Photigy Studio Photography Where Passion Meets Profession

My new studio warrior: the charismatic camera with tough personality (do I say goodbye to Canon?)

Now, when I’ve got everything assembled and working, I am excited to show my new studio camera, Cambo Ultima D:

Cambo ultima D with Schneider 120mm macro HM lens
Cambo ultima D with Schneider 120mm macro HM lens

My previous setup (cambo master PC + 1Ds Mk III) was very cool view camera learning tool , but now I feel the difference: Working with this Cambo Ultima is like a riding a Mercedes-Benz after Honda (do not get me wrong, Honda makes great cars).  All the gearing is smooth and precise, most of the dials does not have a lock (in opposite to Cambo Master PC), as it sort of “lock itself” after you finish with adjustments.

This is how I have it configured for now:

Schneider 120mm Makro-Symmar HM mounted on Dambo Ultima D

Schneider 120mm macro HM lens on Cambo ultima D Atlanta photographer
Schneider 120mm macro HM lens on Cambo ultima D

Truly, the camera is pure pleasure to work with. I feel like I am operating a futuristic machine :-)
On other hand, if I compare the changes in workflow with this camera to what I had with Canon… Man! Everything is so much more cumbersome (I mean complicated:-)!
This is what I need to do to get a shot now:

  1. Aim camera to a subject.
  2. Switch shutter to “open” mode .
  3. Turn on LIVE VIEW on C1 software
  4. Adjust camera position and focus it on the subject while looking at Live View screen
  5. Turn off live view
  6. Switch shutter to normal operation
  7. Cock the shutter
  8. Take a picture
  9. Repeat all steps above if subject position needs to be changed and camera must be re-focused.

Pretty cool, isn’t it? :-))

So, what the deal, why I so exited to work with this monster?

Fist of all, it gives me a true freedom with camera movements. Unlike working with DSLR mounted on similar rig, I can swing or tilt lens or sensor to up to 45º and have no problems with shadows from the camera body.

Second, the image quality: Even dated P25+ renders much more details than Canon 1Ds MKIII  or 5D MkII. Twice as large sensor provides more resolution and lack of AA filter makes a big difference. When I look at PhaseOne images, I feel like I’ve got cataract was removed from my eyes:-)

Soon I am going to post images from Canon and P25+ to show the difference in IQ. Subscribe to receive blog updates by email, or to my blog RSS feed.

This is how Phase One P25+ looks like, mounted on the camera:

Cambo Ultima D and PhaseOne digital back
Cambo Ultima D and PhaseOne digital back


Obviously, I use this setup only for “serious” work  (trying to do more serious work these days;-), Canon still the best for simple, “flat focus” shots. Not mentioning any moving subjects, of course.
I do not think I ever say goodbye to 35mm DLSr, as they are so easy to work with. Waiting  for a new Canon 1Ds Mark IV,  and hope it will be 40 Mpx, best in the world 35mm DSLR.
PhaseOne P25+ will be replaced  with at least 50Mpx DB as well.

Have a great day!


48 Responses on My new studio warrior: the charismatic camera with tough personality (do I say goodbye to Canon?)"

  1. lucas says:

    Hey Alex:

    thanks for the info on this set up – looks pretty sweet and seems to be reasonably priced. Are you happy with this set up ? How is the live view working out ? It’s been a year since you started using it – would love to hear your thoughts.

    I am moving away from medium format into view camera (can’t stand the sliding adapters though) so considering getting similar set up -

    thank you

  2. Lloyd O'Daniel says:


    I notice your Cambo appears to have base tilts. I’m looking at getting into Phase One P25+ and view camera. I have a Sinar F2 that I could use initially to avoid the expense of a better MF camera such as the P3 or Linhof M679cs. Even Sinar told me once that the base tilts on the F2 would be a hassle for a smaller format digital back because of focus shift when tilting. They recommend one of their centerline tilt cameras. Of course, the lack of geared movement precision on the F2 is another issue. Do you feel that I could use the F2 with the P25+ without going insane adjusting tilts? Thanks!

    • Lloyd,
      I can’t tell you, as I have never had F2 in my hands. But without geared movements, it will be hard to do a macro studio work. Tilt/swing might not be that bad, as you do not need to adjust them by microns. Focus should be very precise though, especially considering you’d have to adjust it after every tilt move.
      However, I think you can give it a try. You can always replace F2 with studio-oriented tech camera like P3, or M679 or Ultima digital, but it may happen that you’ll be able to use F2 without much issues: after all, it is only about convenience and skills:-)

      All the best!

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