Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Cambo RS-1000 Part III

I placed my order (or "Santa list") with Chris Lawery my Phase One Dealer at Capture Integration shortly after I wrote Part II. The order consisted of a Schneider 24 and 120mm lens, a centerfilter for the 24mm, the new Cambo WDS-619 groundglass with the Cambo WDS-616 flexible focusing hood. Everything arrived here last Friday and I went out Saturday to run some test and get used to the lens.

While there were no really surprises I did encounter one slight problem which turned out to be user-error. The 24mm lens is very wide (think the equivalent of 15mm in 35mm format) thus there's not much room for movements or in this case user-error. The first images I shot all showed a very slight case of vignetting in the upper left corner. This turned out to be my fault as I hadn't ensured the camera was set to zero movements (no rise or fall or side shifting).

What I did find was a superior lens for landscape work one which I am looking forward to using (a lot).

Okay I fussed up on the 24mm however the 120mm posed no problems at all. I tested the lens with movements out to 15mm (left and right) and still came up with a great image. The 120mm lens I have is the WDS-574; a short barrel lens-panel. This version has a split back focal length, existing of a shorter lensplate and a rear extension unit. Cambo's website state "This combination allows for optimized shift without vignetting from the lensboard." I've taken this out as far as 15mm without any problems and plan on testing it at 20mm very shortly.

This is what the 120 looks like attached to the RS-1000

Samples of individual images shot at 15mm shifts:

Panorama using the two images:

Here's a couple images shot with the 24mm lens:

I had some fun processing this image then trying a different crop

I also want to include some information on the groundglass and focusing hood.

I used the combination to achieve the following

100% crop

While the groundglass does make it easier to properly frame the image as well as assist in focusing and movements and I'm glad to have these I don't yet know just how much they will be used in my daily workflow.

My original thought was to use the groundglass to help me using filters such as Sing Ray Blue-N-Gold however I found it useful in the field to compose a shot. It now appears that I'll be using this combination much more than I had thought.

I now have four lens to choose from, 24mm, 35mm, 72mm and the 120mm all of which are capable of capturing stunning images so long as I keep my part of the bargain. There's no doubt that I have the best combination camera, digital back and lens for my work.

Sandy and I are off to Sedona in a couple weeks where I plan to use this kit to its fullest so stay tuned for more information and images.

Thanks for allowing me to share and as always please feel free to leave a comment.



  1. Don, It will be interesting to see how you like focusing with the ground glass. I was going to pick one up but passed after using the cambo for a few weeks.

  2. Ed - I've never had a problem w/focusing just wanted to use this for filters so I can stop getting wierd colors when I thought everything was okay. I guess the two-part reason is easier for filters and composition. Jury is still out on just how often I use it...


  3. HI Don, I am looking at purchasing the Cambo Rs and P45+ with the 43XL on a Tilt/Shift mount. How useful do you think the ground glass would be for focussing using tilt movements. Do you think the magnifying hood would pick up sharp focus in landscape middle ground vs close focus? Cheers Nick.

  4. Hi Nick,

    I sold my ground glass before Cambo released their T/S lensboards so I really can't be of much help. I wear tri-focals and it was a huge PIA to use the glass for focusing however it helped a lot with filter placement.

    That said, I have used a groundglass with a Cambo Ultima 23 and found it very helpful for focusing and tile/shifting so I'll go on a ledge here and say it should be beneficial with the WRS.

    The folks you should be contacting on this is Dave Gallagher or Doug Peterson at Capture Integration (contact Doug first).

    Just saw my earlier comment from May 26, 2009; I've sold the groundglass since that date and now use the Cambo Viewfinder w/masks for my 35 and 72mm lenses.