Cambo accesories on Canham DLC 45 : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I am close to moving into LF via the purchase of a Canham DLC 45. I need to know how well the Cambo/Calumet 4x5 accesories actually fit on the DLC45 and how well they "work". In particular, I am interested in the binocular viewing hood (Calumet CB0225) and the 6x7 roll film holder (Calumnet CB5500). Has anyone actually used these on a DLC45? Are there any particular issues with them? Thanks.

-- Steve Baggett (, December 13, 2000


Hello Steve,

I have the monocular viewing hood attachment from Cambo and it fits fine. However I haven't used it much lately since you get use to seeing things upside down. If I had to do it again I would not have bought it. I find it does come in handy when taking photos in high humidity areas rather than having that cloth over your head. Good luck.

-- Cal Eng (, December 14, 2000.


I use one of the Cambo viewing hoods on my DLC. Some comments:

It fits perfectly, attaching via the same two sliding tabs that hold the plexiglass groundglass protector. There's no slop or play when attached, and it's so lightweight that it in no way affects the balance or stability of the DLC's rear standard.

It goes on and off in about two seconds, allowing you to remove it quickly to really fine-focus with a loupe if needed. The viewing hood's non-adjustable lens affords a 2.5X enlargement of the groundglass image, allowing one to rough-focus pretty well, but fine-focussing is best done with a loupe directly on the groundglass.

Depending on the lens in use, the hood allows a nearly full view of the entire ground glass when composing 4x5 images. However, wide angle lenses can appear a bit dim in the corners/edges, and you do have to concentrate on these dim areas and let your eye wander around the entire ground glass to get a complete impression of the image.

With a darkcloth you can pull your eye/head back a bit to gain a better, more complete view of the image being formed on the groundglass when composing. When using roll film backs it's a lot more convenient, since the image area is smaller and centered, and the hood allows a complete view of the various roll film formats on the DLC's groundglass.

As I said before, it's very lightweight. It's made entirely of plastic, which leads me to my main criticism of the Cambo viewfinder units: someone must be making a HUGE profit on these things.

When you examine one you quickly realize it's just a cheap piece of injection moulded plastic, textured on the outside to appear a bit less cheesy, with a rather poor viewing lens surrounded by a badly-designed rubber doughnut that presumably acts as an eyecup/eyeglass protector. In a word: overpriced.

The entire thing must have cost about ten or fifteen dollars to make, and Calumet sells them for over two hundred bucks. And it also takes up a lot of room in your bag/pack. But, it does work well.

I know lots of folks like the Calumet slide-in roll film backs. I don't. One of the reasons I got the DLC was its ability to use graflock type backs, like the Horsemans or the (much-maligned) Wistas.

I had one of these Calumet roll film backs with my previous field camera, which did not accept graflock attachments, and found it to have more than a few problems. I also used it briefly with the DLC before selling it.

The thickness of the Calumet back is substantially more than than a regular sheet film holder, and it really stretches the springs on the film back as you insert it. It barely fit my previous field camera, and it was a tight fit on the DLC. Consequently, it required a bit more force to insert than I liked, and it usually would move the rear standard out of alignment as you inserted it, requiring a re-focus and re-adjustment of the rear standard. This can be very aggravating whe you're trying to work quickly.

You likely would not have this problem with a sturdy studio monorail that really locks down the rear standard solidly, and allows more room to insert the thicker Calumet back. But with a lightweight DLC, or other similar field cameras, it could be a real problem for you. It was for me.

Also, the Calumet slide-in roll fim back did not seem to line up the back's actual film image area opening with the inscribed roll film marks on the DLC's groundglass. And with my previous field camera it definitely was not centered on the groundglass, rather it was slightly offset to the right. This situation can cause some composition errors and surprises.

I really think you'd be better off with the graflock type roll film backs on the DLC, even though they are a bit slower to use.

Hope this helps, Sergio.

-- Sergio Ortega (, December 14, 2000.

Thanks to both of you for responding. I've decided that I will definitely get a graflock type roll-film back (probably a Horseman). As to the binocular reflex viewing hood, I may wait and see if that is really necessary for me. My "fear of the upside down" may just be an exaggerated worry, especially since such a viewing hood is expensive in money and space. Thanks again.

-- Steve Baggett (, December 14, 2000.

I have a couple of Horseman rollbacks; they work great. BTW, one of mine is engraved "Horseman" on the bottom and "Sinar" on top.

I'd avoid the Calumet slide-in rollback.

-- John Hicks (, December 14, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ