The Ultima 35 affords photographers the portability of a 35mm camera system as the SLR body can be separated and used with normal lenses with the convenience of using the SLR's sensor as the recording device when used as a large-format camera system. The LCD screen on the rear of the SLR allows you to check composition and focus, as well as exposure range in the histogrameffectively performing the tasks of a Polaroid test shot on a conventional large-format camera.
With the FireWire connectivity of most digital SLR bodies, photographers can also shoot tethered to a computer, and view images on the monitor rather than the camera's LCD. Phase One software is available for both Canon and Nikon digital SLRs and provides photographers with an alternative workflow solution.
Putting It To the Test
The Cambo Ultima 35 gives you the creativity to move the focusing points where you want them for added drama in your photography. Although it is not meant to be used as a portrait camera, we decided to see how well it would work as one. Since you can't look through the viewfinder when actually shooting, a moving model may stray out of the frame.
Helene has been shooting a line of jewelry for many years and this is an ideal solution for someone like her, who shoots mainly moving subjects with digital cameras. "Having a camera that enables you to shoot both still life and moving subjects is really an advantage in today's marketplace," she explained. "To be honest, I forgot what it was like shooting with a 4x5 or 8x10 camera." The camera offers smooth geared movements. It's a well-engineered piece of equipment. The quality, resolution, and detail we achieved with this systemUltima 35, Canon EOS-1Ds, and Schneider 80mm lenswas absolutely amazing. The images were crisp and sharp, subjects three-dimensional, and the color was right-on accurate.
As with any large-format view camera, you focus with the lens wide open, then stop down to your chosen aperture. The system is heavier than a 35mm camera so a sturdy tripod is a must, in the studio and on location. With the resolution of the full frame CMOS sensors in the Kodak DCS Pro 14n at 13.89 megapixels and the Canon EOS-1Ds at 11.1 megapixels and perspective control of the Ultima 35, the system can also be used in architectural photography.
The only drawback we found was that because the lens is not attached to the digital SLR body, the aperture setting is not available in the EXIF data of the file. If you normally depend upon checking the EXIF data for exposure information, you'll have to keep notes while shooting. Photographers not used to large-format photography will find there's a learning curve, but one well worth it. ptn