Digital photography for view cameras, an extensive range of studio stands, specialist architectural and landscape wide cameras, shooting tables and other studio accessories - or an exciting range of compact, portable video booms, jibs and shoulder rigs for today's videographer.
Cambo offers an extensive line of studio stands. It’s possible to build up a stand that suits every photographer’s needs. Almost every photographer. Sometimes we’ll need to build a studio stand on request!
The UST-DSD at our factory
The one shown here, is a Cambo UST with two cross arms. Not just an additional cross arm. Each one has its own height adjustment. This required some custom-made parts, which enable the use of two pulley and cable assemblies and a second counter weight.
As all Cambo products are manufactured in our own factory, we’re pretty agile when it comes to fulfilling our clients’ needs. Cambo stands are not only used in many photo studios around the globe. We’ve supplied stands to the aerospace industry and for applications in i.e. meteorology. Wherever a stable yet moveable platform is needed, we can offer our support.
A couple of years ago, Lancaster based photographer Jordan Bush published an article that caught our attention. It was about cable management. Now to many of us cable management may be a necessary evil. Not to Jordan. He starts his article with the intriguing sentence “Cable management is one task that for me is bizarrely fun and rewarding.” We need to know more about that!
“Recently I added a Cambo Stand to my studio and wanted to organize all of the cables running around it. If you’ve never gotten to use a studio stand, they greatly accelerate workflow while adding incredible precision and ease. I wanted to add a ton of peripherals to the Cambo stand, from AC powering and USB 3 tethering a Nikon D800E, to powering a MacBook Pro, plus a controller for all of my monolights. I love having the flexibility that a studio stand offers. Yet with all of the peripherals attached to it, it quickly became apparent it needed to be better organized. Cable management would help to minimize reflections and distractions while keeping the movements of the stand free from obstruction.”
Jordan Bush graduated in marketing and sociology and worked as a software trainer and hardware technician at Apple. That’s probably where his fascination with routing cables as cleanly and tidy as possible originates from. Out of college, Jordan worked with designers and photographers in pre-press and after that, alongside his Job at Apple, part-time assisting a commercial photographer. There he got bitten by the bug and decided to start a business as a photographer.
Jordan contributes the monthly Foodographer column – images and words – to Lancaster County Magazine. Here it comes all together, his passion for photography, writing and cooking. Together with his fiancé Jessica he signed up for a year of cooking classes. Halfway through the course, Jordan pitched the idea for a story to Sue, his editor. The first article ran as a feature and Sue asked for more. The magazine had just hired a new and talented creative director and was about to undertake a gradual rebrand. When the team met to discuss ideas the column “Foodographer” was born.
When Foodographer came along, the Cambo stand proved to be an absolute necessity. Working with edible food in the context of cooking, propping, styling, lighting, and photographing, consistency is critical. The freedom to place a camera wherever needed greatly contributes to the styling and lighting quality of the final image. For studio visuals, Jordan tethers to a MacBook Pro, using Capture One 12. The MacBook Pro is mounted onto the Cambo stand, so even when shooting off-hand, the computer and tools move with the set. Capture One’s Capture Pilot mobile app pairs brilliantly with tethered capture and a studio stand (here is an article Jordan wrote about it).
“My goal is to make people hungry, while using food as the excuse to a larger conversation, to elevate food culture, encourage folks to try something new and build community. Understanding specific foods, what makes it unique especially with cultural dishes (like pho), is critical to representing the story it tells. In making food look mouthwatering, my approach is similar to that in cooking: stay out of its way. The better the quality of ingredients, the better the taste. That happens to be true visually. Timing is a key consideration by setting up the most stable food elements first, as some dishes might be spent after one take that lasts an instant. Finding props and colors that supplement without distracting is another; I am always on the hunt for antique cooking tools.”
Jordan uses Nikon cameras and Nikkor PC lenses. The Cambo PCH geared head and Actus view camera are high on his wishlist. “The Nikkor 85 mm tilt shift is great, but I see the benefits of having flexibility.
2019 is Year of Rembrandt, in commemoration of the Dutch master’s death, now 350 years ago. There will be numerous events and exhbitions throughout The Netherlands. You may i.e. visit The Rembrandt House, the painter’s residency and workshop, restored to its 17th Century glory. It’s located in Amsterdam’s beautiful historic city centre. Apart from its art collection, this museum gives an insight in life in the 17th century. Yes, a tourist tip! But let’s not dwell on the topic.
Dutch photo- and videographer Gerhard Witteveen made this short video for Royal Talens. It shows the brand’s limited edition Year of Rembrandt artists’ box.
Gerhard uses the Cambo Actus-GFX, not only for his photography, but also to add something extra to his videos. Episode Six of our series of tutorials gives an idea what results you can achieve by using a view camera for your video work.
The first time Ori Livney approached us, he needed parts for his recently acquired (pre-owned) Cambo view camera. Since that day we’ve been in touch every now and then. One thing soon became clear: Ori never runs out of ideas! Luckily, often well-founded ideas.
After getting his degree in Industrial Engineering, Ori worked as a balloon artist for twenty years. He frequently appeared in Israel’s national TV shows and did projects around the globe. Working on the set of a commercial he met Yoram Aschhaim, a successful Israeli photographer. He showed Ori how much better his balloon sculptures could look, when photographed by a pro. It took him about a year of playing around with his camera and strobes to get the desired results. The images helped a lot to grow his business. And then it was time for a new challenge. Freshly-wed Ori asked the jeweller who designed the wedding rings to do a joined project. Lighting balloons isn’t easy, so it couldn’t be too hard to shoot jewellery. Well, how wrong he could be… Photographing jewellery turned out to be very challenging. And that’s what he loves about it.
Having no traditional photographic background, Ori felt the need to improve his skills. A lot of techniques can be learned from online tutorials. Photigy and Creative Live were of great help. About the latter: “The classes there are amazing, from photography to retouching and business, every class there is a gem. I highly recommend it!” Starting out in jewellery photography turned out to be “a cool puzzle”. Major challenges were mastering the light, the depth-of-field, positioning the jewelry and post-production. Flaws that aren’t visible to the naked eye, will be in a good photograph and retouching is a must.
Like most starting photographers, Ori made his first attempts with a DSLR. The lack of depth-of-field when shooting tiny objects was one of the challenges faced. Ori bought his first view camera – a used Cambo Legend – to get more control over the plane of focus. If the plane of focus is narrow, at least it should be there where you need it. The Legend is a nice view camera, but it was designed for 4×5. Ori soon decided to upgrade to a Cambo Ultima-35 with Mamiya RB lenses. From this range fine lenses can be found at very moderate prices. A couple of the superior Schneider Apo-Digitar macro lenses followed. Even with a view camera that provides the best control over the plane of focus, focus stacking is needed. Very often, the depth-of-field isn’t more than a few millimetres. To make stacking easier, Ori bought a Cognisys Stack Shot kit and attached the complete Ultima to it.
The Stack Shot turned out to be a great piece of gear, but there was still room for improvement. To get the best results, it’s crucial to leave the camera in position and move the rear standard instead. Coming from industrial engineering after all, Ori started to design a solution. The Ultima was taken from the focussing rail and the Stack Shot motor – linked by a belt – used to drive the rear standard in small increments. It resulted in a nice stack of focussed shots. The belt had a tendency to slip though. At that time Ori’s dog Kiano had an operation. The poor animal needed a bandage and when looking at it, Ori realized that it would make a perfect drive belt. And it worked! So here we had one of the Ori Livney ideas. It resulted in our mounting bracket for the Cognisys Stack Shot. By then we had replaced the dog’s bandage by a direct drive. Nowadays Ori uses the Stack Shot unit on his Cambo Ultima-35 (upgraded to an Actus-XL) with a Nikon D850 attached. The Schneider Apo-Digitar 120 Macro is his lens of choice.
After having honed his skills, Ori started to spread the word and reached out to jewellers. From a home studio he moved his business to Tel Aviv’s jewellery district. Now working in a professional environment and very often shooting at odd angles, a good studio stand was needed.
Ori mentions his Cambo UBS as one of the best investments he’s ever made. “This stand allows me to move my 14kg camera setup like it’s floating in air. Precision placement and ease of use have made my whole workflow easier and much better. I really can’t imagine what I would do without it. Sure it wasn’t cheap. But hey, we only have one back and that’s both priceless and without replacement parts!”
The rig shown in the picture below is known as the Cambo CS-GH4. The first one was made at a camera man’s request. The quality of the – at that time new – Panasonic GH4 enabled him to leave the bigger gear at home for most of his asignments. To do justice to the Panasonic’s small form factor, a compact rig was needed.
It won’t come as a surprise, that the current GH5 and GH5s fit equally well!
A unique feature of this rig is the ability to change the position of the padded shoulder support. This enables you to sit the shoulder support on and ‘inline’ with your shoulder, or in a ‘brace’ position pushed against the front of the chest, or positioned over and around your back.
The reach of the grip can be adjusted and swivelled into the right position. The camera can be positioned for looking directly through the viewfinder or to give enough room to add the Cambo 3x loupe.
The rig is completed with a 0.8kg CS-180 counter weight.
Cambo rigs have grooved rods. There’s a small index ball in the GH4/5 rig’s rod connector. By aligning this with one of the grooves, the camera plate will always be in the right position! No fiddly realigning to get the horizon straight.
To connect the camera, there’s a choice between standard 1/4 or an Arca style Quick release.
Since the very beginning – in 1946 – Cambo have been building studio stands. And many of those early stands are still being used. Often our stands are passed on from one generation to the next! Like the one shown in the photo below. It’s a Cambo AST from the 1950s. Apart from some signs of wear and tear on the surface it’s still in good shape.
So it’s safe to say, that a Cambo stand will last a lifetime. And nowadays we can offer a wide range of studio stands, to suit every photographer’s needs. Heights range from 2.10m (7ft) to 3.60m (12ft). Our compact Mono and MBX stands speed up the workflow in many retail studios. The heavy duty UST and UBS support two medium or large format cameras with ease. Modern studio stands like UBS and MBX feature cross arms on ball-bearings which rotate independently of vertical adjustments. Amenities photographers in the fifties could only dream of.
Since the introduction of the first Actus in 2014 Cambo have added many new versions, accessories and improvements. Based on input by photographers, out of a constant strive for perfection and the necessity to keep it compatible with new camera systems entering the market, like i.e. mirrorless medium format. And every now and then we hear a “I can’t see the forest for the trees” when it comes to choosing the right Actus.
The Configurator on our homepage can be of great help. The animation below gives an overview of the Actus Family.
Camera used: Actus-GFX / Zeiss Contax Distagon 3.5/35
Working as a self-employed publishing sales rep in the early 90’s, Detlef Bluhm visited many bookshops in the former GDR. On his travels, during those turbulent years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, he started to use his camera as a personal notebook by photographing the shop fronts of the visited bookshops. The photos ended up in his files and had been forgotten for many years. Now we can be glad that Detlef Bluhm made those pictures, showing us images of a society that has rapidly disappeared. Last summer it resulted in the exhibition »Leseland im Umbruch« in Schloss Reinberg’s Coach House. From April 15th until May 17th 2019 the photos will be exhibited in the Library of Potsdam, near Berlin.
As mentioned, Detlef Bluhm wasn’t a professional photographer in those days. By the time photography became more than a hobby to him, he already had made a career as an author and publisher. And in those roles he had been working on many books about Berlin. So it can’t come as a surprise, that his first photobook »Berlin im Glanz der Nacht« (Berlin After Dusk) puts the spotlight on the German capital.
Literally. As all photos were made after dark. Night can add character to a place that wouldn’t even be noticed after daybreak. A couple of years ago Detlef Bluhm photographed the small village off Sandberg and shortly after that the mayor of nearby Gersfeld commissioned him to document his town in the same manner. The idea came during a night walk, when barns and stables seemed to have an almost ominous presence, that couldn’t be felt at daytime. Those inconspicuous places, have their special attraction in the dark of night. After the Gersfeld series it only seemed obvious to Detlef Bluhm to dedicate a book to his hometown Berlin by applying the same approach. So he started to roam the city at night on his bicycle. Twenty months he worked on this book and exhibiton. The photos do not only show us the icons and well-known sites of Berlin in an unusual light or from a new perspective, some also give us access to places that usually are out of bounds at night.
For »Berlin im Glanz der Nacht« Detlef Bluhm used a Fuji GFX. He’s very happy with the camera, but gradually it became clear to him, that some scenes and perspectives couldn’t be shot in the way he intended to. Enter the Cambo Actus. A view camera small enough to accompany him on his bike tours through the city and a welcome addition to his photographic abilities. He was pleasantly surprised to see how using the Actus gave him more technical possibilities and creative freedom. “In my new photographic project (the book will be published spring 2020) I’ll use the Cambo Actus-GFX even more frequently, as it will be all about architecture.”
Note: This blog post is in German. We’ll provide an English version shortly.
Anfang der 90er Jahre hat Detlef Bluhm in seiner damaligen Tätigkeit als selbständiger Verlagsvertreter die Buchhandlungen in den neuen Bundesländern besucht. Seine Kamera diente ihm dabei als fotografisches Skizzenbuch, indem er die Fassaden der von ihm besuchten Läden fotografierte. Die Fotos landeten in seinem Archiv und wurden jahrelang vergessen. Wir können uns jedoch freuen, dass Detlef Bluhm sie gemacht hat, da sie uns ein Bild einer längst verschollenen Gesellschaft zeigen. Die Ausstellung »Leseland im Umbruch« wurde im Sommer dieses Jahres in der Remise des Schlosses Rheinsberg gezeigt und wird vom 15. April bis zum 17. Mai 2019 in der Potsdamer Stadt- und Landesbibliothek zu sehen sein.
Wie gesagt, war Detlef Bluhm damals nicht beruflich als Fotograf tätig. Als er sich wirklich der Fotografie widmete, hatte er sich bereits seine Lorbeeren als Autor und Verleger verdient. Und in diesen beiden Rollen war er für so manches Buch über Berlin zuständig. Keine Überraschung deshalb, dass er sich für seinen ersten Bildband nochmals seiner Heimatstadt zugewendet hat. Das Ergebnis ist »Berlin im Glanz der Nacht«.
Der Buchtitel lässt schon erahnen, dass die Bilder dieses Buches alle nach Einbruch der Dunkelheit entstanden sind. Die Nacht verleiht der Stadt einen eigentümlichen Glanz, der erst mit der Morgendämmerung vergeht. Bereits einige Jahre zuvor fotografierte Detlef Bluhm das unscheinbare Dorf Sandberg in der Rhön und kurz darauf im Auftrag des Bürgermeisters die nahegelegene Stadt Gersfeld bei Nacht. Auf die Idee kam er, als ihm während eines nächtlichen Spazierganges durch das Dorf die fast unheimliche Präsenz der Scheunen und Bauernhöfe aufgefallen war. Detlef Bluhm konnte dabei feststellen, dass Orte und Objekte an den man tagsüber oft gedankenlos vorbei geht, nachts ihren besonderen Reiz haben. Danach lag es nahe, seine Heimatstadt Berlin auf diese Weise zu porträtieren. Und so hat er sich dann auch in der Metropole mit seinem Fahrrad auf den Weg gemacht. Er hat zwanzig Monate an dem Projekt gearbeitet. Das Ergebnis sind Bilder, die uns nicht nur die weltbekannten Ikonen der Stadt in einem ungewöhnlichen Licht oder aus einer neuen Perspektive zeigen, sondern auch Räume, die in der Nacht für die Öffentlichkeit unzugänglich sind.
»Berlin im Glanz der Nacht« hat Detlef Bluhm mit der Fuji GFX fotografiert. Allmählich wurde ihm klar, dass er mit dieser Kamera manche Motive oder Perspektive nicht so aufnehmen konnte, wie er sie abgebildet sehen wollte. Deswegen wurde im Laufe dieses Projekts seine Ausrüstung durch eine Cambo Actus-GFX ergänzt. Auf seinen Streifzügen mit dem Fahrrad ließ sich die kompakte und kleine Fachkamera problemlos mitnehmen. Die Leistungsfähigkeit der Actus und die Erweiterung seiner fotografischen Möglichkeiten haben ihn überrascht. »In meinem neuen Fotoprojekt (das Buch dazu erscheint dann im Frühjahr 2020) werde ich die Cambo Actus-GFX übrigens noch stärker einsetzen, denn da geht es allein um Architekturfotografie.«