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Cambo Actus Mini View Camera for Sony Mirrorless (or Fujifilm/Olympus/Nikon/Canon)

Cambo Actus Mini View Camera for Sony

I’ve collected all the parts together in this one wish Cambo Mini View Camera wish list at B&H Photo.

B&H Photo also carries Novoflex bellows for DSLRs, Leica M, Leica S, including Novoflex Auto Bellows for Canon EOS.

See also: Bellows Systems for Nikon, Canon, Leica, Sony: Why Consider Them? and Novoflex Bellows for Nikon, Canon, Leica, Sony.

UPDATE: see Michael Erlewine’s hands-on comments that follow.

The Cambo Actus Mini View Camera is intriguing.

  • Rear standard allows swapping out different cameras.
  • Infinity Focus with Mirrorless Cameras. Which means Nikon or Canon and many other lenses can be turned into view camera lenses for Sony or other mirrorless.
  • Support Canon lenses (lensplate), Nikon F-mount lens (lensplate), including “G” lenses. Zeiss DSLR lenses, Coastal Optics, Voigtlander, Sigma etc. Also supports Leica R lenses (lensplate),
  • Rear standard takes Sony/Fujifilm/Olympus mirrorless or Nikon/Canon DSLRs. camera such as the Sony A7R II. However, DSLR cameras will not reach anywhere near infinity focus (flange focal offset won’t allow it), so DSLR cameras are only for macro and close range work. Update: one reader ordered the Actus Mini View Camera and states that Cambo has agreed to deliver a camera plate for the Pentax K1.
  • The front standard accepts (via lens plates) mounted Nikon F lenses (Nikon, Zeiss, man others) or Leica or Canon EF DSLR lenses, various medium format lenses, an optimized 24mm lens, or Copal #0/#1 view camera lenses. [Nikon or Zeiss lenses with aperture ring much preferred for the simple mechanical plate, since Canon lenses require the much more expensive powered lens plate]. DSLR lenses do not have large image circles, so shift possibilities are limited.
  • Because focusing can be done without the lens moving or refocusing by moving the rear standard (the camera), it is possible to make perfect stitched or stacked images which have no perspective change, no magnification change and no change in focal length. [the entrance pupil position and focal length must not change, yet those things almost always change when using the lens to focus, particularly at close range.]
  • Tilt and swing on the front standard (but not shift).
  • Rise/fall/shift on rear standard in focal plane (but no tilt/swing).
  • 1000 grams for the base unit, 120 grams for a Nikon lens plate, bellows weight (three lengths/choices) unspecified.
  • Exchangeable bayonets for Sony E-Mount, Nikon F, Canon EOS, Fujifilm X mirrorless, Olympus mirrorless, more. However, DSLR cameras will not reach anywhere near infinity focus (flange focal offset won’t allow it), so DSLR cameras are only for macro work. Use Sony mirrorless instead and the full focus range is possible.
  • Special 24mm f/3.5 lens for up to 10mm of shift (60mm image circle).

I’d like to try it out, and may give it a go if I can get hold of it.

From the Cambo web site:

The Cambo ACTUS is a new technology camera system designed for mirrorless cameras, such as the Sony Alpha 7 series & Fuji-X and available for Canon & Nikon DSLR’s.

It combines traditional view camera techniques with the latest capture technology.
Using view camera movement, the photographer will be able to be more versatile, be more creative and will be getting more professional results much faster than before.

Mirrorless system camera bodies can be used as digital back, while the Cambo ACTUS will function as tilt-shift and swing adapter with view camera movements for each lens that is being used with this combination!!

Size matters, the Cambo ACTUS has been designed to give maximum functionality with minimal dimensions to support portability at ease. The Cambo ACTUS is small and lightweight and fits easily in a small case.

A basic configuration of a Cambo ACTUS consists of a monorail, front assembly without lensplate, a rear frame with an optional choice of camera bayonet and a detachable standard bellows which is part of the ACTUS configuration.

Cambo ACTUS Specifications

Size L / W / H: 15 x 10 x 17 cm
Weight: 1000 grams
Front Swing: 360 degrees
Front Tilt: 19 degrees (+10/-9)
Rear Shift Vertical: 27mm (12/15)
Rear Shift Horizontal: 40mm (20/20)
Focus Travel: up to 125mm (Sony E-mount), up to 145mm (Nikon F-mount). up to 141mm (Canon EOS-mount)

Lens plates options: Copal 0, Copal 1, Hasselblad C Bayonet, M39 Leica thread, Mamiya RZ/RB bayonet, Mamiya 645 Pro bayonet, Leica R Bayonet (for mirror less bodies only), Nikon-F Bayonet (for mirror less bodies only), Canon-EOS bayonet (for mirror less bodies only)

Available Colours: Black anodized, Titanium a nodi sed (option)

There is a special 24mm f/3.5 lens available:

Cambo ACTAR 24mm f/3.5

The ACTAR-24 is a lens dedicated to the Cambo Actus in combination with a DSLR or mirror less camera, mounted to the Actus. This lens is permanently attached to an Actus lens panel and has a focal length of 24mm. This makes it an ideal companion for landscape and architectural photographers. With a relatively light weight and a modest size it is easy to carry with you to location shootings.

The ACTAR-24 is a lens with almost no geometrical distortion. As the image circle is 60mm, there is an optically allowed horizontal shift possible of 10mm each side when using a full frame (24x36) sensor in landscape mode, and 12mm in portrait mode. When using a smaller APS-C sensor the shift possibilities grow to 15mm and 17mm. Of course vertical shifts have the same possible numbers in reverse order.

The optical design of this lens is a 16 element in 11 groups, of which all lenses are multicoated to achieve the best contrast. The aperture range is from f/3,5 to f/22 in half stop increments. Please note that the aperture is manual and there are no electronic connections available nor needed.

Michael Erlewine writes

On his reactions to the Cambo Mini View Camera.

The Cambo Actus: A Gem!

I have a whole shelf or two of focus rails and another one with bellows and/or technical cameras. Some of them are tiny like the old Spiratone camera, which has all the view-camera moves and is of the size to fit a mirrorless camera. Sitting right next to it is a Rollei X-Actus 2 and it weighs over 14 lbs. Then there are the tilt/shift lenses, of which I have three and ever a tilt adapter that only has one fixed angle. And of course, my old standby, the Nikon PB-4 Bellows System.

So, when I finally had time to check out the new Cambo Actus for the Nikon mount, I was in for a surprise, and a pleasant one at that. This little gem, while not perfect, is one of those pieces of equipment that fits so well in hands that I knew right off that I will love using it, and I already do.

It was a little hard to find one that you didn’t have to wait weeks for and the various adapters were another problem. Luckily, I remembered a company I had purchased a Medium Format camera from years ago, and they know all this stuff: Capture Integration out of Atlanta, Ga. They put together a system that had everything from soup to nuts, all assembled and ready to go. I went with that over waiting for who-knows-how-long, and hunting down all the parts for myself.

This little beauty’s body measures 5.9 x 3.9 x 6.7" (15 x 10 x 17 cm) and weighs 2.2 lb (1 kg), not ultra-lite, but have you picked up a technical camera lately that is any lighter? And no, it does not have all the movements, but it has the ones I use most and has camera bayonets for Nikon F, Canon EOS, Canon M, Leica M, Sony E-mount, MFT mount, and Fuji X.

Of course I did not find a bayonet for the Pentax K cameras, and within a couple of days of emailing the manufacturer in Netherlands, they agreed to design the first one for my new Actus camera, which I will have pretty soon. As of now, I have the Nikon and the Sony-E-mount camera adapters on hand.

It is important to understand that the front-standard on the Actus is fixed, while the rear moves, which is just what I want, and what any focus-stacker requires. The front-standard has 360º swing, and front tilt of +10º, -9º, each with their own geared knob. The swing and tilt movements on the front standard rotate around the optical axis, which is handy.

The rear-standard has Rise/Fall of +0.5”, -0.6” (+12mm, -15mm) with its both geared knob and locking knob, and a rear shift of +/-0.8” (20mm) with a locking knob.

As for mounting lenses, the Actus has a sturdy fork adapter that locks in place smoothly (and firmly) in one movement. Voila! Lens adapters come in a variety of formats, including M39, 24mm WA, Leica R, Nikon F, Canon EOS, Hasselblad, Mamiya RZ/RB, Mamiya 645Pro TL, Pentax 645, and with the standard Copal #0 and #1 holes.

The bellows is a dream come true. I am used to wrestling with my other bellows, mounting and unmounting them. With the Cambo Actus, it is all magnetic. The bellows snaps into place, front and rear, in a second and must have some of those rare-earth magnets or something. They fit tight!

As it turns out, the standard bellows turns out to be perfect for me, since with the Nikon D810 (for close-up work) I am not looking at shooting at infinity. The standard rail that comes with the Actus expands from 6” to 8.5”, which is more than enough for the lenses I work with. However, there are Wide Angle Bellows (one fold), Long Bellows (30 cm), and Macro Bellows (45 cm) available as well as special rails to match them.

A brilliant and easy-to-use feature on the rear-standard is a lever that allows you to rotate your camera from horizontal to vertical and back in one movement. How nice is that! The Actus also takes my Nikon D810, but if I want to add on a wired remote (Nikon MC-30), which I am used to, I need to add a tiny extension or force the cord a little. I am already used to the extension with my Nikon PB-4 bellows, so I do that.

And this little beastie feels like the precision machine it is. The whole thing fits in a Pelican Storm case iM2050, and comes packed in a foam piece that fits right into the iM2050 perfectly.

As for what I don’t like about the system or “wishes not granted,” I don’t like the fact that to change camera bayonet mounts on the rear standard requires 4 screws, and about a minute of my time, and worst of all fiddling with those tiny screws. I wish they had offered mountable adapter plates for each camera, so we could just switch them out with no hassle. Although I don’t need it, I would prefer that BOTH front and rear standards move, but that is not a real problem.

I love that the rail is Arca-Swiss compatible, which is all that I use. And again, I LOVE the heft and smooth feel of fine machinery on something I will use just all the time. I use it on the Swiss-Arca Cube C1 (with knob) and can flip it using the C1 so that it is exactly 90º, and still it is sturdy.

As what I do with it, I use it with any number of exotic industrial lenses, like the El Nikkor 105mm APO, the Printing Nikkors, and many others. Since I am not going for infinity focus with this system (but you can with a mirrorless camera), I can do all kinds of close-up and macro stuff with an elegance of movement unknown to me until now. Do I recommend it? I believe you know my answer to that. I love it.

Here is a little video of the system, for those interested

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