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Thread: Opinions on Cambo 4 by 5 's ???

  1. #1

    Opinions on Cambo 4 by 5 's ???

    What do you experienced shooters think of the Cambo cameras ?? I've looked at a lot of 4X5 cameras and these look like something I can afford starting out and they look like I won't outgrow one too soon. I have read some good things about them -- and I like the looks of the Cambo branded models better than the ones labeled as simply Camulet. The Cambo models look like a precision instrument and the Camulets have less precise looking slides and adjustments. What is the pecking order of the Cambo models -- I've seen "Legends" , SC s and SCX s. Which of these is the better model ??
    I am looking to by my first LF camera and I'm trying to learn all I can to make and informed purchase so please excuse the ignorance !
    Thanks for your help
    DK

  2. #2

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    Re: Opinions on Cambo 4 by 5 's ???

    Excellent solid value. Very forgiving of the newer student type user. Lots of accessories make it a system that is beyond versatile. Relatively cheap comparatively. Heavy to cart around. Awkward to back pack, to say the least, but I've done it early on. No one at a workshop show and tell will get excited about it. If you're clever, they may get excited about your pictures. A far better response.
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep..to gain that which he cannot lose. Jim Elliot, 1949

  3. #3

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    Re: Opinions on Cambo 4 by 5 's ???

    Other than the heavy Iron construction, the problem with the lower-end friction drive models is that if you tilt them, for example to do a picture of something underfoot, the standards will creep forward and you'll lose focus. So... for a few bucks more get the geared models. They are all going to be heavy.

    You'll also have to use a heavier tripod to hold the heavier camera....

    They are nice cameras and great values, plus they are plentiful. So are Toyo and Sinar monorails. Some of the other brands were less popular and parts are harder to come by.

  4. #4

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    Re: Opinions on Cambo 4 by 5 's ???

    Quote Originally Posted by drdave427 View Post
    What do you experienced shooters think of the Cambo cameras ?? I've looked at a lot of 4X5 cameras and these look like something I can afford starting out and they look like I won't outgrow one too soon. I have read some good things about them -- and I like the looks of the Cambo branded models better than the ones labeled as simply Camulet. The Cambo models look like a precision instrument and the Camulets have less precise looking slides and adjustments. What is the pecking order of the Cambo models -- I've seen "Legends" , SC s and SCX s. Which of these is the better model ??
    I am looking to by my first LF camera and I'm trying to learn all I can to make and informed purchase so please excuse the ignorance !
    Thanks for your help
    DK
    Bear in mind that the Calumet NX is a relabeled Cambo SC type camera. I have used the Calumet NX for fifteen years and it is an excellent, solid, versatile camera. Consider it to be a Cambo, with identical features and interchangeable parts. There are optional rails; a short around 12" and a long at 22". Check my numbers, I have never paid much attention. I would not consider it a good camera if you are considering extensive use of very short lenses; 90mm is my shortest lens. A recessed board is available, although not the perfect solution.

    Jim is correct about transportability; okay for short treks, but not as convenient as a field camera, in my opinion. It does collapse well for air travel, if you have that in mind.

    OT- Hi Jim, have not heard from you for a bit of time. How are things in your part of the world? Best to you and your family for 2010!

  5. #5

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    Re: Opinions on Cambo 4 by 5 's ???

    Quote Originally Posted by Merg Ross View Post
    I would not consider it a good camera if you are considering extensive use of very short lenses; 90mm is my shortest lens. A recessed board is available, although not the perfect solution.
    My thoughts exactly. A Cambo SC has been my primary LF camera since the 1980s and hasn't given me a lick of trouble until I started using short lenses. Even with a bag bellows and the recessed board that Merg mentioned, it is less than ideal... not impossible, but less than ideal.

  6. #6
    Dave Karp
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    Re: Opinions on Cambo 4 by 5 's ???

    I agree with what everyone says. The plentiful supply of used cameras and accessories make these an outstanding value.

    The friction focus models have a couple of screws on the bottom of the standard that you can tighten to avoid the focus creep that Frank mentioned.

  7. #7

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    Re: Opinions on Cambo 4 by 5 's ???

    Quote Originally Posted by David Karp View Post
    The friction focus models have a couple of screws on the bottom of the standard that you can tighten to avoid the focus creep that Frank mentioned.
    ... not to mention the locking knob opposite the focussing knob.

  8. #8

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    Re: Opinions on Cambo 4 by 5 's ???

    drdave,

    If you don't mind and inexperienced opinion, a Cambo was my first LF camera and not all that long ago. It was great to try and learn about movements, and if you have the longer rail, you can play around with close-up work as well, which gives you some feel for the bellows extension factor, etc.

    If your subjects are within a short walk of the car, not a bad heft. I found a large tackle box I was able to carry it in, inverted. I simply pulled it out of the box and popped it on the tripod. The box had sufficient extra room for other odds and ends as well.

    I've since added a folding field camera, but would likely never get rid of the Cambo. It's relatively easy to move the lenses to the other's lens boards if need be. I have no regrets at all about the original Cambo purchase.

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