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: www.studiopothoff.nl

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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.


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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.
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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

There’s no such thing as a lost space

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One Wall Away is the title of Jan Theun van Rees’ website. And it says a lot about his work. Walls do not only surround a space and keep the outside at bay, they also form a connection with the world on the other side. One of the most vivid examples of this is formed by a project Van Rees started a couple of years ago: In Between.

During his first visit to Tokyo in 2015 it struck him that, unlike in other major cities, there are no continuous facades. There’s always an – albeit narrow – gap between the individual buildings. Access is often obstructed by fences or airco-units. It takes a strong observer to notice this phenomenon at all; during daytime the gaps aren’t more than dark lines separating the premises. After dusk this chances. Very often the buildings have windows facing the narrow ‘alleys’ in between. When the inhabitants turn on the lights, the light bounces between the walls and forms a connection between the buildings.

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This interaction between interiors and the outside world works the other way around as well. The incident light adds shape to a room. After years of merely observing and registering the incoming light, Van Rees started to alter, steer and manipulate it, by applying curtains and drapes in the often abonded rooms he uses for his photography. Subsequently he constructed an entire space from scratch, just to study the light that defines it. Here the distinction between inside and outside has finally vanished completely.

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The One Wall theme runs like a thread through Jan Theun van Rees’ career as a photographer. Whether he builds an installation in an abandoned store, photographs a curtain waving through an opened window, or challenges fellow artists to integrate one of his photographs in their works. There’s always this lifelong fascination.

The passion for the interaction between a space represented in an image and the room it’s exhibited in led to the project A Given Space. It’s an interdisciplinary collaboration between Jan Theun van Rees and 14 fellow artists. Each artist is invited to choose one of Van Rees’ photographs of  empty rooms. A lifesize print is sticked to the studio’s wall. The assignment is a new work of art created for this particular space, now being nothing more than a flat surface.  When the work of art has been completed, Van Rees photographs it in ‘his’ empty room. The final prints are being exhibited in various venues.

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From A Given Space. With Guda Koster.


Jan Theun van Rees works with a Cambo WRS-1000, Phase One P45 and Schneider 24, 43 and 80mm lenses. This may not be the most recent gear, it works well for him. When using a DSLR – or even more tucked away under a dark cloth behind a view camera – the gear stands between the photographer and the subject. Working with a tech cam without live view, the view point is established without visual aids. The photograph results from the interaction between photographer, camera and space. It’s all about space.

Like to see more? One Wall Away

May 22 – 25 2020 Jan Theun van Rees is exhibiting at This Art Fair

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Revealing the unseen beauty of nature

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Professor Yuan Yu works on the cutting edge of science and art. As the Shanghai World Expo Museum’s Head of Innovation he’s exploring the latest (microscopical) imaging technologies. His work reveals the beauty of the micro world. Influenced by the works of British photographer Levon Bliss, he turned his attention to insects of various shapes and shades.

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Each photograph requires meticulous preparation. The equipment used is a Cambo Actus-DB2 paired with a Phase One 100mp back Equipmentand a Rodenstock HR-Digaron 105 Macro. The set-up is supported by a Cambo PCH geared head.

Results like this can only be achieved by stacking hundreds of images. This starts with calculating the magnification and the increments between the individual shots. Mounting the Cambo Actus to a micro-meter stage ensures the precision needed for this proces. After hours of stacking a beautifully coloured insect appears on the screen. Zooming into the details reveals the bumps and fluff of the carapace and one can literally count the scales on the wings. Its structure and vivid colours shine like a gem.


DetailThe bumps and fluff on the carapace, the array of scales, the insect’s beautiful structural colors are unreservedly displayed in front of the viewer’s eyes, shining like a gem.






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This blog entry was created with kind permission of  Nexor  Cambo’s exclusive distributor in China.
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Wild at heart

July 2019 French photographer Stéphane Gautronneau boarded the Ms. Austral in Petropavlosk. The ship sailed the Bering Sea, past the Aleutian Islands and reached the Alaskan Coast 21 days later. Due to global warming this Northern Passage has become more and more accessible. The melting ice offers unseen spectacular landscapes and traces of human intervention, such as wrecked submarines and planes from the Japan-US war. The initial plan was to work on a reportage for Le Monde M, following the Trans-Alaska Pipeline from Prudhoe Bay to Seward. The forest fires of that summer urged to a chance of plans.


The Austral dropped Stéphane off at Juneau, Alaska. He made his way to Fairbanks to meet his local contact, a Native American who was going to help him on this reportage. Stéphane likes to set off on his own and hire assistants and help locally. It gives him a chance to meet people. And travelling is actually part of the process. “Hopping on a plane for a long journey, just to spend a few days out there, isn’t natural to the human body, the mind and the planet! I like to get out on my own, walking or biking. Slow travelling brings the human scale back into the picture.” 250km North of Fairbanks Stéphane and his guide – wearing gas masks to be able to breath – were stopped by fire-fighters.The couple could continue to Wiseman. Normally the last stop for petrol and coffee. This time the fire-fighter troops stopped them definitely.


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Stéphane during training

It was clear that the initial reportage could not be accomplished. After a two-days crash course Stéphane was allowed to join the troops. The new plan: A series of portraits of the fire-fighters, young people coming from all over the USA. Fire-fighting in Alaska is actually a summer job, like being a waiter or working on the beach. The brigades were named after the states the members originated from. Stéphane sticked with the Oregon Brigade most of the time.

May 2020 the result will be exhibited at ‘Le Collatéral’ in Arles. All the work has been shot with a Cambo Actus-GFX, using Mamiya RZ lenses and a portable Elinchrom strobe.


The Actus suits Stéphane’s way of working perfectly. He’s a photographer who prefers to come home with just a few photographs over shooting endlessly. Rather the picture he already had in his mind than a dozen that are nearly right. When working in New York in the 1990’s, he bought a 1952 Linhof Technika from an assistant. Stéphane immediately loved the more contemplative way of working it required. And its compact size made it a good travel companion. The Actus brought these qualities to the digital age. And Stéphane still uses the Mamiya RZ lenses on it that he’s been using since his younger days as a NYC based fashion photographer.

Over time shooting with a view camera has become Stéphane’s natural way of working. It’s not limited to travel photography. This picture is from a recent Thierry Colson fashion shoot.St. Gautronneau for Thierry Colson

Biography of Stéphane Gautronneau by Clara Lefort

Wild at heart, Stéphane Gautronneau is a photographer like no other. An autodidact, he started his career by assisting a roaster of great fashion photographers like Patrick Demarchelier, Justine Parson, David Sawyer and Riccardo Tinelli. Sensitive and precise, Stéphane soon devoted time to mastering large format cameras – which require extra care and attention during pre and post-production phases.

Ready to apply his skills to extreme conditions – under a tent or a motorbike, on a glacier or in a desert – Stéphane works marvels with this 4×5, admitting that the “probability that an image is untouched and perfect is rare. A rare exception.”

A regular contributor for major lifestyle magazines and periodicals, his work has been featured in French Vogue, Glamour US, Paris Match, Air France Magazine & Madame (Conde Nast), Figaro Madame, Le Monde, Libération, The New York Times, Vanity Fair US, Harpers Bazaar UK, Stern, The Guardian or The Independent to name a few. Stéphane also shoots many travel stories and portraits, including Gregory David Roberts, Zaha Hadid, Pharell Williams, Nicolas Hulot, amongst others.

Working with and for brands, Stéphane produces images for Nike, BMW, Benetti yachts, Virgin and Richard Branson’s submarine (Necker Nymph)

A BMW ambassador, Stéphane travelled the world to open expedition roads: these long solitary journeys included Perth-Sydney; Paris-Goa; Istanbul-Kathmandu; Buenos Aires-Atacama; Paris-Vladivostok-Lisbon.


Since 2014 Stéphane Gautronneau has been been collaborating with BMW Motorrad. His work has been used for bill boards and commercials. Being a rider himself, he documented over-land motorbike trips for the Make Life a Ride campaign. For a French-German co-production by Commune Image and Connaissances du Monde he was asked to follow a season at the Motodrome, a group of travelling wall of death riders. The resulting movie The Wall will be released in 2020. Here’s a short showreel.

More work by  Stéphane Gautronneau

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Pictures for Money (Pim Top)

The blog title may suggest it’s a how-to about making LeoluxLX_FRAME_001money as a photographer:            We’re sorry for deceiving you! Pictures For Money is Pim Top’s Instagram account. And it shows all but straightforward pictures made by a photographer shooting objects for a living. His portfolio certainly shows pictures from objects. There are chairs wrapped up in leather. Tin cans doing a balancing act. And there’s interior photography in which the furniture has been covered with decorator’s protective foil with so much care that you’d feel sorry if you’d ever had to remove it.

Pim studied Cultural Science, Philosophy and Art History at the Rotterdam based Erasmus University. As Frans Willem Korsten – his former Professor in Literature – states, Pim is not so much looking at a room, he’s “looking at something that represents a possibility of living in or with that space”. At a recent exhibition during Dutch Design Week Pim collaborated with the designer-duo Supertoys Supertoys. Their design philosophy is a way to break out of the ongoing entanglement of being human through things to be human among things instead. This seems to blend seamlessly with Pim Top’s way of looking at the world. In his photographs the objects created by Supertoys Supertoys are in a dialogue with their environment and one isn’t necessarily more important than the other.


Pim uses his camera to recreate the pictures he’s got in his mind. Inspiration rather comes from paintings, sculptures and experimental music than from looking at photography.  Contemplate, arrange, look. Rearrange and look twice. The camera comes last. And that’s one of the reasons using a view camera fits in perfectly with Pim Top’s way of working. One’s own creativity should be the only limitation.

Pim’s work is very often built up from a multitude of shots. Looking at it, you notice something odd, but can’t always tell what it is. This photographer likes to take the same liberty chosing his perspective as painters do. That’s why many photographs are composed from shots taking from slightly different view points. Before Pim switched to using a view camera he often needed 70-100 images to stack the perfect picture. Since he’s using an Actus often ten images will do. Which saves a lot of time. And he’s developed a new love for out-of-focus areas, now that the view camera gives him perfect control over the plane of focus.


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Pim uses a Nikon Z7 with a Cambo Actus-G and Actar-90 lens. The Z is his mirrorless camera of choice, because of its large bayonet and short flange-focal distance. These features enable the large camera movements he needs for his work. Pim likes the Actar-90 because it renders beautifully and has an outstanding image quality both when used for (extreme) close-ups and at a more regular table-top distance. Just recently he’s added an Actar-60. The latter was used for this interior shot of a gallery.

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Like to see more?

Studio Pim Top

Supertoys Supertoys

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Sigma FP meets Cambo Actus

Here we see the smallest Full Frame interchangeable lens camera attached to the smallest view camera. Actus-G_Sigma FP_02s

It’s the latest addition to the L-Alliance announced at Photokina 2018. Leica, Panasonic and Sigma made public to use the Leica L bayonet (by then known from the SL) for their new mirrorless cameras. It brought us the first full frame Panasonic and now this really compact Sigma.

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Obviously this small camera body looks neat on an Actus-G. And it makes a very portable solution without having to forgo on image quality. But it works as well on a full size view camera!

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Sigma FP on the Actus-XL

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More than a modern classic

Basically a view camera is nothing more or less than a flexible connection betweenSupertechna_1948_s a lens and a light sensitive medium. The latter being a glass plate, a sheet or roll of film or a digital sensor. One could easily think that view camera technology has seen more evolution than revolution since Cambo entered the market in 1946. Albeit under a different name, where this 1948 advertisement bears witness of. For obvious reasons the company’s founder soon decided to change the name to Cambo, a conjunction of the first syllables of Camera and his surname.




We’ve got a true modern classic in our program – the SC aka Super Cambo – that’s been around since 1958. The view cameras that leave our factory far more frequently nowadays, have to meet other demands. When the light sensitive medium scaled down from a generous 8 x 10” or 4×5″ to the now common 24 x 36, 33 x 44 and 40 x54mm sensors, the need for precision grew. Our current top-of-the-line view camera, the Actus-XL, may superficially resemble the vintage Cambo cameras, it’s a completely different beast.


Actus-XL with Nikon Z7

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The 40th Anniversary SC from 1986


Speaking about evolution: The introduction of the Fuji GFX-100 urged us to redesign the Actus-XL’s rear standard. It now has the same interchangeable bayonet holder that’s one of the amenities of its smaller sibbling the Actus-G.



This makes swapping between different sensors a breeze. There’s a variety of fittings for all current camera systems, including mirrorless medium format and digital backs.

Actus-XL acc


Actus-XL_Fuji GFX-01_s

The Actus-XL is a modular view camera that will serve you for many years. Whenever you decide to change to another sensor, the Actus-XL is easy to adapt.  And for on-location photography we build some more compact solutions. Like the ones shown here.

Cambo on location

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