View Full Version : braintrust: what do we have here???

11-May-2015, 21:34
fishing around on german ebay.. I managed to buy ..what was translated to be a 'Cambo 4x5 portrait camera for 240mm lens'

anyone seen one of these? the hole fits a copal #1..the back (missing the focus panel) look Cambo

with a 240mm lens..it looks like it might just fit ones head into frame..which muight be my new thing

I'm hoping the viewfinder will work with the lens so that when the subjects head fills the viewfinder...they will be in focus

now I need a 240 in a copal #1...or a file



11-May-2015, 21:50
Looks like one of those Polaroid cameras

11-May-2015, 22:08
It's a Cambo Polaroid for engineering use.

Paul Ewins
11-May-2015, 22:14
Cambo Maxiportrait, which looks a bit like a Polaroid Big Shot and probably fills the same niche.

Tin Can
11-May-2015, 22:19
I got one without a viewer, Oscilloscope Polaroid I think.

Maybe use mine for...

Still can't think of anything more than pinhole.


12-May-2015, 01:06
My guess would be a pass photo camera from Cambo, but a search gave an other model (https://www.google.nl/search?q=cambo+pasfoto+camera&tbm=isch&imgil=sV9G4olhA_Z8KM%253A%253B7D0H3jp1vhZugM%253Bhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Fwww.kamera.nl%25252Fcambo-pasfoto-camera.html&source=iu&pf=m&fir=sV9G4olhA_Z8KM%253A%252C7D0H3jp1vhZugM%252C_&usg=__DJWr0h-1SgBcDhbjIkfCZq7S2Mk%3D&biw=1280&bih=913&ved=0CDMQyjc&ei=5LNRVe6BGYGxUty1gfgE#imgrc=sV9G4olhA_Z8KM%253A%3B7D0H3jp1vhZugM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.kamera.nl%252Fmedia%252Fcatalog%252Fproduct%252Fcache%252F1%252Fsmall_image%252F9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95%252Fi%252Fm%252Fimage_95.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.kamera.nl%252Fcambo-pasfoto-camera.html%3B1825%3B1673), but I seem to recall a square model as well: OTOH there should be room for 4 lenses in the front, and a dividing frame at the back, so I think Randy is closer..



Dan Fromm
12-May-2015, 06:29
I agree with Paul. I've seen these beasts on offer before.

12-May-2015, 07:18


I knew you guys wouldcome thru

not much info..but someone in Croatia mentioned it and I translated

I might even stick an old polaroid big shot rangefinder/focus deal on top too


Cambo Maxiportrait, which looks a bit like a Polaroid Big Shot and probably fills the same niche.

1-Sep-2015, 08:00
Hello DrTang,
Is that square thing just a simple viewfinder for framing?
I own similar Cambo Maxiportrait. I've propose to Ed some time ago the same route - Big Shot RF stuck to it... wish I had one Big Shot on hand too for same thing :(
Did you manage to find the lens for it? Original lens there is Tele-Congo 240 6.3 but I am sure that some Tele-Xenar 240 5.5 would work as a charm. Maybe you would just need to widen the hole for it.

1-Sep-2015, 09:39

found a 240mm atar f9

focuses to 5'

Hmmmm - with a tele.. I would be farther away...Hmmm

well..I like the giant heat aspect with a normal 240

have not graft a big shot rangefinder onto it (YET)..but instead put a tape measure that goes to 5'..which is the focus distance

1-Sep-2015, 21:58
No, quite opposite, because of the smaller needed flange distance of the "tele" designs you (once you position on the same place as normal 240mm which is further relative to it's design) you will be focusing more closer, giving you more of a "portrait" approach, as it was intended.
Originally on these machines there were tapes for measuring :)
Enjoy your camera! I just did the 1st shot with it yesterday: https://www.flickr.com/photos/milosgazdic/20840463538/in/dateposted-public/

2-Sep-2015, 09:10
I have the Big-Shot rangefinder on mine, it works great! Way faster and easier than the tape-measure. My 2 of these came with a Tele Congo 240 (which is NOT a tele lens, despite the name - it's a tessar) and a G-Claron 240/9. I haven't tried the G-claron version yet but the Congo version is nice - great tessar bokeh, as expected.

I have thought of fitting other lenses and redoing the rangefinder, considered the Nikkor-T 270mm since i Have one lying around. It would probably be a tighter framed shot than what the 240 offers. Could also try a Nikkor-T 360/8. Both use the same #1 shutter as what comes on the Cambo Maxiportrait.

Misko, I thought you had several bigshots and were going to cannibalize one for this? Good to hear you got a Maxiportrait at last!

The bigshot rangefinder has a huge RF base, about 5.5" , so it's perfect for this, and very sensitive.

2-Sep-2015, 10:10
I took mine out on the worst possible day - harsh overhead sun

with no shade around

this was the only one I got out of all that


2-Sep-2015, 13:35
The original f 6,3/240 Tele Congo covers 5x7".

3-Sep-2015, 03:01
Hey Ed,

I have asked over on APUG - how does the Big Shot's RF work? Is it usable for framing too or only for focus?

Do you think that one you have with G-Claron was originally built with that lens? And I am surprised to learn that Tele-Congo is not of Tele design!

Problem with fitting longer lenses to the focal point planned for a lens of 240mm is that it will not necessarily mean that the frame will be tighter. Would have to calculate but could be even opposite.

I do have 3 Big Shots but all three are in different usage:
1) With cut nose (shutter) and attached new shutter with PC Sync that I use most of the time (a bit wider frame & further focus than original)
2) completely in factory stage - which I would like to keep "as collector item" and
3) with focusing flash plate cut off which I use with the flash sync of my creation to shoot with Canon Flash & this one still hase same framing as original (no alterations to the shutter / lens)

3-Sep-2015, 03:03
Dr Tang,
This was not fully opened apertute on the shot you have posted? I can see the shape of the aperture in the bokeh spots in the background...

Plaubel - that's why many people buy the camera & remove the lens which is very sad!

3-Sep-2015, 10:50
MIsko -

Good to know you have a few Bigshots- it sounds like you need another one you can cannibalize. ;-)
The 2 I have gotten were under $20 on ebay, I felt a little bad about hacking them up but not really bad enough to not do it.

The rangefinder is basically perfect for framing too. Between the focal length difference from the original big shot, to the larger format of 4x5, the framing turns out to be pretty much spot-on. A very handy benefit! I was able to recalibrate the rangefinder just using the screws on the bottom mirror for adjustment, no major surgery required.

Regarding the G-claron one - I am not sure if that was how it was supplied but I believe so. It was in a Copal Press 1 shutter, and I think I have read in Cambo literature that it came with that lens later in it's lifetime. (There are 2 "versions" of the Cambo maxiportrait, the casting and viewfinders differ, and perhaps lenses were always different between them as well. )

For longer lenses - the Nikkor T 270 would be a tighter shot I think, since it has a lot lower flange-focal distance than the normal congo 240. For the 360T, I think it would be a wider shot (based on the same reasons) but would require some experimentation to figure out. I'll give it a try once I get a chance to see. I thought of switching to a regular Copal 1 shutter too, since the Copal Press 1 only goes to 1/125.

congo is odd in that they name those lenses as Tele when they are not tele. They are also labeled Commercial Congo too, I think - (maybe like Commerical Ektar?) not sure why - but in general, they only have a couple true telephotos in their lineup, I think 300mm and 400mm lenses possibly.

keep us posted on your efforts,

3-Sep-2015, 11:06
Dr Tang,
This was not fully opened apertute on the shot you have posted? I can see the shape of the aperture in the bokeh spots in the background...

probably f11 or 16

4-Sep-2015, 19:28

Yes, Big shot is one of my fav cameras out there! I shoot with it all the time. I am continuously looking to purchase one more for this purpose but I cannot justify 70$ for a finder (20-30$ for a camera and 30-40$ for damn shipping to Shanghai). I am really glad to hear that framing of BigShot's finder fits "bigger" Cambo brother too! And yes - I know recalibrating it easy. That's how I did my finder when cut the nose of one of my BigShots in order to install new shutter, which moved the focus further back.

I am aware of 2 versions of the Cambo. Here in the topic - one present is completely different than the one I have. I am just not sure what does it's viewfinder do? It has 2 panels on the front (one frosted) so I am not sure if it has any purpose except aiming a shot?

I would love to see some of the examples you have shot with your cameras and especially if you gonna be shooting some tests with Nikkor or 360mm lens!!

And yes - normal Copal has shorter speeds but needs cocking which can be a tiny issue once you start doing the portrait without a rangefinder. Now that you have installed rangefinder - it is much easier!

Awaiting my cheap Lomo finder (12$ in total with shipping) and when it arrives I will be adding it to the camera!

6-Nov-2015, 08:41
Finally landed my hands on one of them BROKEN Big Shots, Ed! Gonna be cutting it soon and making it into a RF for my MaxiPortrait :)

6-Nov-2015, 09:43
Dr Tang,
This was not fully opened apertute on the shot you have posted? I can see the shape of the aperture in the bokeh spots in the background...

it's an f9 lens and I was prolly at f11 or f16

17-Mar-2019, 05:55
Hi all , i would like to know if i can use a tele artar 270mm or a tele xenar 250mm , my idea is take portraits close up using the 4x5 ground glass back .
thanks to all

Neal Chaves
17-Mar-2019, 08:24
The American Classic, the TRF Graphic also makes a great Big Shot camera. Here's how.

Dan Fromm
17-Mar-2019, 09:14
Hi all , i would like to know if i can use a tele artar 270mm or a tele xenar 250mm , my idea is take portraits close up using the 4x5 ground glass back .
thanks to all

It seems that the camera has been used with a variety of lenses. I found one sold with a 240/9 G-Claron. With that lens the claimed focused distance is five feet. Also sold with 240/6.3 Tele-Congo, focused distance unknown.

If you have the camera, get either lens and try it. The worst outcome will be that the lens focuses closer than you want. In that case, resell the lens.

If you have the lens (either) and don't have the camera, don't gamble. Take Neal's suggestion, focus the camera to the desired distance and lock the focus. Then you'll be set. Or you can focus as you want. Come to think of it, if you have the lens (either) and a 4x5 camera that will focus it close enough, use what you have.

18-Mar-2019, 06:17
You could fit it with a Tele Arton 270mm or Tele Xenar 250mm, probably. It would require recalibrating the rangefinder (if you installed one) and readjusting the focus distance the camera is expecting. both of those are going to be quite a bit tighter framing than the stock 240mm non-tele lens. So, a face would fill the frame for certain, might be too tight for portraits, depending on what you want.