Cambo Digital Back Adapter ACDB-989

More great news for the owners of Cambo Actus camera systems.

Cambo have now introduced the ACDB-989 adapter plate so you can attach a digital back adapter to the Actus series.

Cambo Actus ACDB-989

Cambo Actus ACDB-989

Why launch a new adapter?

One of the areas that Cambo have excelled in for many years is education. Rewind 10 to 12 years ago and the X2Pro system was a hit offering the photographer movement with their DSLR. In the education market it was great for the college as their students could use the X2Pro with Canon or Nikon camera mounts.

Many colleges and university’s use the Actus Mini camera with Canon, Nikon, Sony, Leica, Pentax, Olympus, 4/3 and Fuji X.

Then with the introduction of the Actus DB/2 for digital backs this enabled Cambo to add Hasselblad, Phase One and Mamiya Leaf digital backs. However, the thought process didn’t end there. Cambo were looking ahead to see what else would fit within their roadmap and of course it was an easy transition to manufacture a mount to accept camera systems such as the Fuji GFX50s and Hasselblad X1D.

What’s so different about this adapter?

Earlier I mentioned the colleges and university’s. With the ever growing range of cameras available and with more education institutions using digital camera backs, not only was the adaptability important but also the speed of changeover.

Remember the days of when the original Actus (mini) was launched and the camera fitting could only be changed by removing 4 tiny screws? Often I dropped the screws and not long after changing the mount I would have another student asking me to change it back – frustration!

Cambo ACDB-989

Cambo ACDB-989

The quick release lever was introduced by Cambo – joy! I can now swap over the camera mount and have a Fuji GFX or Hasselblad X1D ready to go in seconds. Great for commercial studios that use both cameras.

Cambo AC-792 Fuji Adapter

Cambo AC-792 Fuji Adapter

Now we have the opportunity of using a digital back. The ACDB-989 enables you to add a Hasselblad, Phase One or Mamiya Leaf digital back. Great news as I can swap out whichever camera is required for the job or use the camera the student wants to test.

And the advantage is?

Well, I always harp on about adaptability and dare I say “Modularity” but this is a word I often use when using Cambo technical cameras.

Remember the Ultima camera that accepts the SLW adapters? There is also the Wide RS that uses the SLW adapters – yes you’ve guessed it, the ACDB-989 also uses the SLW adapter plates.

Cambo Actus ACDB-989

Cambo Actus ACDB-989

So although you may change over cameras the SLW adapter plates are compatible and can remain attached to your digital back – no shimming required!

Cambo SLW Interface Plates

Cambo SLW Interface Plates

For a college or university – and commercial studios – that may have 4 or 5 adapter plates that’s the total sum of €3,000.00, money you don’t have to spend when upgrading.

Also, the change over save so much time. The original screw type camera adapter could take 5/10 minutes – now it’s seconds.

The ACDB-989 is available from your local Cambo dealer. Price €429.00 excluding VAT/Tax and shipping.

Posted in ACTUS | Tagged

Cambo QR-XL Long Plate

Cambo QR-XL Long Plate

With the recent introduction of the PCH (Precision Control Head) many landscape and architectural photographers have given Cambo the thumbs up and are pleased with the control this new head offers.

Cambo PCH QRXL

Cambo PCH showing QR-XL plate

Photographers wishing to use medium format or DSLRs with longer lenses, balance is important, the QR-XL long plate enables you to re-position and find the centre of gravity. When capturing spherical and 360º images this plate is used for setting the nodal point enabling you to capture images accurately for stitching. There is sufficient length for cameras when working with VR, measuring 203mm and has an accurate 180mm engraved scale.

Cambo QR-XL plate

Cambo QR-XL plate

The QR-XL dove tail plate is Arca compatible and can be used with the CBH-6 ball head. There are two slots each measuring 80mm to give you more options when using different sized cameras and lenses.

A standard 1/4” camera screw is provided and an end stop is fixed to give security and prevents the plate from sliding fully out of the tripod head.

The QR-XL is available from your local Cambo dealer. Price €125.00 excluding VAT/Tax and shipping.

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Cambo Actus Fuji GFX50s Panorama

Cambo Actus Fuji GFX50s Panorama

Fuji GFX50 panorama

Following on from our review we are now going to show the Cambo Actus Fuji GFX50s Panorama. This blog will show the process of how we stitched the images. The software we will be using is RAW File Converter v2.0 powered by SilkyPix. This will pull out the data required to prepare the files for stitching in Photoshop CC2018.

The SilkyPix software will give you full control over the exposure bias, white balance, sharpness, tone, saturation and lens aberration to produce  TIFF or JPEG files. This is of course dependent on the output or display required i.e. high quality print or website images.

Why are we blogging the Cambo Fuji combination?

First this is not a comparison of cameras; Fuji, Canon, Nikon etc or digital backs Hasselblad Phase One etc. The point is to show the compatibility of a system to enable photographers to use a technical camera with movement, in this first instance shift, rise and fall to capture an image produced by the lens image circle.

Secondly, there is an advantage using a mirrorless system. As the sensor is further forward you will be able to use wider angle lenses. A DSLR with a mirror box is restricted to 60mm.

Third and finally, this whole exercise is to show how accurately you can stitch images with a high quality technical camera as the digital plane (aka film plane) is parallel, hence the stitch will be exact (providing you have no tripod or shutter shake.)

Image Circle?

You may have read my previous articles about image stitching, showing how you can move the sensor around this circle thus capturing multiple images that will enable you to produce a much larger picture. To refresh check this link Fuji XT1 where you can see the basic principles.

Creating the Panorama

Wherever possible it will make your life easier to shoot at the correct exposure, in some cases bracket so that you can pull detail from the sky or highlight areas. Don’t rely on the software as this will never produce a better result as the file will be pulled in noise terms and pixel stretching can also be a problem. It’s better to have too many images, than not enough and a failed shoot.

We captured 9 images within the image circle. However there was plenty of overlap to create the final stitched result. Working on my trusty MacBook Pro (4 years old now) it took 4 minutes to process to full TIFF files generating a file 146.3Mb. The total stitch via Photoshop CC2018 took 6 minutes creating a 492.6Mb file (2.1Gb editable layered document.)

Fuji GFX50 vignette

The GFX50s body was pushed to the maximum and as you would expect there is vignetting as the image circle is 75mm. This image measures 16473(w) x 10452(h) pixels at 300 ppi.

When stitching in PSCC2018 there is an option you may wish to consider; Content-Aware fill which takes care of the edge mis-alignment if you experience tripod shake. Checking the Vignette option has no affect on the image as we are at the extremities of the lens.

Considering we have stitched 9 images, there is a huge amount of additional image when compared to the original file. The total stitch at 16473 x 10452 requires cropping as the vignette area is unusable.

129+ MILLION PIXELS

Having cropped the vignette area, the file is reduced to 13926 x 9284, 369.9Mb 300ppi versus an original file 8256 x 6192, 153.5Mb 300ppi. The red crop is the original file size produced by the GFX50s. As you can see the pixel gain is MORE THAN 2.5X

Stitched (Useable) 13926 x 9284 = 129,288,984 pixels, print output 117.91 x 78.6cm 300dpi.

Original 8256 x 6192 = 51,121,152 pixels, print output 69.9 x 52.43cm 300dpi.

You will probably appreciate the increase in image capture area more when we display the red crop vertically.

Fuji GFX50 crop

The larger the image circle, the more you can move the sensor to capture data. However, bear in mind the quality of the lens and resolution will determine the final result.

We have shown you the best way to capture the maximum image information from the lens circle. This will vary depending on the lens used. For a true panorama image and effect, I would crop the top and bottom, of course the final decision is the photographers. And here is the stitched image.

Fuji GFX50 Panorama

For further information about the Actus GFX and lens combinations contact your local Cambo dealer, or contact Cambo by email with your enquiry.

Don’t forget to subscribe – as we have more interesting reviews for 2018!

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

Happy New Year 2018

Happy New Year 2018 from all the Cambo employees and associates.

Don’t forget to subscribe to be the first to read about our new products for 2018!

HappyNewYear2018

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Cambo Laptop Table

Cambo Laptop Table

Cambo Laptop Table CT-460 can be fixed to any light stand or tripod with a 16mm spigot mount, 1/4” or 3/8” screw thread.

Cambo CT460 laptop table

Cambo CT460 laptop table

The table measures 49cm(w) x 27cm(h) and weighs 1.4kg including the fixture mount.

Cambo CT460 Laptop Table

Cambo CT460 Laptop Table

This is a particularly useful item to have in the studio when shooting in small spaces and you wish to tether your camera system to a laptop. Equally, its ideal for when you wish to shoot on-location as its portable and easy to pack away.

The CT460 is available from you local Cambo dealer, to find your dealer check the map or contact Cambo by email with your enquiry.

Posted in Studio | Tagged , , , ,

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