View Full Version : Cambo or Orbit view camera

19-Aug-2011, 10:48
I'll start off by saying I'm a novice view camera user with a moderate understanding of the format and am looking to purchase my first 4x5 on a somewhat limited budget. Two of the camera I am considering are an Orbit camera with a 135 lens (has the red bellows and gray body) and a Cambo camera with a 150 lens. The Orbit has the advantage right now of being a bit cheaper, the one thing I would worry about is it's ease of use and the degree of movements possible, this link describes some difficulties taking knobs off to use all the movements, I think I would find it slightly annoying: http://www.largeformatphotography.info/cameras/cheap-views.html. The Cambo has the advantage in that it is the camera I learned on and am rather familiar and comfortable with. It is a little more expensive but well within my price range and I know it does everything I want......and after typing that it seems the cambo should be the obvious choice, hah :0

I guess I'm perhaps just a bit curious about the Orbit camera, I don't see a lot of online information on it. Any thoughts on my purchase?

And thanks all, it's nice to make my first post on this forum.

Peter Mounier
19-Aug-2011, 11:53
I have the Calumet CC-401, which is long rail version, but the same design as the Orbit you're looking at. It's a great camera with full movements. You don't have to remove any knobs to have full unrestricted movements. The one in the article where they state you have to remove knobs is the Grover, a different camera make by Burke and James. I'm not familiar with it, but the article says it's unrelated to the Kodak design.
Here are some pictures of the Calumet CC-401. Replace the Calumet logo on the front with the Orbit logo and it's the same camera.



Lynn Jones
22-Aug-2011, 16:16
Since I worked for (the original) Calumet and was VP of B&J, the Orbit had a similar look but certainly was not even close to the quality of the Calumet CC400, 401, or 402. It failed to be accepted by the Fed. Govnmt. for that reason, and hasn't been made since around 1960 or earlier. The Cambos are very well made and are still being made, and parts will be available to you. Pay a little bit more!


Rick A
26-Aug-2011, 05:04
I have a Calumet cc-400 and cc-401, both quite capable of quality work, with the 401 getting the edge because of the longer bellows. The 401 can do extreme close-up work and portraits with longer lenses for better perspective control. The cc-400 is a better all around camera with the shorter rail staying out of the way. I've never used the cc-402, but everone I've talked to has problems using lenses longer than 150mm. I suppose thats why it is so good for what it was intended for, wide angle work.

26-Aug-2011, 05:29
And don't forget the expandability and adaptability offered by the Cambo: universal (Graflok) back, reducing backs, wide angle bellows, short monorail, long monorail, compendium lens shade, 5x7 & 8x10 conversion, recessed lens boards, adapter lens boards, coupling rails and cameras together for extreme macro. The Orbit offers only a few of those accessories and some that are available will be hard to find.