Camera similar to Cambo?

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by curtis_lowe, Oct 12, 2009.

  1. A friend of mine is giving me some lenses and film holders that he has to spare from his Cambo SC-2 4x5 monorail camera. I have priced this model but its expensive so I'm wondering if there are other manufacturers with models that will fit the same lenses and film holders as the Cambo SC-2 but which may be a cheaper camera?
  2. The film holders will fit any 4x5 camera. The lenses will also fit just about any 4x5 camera, so long as you have a lens board to mount them on that fits the camera you get. You have a generous friend.
  3. A used Cambo monorail should be very inexpensive, perhaps just $100-200. As Jim said, the lenses and film holders will fit any camera.
  4. B&H has a used Calumet/Cambo SC that comes with a Copal #1 lens board and case for 249 USD. They also have the SC-II but it a little more $$$ since it includes a lens that, due to your friends generosity, probably don't need.
  5. Are lens boards a standard size between different makes and models?
  6. Lensboards aren't standard between all cameras. More than one model of Cambo/Calumet will use the same lensboard. But it is easy to move LF lenses to other lensboard if you end up with a camera with a different lensboard. Most modern LF lenses are in size 0, 1 and 3 shutters, which match standard size holes. So you just buy the corresponding lensboard for the other camera.
    Here is a database, with photos, of lensboards assembled by S. K. Grimes, Inc.:
    Here are some past threads on mounting a lens to a lensboard: "Mounting lens on lensboard - could a beginner do that?" at , "Help mounting new lens on board" at and "Help with mounting a lens" at .
  7. "Are lens boards a standard size between different makes and models?"
    No, almost every camera manufacturer makes an adapter board to accept Linhof 45 Technika type lens board made in the past 50 years. So that is the closest you will get to a universal lens board between brands.
  8. So does anyone know which other makes of 4x5 cameras would use the same size lens board as on the Cambo SC-2 ?
  9. I believe it would be an accurate statement to say that the metal Cambo lensbard is proprietary and unique to the Cambo/Calumet cameras.
    There are other cameras with a 6 inch square lensboard, Deardorff for instance, but they are not interchangeable
  10. LOL "Are lens boards a standard size..." That would be fantastic if they were! I have collected a few LF cameras and I have different lenses mounted on each of them so I tend to bring 2 cameras with me to help prepare for what I may want to take a picture of. But I wouldn't worry too much about which cameras work for what lens boards. I tend to go on ebay and locate someone selling a lens board I need for about 20 bucks. So I would look around and try to find a camera that you are able to get a great deal on. I had picked up a Graphic View II and Calumet 400 series cameras with a Schneider 135mm and Schneider 240mm Symmar lenses for 350. Which I am able to find parts for both cameras to allow me to mount any lens I want. But I had many of the same questions you have when I first started out. Film holders are universal so you can buy used one from Riteway, Graflex, Lisco...etc and they will work in a LF camera. (with the exception of a Grafmatic) Also Lenses are pretty universal too, what dictates the size of mounting hole is the size of the shutter, which most commonly are 0, 1, and 3. Which you just usually buy the mounting board that fits your camera and is drilled out to the correct size for your shutter.
    The lens is probably the most expensive part of your camera which people are selling their camera bodies really cheap, usually less than they are selling their lenses! I say check out ebay, KEH, and your local craigslist and you'll stumble on a nice deal and from there you can just pick up a lens board to match your camera. Just focus more on getting a used camera that is in good condition. Make sure to inspect the bellows for any cracks, tears....anything to leak light. Make sure the camera adjustment knobs move freely and are able to be locked to prevent movement after you have to camera set up and want to load your film to take your shot. And make sure it comes with a mount to attach it to your tripod. not every camera that is being sold comes with the adapter which hooks onto your monorail and allows you to attach whatever "puck" that your tripod head uses. But good luck and let us know how your LF life progresses.
  11. Yeah, wouldn't it be nice if all the lensboards were alike! :) I kinda solved that problem by making an adapter board for my Cambo rail camera (6 3/8" square boards +/-) to take the small boards from my Super Graphic; now all my lenses are mounted on Super Graphic boards and can be used on either camera. Thats one thing good to be said for those big Cambo boards...alot of smaller boards can be adapted to work on them!!
  12. Have a Cambo lensboard that is designed to take the smaller Graphic boards. That way, I can use my lenses on either one. Does work great!

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