Stiff neck using Arca-Swiss binocular viewer : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Hi, I've been using the Arca binocular viewer with my 6x9FC and it kills my neck to hold my head in the required position. The amount of tilting of the viewer that's possible seems to be a peculiar angle for looking into the ground glass. I wish it could be a straight-on viewing situation. (That would aslo get the camera itself highter, so I wouldn't need to use as much rise.) I do not want to go back to using a dark cloth if at all posssible, but I have a old neck injury from swimming and this angle really exacerbates it.

Any brilliant ideas for changing the angle?


-- Sandy Sorlien (, January 25, 2002


I use the Horseman folding viewer which has a tilting mirror which sometimes makes the viewing easier.I don't know if it can be made to fit your camera. Another option that Paul S. told me about is the Horseman DIRECT viewer which does not flip the image right side up, but does allow direct binocular magnified viewing straight on the axis of site of your camera. He said that he uses this much more now than the reflex. Again I don't know if it can fit your camera, but if not, perhaps S.K. Grimes can make a converter.This would solve all neck bending problems for you.

I share your glee in not having to use a dark cloth anymore. Sandy, I will send you privately some pictures of the device that Paul sent me...

-- Scott Jones (, January 25, 2002.


For angles where the binocular viewer isn't comfortable, you can use the viewing bellows. It has a binocular lens like the viewer and you can use the same rubber eyecup. Of course, the image will now be upside down! You can snap out the binocular lens in order to use a loupe directly on the ground glass. It attached to the groundglass with an elastic band.

-- Glenn C. Kroeger (, January 25, 2002.

Hi Sandy

As Glenn already stated I have also the bag bellows made from very soft leader. But for example yesterday I had a hi camera possition so i was taken the bino 180 in the other direction against the floor works also very good if you have the camera about 45 against the floor or even lesser. Hope it helps for better times for your neck now!

-- Armin Seeholzer (, January 25, 2002.

Can't comment on the bino, but I use the Arca viewing bellows w/ rubber eyecap for almost every shot - it's a nice piece of equipment, but please keep in mind that you'll have to support it with one hand (or it will sag down). I have some vague plans about seaming flexible wires into the bellows to make it self-supporting, but haven't found the time to work this out.
The Linhof viewing bellows is pleated with foam and self-supporting, but it's only mono and probably won't fit an Arca. I'm under the impression the viewing bellows could be designed better by Arca, but probably they sell so many bino viewers (even Linhof seems to make an adapter for the Arca 6x9 bino viewer for their M679!) that they don't bother...

-- Stefan Dalibor (, January 28, 2002.

This is an older thread, so I hope some one notices my question and answers:

When using a binocular viewer such as the Horseman, do the viewer and the back move independantly of each other? In other words, is the viewer always in the same position regardless of whether the back is vertical or horizontal?

The answer must be yes or everyone would have a very stiff neck using one. Thanks.

-- John Hennessy (, January 28, 2002.

Most of my experience with binocular reflex viewers is with the Arca-Swiss one. That viewer is hinged at the base and you tilt the viewer over a wide range of angles to get maximum brightness on different areas of the screen. the longerthe lens theless this needs to be done. This is equivalant to moving your head when directly viewing the groundglass except that you cannot move your head from side to side. of the other two bino reflex viewers I have briefly worked with, Touo and Sinar, this is also the case.

-- Ellis Vener Photography (, January 28, 2002.

I can't speak for the Horseman, but for the Arca the answer is Yes. When I flip my back from from vertical to horizontal I remove the viewer from the groundglass surround and re-position it so I'm still looking down into the viewer.

Sandy, I just went downstairs to play with it to see if it could be modified fairly easily (not that I would want to given the price, but...). Anyway, as I tilted it through it's various possible angles I realized that the subject got brighter and darker (about halfway provided the brightest image). This led me to the conclusion that the mirror really needs to be approximately 45 degrees from the ground glass to work best. So, the short answer seems to be that mods are not possible -- or at least something I wouldn't want to attempt given the price of the viewer. Your best bet may be going to the viewing bellows.

-- Jennifer Waak (, January 28, 2002.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ