Arca Swiss - Discovery or Metric? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I have owned a Toyo CX for the last year or so and have been pretty satisfied with it. However, rather than invest more money into what is essentially a beginner's camera, I would like to trade up to an Arca Swiss. Should I start with the Discovery? My eye is on the Metric, it looks like a beautiful piece of work - but it's also at a beautiful price. (What is the cheapest I could get a Metric for? $2,500?) I photograph everything from tabletop to architecture to landscape. Weight is a consideration. Should I get the lensboard adaptor to take smaller lensboards to save space in my pack? One alternative I was thinking of is to buy the Discovery together with a collapsible monorail. Sort of Discovery C. I am concerned about getting 4 lenses into the Discovery backpack with the large boards. Also to use my Nikkor 300mm I would need an extension to make use of the full extension of the regular bellows, I think this comes with the collapsible monorail - is this true? BTW - I would like to thank all those who answered my previous questions for taking the time to help me. I really appreciate it. Rabbi Yaakov Asher Sinclair

-- Yaakov Asher Sinclair (, April 30, 2000


Check out the comparison of the various characteristics of the Arca Swiss models at

I have a Discovery and am very happy with it. I have 90mm and 210mm Nikkor lenses, so can't say about the 300mm (soon . . . ). If I did it over again I'd probably move up to F Classic for a little more gearing. The Discovery only has back focus gearing. The F classic has 18 inches of extension. To cut down on the size, you can get the Arca to Linhof board conversion, which cuts down on weight some and you don't have all those big boards to lug around. I'd love a 4x5 Metric, but at $3,500 . . .

Maybe Ellis will chime in here -- there have been some similar discussions which are in the archive here and on

-- Donald Brewster (, April 30, 2000.

If you are still trying to decide between a Discovery or a Metric, you might consider looking at other brands as well. A AS Metric will be pretty hard to carry around ...

-- Carlos Co (, May 01, 2000.

Arca Swiss metric is hard to carry around? You have got to be kidding!

My AS F-Line 4x5 Metric is just as compact as my Canham 4x5, sets up faster, and folds with a lens attached. It is a great camera for field work. It is easy to use, precision geared, fairly light and packs up with ease.

I have the Arca reducing lensboard and recomment it highly. Makes carrying lenses easier and more compact. I recommend it very highly.

For what it is worth, the Arca Swiss F-Line Metric is one hell of a great camera. No complaints from me. It is as perfect as it gets.


-- Bill Smithe (, May 01, 2000.

For the range of work you do I'd advise going with the Metric. The only other cameras I'd recommend to do all those things is a Sinar X or P2 cameras or the Linhof TK45s: and those weigh at least twice as much and are three times the size and cost a goodly bit more and the Linhof suffers from not being yaw free (unless you tip over on its side). I have all of my large format lenses mounted on Linhof Technika boards because i have multiple cameras and use an older Linhof Technika to Arca Swiss adapter board which I leave mounted on the camera and which works very well.

-- Ellis Vener (, May 02, 2000.


In my opinion, weight is not a concern to choose Discovery vs F- metric. With 4 lenses and all the gear needed (holders, long and short bellows, extension, tripod ...) the global weight reaches 20 kg with an F-Metric (including two packs one for the camera and one for the tripod). You save 1 kg with the Discovery.

So backpacking seems, at least for me, absolutely prohibited. You may rover some distance from your car, say a quarter mile, with a caddy. To really backpack a camera, you have to have a camera for this intent, and lenses selected with weight in mind, like space flights.

If your budget allows it, go for a F-Metric. Discovery : correct with landscape - possible with architecture but not comfortable - a pain for tabletop.

That said, it is advised to use small lensboards with adaptators, mainly for compactness. You can choose the F-Metric with foldable rail (F-Metric Compact) or standard rail (F-Metric). The compact is easier to store.

-- Dominique Cesari (, May 02, 2000.

Forgot completely that the Discovery is a monorail as well, sorry. Bill, if the metric is so good, why still keep the DLC? Thanks.

-- Carlos Co (, May 02, 2000.

I have an AS 4x5 Monolith, and, heavyweight monster that it is, I love it! You feel like you are really making a photograph, not just taking a picture. I'm now looking for an 8x10 rear standard conversion kit in excellent to mint shape. If you know of one, pls call collect. Guy (305) 441-0911, after 7:00 PM, Miami, FL Time. Best to all AS love

-- Guy K. Stewart, Jr. (, May 02, 2000.

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