Friday, March 1, 2013

Using the Cambo Groundglass on a Cambo WRS

I've been using my WRS for over 4 1/2 years now after getting it in the fall of 2008.  One of the first items I added was a groundglass and flexible focusing hood (WDS-619 and WDS-616).  In all fairness I tried to find the love in this combination, but couldn't.  I found the act of changing the back to the groundglass to be cumbersome and felt the back was in danger.  The dangerous part for the back was it had to be removed along with the mounting plate in order to insert the groundglass and there was no adequate method to protect the back with the plate on. I ended up removing the back and protecting it using it's own cover then removing the mounting plate before placing the groundglass on the body.  Very cumbersome and I quickly tired of it, to the extent I sold the groundglass and focusing hood.

The process of switching back and forth wasn't the only problem I encountered.  I found the groundglass to be darker than I preferred and the hood leaked light to the point I had to wrap it for it to be useable. 

After ridding myself of the groundglass/hood combination I added a WDS View Finder which worked to a point.  Yes it could get me in the general ballpark however it couldn't help with focusing or filter placement.  During this same time I changed backs twice; going from a Phase One P45+ to a P65 and then on to my current IQ160.  One of the major features of the IQ series back is the ability to use (a limited) live view.  Okay I said "limited".  Live view is a huge power hog and limited in that the best view possible it changes once every second which is a little slow when chasing light in landscapes. But it worked better than anything else; or so I thought.

Fast-forward to last month; I met with good friends, Ken Doo and Dave Gallagher to help host "CI in Carmel".  Dave, true to his word brought one-of-everything that his company, Capture Integration offers; at least it seemed like that.  This years get-together focused on the use of technical cameras and allowed approximately 18 participants the chance to use a tech cam, some for the very first time. 

Among the goodies Dave brought with him was what appeared to be a newly revised (sometime within the past 2-years) groundglass and 3x loupe, which caught my eye.

I've found the groundglass to be lighter meaning it allows much more light in thus is much easier to see.  The loupe according to Dave was introduced for their DSRL video line of grip equipment before being improved for the anniversary adaptor adding magnetic adaptors. The real beauty is Cambo now offers a mounting plate cover that allows the removal of the back and plate together.  Simply snap the cover on the plate and your back is protected.

It took me more time to write this than it actually does to use the combination in practice.  I first thought of adding photos to the text however it wouldn't do the system justice.  With the knowledge I hate being before any type of camera, Sandy and I filmed actual use of the groundglass while we were in Death Valley.  The video last slightly longer than 2-minutes and isn't cut.  I suggest you watch the video to see actual usage of the groundglass/loupe.  And to answer the unasked question - yes, I like it - a lot, and I'll be buying one shortly.

This combination comes very close to making the WRS a manual viewfinder tech cam.  I used this on the beach at Big Sur, Mono Lake and at Death Valley (Racetrack and Golf Course) without any problems or concerns.

Watch the video then visit Capture Integration's store for more details and ordering information.

Universal Groundglass Frame   

The loupe can also be purchased separately here and can be used both on a digital back as well as a DSLR.

There's more to come so please stay tuned.

As always thank you for allowing me to share my experiences and please remember your thoughts, questions and suggestions are always welcome.


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