Gerhard Witteveen demonstrates Fujifilm GFX 50S Cambo Actus Technical Camera Combo for Studio Product Shots

One of the most exciting outcomes of the arrival of Fujifilm’s GFX 50S medium format camera is its support by view camera makers like Cambo, effectively turning the GFX into a digital back for use with adapted lenses and shutterless lenses like Combo’s manual aperture Actar range. 

I no longer have my medium format Mamiya RZ lenses, having been purloined from a shared studio in London, so Cambo’s Actar prime lens range is of particular interest as part of a view camera solution for architecture and portrait photography, as well as product photography of the sort Mr Witteveen demonstrates in his video.

The Actar range currently comprises five lenses from wide to telephoto:

I am unfamiliar with Cambo’s current technical view camera and lens product range but have fond memories of using Cambo studio view cameras in my magazine editorial portraiture days.

Links:

Coming Soon: Arca-Swiss Universalis II View Camera System for Fujifilm GFX 50S Medium Format Cameras

Rod Klukas, operating under the name Arca-Swiss USA, has released an image of the soon-to-be released Arca-Swiss Universalis II view camera system for Fujifilm’s GFX 50S medium format camera. Like Cambo’s Actus-GFX mini view camera, the Arca-Swiss Universalis II uses the GFX 50S as a digital magazine in combination with existing view camera system elements. 

Magazine editorial portrait photography with large format view cameras using 4″x5″ sheet film, Polaroid Type 55 instant positive/negative film and Linhof fixed-size or Sinar variable-format 120 roll film backs with the choice of 6×4.5, 6×6, 6×7, 6×9 and 6×12 aspect ratios was a passion of mine during the analog era.

I discovered that my subjects responded very differently to view cameras than they ever did to all other camera types, and I easily achieved an intimacy and calmness in my subjects that took more work to obtain using smaller cameras in the hand or on the tripod.

The cameras’ movements – swing, shift and tilt – provided extra creative control of what was in or out of focus, especially when using longer focal lengths like 210mm and even standard focal lengths such as 150mm.

This hardware also came in handy photographing architecture and figures in landscapes when I was a corporate photographer working for mining companies in the deserts of Western Australia.

I miss those cameras and that very craft-oriented approach to photography. It is so rewarding, then, to see similar aspect ratio and camera type choices appearing in the digital era and I hope that more technical camera makers will adopt Fujifilm’s GFX camera series in the way that Arca-Swiss and Cambo have now.

I was lucky to have learned the art and craft of large format photography with a pair of Linhof cameras owned by a university art school, then bought a Cambo studio technical camera followed by a Graflex sheet film press camera then a Wista folding field camera made of brass and cherrywood.

Those who have not been exposed to technical cameras using 120 roll film or sheet film may wish to do a little reading via the lists of links below.

Technical camera & lens brands, current and defunct

  • Alpa
  • Arca-Swiss – no corporate website, see links below.
  • Cambo – my first studio technical camera
  • Deardorff – made wooden field cameras between 1923 and 1988.
  • Ebony – made wooden and all-metal field view cameras for analog photography only but recently ceased production.
  • Fujinon – made some of the most highly-regarded large format lenses, reportedly Richard Avedon’s favourites, but appears to no longer be producing them. Fujinon large format lenses are being sold on eBay at affordable prices. My two favourite focal lengths are 90mm and 210mm, with both available in f/5.6 maximum aperture versions.
  • Gandolfi & Sons – makers of traditional mahogany folding field cameras from 4″x5″ through to 11″x14″ format for decades from 1885 until closing their doors in 2000.
  • Horseman
  • Linhof
  • Rodenstock
  • Schneider-Kreuznach – appears to have gone out of the large format lens business in favour of DSLR and medium format lenses.
  • Sinar
  • Toyo-View – US website, not updated since 2013. Toyo-View cameras are still sold at Adorama and B&H Photo Video.
  • Wista – appears have stayed with analog sheet film cameras. I owned a Wista 4″x5″ cherrywood folding field camera.

Other Links:

Breathe Easy in Swing, Shift, Tilt on Fujifilm GFX 50S with Cambo Actus-GFX Mini View Camera

Photography and video hardware manufacturer Cambo has announced the availability of its bellows-based swing, shift and tilt solution for the Fujifilm GFX 50S medium format mirrorless camera system, the Cambo Actus-GFX. The Actus-GFX appears to be a GFX 50S-adapted version of Cambo’s Actus Mini View Camera designed for a range of mirrorless cameras. 

cambo_gfx50s_view_camera_01_1572px

The Cambo Actus-GFX is excellent news for those of us photographing architecture, still-life, food, portraits and other subjects demanding fine control of focus points and perspective via camera movements.

View cameras using 4″x5″ sheet film, Polaroid Type 55 instant positive/negative film and 120 roll film were my preferred camera type for portraiture during the analog era and I miss their ability to swing, shift or tilt front and rear standards to control the plane of focus.

My emotionally intense portraits with just two points in sharp focus such as a reflection in one eye and the tip of a lower lip became popular during my magazine portrait career and they could only be done using view cameras.

I am grateful that Cambo has seen the need for technical view cameras in the digital era and has created the Actus Mini View Camera to take advantage of mirrorless cameras like the Fujifilm GFX 50S as well as other cameras such as Canon’s EOS and M series, Nikon F DSLRs, Leica M rangefinders and Sony E-mount, Pentax K-mount, Fujifilm X-mount and Micro Four Thirds mirrorless cameras.

The Cambo Actus Mini View Camera lens mount range currently includes lens plates for Canon EF, Nikon F, Leica R, Hasselblad, Mamiya RB/RZ, Mamiya 645 Pro TL and Pentax 645 35mm and medium format lenses.

The Cambo website has not yet been updated with further information about the Cambo Actus-GFX Mini View Camera but that should be coming soon. It will be useful to know which lenses work well with the Actus-GFX and Fujifilm GFX 50S camera combination.

I might also point out that view camera systems have their uses in movie production and are a more versatile alternative to the tilt/shift lenses found in DSLR camera systems.

Links

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  • Cambo ACTUS-GFX View Camera Body with Fujifilm GFX Bayonet Mount (Black) – B&H
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