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Thread: 6x17 back on Cambo WDS

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    6x17 back on Cambo WDS

    Hi,

    I'm looking since a while into 6x17 backs for my panorama work. More recently I got into the Cambo system with a WDS and Schneider 80mm XL.

    There seem to be controversial opinions about the focal length range that works with the 6x17 back. Would it work for my setup? The lens has quite good coverage.

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    Senior Member darr's Avatar
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    Re: 6x17 back on Cambo WDS

    If your lens can cover the 5x7 format, then it should work.
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    Re: 6x17 back on Cambo WDS

    It does cover 5x7, but I read reports that shorter focal lengths cannot be focused to infinity with these 6x17 backs that are fitted to a 4x5" camera.

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    Re: 6x17 back on Cambo WDS

    The 6x17 backs add a fair bit of extension, so they're usable at all only on bellows cameras that allow the front standard to be moved back to the new infinity position. Can't do that with rigid-body cameras that use helicoid-mounted lenses.

    So, no go with the WDS. For the same reason, I can't use any of the 6x17 backs on my film-era Cambo Wide camera.
    Last edited by Oren Grad; 23rd May 2020 at 08:24.
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    Re: 6x17 back on Cambo WDS

    Thank you! That was maybe not what I was hoping for, but it does clarify that this won't work with my Cambo, even though my 80mm XL has a rear frame extension that could be omitted.

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    Re: 6x17 back on Cambo WDS

    Quote Originally Posted by anyone View Post
    ...even though my 80mm XL has a rear frame extension that could be omitted.
    OK, just did some homework I should have done first - I'd forgotten about the digital vs analog versions of the WDS and the system of spacers Cambo had available to make various lens + back combinations work. But how thick is your spacer? I'd be surprised if it's anywhere near enough, but I don't want to lead you astray - can you measure it?
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    Senior Member darr's Avatar
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    Re: 6x17 back on Cambo WDS










    Good catch Oren. I use my 6x17 on my Linhof 3000, and my 6x12 Rollex on my Wide 650.
    I took a couple of quick iPhone snaps of the backs to share the film plane differences.
    There is a reason to have the custom ground glass attachment with a 6x17 back.

    Hope this helps,
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    Re: 6x17 back on Cambo WDS

    If I remember my research correctly, there is also a limit on long focal lengths where the camera body vignettes the image. I ultimately went with a Horseman 6x12 back and a 6x12 camera. (I also found I enjoyed the 2:1 ratio better than the 3:1, which can be a challenge to use. But the is very personal.)
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    Re: 6x17 back on Cambo WDS

    Quote Originally Posted by darr View Post
    I took a couple of quick iPhone snaps of the backs to share the film plane differences.
    There is a reason to have the custom ground glass attachment with a 6x17 back.
    Darr - thanks, that's somewhat less than I would have expected, very helpful. So it will be interesting to find out the WDS spacer thickness.
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    Re: 6x17 back on Cambo WDS

    I just measured the spacer. It's exactly 2.5cm.

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    Senior Member darr's Avatar
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    Re: 6x17 back on Cambo WDS

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    If I remember my research correctly, there is also a limit on long focal lengths where the camera body vignettes the image. I ultimately went with a Horseman 6x12 back and a 6x12 camera. (I also found I enjoyed the 2:1 ratio better than the 3:1, which can be a challenge to use. But the is very personal.)
    I think vignette problems with the camera body can occur when using ultra wide lenses. The widest I use with my 6x17 back is the Nikkor SW 90/4.5. While I like the 6x17 format, I find the 6x12 easier to use. The ground glass of the 6x17 back I have is not very bright and a bit cumbersome out in the field. If I was to work exclusively with 6x17, I would buy a dedicated camera built just for the format. I did have a Fotoman 617 years ago with two lenses and wish I had kept it. Oh well, it's all play with me anyhow.

    Edit: Is it longer focal lengths that cause vignetting? I thought it might be wider.
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    Re: 6x17 back on Cambo WDS

    Quote Originally Posted by anyone View Post
    I just measured the spacer. It's exactly 2.5cm.
    So that's more than I expected. Darr's measurement and yours make this much more interesting, though probably still not satisfactory. If a 6x17 back has a film plane that's 12 mm further away than the GG of the 4x5 back, then removing your 25mm spacer will place the lens, set to infinity on its helical mount scale, 13 mm too close to the 6x17 film plane. You'd need to use 13 mm of helical travel just to be able to focus at infinity and more than that to get any closer. But does the focus mount for the 80 SS-XL even have that much travel? I have my Cambo Wide 750 (75/5.6 Super-Angulon) beside me as I'm writing this; its helical has a travel of roughly 5 or 6 mm.

    It sounds like in principle you could achieve proper lens spacing with a custom-made spacer of the right thickness. But that's likely to be quite expensive. It also assumes that you're not going to get in trouble with vignetting arising from the lens cone and body geometry, which is hard to say anything about without seeing the camera in the flesh.
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    Re: 6x17 back on Cambo WDS

    Quote Originally Posted by darr View Post
    Edit: Is it longer focal lengths that cause vignetting? I thought it might be wider.
    It's longer - the cone defined by the lens and the film width has to be pretty shallow for the camera back not to impinge on it.
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    Re: 6x17 back on Cambo WDS

    I also just measured that, it's 7mm. So in this case, it unfortunately will not work.

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    Re: 6x17 back on Cambo WDS

    Quote Originally Posted by anyone View Post
    I also just measured that, it's 7mm.
    So not enough to compensate for the film plane mismatch. With the spacer the lens-in-helical is too far away to focus over a useful range, without it's too close to focus at all.
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    Re: 6x17 back on Cambo WDS

    It's a pity. Would have been cool to shoot 6x17cm Cambo images ;-) Thank you all for your help!

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    Re: 6x17 back on Cambo WDS

    Quote Originally Posted by anyone View Post
    It's a pity. Would have been cool to shoot 6x17cm Cambo images ;-) Thank you all for your help!
    Apologies for my initial mistaken assumption, and thanks to all for the various responses and measurements that put this discussion back on the right track.
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    Re: 6x17 back on Cambo WDS

    Quote Originally Posted by darr View Post
    I think vignette problems with the camera body can occur when using ultra wide lenses. The widest I use with my 6x17 back is the Nikkor SW 90/4.5. While I like the 6x17 format, I find the 6x12 easier to use. The ground glass of the 6x17 back I have is not very bright and a bit cumbersome out in the field. If I was to work exclusively with 6x17, I would buy a dedicated camera built just for the format. I did have a Fotoman 617 years ago with two lenses and wish I had kept it. Oh well, it's all play with me anyhow.

    Edit: Is it longer focal lengths that cause vignetting? I thought it might be wider.
    You are right Darr. I was remembering that using a 6x17 back on a 4x5 camera that the body of the 4x5 will block the light cone from long focal lengths as you are still trying to project a 7" wide image through a 5" frame. I think you need to be in the 250mm - 300mm range before this starts happening.

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    Re: 6x17 back on Cambo WDS

    Quote Originally Posted by anyone View Post
    It's a pity. Would have been cool to shoot 6x17cm Cambo images ;-) Thank you all for your help!
    You can using your digital back. Here is a huge test image (86 inches across after cropping - looks better larger) I did playing with my CFV50c and Cambo Wide 650:









    I know it is not film, but until you figure out how you'll get there, you can always do it with your Cambo and digital back.
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    Re: 6x17 back on Cambo WDS

    Actually, also that doesn't work in my case, since the film plane is different to the digital back adapter plane (I do have the newer digital back mount that is compatible to the digitally mounted lenses)

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    Senior Member darr's Avatar
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    Re: 6x17 back on Cambo WDS

    Quote Originally Posted by anyone View Post
    Actually, also that doesn't work in my case, since the film plane is different to the digital back adapter plane (I do have the newer digital back mount that is compatible to the digitally mounted lenses)
    Do you have a ground glass calibrated to the camera's film plane?
    Who made the plate adapter for your digital back? Can you focus via Live View?

    Curious, as I can achieve focus with my digital backs (P45 and CFV50c) with all my 4x5 film cameras (Sinar Norma, Cambo Wide 650, Linhof 3000).
    I can also use them with my ALPA cameras without having to use the calibration kit that came with the P45 years ago.

    Also, does the helical for your lens allow proper focus on the ground glass?
    Only asking because your digital back should be able to focus with your camera if you can focus the lens on the ground glass.

    I found hyperfocal focusing can be off when using digital lenses and digital backs.
    It is not like shooting with film in a lot of instances.
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    Re: 6x17 back on Cambo WDS

    What I meant is that my digital back adapter plate was never intended to be used with film lenses.

    The WDS-611 matches with 'WDS/WRS lens panels with Digital Series Lenses':
    https://www.cambo.com/en/view-cam/wi...eries/wds-611/

    That means: a different spacing. My film lenses cannot be used with my digital back adapter. But lenses with their newer digital mount can.

    You probably have a Graflock adapter that fits to the international back.

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    Senior Member darr's Avatar
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    Re: 6x17 back on Cambo WDS

    All that matters is achieving focus at the film plane regardless if the lens is made for film or digital.

    I have used a circa 1880 brass Petzval lens on my Sinar Norma with the CFV50c and had zero focusing issues. I shoot old Hasselblad “C” film magazines on my ALPA cameras with no focusing issues. It sounds like you are saying the digital back adapter does not allow focusing at the camera’s film plane, but if Cambo manufactured it, it should work on the Cambo camera’s film plane.

    Hopefully another Cambo camera shooter can help me get my head around this.

    Edit: You added the graflock back info after I posted. Yes, all my 4x5 cameras are equipped with graflock backs on purpose; I would not buy them if they did not have this versatility.

    So your film lenses are not helical mounted for your camera model?
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    Re: 6x17 back on Cambo WDS

    Cambo had a two-fold approach:
    (1) They offered a Graflock digital back adapter. This one is in the same plane of focus as any film to be used, either 4x5" or a 6x12cm. I do not own this one. Film lenses are geared towards this adapter. This would be for my digital back the WDS-506: https://www.cambo.com/en/view-cam/wi...eries/wds-506/
    (2) They offered another digital back adapter that is suited for their digital lenses. It is not compatible with their film lenses. I do own this one. In my case, this is the WDS-611: https://www.cambo.com/en/view-cam/wi...eries/wds-611/

    So, if I would own (1), all would be fine to use my film lenses digitally. Since that was not my aim, I opted for (2), as I want to shoot digital lenses with the digital back. I know, it's somewhat difficult, I also just recently learned about this.

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    Senior Member darr's Avatar
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    Re: 6x17 back on Cambo WDS

    That is interesting.

    ALPA started making their medium format cameras during the film era. Their film lenses and cameras easily adapted to digital, as did the older Hasselblad 500 series of cameras that I know you also shoot. What kind of tolerance is going on with the mentioned Cambo plate I wonder.

    I find Cambo looks to be a great system although I just learned one of its quarks (if I can call it that). I always go with the graflock system for its versatility. Hopefully you can have the option to do so.
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    Re: 6x17 back on Cambo WDS

    I don't own it for long, so I cannot really comment on the versatility that much, but from the few test shots I made locally (I was showing one of them in the 'fun with MF images' thread) it seems to pretty much deliver what I wanted from it in the first place: great 6x12 images.

    The digital thought came a little later. I will shoot my Hasselblad V lenses digitally using the Cambo. Of course, out of curiousity, it would have been great to see how the SK80XL performs on digital - but in the end, I didn't aim for that.

    All my 4x5" gear is of course Graflock-compatible and easily interchangeable. Maybe one day I get a Graflock-digital-back adapter plate too. But in my experience, the gear usually performs best in the way it was intended.

    It doesn't seem to be a tolerance issue, but rather a design decision to jump on the opportunity to bring the digital back closer to the lenses and thus enable more wide angle possibilities.
    Last edited by anyone; 23rd May 2020 at 14:42.

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    Re: 6x17 back on Cambo WDS

    I was looking at Cambo wide cameras last year when I decided I wanted to dedicate a simpler camera to making panoramics while traveling other than using my Linhof 4x5. This is the back of the WDS I was looking at:





    It appears to be a newer version of the Cambo Wide camera I own minus the lens. Then I thought long and hard about how simple I wanted this pano camera to be. I decided I wanted the widest lens at 65mm and a longer lens if made. It had to have a graflock back so I could use my 6x12 and 6x9 magazines and a ground glass viewfinder because dark cloths and my long hair have never got a long well.

    Then I looked at the Cambo Wide 65 and found out they did make a 100mm lens version. So I have the 65, enjoy it, and on the hunt for the 100mm lens. I see the 90mm comes up periodically for sale, but not the 100mm.

    I like how simple the camera is, and lightweight compared to the Linhof.
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    Re: 6x17 back on Cambo WDS

    Quick update: I was in touch with Cambo, they do manufacture a 10.2mm spacer. If we all calculated right, this should be enough to reach infinity focus and even give a little bit of room for focusing?

    Here's my math:
    Omitting original spacer: - 25mm
    617 back: + 12mm
    New spacer: + 10.2 mm
    Helical mount focus travel: + 7mm

    The only concern I have is that our measurements are not precise enough, and the error accumulates and leads to this that cannot focus on infinity.

    Does this sound about right, or do I have somehwere a logic error?
    Last edited by anyone; 25th May 2020 at 07:07.

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    Re: 6x17 back on Cambo WDS

    Quote Originally Posted by darr View Post
    You can using your digital back. Here is a huge test image (86 inches across after cropping - looks better larger) I did playing with my CFV50c and Cambo Wide 650:









    I know it is not film, but until you figure out how you'll get there, you can always do it with your Cambo and digital back.
    This is really pretty. Real nice!!
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    Re: 6x17 back on Cambo WDS

    Quote Originally Posted by anyone View Post
    Quick update: I was in touch with Cambo, they do manufacture a 10.2mm spacer. If we all calculated right, this should be enough to reach infinity focus and even give a little bit of room for focusing?

    Here's my math:
    Omitting original spacer: - 25mm
    617 back: + 12mm
    New spacer: + 10.2 mm
    Helical mount focus travel: + 7mm

    The only concern I have is that our measurements are not precise enough, and the error accumulates and leads to this that cannot focus on infinity.

    Does this sound about right, or do I have somehwere a logic error?
    Unrelated to the focus spacing, you're still going to need to worry about whether the cone geometry will allow the lens to project a 6x17cm image without cutoff. You might be able to do some experiments with the pieces you already own to... um... shed some light on that.

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    Re: 6x17 back on Cambo WDS

    It's sort of an expensive experiment. I'll wait until I get to know someone around who has that back, and then I'll make a mockup with that spacing to see whether it can work. I read also in another forum that the back plane is taken back by 38mm, which is a whole different story, so there seems to be differences by the manufacturers as well. For now, I will stick to my 6x12 back.

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