Wide Angle Lens for Arca 23

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I have an Arca-Swiss 2x3 view camera that is about 20 years old. It has axis tilts. (I am not sure of the model designation.) Due to the configuration of the tilt mechanisms on the front and rear standards, the minimum focusing distance from the lens board to the point of focus is far longer than a wide angle lens could focus at infinity. I have a 75mm lens mounted on a recessed lensboard (25mm) and I can focus that at infinity and use the camera movements. I would like to mount a 55mm or a 58mm lens for use on this camera, and be able to use some movements. Does anyone have experience with this configuration? Does anyone have any experience with this camera that you could share with me? I have corresponded with ARCA-Swiss but I have not received any answer to my inquriy. Thank you for any assistance you can give me in regard to this camera, and any suggestions that you might have about wide-angle lens use.

-- Mark W. Jordan (mark.jordan@kp.org), November 01, 1999


I can't help you with your query, but I have had a similar problem with Arca-Swiss customer service. On the basis of some good reviews in View Camera, I asked the company for some product brochures, etc., but simply got a reply stating that the information was not available, and which managed to imply that I was rather impertinent to ask for such information, and that I was somehow wasting their time. That's fine - I won't bother them with my custom, either. After all, raising an invoice is such a bore.

Compare this to the superb service from Sinar - they sent me detailed brochures and a book on LF technique, within 2-3 days of my request.

-- fw (finneganswake@altavista.net), November 01, 1999.

For someone whose e-mail handle is from James Joyce you seem a little touchy and inclined to take things personally. Arca Swiss is a much smaller company than Sinar. They have recently moved the factory and getting literature has been a frustrating experience.

As far as company attitudes go, it wasn't so long ago that a Sinar/Broncolor sales rep had the gall to tell a Texas ASMP gathering that "if you shot large format in St. Louis and you didn't use Sinar, you weren't worth consideration as a real photographer."

-- Ellis Vener (evphoto@insync.net), November 01, 1999.

Rod at Photomark may have the best knowledge of older Arca Swiss stuff. I'm not sure when the current owners of Arca Swiss took over the company relative to the older models.

Arca Swiss is a very small company with fairly extensive product lines. I met the Arca Swiss folks at Photo+Expo. It sounded like they were listening to their customers based on some changes I noted in products.

Support can be frustrating at times. On the otherhand, they once went out of their way to repair an item quickly, and fedex it back to me. Once they called me from Switzerland, and handheld me through an adjustment. The result was I didn't have to send my camera away, and loose use of it for a period of time.

-- Larry Huppert (Larry.Huppert@mail.com), November 01, 1999.

Ellis, I'm just reporting my own experience of A-S's customer service, which was not good. Take it or leave it! Regards

-- fw (fineganswake@altavista.net), November 02, 1999.


To answer your real question about using wide angle lenses on the ARCA-Swiss 2X3 view camera, I use the 47mm with only a 7mm recessed board on a current 4X5 F-Line "field" with WA bellows and still have about 15mm of rail left at infinity. I am not familiar with the older models, but it could be that either the front or rear standard is installed backwards, reducing the minimum focusing distance of your bellows. If you only have the standard bellows, that could also be a limitation.

You might also have some luck with ARCA's US rep in Chicago. Diane McHenry can be reached at 773/248-2513.

-- Jim Blecha (jbphoto@home.com), November 03, 1999.

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