevity. The version we have at our hands now – its shutter speed being reduced to 1/1000 – will only be more durable.

Posted in ACTUS, Architecture, Automotive, Cambo Ultima, General, Studio, Technical | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A wider view for the Actus

Cambo Actus-GFX-100 with Actar-19. 8mm of fall, 1 degree of tilt applied.

It’s been on Fuji Rumors, blogs and forums and now it’s time to show it here. The new Actar-19 lens for the Actus and Actus-XL view cameras. Based on the Nikon PC-19.

The PC-19 is a great lens in its own right. Distortion is minimal for such a wide angle. We “rehoused” it and made some changes, to make it work even better on a view camera. The aperture was replaced by a manual version. The F-bajonet had to go, to make better use of the lens’ generous image circle. The result is a lens that enables a generous amount of shift on 24×36 cameras, performs very well when paired with a camera like the Fuji GFX-100 and has enough coverage to still enable some shift when used with a Phase One IQ3 or IQ4.

Although this is a great lens when you are an architectural and interior photographer using a GFX, its use is not limited to mirrorless medium format. We used Phase One backs for many of our tests. The 53.4 x 40mm sensor being 1.5x bigger than the one used in the GFX and X1D is a good bench mark. With the largest sensor rise and fall is limited to 4mm. Corner sharpness remains excellent and distortion is low.

Actus-DB2 with Actar-19 and Phase One IQ4-150. 4mm of rise.
Sony A7r_mk4 with 13mm of rise applied

Posted in ACTUS, General | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When tech cams were more technical

Cambo Lenspanel WDS-180L

Attach a lens to the front and a digital back to the rear and your tech cam – like this Cambo WRS-1600 – is ready to use. And thanks to the good live view of nowaday’s digital backs focussing is a breeze. The Digitar and Digaron lenses come mounted and calibrated and are basically plug-and-play. What it requires is your creativity to make the most of it.

A technical photographer’s live hasn’t always been that easy. Apart from the substantially higher weight to carry, tech cams for analogue use required some more preparation.

Here’s a Cambo Wide DS. It accepts 5×4″ sheet film cassettes. This version was introduced in 2000.

This one has a WDS-504 revolving back. It has Graflock type sliders. That’s good. It enables you to replace the ground glas with an adapter for digital backs, like this WDS-506.

So it is possible to use these older technical cameras with a digital back. Even the latest and greatest will fit. The back’s sensor will be in exactly the same plane as the film used to be. This means the same lenses can be used in both the analogue and digital set-up. And each lens still requires its spacer, unique to each focal length that was available in those days.

WDS set-up for use with a Schneider Super-Angulon 58. Hence the marking on the spacer.

If the WDS is going to be used with the current lens panels, set-up for use with digital backs, the Graflock style back and spacer need to go. It will be replaced by one of these, which brings the sensor in the right plane for use with Cambo’s WRS lens panels.

Modern times
Posted in General, Technical, Wide RS | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Making waves

In the 1950’s water management and water works became big issues in The Netherlands. This required facilities to test scale models of new infrastructural projects. And we are not talking about kitchen-table-size scale models. Therefore an open air laboratorium was founded. It provided enough space to build huge models of coast lines, harbours and planned tunnels and expose these to artificially created tides and waves.

In this lab the effects of many national and international infrastructural projects were simulated. Here the ports of IJmuiden and Marsha-el-Brega, to name a few, were built to scale before the first stone was actually laid. Although The Netherlands still have testing facilities like this, computer simulation made this lab obsolete. In 1996 it was abandoned. Nowadays it’s called Waterloopbos and open for visitors.

The beautifully decayed scale models are surrounded by woods and moss-covered. A nice site to take the WRS-1600 with IQ3 back and Phase One 35mm for a walk.

This is Phase One’s 3.5/35 Blue Ring lens attached to a Cambo WRS-1600. It makes the tech cam look small.

The 35mm Blue Ring – a Schneider Kreuznach design – is a great lens. Designed and optimised for use on the Phase One XF cameras, it’s not intended for use on a tech cam. But we do have this adapter so why shouldn’t we give it a try.

Shooting straight ahead the lens’ quality is superb. Although not necessarily designed to cover more than the digital back’s sensor, it does offer some room to shift. Technically there’s 8mm in it before the corners show vignetting. However, to maintain optimum quality it’s better not to exceed a few mm.

Monument for the Delta Works at Waterloopbos

Detached from the XF body, there’s no way to trigger the lens’ leaf shutter. So you’ll need to rely on the digital back’s ES. It does support the use of strobes, albeit limited to longer exposure times.

WRS-M645 enables the use of all Mamiya 645 and Phase One XF lenses on Cambo WRS and Phase One XT bodies. There’s no electronic connection between digital back and lens. Before attaching it to the tech cam, the lens needs to be stopped down to its working aperture.

Posted in General, Landscape, Wide RS | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Keeping things tidy

Ever since Cambo has been manufacturing studio stands many photographers ordered these with an accessory tray. Just to have things like the exposure meter and Polaroid cassette at hand.

At some point, the screen near the camera replaced the loupe and Polaroid. Looking at the DB, this one must be about 25 years old by now.

For use on our M-Line (Mono and MBX) of studio stands we’ve got the Mono-52. The U-52 is the notebook tray for the U-Stands (UST and UBS). Use is limited to the UBA cross arm, which slides on roller bearings. The U-4 requires a different solution, due to its crank.

That solution is called CT-460. It can be used on a C-stand, or – attached to a U-9 or U-29 – at the studio stand’s cross arm.

CT-460 attached to the U-4 cross arm

Posted in General, Studio | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Iconic landscapes revisited

The Dutch landscape as it is nowadays is to a great extent man-made. Over the ages courses of rivers were bent, where once was sea now crops are harvested and land consolidation on a large scale is one of the reasons Dutch agriculture could reach a level of unprecedented efficiency. In 2008 landscape architect Henk van Blerck and photographer Michiel Pothoff decided to collaborate and produced a series of 61 photographs called Canon van het Nederlandse Landschap. One of the criteria for the selection of landscapes was human interference during several periods of time. Thus urbanisation and lanscapes created by land consolidation play an important role in this work.

In 2008 all photographs were made with a Cambo WDS combined with a Leaf digital back and Schneider 35xl lens.

At the moment Michiel is revisiting these 61 landscapes. The Cambo WDS is still his travel companion. This time every photograph will be combined with a 360° panorama. The latter shot with a Nikon D5 paired with a Zeiss 18mm lens on a Cambo CLH-500 panorama head.

This link directs you to a panorama of the river IJssel near Kampen, Cambo’s home town.

It’s a work in progress. So if you’d like to see more, just visit the Canon van het Nederlandse Landschap from time to time.

More about Michiel Pothoff:

Posted in General, Landscape, Leaf Digital Back | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Smooth, flexible and precise: Cambo Geared Tripod Heads

The Cambo PCH and PCF geared heads provide the fast adjustability of a ball-head, combined with the independent axis control of a 3-way pan-tilt head. Since the gears are self-locking, there’s no need to disengage the locks before adjusting the fine settings. The 90° indents on the rotating top plate and availabiltiy of a longer QR plate are amenities that serve the needs of panorama shooters. High precision engineering and extremely fine machining tolerances guarantee smooth operation without backlash.

Cambo PCH, PCF and PCM tripod heads.

WRS-334 is a leveller designed for use with the Cambo WRS and Phase One XT tech cameras. Although it comes with an Arca-style QR plate for use with other cameras as well.

Three thumb wheels enable levelling upto 5° in any direction.

WRS-334 features a selector to set its 360° rotation to 16, 12 or 2 indents.


Posted in ACTUS, General, Landscape, Wide RS | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Finer, faster and smarter machining

At Cambo we take pride in our in-house machining. Not only the parts needed for your new tech or view camera are manufactured in our own facility, some other well-known brands rely on our machining as well. About two years ago we upgraded the shop with a DMG Mori DMU-50. A five-axis CNC milling machine. And guess what? We like it so much, that we’ve just acquired a second one.

The truck it arrived on was accompanied by a crew bringing their own forklift and all the tools needed for installation. It took a bit of manoeuvring to get the DMU into the hall and past its siblings.

But now it has arrived at its new home.

The DMU-50 in front milling tech cam parts, while in the back the installation of a similar machine is being completed.
Posted in General | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

New life for your view camera

Many view cameras that were acquired in the Nineties or Zeroes (that sounds horrible!) by commercial studios and schools now have entered the stage of retirement. Not unlike human beings, some of these trusted work horses would rather stay active. Therefore we offer the means to use them with digital backs, DSLRS and Mirrorless cameras.

Let’s start with this 4×5″ Master, Cambo’s top of the line view camera introduced in 1988.

Let's start with this 4x5" Master, Cambo's top of the line view camera introduced in 1988.

In the camera shown above, the ground glass back is replaced by a Cambo DPB-45, it’s completed with an interface plate for a digital back. In this case an SLW-83 suitable for the Phase One/Mamiya interface of the Leaf Credo.

Cambo Master / Schneider Super-Symmar 110

If your view camera has a “standard” Graflock back, one of Cambo’s Graflock adapters can take the place of the ground glass. Like this WDS-506 for backs with a Hasselblad interface. The use of it is not limited to Cambo view cameras. For digital backs that have no or limited live view, there are sliding backs available.

On this Cambo Wide the ground glass of the Graflock back has been replaced with a WDS-509 to fit a Phase One IQ4 digital back.

In 1998 the Legend and Master view cameras were replaced by the Ultima. Although still available in 4×5′ and 8×10′ versions, this view camera was primarily designed for digital applications. Digital sensors, being much smaller than the traditional “large format”, require finer camera settings. The Ultima evolved into the Actus-XL, to make it more compatible with the smaller Cambo Actus view cameras. This makes the Ultima / Actus-XL the perfect base if you’d like to work with a view camera, but not necessarily with a digital back.

A Cambo Actus-XL with Nikon Z7
Posted in ACTUS, Cambo Legend, Cambo Master, Cambo Ultima, Leaf Digital Back, Studio, Technical | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment