Most of the time lately, when I go out shooting, I have been taking along the Cambo Actus camera. I enjoy using camera movements to, for instance, adjust the depth of field to my liking among other things. The Actus is a miniature view camera with tilt, swing and shift on the front, and rise and fall and shift on the back so I’m finding I don't need to lug around my 4x5 view camera and its’ many accessories. This is a big deal for me because I just can’t handle the weight and size anymore and I’m tired of messing with film holders because of the dust and general hassle, (well I haven't given up on film entirely yet).
I’m still learning to use the Actus, because it is not a direct replacement for a 4x5 camera in the sense that everything is not the same as a view camera. The biggest difference is the diminutive size of the camera and the back. I ran into the same learning curve when I was using my Hasselblad Flexbody with its 2” x 2” ground glass. Let’s say I’m shooting a beach landscape and I want to have everything in focus from the rocks at my feet to the boulders some distance away and f16 won’t do it. I’ll use lens tilt to do this and on the Actus this means using small precise adjustments (thank you Actus geared tilt) and zooming the monitor display on the Sony A7R to check the focus ( I am even using a 4x loupe on the back monitor to check focus ). This can get quite fiddly depending on the situation. I find with smaller distances such as table top shots extending the depth of field with lens tilt is a piece of cake, but for large distances like some landscapes it is more difficult to put the plane of focus where I want it than if I was using a large 4x5 camera. That’s what I’m running into anyway, but it is working and the more I use it the easier it seems to get. Maybe it’s just me.
Another plus for the Actus, like all view cameras, is that it has bellows. For some reason I’ve had the urge to shoot flowers this winter. I’ve even bought flowers for my wife at the grocers, secretly knowing that they will do double duty in front of my camera. And now that summer is around the corner I’m in the garden with my camera or taking shots of cut flowers. Using a Hasselblad 40mm lens I can get within inches of the flowers. Not exactly macro but more or less macro close. With the Actus I can use the whole arsenal of view camera movements. I can rack the bellows in and out and use lens tilt and back rise and get a close up with everything in focus and the composition just the way I like it. It’s a lot of fun.
Here’s a shot of some Peonies that are blooming their hearts out. It isn’t a macro style shot but I can thank Mr. Scheimpflug for the focus.