ARCA F line : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I am trying to figure out what would be the bulk and overall weight of a 4x5 Field equipped to take lenses from 47 mm to 450 or perhaps 600 mm. Would it be easily portable? Also, the booklet says the long bellows is for 240 to 600 mm. Does it mean it cannot be compressed to, say 150 or 90, or that it wouldn't provide extensive movements in such compression? Dumb question, I admit, but has prevented me so far to consider this camera. Also, is it possible to have a second bellows (380) coupled to a wide angle bellows?

-- Paul Schilliger (, April 01, 2000


I don't recommend buying a F-line 4x5 Field, unless you know you're not going to upgrade or add 5x7 and 8x10. The reason is simple. F-line Field uses 6x9 frame but there are no conversion bellows from 6x9 to 5x7/8x10. Also, if you're going for long lenses as such, you might better off with a normal F-line 4x5 with 30cm optical bench telescopic and 30cm extension bracket for a better stability when you add an extension rail (25cm?), compared to a 8.5cm bracket that comes with Field. Then use a reducing adapter. As for bellows question, it's probably the best to e-mail Arca or call Martin.

-- Masayoshi Hayashi (, April 01, 2000.

Masayoshi, I am pretty ignorant and didn't know there was a F Field. Just assumed that F stands for Field. In fact, I thought of a FC. If it wasn't for the weight, I would certainly consider a 5x7 with reducing frame.

-- Paul Schilliger (, April 01, 2000.


Believe it or not, my ARCA-Swiss 4X5" F-line Field camera, three lenses and a 6X9 Horseman roll film back fit (tightly) into A Lowe Pro Orion AW fanny pack. You must either have the 30cm folding rail or remove one piece of the optical bench, to do this. The Orion AW features a detachable daypack, which held film, filters, extra backs and another lens.

This system survived an 8-day raft trip through the Grand Canyon with numerous day-hikes to spectacular locations along the Colorado River.

I currently use lenses from 47mm to 210mm with the wide-angle bellows without problem. For the 450mm lens you would probably need the "standard" field bellows.

-- Jim Blecha (, April 01, 2000.

Paul... the 45F Field uses the 6x9 front and 4x5 rear standards for about a 1 lb saving over the 45FC. I use a Domke Outpack and the camera with all lenses, rail, rain cover, quickload holder and 2 boxes of QL fit nicely. The camera weighs in at just under 6 lb in this configuration. You can add a 25cm extension to get the rail you need for the 450. The field comes with the leather wide angle bellows and you would add the long bellows which will cover out to 500 or so. The "normal" bellows only goes to about 38cm and I have seen a 75mm lens focused with that bellows but it couldn't handle a 47. I suspect the long bellows could handle a 90 with little rise or shift.

-- Glenn C. Kroeger (, April 01, 2000.

I have the long Arca-Swiss bellows. It will not take a 90mm, but it will take a 150mm with very limited movements. (Perhaps 3/4 inch rise.) Having lost my standard sized bellows, I bought this bellows plus the standard leather wide-angle, and this meets all my needs from 65mm (w/a 1 inch recessed lensboard) to whatever. (600mm.) This is a great combination, because the leather wide-angle is suitable up to 180mm lenses, and the long bellows is suitable down to 210mm.

While not made currently, I've seen about 2 inch recessed used lensboards that would accomodate a 47mm with the leather wide-angle bellows.

Another possibility is to get the really narrow synthetic wide-angle bellows that could work for the 47 with a current 13mm recessed lensboard. But unlike the leather wide-angle, I don't think the synthetic bellows is that satisfactory for mid-range lenses. You'd probably be stuck having to carry three bellows to accomodate your range of lenses.

-- neil poulsen (, April 01, 2000.

paul--re: your question on the AS camera--Jim's & Glen's comments are of value. as you mentioned in a previous post, you are interested in landscape work. Jim is well known for his work and does a lot of field work i believe. i do as well, and i'll share with you my 'system'. it is a AScompact field 6x9front 4x5 back collapable rail which i beleive is 9 inches w/ a wide angle leather bellow. currently i use the following lenses ranging from a nikkor 65, 90, 2 150/5's, and a 210 all on this wide angle bellow.(i would like to have a longer lens, perhaps a 300-400 in the future) i have already purchased a "standard" bellows and a longer rail to attach to the existing rail to accomodate my future tellie lens which has not been purchased as yet as i am undecided. i also use the regular polaroid film back as well as 3 4x5 roll film backs(2 6x7 and 1 6x9) i can put all of my stuff in a Domke Outback pack which i am constantly improvising with velcro/pads, etc to my perfection. I think it is one of the few bags out there which will accomodate a "rail compact camera" with ease. keep in mind that i do not always schlep this stuff around, but i am able to keep it together.

at any rate, my stuff is more than adequate for landscape work--less is more. Raymond

PS stay in touch-----i'll be skiing in Steamboat for a few days.

-- raymond a. bleesz (, April 07, 2000.

Thanks, Raymond. Yes, I am really interested in this option. Wish to find out how much would weigh the camera and accessories I need. My tech is only 2.7 kg. If the Arca was around 3,5 kg, with additional rail and bellows, this would be fine.

Do you water ski behind a steamboat ? Good Heaven!

Have a good time!

-- Paul Schilliger (, April 07, 2000.

Let me make a couple of corrections to my post above . . .

To clarify, I have the long 70cm bellows that extends from a 4x5 back to a 4x5 front. Using a flat lensboard, I measured the the minimum extension on this bellows to be 4 inches. (101.6mm.) A Schneider 90mm SA f5.6 could conceivabley work, since it's flange focal-length is 102.7mm. But this wouldn't allow movements. I doubt whether a 90mm SA would work, since it's flange focal-length is 98.8mm. One could check it out.

Allowing for a 13mm recessed board, I was able to squeeze out a rise of 15mm using the 70cm bellows. By off-setting a 90mm lens the same distance from center on a recessed board, one could achieve a 30mm rise. So, some rise with a 90mm lens can be obtained w/this bellows & lensboard.

I measured the minimum extension on the WA leather bellows (4x5 to 4x5) using a flat lensboard to be 69mm. The published flange focal-length for an SA 47mm is 52.2mm. Even with the 13mm recessed lensboard, it's doubtful this could work.

Given the reduction in weight, the shorter bellows, smaller lens boards, etc., getting the Arca-Swiss with the 4x5 back and 6x9 front might be the better option for field work.

-- neil poulsen (, April 08, 2000.

Dear Masayoshi

If you do have an ARCA-SWISS with 6x9 front and 4x5" back, you can actually move up to 5x7" and 8x10" without buying a 4x5" front frame. Use the 4x5" frame from the back! (you can turn the frame (scales!) without loosing much wide angle capability as the filmplane is similar on all cameras. 6x9 - 8x10", f-min= 35mm)


ARCA-SWISS International Customer Support

-- Customer Support (, April 10, 2000.

Regarding the above comment, of course you can do that but then I would have to carry three frames (e.g. 6x9-4x5-8x10) and three function carriers. That's why I chose the standard package of F-line 4x5.

-- Masayoshi Hayashi (, April 11, 2000.

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