Differences between Arca Swiss Discovery and F-Line cameras

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Ok, so I'm comparing the Arca Swiss Discovery and F-Line Basic cameras out of boredom and am having trouble finding the differences. Aside from a difference of 2.5 lbs and what looks like a few differences in controls, what really differentiates these two cameras? Also, if one were to be purchasing the Discovery, would it be a better choice just to pay the extra $600 or so and get the F-Line? The things I do instead of study....

-- David Munson (orthoptera@juno.com), May 23, 2001


I was procrastinating about work a while back (and am again) and went through the exact same debate. I finally called Jeff at Badger Graphics convinced that the F-line was way better because it cost more and he said that Arca-Swiss should be charging more for the Discovery. By the time I hung up I had bought the Discovery (and then told myself my light meter was effectively free because of all the money I saved). Now if only that B-2 ballhead would come (production problems in Switzerland according to Robert White, for those who care) so I could use the silly thing. :-)

-- Jennifer Waak (jen.waak@visi.com), May 23, 2001.

There is a comprehensive pdf. file from Arca Swiss describing the whole product line. I had the file, and I'm unsure where I obtained it, and have since deleted it. You may want to e-mail Arca Swiss directly and get them to send it. Also, try thefstop.com as they have a basic chart comparing the various models. Popular Photography, November '98 - " The yaw-free Discovery is a near clone of an Arca Swiss F -- widely regarded as one of the best lightweight monorail cameras ever - but with a shorter nontelescoping monorail, a high quality semrigid case (which doesn't come with the F)and, incredibly, a price $1,200 lower. The other differences between the two cameras are trivial and limit redundancies more than functionality "

-- Michael Mahoney (mmahoney@nfld.com), May 24, 2001.

I noticed three differences from the Discovrey and the F-Line Basic :

- the rubber covers are yellow in the Discovery and black in the F- Line B (!)

- as Michael stated, the Discovery comes with a non-telescopic rail, and very important with a non-consistent connector of the rail on a head, as the F-Line comes with an Arca-style sliding block.

- the Discovery has a simplified lock for the shift of the standards based on a screwing bolt, in place of a spring loaded on the F-Line

For the price, the Discovery would be an excellent buy, apart the connector which is boring. You probably will have to replace it and also will want a longer rail (telescopic or not).

-- Dominique CÚsari (cesarigd@club-internet.fr), May 29, 2001.

Well I like the name "Discovery" more than "F-Line basic". The differences are slight. The Discovery comes with a nice semi-rigid case (the strap is good for shoulder carrying but not backpacking). The monorail is probably different. The controls are slide and lock (via knobs). The rear focus isn't really geared. It more of a friction resistence mechanism. The main difference is the Discovery is a good deal. The Discovery is made for students. Save your money for the lens and tripod!

-- David Payumo (dpayumo@home.com), May 31, 2001.

I just got my Discovery from the good people at Robert White, U.K., and my mounting block is the "dovetail" kind, designed to fit into an Arca-Swiss head, and the rear focus is certainly geared. Maybe different models, or perhaps newer features?

-- Michael Mahoney (mmahoney@nfld.com), June 02, 2001.

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