The Cambo 45SF is a solid camera, one that very competently satisfies its objectives: A portable camera for architectural and location photographers that can also work in the studio. The camera can also be pressed into service as a day-hike camera for fine art landscape photographers who want a full range of movements and the rigidity of a monorail camera.
One of the greatest advantages of the 45SF is for photographers already in the Cambo/Calumet system. They will appreciate the fact that the 45SF accepts the full range of Cambo accessories. Many photographers start out with a Cambo SC or one of its relatives, and upgrade to a new camera after gaining experience. They then have to purchase new accessories for the new camera. If you learned large format with an entry level Cambo and want to upgrade, or are looking for a more portable alternative to a Cambo Legend, all of your Cambo accessories (except for the 45SC/NX/NX-II/N monorails) will work with the 45SF. This will save you a ton of money on things like a bag bellows, lens boards, viewfinder accessories and the like. If you started with an SC or one of its relatives, depending on the accessories you already own, it is quite possible that the only thing you might need would be a monorail extension. Combine this with the low price of the 45SF itself, and the camera is a real winner for existing Cambo users.
I like my 45SF. It has performed well photographing exterior architecture, interiors, and in the field for landscape photography. The camera satisfies all of the problems that I had with my 45NX: (1) Monorail extensions are easy to attach in the field, (2) I no longer need recessed lens boards, and (3) I can switch from long to wide angle lenses without having to reset the camera on the tripod mounting block. The trade-off for these features is loss of a revolving back.
Lenses mount to standard Cambo lens boards. A slide lock at the top of the standard holds lens boards in place. Two arrows melded into the slider extend from the button at the centre of the slider. One arrow points toward the lens board. The other points at the bellows. To mount a lens board, press down on the centre button and move the slider toward the arrow pointing at the lens board. Tilt the board forward, and lift it out. To replace the lens board, make sure that the bottom of the board engages the two silver "lips" at the bottom of the frame, tilt the board toward the frame, and move the slider until you hear the lock click. Check to make sure that the board is secure by tugging gently on the lens.
One of the great design features of the 45SF is that you can use wide angle lenses with flat lens boards. No more cramped recessed boards! No more using a dental mirror to read the aperture or shutter speed! No need to remove my gloves to fit my fingers into the cramped space in the recessed board! The standards move toward each other so far that one can almost touch each other. The only limiting factor here is the thickness of the bellows. This is a great luxury for anyone who has ever had to use a cramped recessed lens board and a significant advantage of this camera.
I obtained a Cambo to Linhof Technika-type adapter that was part of a group of Cambo lens boards grouped together in an on-line auction. This is a great space saver, because I can mount all of my lenses on the smaller Technika style lens board, thereby saving space in the camera case and backpack. These adapters pop up periodically on auction, and are available from Calumet. Cambo also makes adapters for Sinar boards, and the boards for its 23SF.