View Full Version : Cambo Questions!

9-Jan-2007, 06:41
Well the sexy beast of a camera arrived. I fell in love as soon as I got it out the box. (Thanks Jim! And John for the shutters! :) )

Anyway, I have a few old barrel lenses, only one (the dagor) has a mounting flange. The front standard has what looks like a 3rd party metal lens panel, as there is no name on it, but either way I don't really feel like attacking it with any tools to attach a lens.

Does anyone know of a UK-based company that can provide lens panels to fit the Cambo? (Far as I can tell it's a Cambo SC 4x5. The 'Super' on the ground glass is my only clue!)

I've been thinking maybe I could cut up some wood panels to fit, but then I thought maybe a plastic/composite may be better?? Less dust!

So if anyone could help me that would be brilliant :)

Also I read about a front conversion panel that means smaller lensboards slide in, but I couldn't find a model that I would use on the Cambo, and what smaller lensboards to use with it?? Is it worth the hassle to get one?


9-Jan-2007, 07:38
I'm glad to hear that you are happy now, Ash. If you have what I am imagining, it is same/similar to what I've been using isnce about 1985. I'm still happy with the camera... except one thing - the weight and the lens boards. The lens boards are large, metal, and probably can be made of a piece of masonite (or some other type of plastic) but the task seemed too much for me. They have grooves in the back for light seals and it seems like a lot of effort to reproduce that feature. I thought of felting the back - that probably would work, but I wimped out and "just paid money" to solve my problem. Calumet, who has a London shop I believe, is the OEM source. Get a atalog from them and drool over all the parts you can buy when you have the need/money. Calumet/Cambo lens boards are EXPENSIVE new. You can find them on eBay for half the cost, if not less. Last year I was having problems finding a rather common board (a #0 flat) on eBay so I bought one full price (about USD $80). Immediately after, and ever since, I see them ALL THE TIME on the auction site for USD $30 or so. I'm still grumbling. Look and keep looking - patience is a virtue (and will likely save you some money)!

Does your camera have revolving back?

9-Jan-2007, 07:45
Hi Brian,

I've emailed Robert White who have some in stock apparently, but they recommended going to the source as well. Looks like I'll need to get a catalogue! I was hoping there were some asian manufacturers churning out panels for a low low price. I can see the original ones are heavy and very well built for what they are!

It doesn't have the 360degrees revolving back I think I've seen online (where you can use all sorts of angles) but it can be rotated landscape to portrait etc.

9-Jan-2007, 07:50
Hi Ash,

You may want to check the Calumet UK website:


That is just the front page. They should have a lot of Cambo parts and lensboards on the site.


9-Jan-2007, 08:03
I've seen 'explorer' lens boards, but no others. Any idea on difference in size?

EDIT: I think I've seen some Copal-0 lens panels, but £46?!!?!

9-Jan-2007, 08:20
I don't know that term "explorer board". The old Cambo/Calumet boards were 4x4 (inches). The "current" boards are 6x6. I beleive they are prorietary and not used on any other camera. 46 quid ain't bad... was that new or used?

EDIT - sorry, I forgot about the actual exchange rate -- yes, that is the new price. It is outrageously high. I'm still in shock over spending 80 bucks. Don't buy new unless you are absolutely desparate!

9-Jan-2007, 08:24
I'm not sure. I think new. 'Explorer' or 'Cadet' I think is the other term. Apparently an entry level camera?

I'm still trying to botch a lens onto this one panel in a semi-permanent non-damaging kinda way :D

Robert Ley
9-Jan-2007, 08:36
There are a ton of these boards on Ebay and they go fairly cheaply. I have several that I am not using as I bought an adapter board to use my Wista/Linhof/Ebony style boards on my cambo as I also have a Wista VX. This works great as it is a PITA to swap lens between the various size boards and the Wista boards take up alot less room in my bag. I also love my cambo, but use it only in studio as the Wista is a much better traveler.

Greg Lockrey
9-Jan-2007, 08:37
Can you post a picture of it? My first 4x5 was a Cambo SC that I purchased in 1973. Don't have it anymore but still have the 3 Schneiders I got with it. I've been using a Super Speed Graphic until I got my Sinar about 2 years ago. That Cambo was a great camera. I got kicked out of the Cathedral in Palma De Majorca because I had a tripod. They were very abusive about it too.:eek: Also had to get a permit to get on the Acropolis. took most of the day to get it. My intention was to make a 360 panaramic, which almost worked out. Had a great time with the two old pros that shot souvenir pictures for the tourists. A lot of good memories. Wasn't too bad to haul around for a studio camera weight wise.

The guys on my ship used to call me "Dr. Bellows"...I wonder how many of them think I started Dr. Photo? ;)

9-Jan-2007, 08:46
Here's a rubbish photo. Phonecam shots are awful

Greg Lockrey
9-Jan-2007, 08:51
That's the SC (Super Cambo) . Like mine except mine had levers to loosen the rail mounts. And it was Black anodized like yours.

9-Jan-2007, 09:17
I know it's about function not form, but I'm afraid a cheap fibreboard lens panel on the front is going to look really nasty against the black!

I don't want it looking like that dagor auction on the other thread either! :D

9-Jan-2007, 09:30

It's the standard Cambo lensboard and it fits both 4x5 and 8x10 Cambo View Cameras. Don't let the absence of a badge bother you - they are all the same with badges for different models glued on. Those are easy to scuff off and that's what usually happens.

If you look at eBay, you'll often see it referred to as Calumet/Cambo, as opposed to just Calumet. The difference is in size (Calumet being smaller) and in the two notches at the top. Cambo is the only one that has those notches and even if you see it advertized as Calumet but you see the notches, it is a Cambo. They tend to run high on eBay, especially the 0 and 3 sizes.

I bought mine at keh.com - they seem to have relatively steady supply at decent prices ($mid-30's) and are one of the more reliable used camera shops around.

David Karp
9-Jan-2007, 10:30
I second the recommendation to keep an eye out for a Cambo to Technika/Wista type board. I have one for my Cambo and it works great. It is a bit expensive, so look for a used version. They come up on E-Bay. You can find reasonably priced well-made Technika type boards, and they take up a lot less room in your camera bag.

9-Jan-2007, 11:44
:D :D

Man I feel so excited. I just souped the first neg from through the camera using a Cooke Aviar Anastigmat. Darkslide as the shutter since the exposure time was about a minute. Course, my method for developing was using a 2-reel 35mm paterson type tank (jessops brand) and clipping the film onto the centre column, so there was uneven development on the top corner area of the neg, but otherwise it actually worked! (I've used the method previously experimenting with 4x5 Ortho film successfully, but from now on I'll use the Paterson Orbital)

I attached the somewhat heavy 10.5inch Aviar by cutting a hole in the middle of a piece of mount-board, that was then taped behind the lens panel. In this way the nasty botched side is hidden from view, and the hole was a little smaller than the lens flange (57mm with a 55mm hole I think) so it held in place securely.

The neg is drying. Only a quick still life, and I positioned everything along the centre since I know the scanner can only cope with medium format film, so the top and bottom of a landscape neg will be cut off anyway ;)

9-Jan-2007, 12:54
f/8 about 1min exposure, 20-odd mins development in 1+50 Rodinal. Not sure what the film was, maybe tmax? One notch on the top right.


Here's the image at high res:

Could do with being a lot sharper, but I accidentally bashed the tripod during exposure! All the beginner mistakes eh? :D

Greg Lockrey
9-Jan-2007, 13:57
Kicking the tripod during exposure is just going to be one of many accidents you are going to do. :) Have fun!

Alan Davenport
9-Jan-2007, 14:10
Ash, congrats! (and welcome to the asylum.)

Lensboards for your camera are really simple to make, IF you have access to a router or a small drill press. I've made a number of boards for my Calumet (same board as your Cambo) including an adapter for using Technika boards from my field camera and one for pinhole photos (so I know they are light tight.)

Click here for everything you need to know about making your own Cambo lensboards. (http://home.comcast.net/~w7apd/public/lensboard.png)

Good light...

9-Jan-2007, 14:40
Greg, I really outta be looking into a much heavier duty tripod. This lightweight do-it-all sucker flexes too much. Great for every camera that doesn't have its own gravitational pull... so nothing over the weight of a TLR :D

Alan that link is great, thanks! I've downloaded it. Once I have some timber I'll ask my carpenter/neighbour if he's got the tools and time to mock me some up in exchange for a few bottles of beer ;)

Greg Lockrey
9-Jan-2007, 14:54
You might want to try a Feisol 3471. It's a nice Carbon Fiber that is very near to the quality of a Gitzo for half the price. You need to order directly from the factory in Taiwan. They will get it to you in suprisingly fast time. Great people to work with too. www.feisol.com

9-Jan-2007, 15:31
Greg, I really outta be looking into a much heavier duty tripod.

Ash... here is your future:

I really outta be looking into a much heavier duty tripod

I really outta be looking into a longer lens

I really outta be looking into a shorter lens

I really outta be looking into a few more film holders

I really outta be looking into a carrying case to hold the camera

I really outta be looking into a bunch of filters

I really outta be looking into a car with big trunk (boot) to transport camera in carrying case

I really outta be looking into...

9-Jan-2007, 16:15
Brian, you sound like you've known me all my life! :D

I was thinking all that BEFORE I got the camera!

I purchased a Ross Xpress 8.5inch (I think? I should really check!) and Wray Supar 4.5inch in the summer and my grandfather gave me a Goerz Dagor 180mm. just before xmas I bought myself the Cooke Aviar Anastigmat 10.5inch, a Cooke Process lens 13inch, an un-named 8inch Approx, a little 6inch Aldis Uno lens also (I doubt it has the coverage for 4x5 though).

A Laptop backpack was given to me which is well padded and fits the 4x5 disassembled near-perfect, with lenses too.

5 DDS's is enough, I'm not bothered about filters just yet.

I'm really keen on SHOOTING photo's now, I think I have the kit sorted.... now how about that car.... :D

9-Jan-2007, 17:51
ok... the thread can die a death now I think... but here's my second shot. Intentional shaking for motion kinda effect :rolleyes:


Scanned in two halves, then photoshopped so that one overlapped the other. Used the transparency level to make sure they overlapped perfectly, and adjusted brightness/contrast so that both top and bottom have matching tones. This time developed in the Paterson Orbital.

Ralph Barker
9-Jan-2007, 18:33
Should we start a pool for when Ash will post: "Does anyone know where I can get an 8x10 back for my Cambo?" ;)

Seriously, congrats on the acquisition, Ash. As to the lens boards, at 46, make friends with a woodworker. Wooden boards can always be nicely painted, or made with an exotic veneer.

9-Jan-2007, 19:07
Ralph, I have access to a 8x10 Perken Son & Rayment studio camera, so no need for that just yet :D

It's the cost of 10x8 film that led to me acquire a half plate and now this Cambo. The halfplate is disused really, until I build a halfplate-to-4x5 reducing back and use it as my outdoors camera, and the Cambo as more technical or studio-ish work :)

9-Jan-2007, 21:13
Here's a rubbish photo. Phonecam shots are awful

I'm a bit puzzled Ash. Isn't that hole just a bit big for a pinhole camera? :)

Welcome as someone else said --" to the asylm".


10-Jan-2007, 07:07
Steve, I was thinking the same thing, then I realised I'd have to pay $700-$2000 to buy a proper pinhole front to the camera from Lomography, so I decided to go lo-tech and use a lens :D

Greg Lockrey
10-Jan-2007, 07:18
Steve, I was thinking the same thing, then I realised I'd have to pay $700-$2000 to buy a proper pinhole front to the camera from Lomography, so I decided to go lo-tech and use a lens :D

You also need a 1 mile extension bellows to make that "high speed" pinhole work too.:D

10-Jan-2007, 07:40
but they only release one a year from the Soviet military which has to be accompanied by all the correct papers before leaving Russia and being handed over to Lomo. Of course this service is also at cost to you, naturally ;)