We are pleased to share in the arrival of the new Cambo Actus-MV. The MV stands for Maximum Versatility, and more than this it stands for the 21st century view camera. It is optimised for studio photography, while still being portable enough for practical use on location. Thanks to the ingenious modular design of the Actus, it is compatible with mirrorless cameras, DSLRs and digital backs.
We’re big fans, and it marks an exciting development to an already great camera platform.
What is the Cambo Actus-MV?
The Cambo Actus-MV is a view camera, which means that it comprises a front standard, a rear standard, bellows and a focusing rail. Traditionally the rear standard of a view camera would hold a ground glass and a dark slide loaded with film, but the Actus-MV is a view camera designed solely with digital cameras in mind. The front and rear standard offer vertical/horizontal shift, as well as tilt and swing, to allow for complete perspective and compositional control.
The first model in this family of modern, forward-thinking Cambo view cameras was the Actus-B, which was brought to market in 2014 with the advent of the Sony mirrorless system. Cambo have a long history with large format photography, and with the Actus-B they successfully condensed these principles into a view camera system that had digital in mind. From there we saw the introduction of the Actus-DB which opened up the potential to use digital backs, and over time the system was streamlined with the Actus-G, which made possible the switching of the rear bayonet to allow a lot more flexibility. Towering over these smaller siblings was the Actus-XL (previously the Ultima) which maintained Cambo’s presence in the world of studio monoliths.
In terms of functionality, size and weight, the Actus-MV sits seamlessly between the Actus-G/Actus-DB and the Actus-XL. This makes it both a compact studio view camera, and a highly capable view camera for photography in the field.
Cambo Actus-DB II on the left, Cambo Actus-MV with DB plate on the right.
What cameras can I use on the Cambo Actus-MV?
The Cambo Actus system has always kept up with developments in digital camera technology, and as it stands is a fantastic companion to the following camera brands and models:
- Canon EF-Mount
- Canon M-Series
- Canon R-Series
- Fujifilm GFX and GFX100
- Fujifilm X-Series
- Hasselblad V Digital Back
- Hasselblad X1D
- Leica M-Series
- Leica SL
- Nikon F-Mount
- Nikon Z-Series
- Olympus OMD
- Panasonic/Micro Four Third
- Pentax K-Mount
- Phase One IQ Digital Back
- Sony E-Mount
What lenses can I use on the Cambo Actus-MV?
A great joy of the Actus platform is that there is huge scope for using modern and legacy lenses – all options available are listed below.
- Alpa SB/Short Barrel
- Cambo Actar
- Cambo WRS SB/Short Barrel
- Canon EF
- Copal-0, Copal-1 and Copal-3
- Hasselblad V
- Leica R
- Mamiya 645
- Mamiya RB/RZ
- Nikon F
- Pentax 645
What is new about the Cambo Actus-MV, compared to the previous Actus models?
The Actus-MV includes some great new features, which evolve the Actus platform in a great way.
First up is the rotating adapter for Phase One IQ and Hasselblad V digital backs. This design originally featured on the Actus-G camera bayonets, and we’re happy to see it now available as an option for digital backs. It now saves us from having to remove the back to re-orientate which has always been a fairly fearful exercise.
The Cambo Actus-G series offers adapters for those wanting further tilt options, and it is nice that the new Actus-MV is built with rear tilt included. This is a necessary inclusion for those wanting ultimate control (or Maximum Varsatility, if you didn’t get that point yet!) and will be appreciated for those looking for all the movements of a full-scope view camera system.
Another now-standard feature, which was previously an add-on component for focus and tilt, is the precision gearing included for these mechanisms. The engineering is extremely satisfying, as you would expect from Cambo. We now also have locking/friction control dials for tilt/swing functions, which was never a problem with the Actus-B, Actus-G and Actus-DB, but it feels right that we have it now with the MV.
If you wanted to produce macro work with previous Actus’ (Acti?) it required a replacing of the focus rail. This requires a tiny allen key and a tiny screw, which made it all a little fiddly. With the Actus-MV, the rail is telescopic, meaning it can very simply be extended for increased magnification. We like this.
The bellows are the same used on previous generations of Acti, so there is no need to replace if you already have them.
Rise and fall on both standards = More creative options. More stitching possibilities. More is more!
Who will benefit from using the Cambo Actus-MV?
The Actus-MV is primarily designed to elevate the possibilities for studio photographers, which it certainly does. With the rear tilt, and the precision gearing improvements, it will also be a popular system for landscape photographers seeking another level of control. The Actus-G and Actus-DB models still play a valuable roll.