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Thread: Cambo Actus DB2-IQ3100-Studio (Product Photography)

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    Question Cambo Actus DB2-IQ3100-Studio (Product Photography)

    Hey everyone- Came across the site and have lurked for quite sometime until tonight. Tonight I get to ask form some assistance.

    I currently shoot a 99% of my work in studio with a salon stand and a lot of it is product/table top. I currently shoot with the P1 XF with an IQ3 100 back and various Schneider lenses. I've tried to do most of my work using Helicon when focus stacking was needed but am looking for a more elegant solution which led me here.

    I would like to consider moving into a tech camera as another tool for my studio work. (I also shoot architecture but we'll table that for now).
    I came across the Cambo Actus DB2 and it looked like a pretty slick solution but there are a lot of options as you all know from different bellows to rail lengths, to Cambo AC 375 tilt unit, not to mention all of the lens options. This is where I'm stuck. Ive been reading a bunch on the web and trying to determine where to start. I think the system itself is fairly simple in some ways in that I get the Actus, my choice of rails and below depending on the work and I would likely get the 375 to expand my flexibility. The IQ adapter from the rear is easy enough and I know I could even get one from my D850 and lens plate for the Nikon lenses as well if needed.

    Where I'm stuck is in two areas:

    1) I'd love some thoughts on using this solution for what I'm looking to do
    2) Any help on lenses would be absolutely amazing. At the cost of some of these and the fact they cannot be returned, it's a huge investment only to risk getting it wrong. Anyone that could share what they like in terms of macro, wide and general table top type of lenses would be extremely helpful.

    My apologies if this has been asked. I've looked around and gleaned what I could so if anyone can help get me going in the right direction I would really love the help. I'm open to all suggestions as well as I'm sure there are things that I may not have considered.

    Best!

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    Re: Cambo Actus DB2-IQ3100-Studio (Product Photography)

    Hi

    I use a cambo setup in my studio for 100% product photography as well. Although I don't use the actus as my studio camera. I have a Cambo Ultima 23D for that much more suited for the job.

    I would be happy to answer any questions you have. But first I have a few of my own.

    How much tilt / swing do you need?

    Is shifting both front and rear standard important for you?

    How much shift do you expect to use in your studio?

    I use a lot of movements for almost every shot I take. I would look into schneider lenses for close up work. You can find some used 90mm digitar / 100mm digitar pretty cheap on ebay and they are quite good.

    One of the negatives of the Rodenstock HR series is that they are not really designed for close up work under 3M, except for the Rodenstock 105 HR 1:4 this one is specifically designed for macro photography.
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    Re: Cambo Actus DB2-IQ3100-Studio (Product Photography)

    I'd (selfishly) suggest working with a dealer that can demonstrate the gear in person and/or rent it to you with rental-counted-toward-purchase. We (DT) would be glad to do that. Nobody's experience is more relevant than your own.

    That said, some points to be made and questions to be investigated...
    - Are you shooting strobe or continuous? If the former, do you have any interest in switching to the latter? We love the Broncolor F160; great CRI/CQS and reasonable price, compatible with all broncolor light shapers, and have them in demo/rental inventory for client testing. The reason I ask is that some of the lenses you might use are shutterless, or are hard to use with a shutter, and without a lens shutter you'll need to use the sensor-based-ES, which works great for product and tabletop photography unless you're using strobe.
    - Lens wise the Schneider 120mm ASPH, Schneider 72mm, Rodenstock 105HR (for macro range work) are the trifecta of modern view camera glass that I'd recommend. The first two are now only available new through us (DT), but you might also find them used. Another way to go is Hassy 500 series glass; most are not great in a modern context, but the 120mm Zeiss is pretty good, especially for the money.
    - Will you be using a tech camera for your architecture work in the future? In that case you might consider both Cambo and Arca. We love Cambo view cameras, but I think Arca has a moderate advantage if you'll be using both view and tech cameras as they offer greater lens and accessory inter-compatibility (e.g. between the Universalis and RM3Di).
    - Are you considering upgrading backs at the same time? In addition to its improved tethering options, improved color, dynamic range, tonality, and resolution, the IQ4 150mp would offer a zero-darkframe workflow and hugely reduced color casts associated with movements such that for most tabletop work you do not need to do an LCC capture. It also has live-view focus peaking, which is the best method I've ever used to manually tune the focus plane using tilts and swings.
    - You say you want an improvement of elegance over the XF + Focus Stacking, and a view camera can in some cases provide that via Scheimpflug. However, it should be pointed out that there are many subjects and situations for which Scheimpflug is not helpful. For example, a flat watch face, held at an angle to the camera, is better done (by most measures, for most people) via Scheimpflug (since the subject is flat in depth, it's just not parallel to the camera), but a toaster is often better done by focus stacking (since the subject is not flat in depth). I don't mean this as a negative, or to discourage your investigation, only to make sure you're aware that Scheimpflug is another tool in the drawer – it's not a cure all.

    Lastly... welcome to the forum!
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
    Dealer for: Phase One, Mamiya Leaf, Arca-Swiss, Cambo, Eizo, Profoto
    Office: 877.367.8537. Cell: 740.707.2183
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    Re: Cambo Actus DB2-IQ3100-Studio (Product Photography)

    Without going into the specifics of any particular camera system - happy to leave that to others with more expertise - I will just expand on a couple of points from Doug's extensive reply.

    Firstly, with regards to lens choice, the "Rodenstock 105HR" lens is in a league of its own in roughly the 1:2 to 3:1 range.

    If the image circle of this lens is large enough for your intended movements (and you don't need a shutter), it really isn't worth wasting your time looking at anything else.

    But it would be remiss of me not to point out that whether you buy this lens as part of an ALPA, Cambo, Arca Swiss, or indeed any other, system, you will be able to save a lot of money if you buy the "native" version of the lens, which is the Linos Inspec.x 105mm f/5.6 Float. All other versions of this lens are simply the Linos in a different package. By comparison, my example cost me around $4,100 (excluding sales taxes), whereas I see the same lens repackaged as the Rodenstock 105HR listed for $6,395 at BH Photo.

    The Linos will be available directly from your Phase One dealer since Phase One sell it in their "industrial" range. You can see the lens here - https://industrial.phaseone.com/MV-L...5mm-Float.aspx

    Regarding Doug's last point, I would not necessarily agree with his assertion that simply because a toaster is not "flat in depth" it is not appropriate to shoot with tilt and swing. A watch isn't flat in depth either - shooting at around 1:1.5 or so, I can get the dial nailed with tilt and swing, but the second hand won't be in focus.

    The key points about choosing to shoot with a tilted and swung focal plane as opposed to a flat stack are the following -

    1. What is your depth of field relative to the depth of the object you are shooting, where the depth is measured perpendicularly to how you can set the focal plane? To use the toaster example, and of course depending on the angle the toaster presents to the camera, you may well find that for a two-slice toaster it makes sense to shoot with movements, but for a four-slice toaster (and I've just checked with the one in the kitchen, which is pretty much a cube), it would be a waste of time.

    2. If it is advantageous to shoot with fewer shots in the stack by using movements, then the next question of course is - how efficiently can you shoot the stack and keep the movements in sync as the focal distance changes?

    The answer to 2 is almost certainly going to be "not very", since only one camera solution on the planet can automate this, and I have no idea whether or not it is still in production.

    So... after that bit of nit-picking, broadly speaking I actually concur with Doug.

    Unless for aesthetic reasons you want focus to fall off perpendicularly to a tilted/swung image plane, if you can't capture the entire image in a single shot with movements, don't bother with movements. Just shoot a flat stack and be done with it.

    Kind regards,


    Gerald.
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    Re: Cambo Actus DB2-IQ3100-Studio (Product Photography)

    Thank you all again for your feedback There certainly is a lot to consider!

    I'm sure I'll be back for advice as I begin to narrow down the system.

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