Foba AG Switzerland, to cease operations EOY 2024

 In Cambo, Cambo Actus, Cambo Wide RS, News

After 85 years in business, the Swiss manufacturer Foba AG, has announced that it will cease operations at the end of 2024.  The photographic and metrology industries are losing another iconic brand.  Foba AG is best known for its camera stands, ball heads, shooting tables, overhead rail systems, and Combitube grip equipment.

For almost 30 years I have worked with the various owners of Foba AG to market and sell their products to the photographic and metrology industries.  After visiting their factory in Wettswil, Switzerland, more than two dozen times, I felt compelled to write this blog post about this quintessential manufacturer closing their factory.

In 1995, I went to work for Sinar Bron Imaging.  Over the years, it has been such a pleasure to work with the folks from all three Swiss manufacturers that we represented: Sinar, Broncolor, and Foba.  With Sinar having closed their factory years ago, that leaves Broncolor as the only remaining brand still operating today.

What a motley crew we were at Sinar Bron Imaging. 😉  This picture was taken on one of my first trips to Switzerland to visit all three factories.  There are several faces that some of you may be familiar with.  Dave Gallagher (owner of Capture Integration), Mark Rezzonico (president of Profoto North America), and, of course, my handsome younger self.

Foba AG was founded in 1939, producing dry presses.  It was not until 1958 that they started producing their camera stands.  (See top right picture above).  The ultimate tinkertoy set, Combitube, was introduced in 1959, followed by the release of their shooting tables in 1966.  Their iconic hexagonal column was introduced on their camera stands in 1980.

As Dave Gallagher can attest to, as young sales reps, we were given a van loaded with samples from all three brands, including an 8-foot Foba Asaba stand!  We would take it and drop it off at a studio to try for two weeks before picking it up and heading to another studio.  It was a very successful strategy.  Photographers who were using a tripod and then were given a chance to use a camera stand usually were not able to go back to a tripod in the studio and would subsequently purchase a camera stand.

As the sales for camera stands started to slow down, due to the fact the stands last forever and there were many pre-owned ones on the market, Foba started selling to the metrology industry.   

Metrology is “the science of measurement”.  There are many companies, mostly in Europe, that build large 3D scanners.  They are used for many purposes including inspection of products for defects.

As Sinar Bron Imaging morphed into Hasselblad Bron, I oversaw their special application division which included Foba metrology sales in North America.  We were selling more stands to companies like Boeing to use with their scanners examining rivets on a fuselage, than we were selling to photographers.

But just like the photo industry was slowing down in their need for stands, after many years, the metrology industry also slowed down in their needs for stands as, just like with cameras, the scanners started getting smaller.  With both industries declining in stand sales at the same time, it made it hard for Foba to continue to survive and they made the decision to close at the end of this year.

I will personally miss being able to work with them and their products in the future.  Foba AG, my friend, RIP.

For those of you still needing the type of equipment that both Sinar and Foba once made, please continue to read this post about another option you still have.  Cambo, based out of the Netherlands, is that option.

Cambo is a premier manufacturer of professional photographic equipment for all types of photographers.  They make a wide variety of view cameras, tech cameras, camera stands, light booms, copy stands, shooting tables and ballheads.

The Wide RS Series are technical cameras designed for landscape, interior and architectural photographers.  The Actus Series is a line of compact view cameras for mirrorless cameras as well as digital backs.

Cambo Actus Series

Cambo WRS Series

This is a wonderful blog post by one of my colleagues, Steve Hendrix, on which Actus view camera is right for you.

Cambo camera stands are second to none in quality and versatility.  The Cambo MBX camera stands are their newest line.

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions feel free to reach out! – 303-728-4517

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