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View Full Version : Cambo Wide 650 - Impressions and question regarding close focusing...



Dustyman
22-May-2017, 14:33
Anyone have one and care to share your experiences, good or bad?

Also, what is the minimum focusing distance with the 65mm lens?
I am planning on shooting people rather close, and would like to know how close I can get.

Thanks

EdSawyer
23-May-2017, 06:26
I have one, it's a nice compact camera. Close-focus: depending on aperture, probably as close as about 3 feet or less. I believe the helical goes down to about 1m. be aware there will be a fair bit of wide-angle distortion at that point. Are you planning on ground-glass focusing on tripod or handheld with zone focus? the 65 has pretty nice deep DOF when @ f/16 or whatever, or even f/8, but close-focus is harder to get perfect than hyperfocal or longer distances in my experience.

For a viewfinder I find the Mamiya 7 43mm viewfinder to be a good approximation (and a great viewfinder in general.)

Dustyman
23-May-2017, 08:02
Thanks, Ed.
I don't mind some distortion, as the shots are more documentary than flattering portraits.
Do you think I can get a head and torso at a meter?
Combination of tripod and hand held. I actually have a Combo right angle focusing hood for my TWR54 which I think will fit. I'll have to rig some diopter for my eyes.
I need to find an appropriate cable release for the grip and hand held shooting.
The camera is being offered with Cambo viewfinder pictured. Do you know if it is any good?
165250165251165252



I have one, it's a nice compact camera. Close-focus: depending on aperture, probably as close as about 3 feet or less. I believe the helical goes down to about 1m. be aware there will be a fair bit of wide-angle distortion at that point. Are you planning on ground-glass focusing on tripod or handheld with zone focus? the 65 has pretty nice deep DOF when @ f/16 or whatever, or even f/8, but close-focus is harder to get perfect than hyperfocal or longer distances in my experience.

For a viewfinder I find the Mamiya 7 43mm viewfinder to be a good approximation (and a great viewfinder in general.)

Phil Hudson
23-May-2017, 13:43
The camera is being offered with Cambo viewfinder pictured. Do you know if it is any good?
165250165251165252

Resembles the Polaroid 600SE finder for the 75mm Mamiya-Sekor lens.....I remember my Cambo finder looking different and without the parallax dial.

EdSawyer
23-May-2017, 14:19
That finder was shipped with the Cambo Wide, in the past. It's one of their older ones (and made by Mamiya I think), it should work ok. I think it was marketed as a Mamiya 50mm (on 6x7 or 6x9?) finder, but not 100% sure.

The viewing hood (T-20 or T-21) will work fine. I use one on mine sometimes. (I have a TWR also, I think we have corresponded in the past about that.) I will test my 65 tonight and see what kind of head/shoulders image size I get at min focus distance.

That one you posted looks like a camera offered by a seller that also tried to sell it a few times on ebay. Here's a pic from their listing (thumbnail only).

https://i.ebayimg.com/images/i/141791928803-0-0/s-l140/p.jpg

I won the auction (this was in 2015) but they refused to honor the deal, and I left them negative feedback about it. Not sure if it's the same person but the camera and item(s) look suspiciously similar.

-Ed

Pfsor
23-May-2017, 14:23
That finder was shipped with the Cambo Wide, in the past. It's one of their older ones (and made by Mamiya I think), it should work ok. I think it was marketed as a Mamiya 50mm (on 6x7 or 6x9?) finder, but not 100% sure.
-Ed

50 mm Mamiya lens viewfinder, indeed, for 6x9!

Dustyman
23-May-2017, 15:40
Wow that's weird (about the 2015 auction). Where was the seller? Also, was was the winning bid (out of curiosity).

It's definitely the same camera, because the picture you sent was another shot from the Craigslist ad. I just got back from picking it up, in fact. Came with all the stuff in the picture you posted just now (Polaroid 545, 4x5 holders). The owner was in Australia, but he gave it to his daughter here in New York to sell. The asking price was $1200, but they accepted my $800 offer, which I thought was very fair. It was a smooth quick transaction. Camera looks good. The first thing I noticed was that the lens and shutter moved as I tried to cock the shutter. I had to screw the lens and shutter assembly into the helical mount to tighten it up. Had to spin it about 50 times before it got tight enough not to move when you changed speeds etc. Seems fine now now.

Wow. Small world!

(the Craigslist ad: https://newyork.craigslist.org/que/pho/6137346127.html )



That finder was shipped with the Cambo Wide, in the past. It's one of their older ones (and made by Mamiya I think), it should work ok. I think it was marketed as a Mamiya 50mm (on 6x7 or 6x9?) finder, but not 100% sure.

The viewing hood (T-20 or T-21) will work fine. I use one on mine sometimes. (I have a TWR also, I think we have corresponded in the past about that.) I will test my 65 tonight and see what kind of head/shoulders image size I get at min focus distance.

That one you posted looks like a camera offered by a seller that also tried to sell it a few times on ebay. Here's a pic from their listing (thumbnail only).

https://i.ebayimg.com/images/i/141791928803-0-0/s-l140/p.jpg

I won the auction (this was in 2015) but they refused to honor the deal, and I left them negative feedback about it. Not sure if it's the same person but the camera and item(s) look suspiciously similar.

-Ed

Dustyman
23-May-2017, 16:11
The frame inside pretty much matches (more or less) whats on the ground glass, so it seems ok for the 65mm lens.

thx


50 mm Mamiya lens viewfinder, indeed, for 6x9!

EdSawyer
24-May-2017, 06:04
Dustyman - the seller was in Australia. The selling price (which they didn't honor, scumbags...) was $518 + shipping. Pic attached:

165269

I figured it was the same one - they had tried to sell it again on ebay several times since, and never found a buyer. I complained of course, but nothing happened really, and they discontinued their account on ebay anyway, so even the negative feedback didn't really matter ultimately.

Pricewise, that was a decent deal, not a world-beater ($518 would have been!), but fair overall. I'd put the value of the holders and finder at $75 - 100-ish which puts the camera and lens at about $700-725. Which is about in line for average price. I had gotten one for $647 but didn't include finder or holders (which is fine, I didn't need them), though it did include a cable release:

165270

Overall these are great wide-angle handheld 4x5s, better than any of the other options I think. (travelwide, intrepid, etc.). Good to know the finder coverage is about right. I use the 43mm Mamiya 7 finder, mainly since I had a spare one, it's a nice finder, and it has a built-in bubble level which is pretty handy.

I have a 2nd Cambo wide body as well, and lenses & panels for the 90mm and 47mm XL. The 90 panel I modified slightly to fit the Nikkor 90mm f/8 (instead of the intended Super Angulon) since I think it's a better lens, and I had a spare one anyway. I looked into modifying the 65mm panel to fit the Nikkor 65/4, but it wasn't as easily done, so I stayed with the 65 S/A, which is a fine lens too of course.

Enjoy!

-Ed

Jac@stafford.net
24-May-2017, 06:38
50 mm Mamiya lens viewfinder, indeed, for 6x9!

Close enough

Dustyman
30-May-2017, 08:49
So I'm using the reflex viewing hood to focus. Anyone else think the image is exceedingly dark on the ground glass with this combination?
I'm sure I'm losing light with the addition of the mirror, but still. Really dark.

Oren Grad
30-May-2017, 09:12
I removed the reflex hood that came with my Cambo Wide. I found it much easier to see the point of best focus with a dark cloth and either a loupe or just eyeballing the ground glass, the angled view made it impossible to work with the camera mounted at or near eye level, and the reflex hood makes the camera very big and unwieldy to boot. In all, it created problems for me rather than solving them.

Dustyman
30-May-2017, 09:31
Yeah, I see. Was hoping to hand-hold and focus though. Maybe the direct in-line focus hood without the mirror would be better.



I removed the reflex hood that came with my Cambo Wide. I found it much easier to see the point of best focus with a dark cloth and either a loupe or just eyeballing the ground glass, the angled view made it impossible to work with the camera mounted at or near eye level, and the reflex hood makes the camera very big and unwieldy to boot. In all, it created problems for me rather than solving them.

Oren Grad
30-May-2017, 09:57
Yeah, I see. Was hoping to hand-hold and focus though. Maybe the direct in-line focus hood without the mirror would be better.

For distant subjects, an auxiliary rangefinder plus scale focus can be good enough. Close focus hand-held is a non-starter with a Cambo Wide, at least for me. At my typical working apertures for hand-held use, taking the camera away from my face to insert a film holder changes the camera's distance to the subject enough to mess up focus, no matter how steady I try to be. YMMV.

The Cambo in-line hood seems to be very scarce compared to the reflex version.

DrTang
30-May-2017, 10:00
Yeah, I see. Was hoping to hand-hold and focus though. Maybe the direct in-line focus hood without the mirror would be better.

why not bolt on a rangefinder from a Polaroid Big Shot recalibrated to 3' or whatever you want?
I've done that for several cameras and once dialed in..it works perfect... and you can still use the GG for other projects

EdSawyer
30-May-2017, 12:25
Good thought re: BigShot rangefinder. I use those on Cambo Maxiportraits, where it's a great match. Hadn't thought about it with the Cambo wide... hmm. May have to try that!

The straight-on viewfinder (I have both types, T-20 and T-21) is still dark. A couple things are at work here: it's a wide-angle lens with a lot of falloff, so the corners are going to be dark, regardless. Also, depending on what fresnel you have (if you have one), it may make the situation better but not ideal. Ultimately you want a fresnel that is mated to the focal length of the lens in question, to really optimize it. Supposedly Maxwell makes one but I haven't ever used one of his. There's probably some other cheaper alternatives, I know Edmund Optics makes many type of plastic fresnels with varying focal lengths and ridge spacing - may be worth a try.

I mostly use mine as a landscape camera, using zone-focus @ f/11 or f/16, so not really trying for close focus wide-open handheld.

A different screen might help too - some can be brighter than others, but there's usually a tradeoff. Brighter usually means the focus point "snaps" into focus a lot less than a dimmer screen, which often can show much more subtle differences in focus point.

If you think the 65 is bad, try the 47XL with the center filter! ;-)

-Ed

Jac@stafford.net
4-Jun-2017, 12:49
For very wide I gg focus the center and frame with an optical finder or wire frame which is surprisingly accurate.

Dustyman
5-Jun-2017, 12:54
Can you elaborate on the Big Shot rangefinder? It it an overlapping image rangefinder that's fixed at a certain distance? Is it at all adjustable to line up at a specified distance?

thx
Bruce


Good thought re: BigShot rangefinder. I use those on Cambo Maxiportraits, where it's a great match. Hadn't thought about it with the Cambo wide... hmm. May have to try that!

The straight-on viewfinder (I have both types, T-20 and T-21) is still dark. A couple things are at work here: it's a wide-angle lens with a lot of falloff, so the corners are going to be dark, regardless. Also, depending on what fresnel you have (if you have one), it may make the situation better but not ideal. Ultimately you want a fresnel that is mated to the focal length of the lens in question, to really optimize it. Supposedly Maxwell makes one but I haven't ever used one of his. There's probably some other cheaper alternatives, I know Edmund Optics makes many type of plastic fresnels with varying focal lengths and ridge spacing - may be worth a try.

I mostly use mine as a landscape camera, using zone-focus @ f/11 or f/16, so not really trying for close focus wide-open handheld.

A different screen might help too - some can be brighter than others, but there's usually a tradeoff. Brighter usually means the focus point "snaps" into focus a lot less than a dimmer screen, which often can show much more subtle differences in focus point.

If you think the 65 is bad, try the 47XL with the center filter! ;-)

-Ed

EdSawyer
6-Jun-2017, 10:22
The polaroid bigshot used a rangefinder. I've cannibalized a couple of them and used it on a Cambo maxiportrait, as it works great and is easily adjusted to match that focal length / focus distance. (240mm @ about 8 foot distance, for head-and-shoulder portraits). It could be matched to probably any other distance/focal length within reason, as well. There is some built-in adjustment and also of course it can be modified/bent/re-aligned. It could probably work great on a cambo-wide as well, for fixed-distance like for close-ups. It's one of the best available for that sort of purpose for a few reasons: cheap, easily available, and huge baselength (about 5.5" from what I can tell) which makes for very accurate focusing once adjusted correctly.