I Built the Ultimate Still Life, Food, and Product Photography Camera

The SLR camera is a great and versatile tool for pretty much every photographer, but sometimes the systems don't offer enough control. Which set me about the task of building the ultimate camera for my work.

Like most of us, when I got into photography the options were a point a shoot, a range finder, or an SLR as an entry into the art. Others stranger contraptions existed, but they were far too expensive to use. For the first 15 years of my career, I have used SLR cameras in various guises, from medium format monsters through to cropped sensor DSLR bodies with zoom lenses.

Until the last couple of years, I was more than happy with this setup, a couple of tilt-shift lenses and some focus stacking here and there got me around most problems with only a few compromises, but then I started to hit a wall between my vision and what I was capable of producing. The angles at which I could shoot from in any scene with anything that moved was limited, the focus stacking from various points of view was becoming a huge task with hundreds of images, and often it wouldn't be perfect and would require hours in post. 

And this is the result of that, I go through the full spec in the video of my new ultimate studio camera. It's not the best in terms of the absolute best quality, but in terms of price to performance. It has far better optics than my previous mainstream system had, they are also thankfully very affordable, the movements that I can make are larger, more precise, and feel better and the image quality is slightly improved at a pixel-peeping level. 

What would you go for as an ultimate camera setup for your work?

Scott Choucino's picture

Food Photographer from the UK. Not at all tech savvy and knows very little about gear news and rumours.

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This looks great, thanks for the video. I checked the cambo-website, but wouldn't get an easy overview there.

I love it!

Isnt that a standard cambo?
The title reads as if you invented something, but its tilt/shift adapter from cambo made for product shots not the perfect food camera you built hehe

Yeah, I'm a little confused as to the title here too. I'll stand to be corrected, but isn't this a standard off the shelf purchase.

While it might be comprised of available Cambo parts/bits and pieces, I wouldn't call it "standard off the shelf".

Worlwide, with the exception of a probably a handful of dealers . . . just try going into "Joe Blow's Kamera Shoppe" and asking for this stuff. I guarantee you are going to get a, "you want a what????"

Various iterations of this exist from other companies, with the ultimate being a P3 or M679, and as Scott points out, the price at that point goes right through the roof . . . into the stratosphere.

Is there a problem with the body of the camera creating a shadow on the sensor with extreme movements? Since the sensor is recessed into the body, as opposed to a digital back which is obviously not, it seems like this would create some issues. I read about this issue some years back when I considered going to the same system and it was the deciding factor to not go that direction.