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Improvements (fine butchery)
by Bob Hutchinson
I've been looking at these wide Cambos for years. What a wonderful design for big landscapes, big outdoors, big pictures, big bucks. Graflok back, lens shift facility in any of the four arrow directions, superb quality Schneider Super Angulon lenses. Oh boy did I drool for one of these fine babies. That must have been in 1983 or 1984 during the drilling and production depression in Houston. Then I could just about afford a 10 exposure box of film.
Well, wouldn't you know, I finally came across this one in superb condition with 75mm f5.6 Super Angulon MC. It is a thoroughbred built like a lightweight aluminum racing tank. After fondling it for a few days I began to experience withdrawal systems and caved in to my desire to MODIFY this beautiful camera. Oh, where can I find the strength and fortitude to resist this terrible addiction. I just can't help myself, I've got to get a drilling, sawing, filing and screwing fix.
Must have flaws
Before - Click Larger
Well, ya-know, this plastic grip thing looks like a marketing idiot's afterthought. I mean the rest of the camera seems to be wonderful of design and this grip thing is - is - well, it's really a piece of shit! Its vertical, stiff, un-handy and has some sort of cable release that you work with your thumb. That's no way trip a shutter. When I put the camera up to my eye the grip is all wrong and there is nothing to hold on to on the right side of the camera.
Wait a minute. how do I take a vertical shot? If I attach an expensive 6 x 12 back and want to do a vertical I have to flip it up on the tripod. Not good. OK, OK, OK. It does have serious flaws, so - - I'll have to modify it with improvements .
Let's saw it up. After removing the plastic grip there are two strong aluminum grip supporting stanchions as part of the aluminum body casting. Each stanchions has a #6-32 threaded hole that held the plastic grip. (See pictures.) After studying this I started working my plan. With the camera stripped to bare body frame I clamped it in a rubber jawed drill press vice with stanchions up and ran a #6-32 tap drill down through the two holes and drilled two pilot holes into the casting for future #10-24 machine screws. My plan now is to whack off these useless stanchions and bolt an aluminum accessory plate to the left side of the body. The plate will have a Bogen quick release tripod adapter plate attached.
To the saw
Back to the drill press to drill and tap the two pilot holes #10-24. I carefully measured and cut a plate from 1/8" x 2" flat stock with angles similar to the angles of the camera front housing. Then I marked, drilled and countersunk three holes for 10-24 mounting screws for the new accessory plate. I drilled four #6-32 clearance holes in the Bogen tripod shoe, aligned and centered it, clamped it the plate and dimpled the accessory plate with the clearance drill. After tapping the holes the tripod quick release adapter was mounted with flat head machine screws.
Get a grip on it
Using pieces of 1/8" thick vinyl sheet I gripped the Mamiya grip in the soft jaws at the correct angle with the help of a protractor and hack sawed the angles to the grip stanchion. Then gripped the big nut in the vice and sawed it in two places to remove it. I marked the back side of the little Bogen clamping device, the purpose of which still eludes me, drilled clearance holes for 4 #4-40 flat head machine screws, countersunk them, transferred, marked, drilled and tapped the grip stanchion and attached. What a wonderful improvement. (See pictures.)
Get a handle
On the level
These levels are important, much more important if ultra wide angle lenses such as 65mm, 55mm, 45mm and 35mm are used. The 35mm on a 6 x 12 format has a 120 degree angle of view. Awesome wide angle distortion of lines when film not parallel to lines.