Use of wide angle lenses with older ARCA : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I have recently acquired an older (pre F) arca-swiss 4x5. The camera has a 16 inch monorail and has both base and axis tilts. It has an aluminum finish. I believe that it might be a BASIC model, but I am not sure. At some point I would like to use a wide-angle lens (90mm to start). IBve read thatit might be difficult to obtain a wide-angle bellows for this camera. Ihave a few questions. 1. Am I likely to be able to use a 90mm lens for landscape work with the standard bellows? 2. If I am able to obtain a wide-angle bellows, will I be able to use a 75mm or shorter lens? 3. Does anyone know of potential sources for a used wide-angle bellows? 4. What might it cost to have a wide-angle bellows made? Sorry for asking so many questions. Any advice will be greatly appreciated! Thanks, Donn

-- Donn Alexander (, October 31, 2000


Try "Camera Bellows" in England. (I'm sure you can find them on the web). If you have the frames they can make the bellows. I know they make the bellows for the Canham cameras and I've also heard they make bellows for Sinar and Arca-Swiss. They might even be able to make you a set of "universal bellows" like the ones for the Canham DLC & MQC cameras that let you virtually every lens you'll ever want to shoot with from wide angle to long extentions.

-- Ellis Vener (, October 31, 2000.

Call either Badger Graphics ( or Photomark ( in Phoenix). Both stores have people who are knowedgeable on Arca-Swiss products. One or the other may also have a bellows like the one you're seeking.

-- neil poulsen (, October 31, 2000.

I'd think that the bellows frames or fittings are going to be a bit troublesome to come by. A wide-angle bag bellows could be run up by any competent seemstress (sorry, that's seemsperson to be pc). You might have to transfer both standards to one end of the rail, rather than either side of the tripod clamp, in order to accomodate a 75mm lens. 90mm lenses can usually be used with a standard bellows, but you have to watch that rise and cross aren't excessive.

-- Pete Andrews (, November 01, 2000.


I also have an older Arca Swiis with a standard bellows. I use a Schnieder Super Angulon 90mm lens. With a standard bellows you are very limited in the amount of tilt you can use. Short of a bag bellows, you can use a recessed lensboard of about 20-25mm. I have designed a bag bellows built on a machined aluminum frame. The bellows material is a black garment leather sandwiched with 1/8" foam rubber for support. I have not built this yet becuase I haven't really needed it. I keep an eye on large format sources & eBay, but haven't seen Arca's older wide angle bellows yet. I am close to buying a recessed lensboard & will probably go that route for the short term.

Good luck,


-- Ted Brownlee (, November 01, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ