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Thread: Thinking out loud: Cambo Wides V. Pahmiyas

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    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    Thinking out loud: Cambo Wides V. Pahmiyas

    Some of you guys might know I went to Iceland to take some shots recently and it was my first really testing and sustained shoot with my Phase gear. A high proportion of the output was not what I had hoped for (well the entire trip was supposed to be an extended test session!) and indeed the great majority of my final 'picks' were taken on an M8, which produced shake free files handheld and sharp from corner to corner on pretty much every shot. It later transpired on looking very closely at the files that a lot of the issue with the Phase setup was the tripod I was using and the almost seismic shake produced by the Phamiya at certain shutter speeds. I've dealt with that now and an happy that the tripod and head combo I now use is up to the job.

    One of the other conclusions (and this has taken some time to sink in and some further experimentation to verify) is that my Mamiya 28D (and as far as I can work out it's quite a good copy) is not as sharp into the corners, even at F16, as I want. If I want big big prints (and otherwise why would one carry all this stuff?) I don't want to crop. And when I use the 80D or the 150 or, best of all my Schneider 35/cambo setup, I get pin sharp quality everywhere and finally achieve the standards the pursuit of which encouraged me to buy all this stuff.

    Since I got back I have purchased a 5DII to go with my legacy Canon lenses and have slowly come to realise that it's a really very good piece of kit when used correctly. So I have decided that for my next big landscape trip my bag will include the Canon with various glass including some Leica R. this will replace the M8 kit, which I love but which just can't print to extreme sizes with the detail I want.

    As far as the Phase kit, I will leave all the Phamiya stuff at home. It's all too bulky and heavy, kills my back and makes me carry too heavy a tripod/head combo for travel. Instead I'll keep it for trips from home with a car. In any event most of my landscapes are wide and so I anticipate using the Cambo combo a lot more than the Canon, which will be a longer lens fill-in and for any people stuff.

    What I will take is the P45+ with a Cambo and Schneider 35XL, which is an incredible lens and which can get DOF from about 1.5 metres to infinity with no focus stacking. But I think I will further save weight and bulk by trading the Cambo Wide DS for an RS - or possibly just adding a Wide Compact and using that for travel, since my landscape work is 95% un-shifted and un-stitched (I shoot a lot of sea and other stuff that doesn't stitch well). But I also want to add another wider lens.

    This means any 28, 24 or 23 that can go in a Cambo board.

    My requirements are only that it be sharp from corner to corner. It would be nice if it could be used without a central filter and if it had a bit of shift possibility with my back, and obviously reasonable prices are always appreciated but those are not the prime considerations. I just want close to perfect sharpness from edge to edge at F16 and hopefully lower.

    So, Cambo users, anyone got and experience here? Anyone used the Compact and the RS and have a comparative view? What are your preferred wide lenses and how do you find you need to use them?

    All help gratefully received as ever!

    Best

    Tim

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    Administrator Bob's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking out loud: Cambo Wides V. Pahmiyas

    Tim,
    I use the Cambo RS1000 and am very pleased with it when using the 35XL. I recently have taken to use a center filter and find it useful when shifting. When used un-shifted, the center filter is of marginal use since the light fall-off, after lcc correction, looks like simple symmetrical vignette which is simply left uncorrected, or is a minor tweak in post. OTOH, I find that most of my shots end up with something on the order of 5mm shift.
    I usually shoot at f11-16 and find that is the sweet spot for this lens.
    -bob

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    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking out loud: Cambo Wides V. Pahmiyas

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    Tim,
    I use the Cambo RS1000 and am very pleased with it when using the 35XL. I recently have taken to use a center filter and find it useful when shifting. When used un-shifted, the center filter is of marginal use since the light fall-off, after lcc correction, looks like simple symmetrical vignette which is simply left uncorrected, or is a minor tweak in post. OTOH, I find that most of my shots end up with something on the order of 5mm shift.
    I usually shoot at f11-16 and find that is the sweet spot for this lens.
    -bob
    Thanks Bob,

    I also use the 35xl without a central filter but that's partly because I generally shoot unshifted... for me the camera is a way of getting at the lens quality and the occasional option of shift and stitch. But it sounds as if we find the same sweet spot! Have you tried pulling focus forward a touch from infinity at F16? It gives you good DOF across the frame.

    Best

    Tim

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    Re: Thinking out loud: Cambo Wides V. Pahmiyas

    Here's some random if not rambling thoughts:

    I picked the RS1000 over the WDS for the size difference as well as differences in the movements. While there's really nothing wrong with the WDS it was nevertheless made originally for film and later fitted for digital which in a way is a good thing as it allows you to use both. The RS was made solely for digital and has all it's movements on the back which as far as I'm concerned is great. I've never actually held a WDS however from everything I've read it is slightly heavier and slightly larger than the RS. I'm slightly taller than average and have slightly larger hands - that said I was a little afraid of the RS size until I actually got to handle it - simply put, it's very very nice.

    I've been shooting with the 35 and 72mm lens both of which I've found to be stunning. I've plans to pick up the 120mm soon as well.

    I've had the RS1000 since October of last year and in that time I gone to the South Rim Grand Canyon, Redwoods Northern CA, Carmel CA, Monument Valley US and tomorrow Canyon de Chelly. I carried my Phase AFD on two of these trips and used it only on one trip; I do plan on taking it with me on this next trip. If pressed I'd say that I use the Cambo well over 95% of the time for my landscape work. The only time I see using/needing the Phase is when I need to reach out and really tough the object and then I'll use either my 75-150 or 300; I still have and use the 28 but just not very much.

    I guess I can't be of any use regarding "real word" usage between the WDS and RS however I can highly recommend the RS. Here's what I would do if in your boots; try the RS side by side with the WDS; being the gambling person I am I'd lay odds that you'll like the RS and sell the WDS.

    Almost forgot - I don't use a center filter on my 35 however I've gotten a couple step rings and am now experimenting with using Cokin filters.

    I normally shoot either f/8 - f/11 sometimes f/16 on both lens.

    Don
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    Re: Thinking out loud: Cambo Wides V. Pahmiyas

    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Creek View Post
    I've never actually held a WDS however from everything I've read it is slightly heavier and slightly larger than the RS. I'm slightly taller than average and have slightly larger hands
    ROTFLOL! If the WDS is as slightly larger than the RS as you are than average, it must be a tank!
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Thinking out loud: Cambo Wides V. Pahmiyas

    Quote Originally Posted by tashley View Post
    Thanks Bob,

    I also use the 35xl without a central filter but that's partly because I generally shoot unshifted... for me the camera is a way of getting at the lens quality and the occasional option of shift and stitch. But it sounds as if we find the same sweet spot! Have you tried pulling focus forward a touch from infinity at F16? It gives you good DOF across the frame.

    Best

    Tim
    I almost always pull the focus just a touch forward on the theory that 2/3 of your DOF is behind the point of focus.
    -bob

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    Re: Thinking out loud: Cambo Wides V. Pahmiyas

    D3x with 14-24!
    Always full corner sharpness!

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    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking out loud: Cambo Wides V. Pahmiyas

    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Creek View Post
    Here's some random if not rambling thoughts:


    Don
    Don, far from rambling: very useful indeed and much appreciated.

    Somewhere at the back of my head is a memory that there's one useful reason to have rise on the front and lateral shift on the back rather than the more intuitively useful both on the back but I can't for the life of me remember what that reason is!

    Have you tried the Schneider 24 at all?

    Best

    t

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    Re: Thinking out loud: Cambo Wides V. Pahmiyas

    Quote Originally Posted by tashley View Post
    Somewhere at the back of my head is a memory that there's one useful reason to have rise on the front and lateral shift on the back rather than the more intuitively useful both on the back but I can't for the life of me remember what that reason is!
    The advantage to having movements on the back is for stitching; you move the back across the image circle as opposed to lens movements which move the image circle around the back. When you move the lens, you impart parallax errors and when the lens is stationary, you get no parallax in your stitches.

    Cheers,
    Jack
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    Re: Thinking out loud: Cambo Wides V. Pahmiyas

    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Creek View Post
    I've had the RS1000 since October of last year and in that time I gone to the South Rim Grand Canyon, Redwoods Northern CA, Carmel CA, Monument Valley US and tomorrow Canyon de Chelly.
    Don
    I am so jealous of your trip to Canyon de Chelly. I can only imagine how beautiful it is right now, with the angles of light and springtime trying to break in. Please post some shots when you return.

    My wife and I fell in love with Canyon de Chelly a few years ago and yearn to go back (this time without the case of Giardia that she caught resulting in a quick trip to the Navajo hospital there for some serious anti-biotics).

    In fact, my username picture is of the 'grand' Sonic burger drive-in in Kayenta. Not fine art, but an interesting place nonetheless.

    Enjoy your trip!

    -Josh

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    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking out loud: Cambo Wides V. Pahmiyas

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    The advantage to having movements on the back is for stitching; you move the back across the image circle as opposed to lens movements which move the image circle around the back. When you move the lens, you impart parallax errors and when the lens is stationary, you get no parallax in your stitches.

    Cheers,
    Thanks Jack,

    I was aware of that (it's one of the reasons I wanted to switch to the RS from the WDS) but from memory there was one specific advantage of having vertical movements on the front and not the rear. That's what I was getting at. I just can't remember what it is!

    Age...

    :-(

    I have now bought an RS1000 and it's pretty good. I'll be selling the WDS body soon if anyone is interested...

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    Re: Thinking out loud: Cambo Wides V. Pahmiyas

    I was doing a Google search on something totally different and I guess my mind wondered and typed something else and came up with this thread.

    About a month late and see that I failed to answer so here goes.

    Jack is (as he tends to be) totally correct about the differences between the back movements vs lens moving around the back. I don't like the idea of the lens moving thus another reason for picking the RS1000.

    I had a 24 to test when I had the loaner from Chris but used the 47 more. I ordered a 35mm with the body thinking that I could achieve wide shoots using just a little bit of shift; so far that's worked well for me. I also picked up a 72mm on a smoking deal that I've been very happy with. I'll be ordering a 24 and 12 now that I sold off the Mamiya glass. I'll also be experimenting with the new groundglass to see if it will help me when I use filters such as blue/gold.

    Sorry it took me so long to reply - no excuse sir!

    Don
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    Senior Member etrump's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking out loud: Cambo Wides V. Pahmiyas

    Quote Originally Posted by tashley View Post
    Don, far from rambling: very useful indeed and much appreciated.

    Somewhere at the back of my head is a memory that there's one useful reason to have rise on the front and lateral shift on the back rather than the more intuitively useful both on the back but I can't for the life of me remember what that reason is!

    Have you tried the Schneider 24 at all?

    Best

    t
    The Schneider 24 is very sharp corner to corner and of course the DOF is awesome. Not to take anything away from the 35XL which I use most of the time. Sometimes you just need that extra reach.

    No experience with the WDS but after just a few months with the RS I rarely shoot P1-645.

    24XL/P45:


    35XL/P45 2 shot stitch (sorry about the artifacts, original is at iso 50 and clean):


    The contrast and sharpness with the Schneider glass is incredible.

    Ed

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    Re: Thinking out loud: Cambo Wides V. Pahmiyas

    Come on Ed, you can't give samples like this and not tell me where you took them! Very nice work there. Looking forward to my 24 and 120 finally getting here. Thanks for the samples.

    Don
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    Senior Member etrump's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking out loud: Cambo Wides V. Pahmiyas

    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Creek View Post
    Come on Ed, you can't give samples like this and not tell me where you took them! Very nice work there. Looking forward to my 24 and 120 finally getting here. Thanks for the samples.

    Don
    Oops, my apologies. This is Pam's Grotto Falls in the Ozark National Forest in central Arkansas.

    I would love to get a 120, but it is probably not in my future for this year. The P65 upgrade is going to deplete my photography equipment budget. With the 120 I probably wouldn't use the P1-645 for anything other than 300mm.

    Ed

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