Technical Cameras

    What is a technical camera, you ask?  Quite simply, they are cameras which provide solutions for technical situations.  Some of these cameras offer movements for perspective control, however, they also provide solutions to a wide range of other obstacles and vary considerably in features & abilities. Here we’ll show and discuss some of the cameras available today,
the optics for them, and the unique characteristics each solution provides.

          There is a dizzying array of options in the technical camera realm, and our intent is to help demystify the systems to assist you in choosing the right solution. As always, if you have specific questions or are ready to talk more seriously about any of these solutions, please feel free to give us a call at Bear Images to talk about your unique shooting requirements.

What Is Available?

    Currently there are technical camera solutions available from several manufacturers including Sinar, Alpa, Horseman, Linhof and Cambo, and they range from full digital view cameras like the Newly Updated Sinar P3, with super smooth gearing (picture 1), to incredibly simple and compact cameras like the Cambo 400 (picture 2). 
Obviously, these cameras are capable of, and accomplish very different things, but they are both classified as “technical cameras”.  While these two cameras seem to be extreme polar opposites, there are many options in between which offer a good mix of features.  Cameras like the Alpa Max (#3) remain fairly compact, yet offer a fair amount of vertical rise/fall as well as horizontal shift, with an adapter available to accomplish tilt/swing.  Still others like the Horseman SWD (4), Cambo WRS (5), or Alpa SWA (6), offer a mid-size package with movements as well.

Which Camera is Right For Me?

    Before choosing the camera that’s right for you, you’ll first need to determine the features that are important to you.  What kind of shooting will you be doing?  How much movement do you need (if any at all)?  Do you need to be portable for working in the field?  What focal length lenses will you need to use?


All of these questions have a direct correlation to
which camera will best suit your needs.  If you intend on shooting architecture, you’ll certainly need some perspective control, and your lens selection and camera ability will determine how much movement you can accomplish. On the other hand, if your interest is in being ultra-portable but taking advantage of the superior optics as found in view camera lenses, you can focus on a much more compact system.

  Specialized cameras such as the rePro offer precision and control for repeatable macro and close-up photography (7).  Even economy based dSLR camera bodies can be utilized with view camera interfaces, such as the pSLR (8) providing many of the optical adjustments of a tradition view camera..


    What’s more is many of these manufacturers offer several add-on options to further tailor the camera to your liking.  Alpa is perhaps the most notable for this, as the available accessories allow for a truly
“custom” camera.  One of the most useful, for example, is a “wake up” button built right into the handle. Essentially, they’ve built-in a wake up cable for use with Phase One digital backs, which makes for much more user-friendly and streamlined shooting.

What About Lenses?

    When it comes to lenses, there’s a lot to know.  With the primary lens
manufacturers being Rodenstock and Schneider, there’s certainly no question that the optics available are excellent.  Just like cameras or digital backs, though, each lens has it’s own set of characteristics.  We can’t begin to define them all here, but we’ll show you a couple of examples.
    The Rodenstock 23mm HR seems to stand out among the pack due to it’s
extremely wide field of view of 115º.  This makes it a fantastic lens for wide open vistas or even close-quartered architecture, but with an image circle of 70mm at f/11, there’s not a whole lot of room for perspective control movements.  It has a bit more, however, than the Schneider 24mm XL, which offers a 60mm image circle at f/11.  In contrast, the Schneider (APO Digitar) 47mm XL boasts a huge 113mm image circle at f/11, making it a lens of choice for stitching or extreme perspective control.
    There is a bit of a balancing act required to choose lenses that not only fit your field of view requirements, but that also offer the technical ability to perform the way you need them to, and whether or not a particular lens is offered for the camera platform you use is another question altogether.

    While the larger view cameras still use a more-or-less traditional lens board, the smaller cameras use proprietary lens mounts which incorporate helical focusing so as to avoid the use (and bulk) of
bellows. The process of mounting the optics into these helical focus mounts is a very precise one during which exact tolerances are calibrated to insure maximum sharpness.  This is important not only because sometimes a particular lens may not be available in a particular mount, but because “piecing” them together or attempting to circumvent this calibration process usually leads to disastrous results in terms of sharpness.  These lenses are highly precise tools and will yield spectacular results.

    With so many options and abilities available, there’s sure to be a system which meets your needs.  You likely still have some questions about what fits what or how it all works together, please let us know, we’ll be happy to help!  •







Bear Images Photographic, Inc.  •  San Francisco, CA. 94107  •  650-321-2327  •

These are just a few of the available solutions that we carry and recommend. If you’d like to discuss your specific requirements, please give us a call at Bear Images. 650-321-2327


Technical Cameras


Sinar’s LanTec, is a compact and handy alternative for landscape and architecture, based upon the Sianr arTec system with available Rodenstock lenses ranging from 23mm to 135mm.

The Best Way to determine which Camera Is Best for You, is to discuss it with an expert and see it for yourself - We use these tools, we know these systems and we are happy to assist you with them.

The Sinar p SLR was developed especially for photographers who wish to avail themselves of the unique advantages and quality characteristics of a Sinar view camera while using their digital single lens reflex cameras. Exact control of the perspective and selective sharpness – the most important creative tools in photography – can be set and evaluated precisely on a view camera. All these advantages now have also become available to users of “35 mm” cameras AND the Leica S Medium Format SLR. This well thought-out solution is further enhanced by the significant increase in quality provided by the use of high resolution lenses developed by Rodenstock especially for digital photography.  Exciting and creative results can be achieved with many existing view-camera lenses. 

When digital back is not available, this solution can add the controls many photographers require.         Sinar p-SLR

The portable, small and lightweight Cambo ACTUS DB is one of the most exciting technical cameras available.  ACTUS-DB is specifically targeted at the use of Digital Backs from PhaseOne, Mamiya-Leaf and Hasselblad. With the use of view camera movements the photographer will be able to be more versatile, be more creative and will be getting more professional results much faster than before.

But  still size matters, the Cambo ACTUS-DB has been designed to give maximum functionality with minimal dimensions to support portability at ease.

The Cambo ACTUS_DB is small and lightweight and fits easily in a small case.

Expand the usability of your camera system

• View camera movement for selective sharpness

• Rear Shift movement to stitch wider angle images

• Focal plane shifts to increase file size

• Quick transfer between Landscape/portrait 

• Built-in macro extension

• Use of various lens designs

• Interchangeable bellows options

Enhance your creativity with the Cambo

• Use tilts and swings to place exact sharpness where needed

• Create selective optical unsharpness

• Use more of the image circle of your lenses

• Stitch your images without changing the lens position

• Focus closer and enlarge your subject without extension rings

• Make us of Rodenstock's and Schneider's best digital optics and also work with conventional Copal 0 and Copal 1 shuttered lenses.

• Ideal for use on location, minimal size and weight

Experience the possibilities of the Cambo ACTUS-DB

• Small size for easy portability - see image above

• Front standard offers geared tilt / swing both on-axis

• Lensplates are quickly interchangeable

• Quick slide focus adjustment rail

• Fine focus adjustment with precision gearing

• Shift movements vertical/horizontal in the focal plane

• Vertical movement supported by weight compensation

• Horizontal movements using quick sliding

• Zero clicks on all movements

• Image centered quick flip from landscape to portrait

• Arca compatible monorail, direct fit to Arca 

       compatible heads:Cambo CBH-6 and Linhof 3D Gear (pictured)

• Interchangeable inserts for digital backs, same as WRS cameras.

Alpa Tilt adapter, can be used with specially mounted Short-Barrel Lenses.  This single direction adapter mounts behind the lens, typically on the SB lens mount and can be mounted in either a Tilt or in a Swing orientation, based upon which will produce the most enhancement to your focus control.

Alpa’s Tilt Adapter solution clipped to SB Lens.

Cambo’s Tilt and Swing Digital Lenses.




Interchangeable Lenspanel with Calibrated Helical Focusing

The Cambo WTS Lenspanel is dedicated to the use with Digital Backs (as pictured to the Left is the Rodenstock 4.0/32 HR Digaron-W lens with copal 0 shutter mounted in a helical focussing mount, is an excellent example).  Note that the Tilt and Swing, geared mechanism is positioned as close to the optical center nodal-point, as physically possible

Cambo T/S Lenspanels features an integrated tilt and swing mechanism which can be operated with two precise gear-driven knobs up to 5 degrees Tilt up and down and 5 degrees Swing left and right, while both swing and tilt can be set independently, separately but also in combination.

The movements have a clear and forced zero position where the parallel setting to the focal plane is guaranteed.

Please Note:  Prices, Promotions, Upgrades, All and Any Offers Subject to Change and Limitations Without Notice.

© Bear Images Photographic 2017