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Thread: Cambo Actus, thoughts, experience, or regrets

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    Cambo Actus, thoughts, experience, or regrets

    Hi folks. I am thinking about an Actus B to mate my Fuji X system with my Pentax 645 lenses. I would be very interested in anyone's feedback on the B, G, or DB/2. I have used view cameras before, so using these types of camera (both film and with p25+ backs) are not new to me. But any thoughts on your experience on using this camera are welcome as well as how much value you think it adds to your photography or even things you found out were nice to know after using it.
    Last edited by Shashin; 2nd November 2019 at 19:34.

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    Re: Cambo Actus, thoughts, experience, or regrets

    Hi Will..... I've posted considerably about the Cambo Actus. I have both an Actus G and Actus DB2 and am happy with both. They are not perfect but nothing is. It's critical to make sure the standards are parallel. I suggest you take a look at my post https://www.getdpi.com/forum/medium-...eld-actus.html from about a week ago.

    Aside from that issue which is something that is important on any technical camera with adjustable front standards I have found the camera easy to use and very light. You'll have a lot of fun with it.

    Victor
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    Senior Member dchew's Avatar
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    Re: Cambo Actus, thoughts, experience, or regrets

    Hi Will,
    I just bought a used Actus db2 myself. So far it seems like a simple, well-designed camera. My main purpose is for product photography so I will not be traveling with this much. I am going to add the fine ratio gear drive for focus; I will know in a few weeks if that was worth it - it is quite expensive. I plan to focus stack, and based on some math of how I use the Alpa I will move the focus in 0.15mm increments. That is tough to do with the standard drive knob.

    It is worth reviewing Victor's thread about getting the front/rear standards registered with each other. My zero detents are off a little for both swing and tilt. The Starrett 98-4 level Victor recommends is wonderful and a perfect size for the job.



    As for critiques, I don't have much yet. That may change as I get to know it better.

    • It would be nice to adjust where the detents are if you find them be off like I did. Maybe that is possible...?
    • You can't see the rise/fall mm from the back very well. That only matters when you are trying to set it back to zero, and you can count the 5mm detents in your head.
    • I like the way the whole thing assembles. The bellows goes together easily with a solid click to know you got it right.
    • I haven't put any heavy lenses on yet, but both standards seem solid enough (db2 version).
    • My biggest gripe is not with the Actus but with RRS, who makes their quick clamps too loose for true Arca dovetails. I've standardized on RRS quick clamps, which doesn't grip the Actus rail.
    • It really shines with longer lenses. Based on your intended use, you will probably get away with only the std rail, depending on how much macro you intend to do. I have the 300mm rail too, but not sure yet if I will use it.


    Dave
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    Re: Cambo Actus, thoughts, experience, or regrets

    I have a "B" version from an early production run that I bought used and I have now used it for several years.

    Although its issues are well known and documented -- i.e., basically, keeping the standards parallel so as not to introduce unwanted movements when it's used in the field -- I nevertheless consider it to be a very clever and decently well-built design. I've recommended them to several photographers over the years and, so far as I know, they are all similarly happy with their Actii (Actuses?) as well.

    Of course, with me being me, I have made a couple of modifications to tailor mine to my particular set of tastes and preferences, as well as to make it possible to use it with several camera bodies and lenses for which Cambo makes no mounts or lens boards. (Note: I am always keen to lighten my load -- most of my photography is done while walking around, often for several miles, while carrying my camera / tripod combo over my shoulder -- because for reasons I don't understand, every ounce seems to have multiplied itself by the end of my outings. While an Actus is fairly light as-is, it can be made slightly lighter still without too much effort if one is willing to limit the boundaries of its performance envelope in some ways.)

    For my purposes, these mods have definitely improved its performance overall, although the truth is that by rejiggering certain aspects of its design, I have also further compromised other aspects of it that aren't relevant to my usage, hence YMMV!

    In short, no one camera is perfect for all purposes or all photographers and it's difficult to predict in a vacuum how well any particular camera will meet your needs / preferences without actually using it to take your photos.

    As such, perhaps you might find it helpful to rent one for a week or weekend? I know Capture Integration rents them and I'm sure there are other firms that do so as well.
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    Re: Cambo Actus, thoughts, experience, or regrets

    I really like my Actus XCD for the X1D. My only frustrations are that I can't get a wide enough lens for what I do with the setup. I am a long exposure shooter and I have to carry some black out cloth because anything over 30s I get light leaks. I like to be under bridges, at rivers edge at the base of mountains and a lens around 65mm is just not wide enough and stitching 4m exposures can be problematic. Besides that it a cool piece of kit. I might sell mine and get the XCD21.
    David
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    Re: Cambo Actus, thoughts, experience, or regrets

    I converted my Actus B to a G after getting the Fuji GFX 50R, but still use the same collection of MF and LF lenses that I had for the B. Two most often used lenses are the Cambo Actar 60mm and an old Pentax A-35/3.5.
    Carl
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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Cambo Actus, thoughts, experience, or regrets

    I highly recommend the Actus G for the ultimate flexibility. I started with the DB, then picked up a second DB+, had the DB stolen (which I’d converted to Sony rear mount) and so concentrated on the DB+ plus which I upgraded to a G which allows me to use my MFDB/rear tilt adapter, plus GFX mount and any of the smaller format cameras should I want to in the future.

    Its a rail camera with bellows so I’m sure that you’ll get along with it fine. I bought the fine adjust tilt & focus controls but have yet to fit them.

    My only complaints are the ease of which the swing detent is obviously off a little, the tiny locks that absolutely need to be tightened when setting focus/rise, also the front/rear standards do flex a little when adjusting them so be sure to let them settle after touching your camera/digital back.

    All told though, I love using mine. I just wish that my IQ4150 had a tilt LCD sometimes.
    Last edited by GrahamWelland; 4th November 2019 at 06:55.
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    Re: Cambo Actus, thoughts, experience, or regrets

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post

    I just wish that my IQ4150 had a tilt LCD sometimes.
    Graham..... that would add another $10,000.00 to the price

    Victor

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    Re: Cambo Actus, thoughts, experience, or regrets

    Thanks to everyone for chiming in. I really appreciate it. I certainly welcome others to add to this thread.

    This has given me something to think about. Although my wife has given me her blessing, I am still sitting on the fence. (You all knew I was crazy, but just not the the same way you guys are crazy!)

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    Re: Cambo Actus, thoughts, experience, or regrets

    +1 on tilting LCD for IQ Digital back. Had so hoped this would make the IQ4. Cannot be that hard to implement. Everyone else had figured it out besides Hasselblad on X1D series. Live what they did on their 907x digital back with the tilting screen.

    Paul C

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    Re: Cambo Actus, thoughts, experience, or regrets

    We're a little biased, but also we are here to help however we can!
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