Standard vs. Metric Arca-Swiss 6x9 : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I am about to "take the plunge" into LF and am about to purchase a 6x9 Arca-Swiss (after a lot of research, especially on the LF Page). My question is can anyone help me in deciding between the standard and metric A/S? My main subjects will be scenic and architectural, with very little studio.

-- Roger E. Oppenheimer (, January 22, 2001



I use the standard 69FC and love it, especially the binocular viewer. I do only nature/scenic work and so opted for the lighter, simpler version. If architecture were one of my goals, and lengthy backpacking not contemplated, I would seriously consider the metric for the geared shifts and rise. Either way, you cannot go wrong.


-- Glenn Kroeger (, January 22, 2001.

I have the 6 x 9 F compact. As you probably know, the metric offers, according to the AS catalog, "self-locking geared rise and fall movements." Shift, tilt and swing appear to work the same way on both. For architecture, geared rise could be convenient. For landscapes, I would think the metric would be impose a bit more weight for little if any benefit. Unfortunately, neither the new nor old catalog lists the comparitive weights of each outfit, but my older price list shows the cost premium to be roughly $700 for the metric. To me, it wasn't worth the price difference, particularly with all the other expensive system pieces you may want later.

-- Steve Singleton (, January 22, 2001.

Hi Roger

First if you buy the Arca 6x9 then is it for me not LF it`s just MF. For you would be an better solution, buy the 4x5 with a MF 6x9 back and then you have the opportunity to delivery a LF pos. or neg and also 6x9 or smaller! And I would take the metric in your case. I do it so since 10 years and it works guite good!

-- Armin Seeholzer (, January 23, 2001.

Roger, Steve... despite the wording in the catalog, I believe the metric has geared shifts on both standards as well. The photos in the catalog support this.

I cannot agree that buying a 4x5 and using a rollfilm back is necessarily a better solution. That is like saying that buying a Hasselblad and using a 35mm back is better than buying a 35mm SLR. They are different cameras. With the 69FC you get a significantly lighter and smaller camera. You get the well designed direct connect groundglass/fresnel, with a fresnel optimized for shorter focal lengths. You get the smaller binocular viewer. For traveling, the differences are significant. You also get a bellows that is optimized for the focal lengths most commonly used in rollfilm work.

You have to decide if you want to shoot 4x5 or 6x12... if so, then perhaps the 69FC is the wrong choice. But, if you buy the 69FC (or metric) and later decide you need to shoot 4x5, you can add a conversion kit to build what is essentially a 45F Field model.

-- Glenn Kroeger (, January 23, 2001.

Roger--my two cents worth to your question which is one I had long ago. To satisfy my needs & wants, I chose the ASCompact field--the 6x9 front & 4x5 back--in order to do not only roll film but to allow for 4x5 & the utilization of my existing 545 polaroid film holder --it is perhaps not the lightest way to go, but certainly gave me the option to do multiple film formats--the roll film backs which fit the 4x5 back are a bit of weight--if I chose for more portability, I could purchase the 6x9 back standard, however, I would then need to purchase the roll film back/s specific for that sized back---and the 545 polaroid back becomes another issue.

-- Raymond A. Bleesz (, January 23, 2001.

Raymonds comments are well taken... but just a note... if you ultimately want both the 45 Compact Field and an all 69 version, it is cheaper to start with the 69FC and add the 4x5 back than to add the 6x9 rear standard and bellows to the 45 Field. This is because Arca doesn't have a "kit" to convert the 45 Field to a 6x9, so you have to buy each part individually.

-- Glenn Kroeger (, January 23, 2001.

If you haven't already made your purchase, let me suggest that the gearing on the metric is well worth the additional cost. Rise/fall adjustments and shifts (the majority of your movements) may be made with one hand. I used an FC for over 10 years. I recently bought a metric and wish I had done so sooner

-- Steven Brooke (, March 15, 2001.

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