Cambo 6x12 vs Horseman 6x12 for Graflock back 4x5

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by StoneNYC, Jul 26, 2013.

  1. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    Hey guys,

    Trying to make the best educated choice here.

    I recently got a 4x5 and really want to continue shooting Velvia50, and I enjoy panoramics so the only option is a 6x12 back. I don't even know if they make a graflock version, but I know about at least the two in the title.

    So the Cambo seems to make more sense, it slides in like a sheet film holder and you don't have to take the ground glass off, but the Horsemen seems more expensive, marginally, but still, is there any reason to choose the horseman over the Cambo?

    And anyone willing to sell theirs cheap? Haha the prices are silly, the backs cost as much as my camera, sometimes more than my camera, that I can't really justify.

    So yea, what are the benefits and drawbacks of each? Thanks!


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  2. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Why not just shoot 4X5 & mask off what is not needed? You would have to shoot a lot of roll film to just to break even on the cost of the holder vs. 4x5 film with partial waste. JMHO
     
  3. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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    maybe because it's no longer available in the u.s. and runs $4-8/sheet where it is.

    Stone, I have a shenhao 6x12 that's pretty good and produces sharp results. Badgergraphic sells them. Sinar Zoom II's are pretty nice as well. Sorry, no experience with those you listed.
     
  4. Oren Grad

    Oren Grad Subscriber

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    The Cambo is BIG and heavy - how rigid is the rear standard of your 4x5? Also, there are mixed reports about film flatness in the Cambo rollholders (also sold as Calumet).

    Other options beside the Horseman:

    Sinar Panorama, Vario, Zoom, Zoom2: Also big and heavy, and a nuisance to load, but well made and probably the flattest pre-exposure film path you'll find in a 6x12 rollholder. The Zoom2 is slide-in only, the others have grooves for Graflok sliders too.

    Linhof Techno Rollex - if you have lots of $$$$. Graflok only.

    Cheap Chinese-made rollholders, under various brand names. No autostop on film advance - count frames via ye olde redde windowe. Graflok only.

    I've owned a Sinar 6x12 as well as Cambo and Horseman rollholders in other formats (Toyo too, but they don't offer a 6x12). If I were buying a 6x12 holder again, for use with a lightweight 4x5 field camera, I'd probably go for a Horseman as the best compromise considering cost, size, weight, construction quality, film flatness, and convenience in use. If I were near-broke I'd get one of the Chinese holders and not lose sleep over it.
     
  5. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I have a Sinar Zoom, and if it enables you to sell off other rollfilm holders you have--if you have them--it might not be as expensive as it seems, though it is kind of fiddly. It also handles 220, if you have a stash.

    I've had a Chinese-made 6x17 back for 4x5"--not really such a bad option, and if you get a 6x12, you get masks for other formats typically.

    I handled a friend's Horseman 6x12 back once, and it seemed to be well made--sturdier than a Graflex rollfilm holder, but not quite as massive and rugged as Linhof.
     
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  6. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    As Fotch said, they don't make Velvia50 in 4x5 anymore but they do in 120 which is why I want one for panoramics.

    I have a Toyo45a it seems pretty sturdy and I only have a 70mm graflex back to compare, which is like a horseman as far as I can tell, but I would much rather not have to remove the GG every time I want to take a picture if I can help it.

    The toyo has a lock down so it should hold the holder in without light leak issues, and it's a later model so it has the revolving back of the 45aII version.

    I don't care about the weight much, I go to the gym regularly.

    I do care about film flatness.

    So calmut and cambo are the same? Are there other brands that slip in like a holder besides these?




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  7. Oren Grad

    Oren Grad Subscriber

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    Indeed, that's a solid camera. So the only other potential problem I can think of is if there's something about the back design that obstructs the slide-in holders from going all the way in. Unlikely with the Toyo, I would think, but try to buy with a return privilege if at all possible.

    The 6x12 slide-ins are the Cambo/Calumet C2N and the Sinar Panorama / Vario / Zoom / Zoom2. The Panorama is 6x12 only, while the Vario / Zoom / Zoom2 are variable-format, IIRC they have settings for 6x4.5, 6x6, 6x7, 6x9 and 6x12 - perhaps David can confirm.
     
  8. LJH

    LJH Member

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    I don't know whether the Chinese 612 backs have twin pressure plates; however, my Chinese 617 does, and it keeps the film as flat as a shit-carter's hat. Twin plates with strong-ish springs is a design that can't easily be bettered IMO.

    In addition, the tension spring on the film spool means that there is good resistance when advancing the film, also assisting flatness.
     
  9. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    Thanks, well I was able to slide the Polaroid 545 as well as the very old graflex pack film adapter (from the 1950's?) behind the GG with the swing out feature without any issue and release it to add pressure from the springs in the swing out (I'm calling things by the wrong name, sorry I'm but sure what all the names are).

    Well I would prefer something sturdy to something cheap china plastic if possible, I'm willing to wait for a good deal (like how I got the toyo45a with rotating back, both PA-45 and PA-145 backs and linhof lens board adapter for $700 which included shipping).

    So of those, which are known to be the most sturdy, and flat. I probably won't need the other size options but you never know of course... I would take the other size options if the back is a better choice.

    Thanks.


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  10. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    I can GUESS at which are "the Chinese" backs, but it would be helpful to know which you've specifically used.

    Thanks.


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  11. LJH

    LJH Member

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    Gaoersi and DaYi. These were proprietary with 617 cameras, rather than for 4x5/5x7 cameras; however, it was design that I was suggesting you consider.

    To be honest, I think the whole film flatness thing is a bit of a myth. As I wrote, decent spring pressure, both on the plate(s) and the roll, along with well machined film track, virtually guarantee flatness.
     
  12. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The DaYi 6x17 back I had was quite sturdy and had no plastic parts, and it had a straight film path. It didn't have a frame counter or the large roller and constant film tension of a Linhof back.

    Confirming Oren's post, my Sinar Zoom back does 645, 6x6, 6x7, 6x9, and 6x12.
     
  13. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    I was looking on eBay, the sonar zoom looks like a really solid body, and you can switch film sizes on a single roll

    I think I want it!


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  15. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Pebble, early this year I looked into moving to 6x12, did much the same investigating that you've started. A couple of things leapt out of users' comments on the 'net.

    I found many complaints about Cambo/Calumet roll holders. I'm sure there are happy users, but there are also unhappy ones.

    I found nothing but praise for Horseman roll holders.

    I found some complaints about Sinar roll holders with adjustable gates. They don't always adjust properly, and sometimes the gate opening isn't perfectly rectangular. And complaints about Sinar backs' weight are fairly common. I don't understand them, my 6x12 Panorama weighs 779 g. Not that much, really.

    Very few complaints about DaYi/Shen Hao (they are the same) 6x12 holders. The worst thing about them is that they don't have auto-stop. Wind until the right number appears in the red window.

    I have a weakness for slip-in roll holders, eventually bought a used Sinar Panoramic. It failed shortly after arrival. There's a lever for switching it from "load" to "advance." The lever broke, I got another and advice about how to do the replacement from HasselbadBron. Not long after, someone asked for help with the same problem on the French LF forum. He and I discussed it, he approached Sinar and was told that the part is no longer available. I think he got one from HasselbladBron.

    The Sinar holder's film chamber interferes with the "ears" at the right side of a Graflok back's focusing panel. I can force mine all the way into a 4x5 Cambo international back, but its a little precarious, so I use the back's Graflok sliders to make sure the roll holder won't wiggle out.

    If I had it to do over again, I'd get a Horseman roll holder. Don't misunderstand, since I replaced that lever my Sinar Panorama's been fine, but its advantages over the Horseman aren't as great as I'd thought and it is quite old and no longer supported. If you must have a Sinar roll holder, check with Sinar that the version you settle on is still supported. Or get one of the Chinese (relative) cheapies and pay attention when you advance the film.
     
  16. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Switching formats mid-roll is less interesting than you might expect. You lose film between formats, so I'd only do it if it was a significant change (say between 6x6 and 6x12), and I only needed to do it once per roll. Maybe twice for 220, if you happen to have 220 around.

    The Sinar Zoom is remarkable for what it can do, and the film flatness is excellent, but there's a lot to go wrong, and you need to handle it carefully. No problems with mine, but I've kept a Linhof 6x7 back as a backup.

    The Chinese backs usually come with masks that you can change between rolls, which is usually sufficient, and there isn't much to break on them. The only potential worry, I think, is light seals, which could be a problem with many backs.
     
  17. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    Hmm thanks guys, ok so after hearing all this, and considering my options, I think I would rather NOT have one that adjusts in size, too much to go wrong is ultimately what I'm hearing. And I don't really care that much about the other sizes. I do like the 6x17 look and I've seen those backs that have bellows so the image can go past the 4x5 width, but it's not that important to me, and the cost of the custom frames go up enormously in 1x3 ratio.

    I do understand why the horseman could be the best choice reliability wise.

    I still want to consider the cambo/calmut type though, it's just so appealing.

    I don't care about weight at all, and I don't care about "difficulty in loading film" I don't seem to struggle as much loading film like others do, they say the Mamiya RZ67 backs for example are hard to load, but easy for me, same with others so I feel like its not something to worry shoot.

    I do care about functions without breaking, and film flatness and light leak issues.

    So something about the sinar can cause light leak?

    And what else?

    You guys are so helpful, I ask twice sometimes because there's the "I heard" info, and the "I've experienced first hand" info and sifting through it to understand fully is my plan.

    Also, the cheap Chinese ones that sell on ebay hiYo or whatever it's called (using the phone app I can't get out of this message to look now), they don't slip under the ground glass they are like the horseman as far as I can tell.

    Finally, if anyone wants to sell me a horseman or cambo/calmut for a ridiculously low price that will change my mind about which is better :wink:



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  18. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The potential for the light leak is with the Sinar Zoom I and perhaps the earlier ones.

    One issue is a plastic strip that can deteriorate or go missing. Replace it, and you're good, but people sometimes have problems, because it's disappeared, and they don't know it's supposed to be there.

    The other is that the curtains used to adjust the frame size might not close completely or the track could become damaged so they don't stay straight. One of the improvements in the Zoom II, if I understand correctly, is that in addition to the curtain to adjust the frame size, there is a separate conventional darkslide, so the curtains don't have to do the job of keeping the light out when the back is removed from the camera.
     
  19. StoneNYC

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    Hmm gotcha, thanks. I'll make sure if I go that rout to get the next gen

    But it sounds like the cambo/calmut is a better choice then? I don't hear anyone listing issues with that?

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  20. johnielvis

    johnielvis Member

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    why don't you prove to everyone how smart you are by just cutting down the film and taping it to regular 4x5 film holders--no issues at all-no expense at all. I know everyone looking for "on the cheep" to look genius.

    or convert a 4x5 film holder--just tape some paper or plastic "rails" to slide in the smaller film. voila.genius cheep

    ...and a VERY clever person would put in a single central "rail" made of like rivets down the middle with flat "heads" on them--this would allow two strips of 2 1/4 film to slide in the 4x5 holder on each side. so 4 shots per film holder--use a 1/2 blacked out dark slide to expose each sheet.

    you'll get chicks by the THOUSANDS if you do that. they are attracted to genius
     
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  21. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    Ugh, read the whole post... The film is only available in 120 not 4x5, so cutting down 4x5 is not an option and the 120 film will not be very flat if placed on a 4x5 film holder...


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  22. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Small grain of sand, I've already told you that in my searching I found complaints about Cambo/Calumet roll holders. I didn't say, should have, that all sizes seem to be problematic. Problems reported include fragility, scratching film, and tearing film.

    Its time for you to do some searching yourself.
     
  23. Oren Grad

    Oren Grad Subscriber

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    The Sinar holders use a separate cassette to hold the film spools, and you have to manage the insertion of that into the body of the holder together with threading the film over a very long U-shaped path. For my taste it's fussier than the small backward-curling inserts that are the usual standard for interchangeable medium-format backs. It's awkward in the field, and there's a lot more surface area to keep clear of dust and grit. If you lose the cassette the holder is useless. OTOH, if you acquire extra cassettes, you can load them in advance and slightly speed up the process of changing film.

    I owned a C2N in 6x7 format. The internal construction was pretty chintzy. If you care about printing full frame with border (I did at the time, less so now), know that the design of the film gate produced three crisply-defined edges and one fuzzy one. Take Dan's good advice and exercise your Google skills on this before you take the plunge.
     
  24. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    Sorry, your description said "problems" followed by complaints about weight... you didn't say anything about scratching etc, and since I don't care about weight, it didn't flag in my brain...
     
  25. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    I do google stuff, but a lot of times I get photo.net info which can be hard to manage what's real and what's not, that's why I'm part of THIS community, cause you guys know stuff for realz.... haha

    Thanks, it sounds like, though I wanted to get the slide in versions, that ultimately the horseman is the way to go, hence why many go that rout.... guess I can't take the path less taken this time... :smile:
     
  26. LJH

    LJH Member

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    Stone,

    It seems to me that you need to choose one option and deal with the consequences. Please don't think that I'm having a go at you by saying this; it just seems to me that you're dithering, waiting for some ray of light to hit you. If it hasn't yet, I doubt that it is still coming!

    As for the consequences, what's the worst that can happen? You get, say, a Sinar and it doesn't suit you. Just sell it again, and suffer any financial loss. Or, buy a Chinese one at a cheaper price and do a decent review on it. Again, if it's crap, sell it.

    On the other hand, you just might find the right option for you and you're on your way!

    I can only reiterate that I have found the Chinese ones easy to use and excellent in their results.