arca swiss view camera

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i ve searched for arca swiss view camera info, i find that it's less expensive for a new 45 discovery than 69 FC, but what are their differences in function, and potential for upgrading ? does discovery a good view camera for "field use"? also the arca swiss 69 roll film back is expensive when compared with other brands, so can i use others instead? thanks

-- benz (wchiping@hotmail.com), January 30, 2002

Answers

Differences between an ARCA 6x9 FC and a Discovery 4x5.

I have a 6x9FC, bought as used and renewed by Arca Swiss here in Besancon. The 6X9FC is quite rare on the used equipement market. Rollfim backs for 6x9 : Horseman backs and 6x7 Mamiya RB backs will fit. There is an intermediate holder between the rear standard and the rollfilm back. You have a graflok system to hold the back on this intermediate part, so you do not have to buy this part if you need different backs. I myself have two 6x9 backs and 2 intermediate parts so I can use the convenient "one-hand" operation to get the ground glass off and attach both film backs. There is no 6.5x9 cut film back but I assume that nobody cares for that.

The rollfilm attachment mechanism is not standard as for most 6x9 cameras. If you want a total compatibility offered by the International 9x12cm 4"x5" back your choice will be a 4"x5" rear standard where you can fit any rollfilm holder that fit an international standard, plus Horseman and MF backs with a special reduction plate. All the details of the ARCA system can be found here: http://http.cs.berkeley.edu/~qtluong/photography/lf/ARCA.pdf

You can even fit hasselblad backs or mamiya RZ but with no geared transport ; the hassy adaptor is designed for digital backs, in fact.

The 4"x5" discovery is simplified in the focusing knobs. The front (lens panel) knob is friction only. The back (film-ground glass) knob is geared. On a F-line either 6x9cm or 4"x5" both focusing knobs are geared. Also the shift control on a F-line is a kind of quick-action clamp whereas on the Basic 4x5 or the discovery it is a somewhat slower screw system, but the precision ans ease of use is the same.

The "discovery" shares the same rail and accessories than the whole F-line. It is thus fully expandable. A definite "plus" IMHO. I was a bit scared by the idea of manipulating sheet film, but I would probably have chosen the discovery as my first large format camera if I had had a 4"x5" enlarger. You can imagine to replace the front standard of a 4x5 discovery with the small 6x9 F-line standard + a conical bellows to get a "field view camera" of reduced size. This combination is sometimes sold as new in the States. You have lens board adaptors to fit other lens panels (e.g. Linhof) on the "huge" 4"x5" arca panel, sometimes criticized for being excessively large.

The degree of compatibility of the present F-line with older pre-F Arca Swiss models is reasonably high but not 100%. There are some compatibility issues, e.g. bellows attachment, but the manufacturer does stock replacement parts ; so if you want to go for a pre-F old Arca you should at least exactly know here the compatibility limits are.

I will be glad to answer any other questions on the Arca 6x9 FC.

Emmanuel BIGLER, Besancon, France

-- Emmanuel Bigler (bigler@ens2m.fr), January 30, 2002.


An additional note on the missing features of the Arca-Swiss discovery vs. a regular F-line : there is no Fresnel lens in the ground glass, probably something I would find annoying. All differences are well documented here, in an artcle by Barry Sherman.

http://http.cs.berkeley.edu/~qtluong/photography/lf/arca-swiss.html

-- Emmanuel Bigler (bigler@ens2m.fr), January 30, 2002.


I have the Discovery and just love it. And, the article is either wrong or outdated because the Discovery does now come with a fresnel screen.

You'll get good information here or you can also call Jeff at Badger Graphics or someone at the F-Stop (I've dealt with Jeff a lot) -- they are both Arca dealers. I had actually called to get a different Arca but by the time I got done talking to Jeff I had placed an order for the Discovery. Great camera for the price.

-- Jennifer Waak (jen.waak@visi.com), January 30, 2002.


thanks everybody here very helpful information, but i still get questions to clarify: 1/as from some cyber sources,the discovery 45 kit contains 0210445 Discovery 4x5-- 041130 Monorail unit 30cm 042108 Extension bracket 8.5cm 051010 Function carrier Discovery, front 051011 Function carrier Discovery, rear 062150 Format frame Discovery, front 062151 Format frame Discovery, rear 080007 Film holder and groundglass frame 4x5íž with Fresnel 072040 Bellows 4x5íž standard, 38 cm, synth. 140020 Softbag/rucksack but as some body mentioned above, "There is an intermediate holder between the rear standard and the rollfilm back. You have a graflok system to hold the back on this intermediate part, so you do not have to buy this part if you need different backs. I myself have two 6x9 backs and 2 intermediate parts so I can use the convenient "one-hand" operation to get the ground glass off and attach both film backs. " so i need to but the "intermediate holder", roll film back in addition to the above menu, am i right?

2/ do the film back a revolving type?

3/ how wide can i use with the 38cm standard bellow? 75mm?

4/ from robert white , i find new discovery kit cost about GBP 835 , is it a good offer? does the robertwhite a reliable agent? as i am from hong kong, the price seem much expensive.

thanks all for help

best regards benz

-- benz (wchiping@hotmail.com), January 30, 2002.


Benz:

The "intermediate holder" is actually called the rollfilm adapter, and is used on the 69FC to mate a 6x9 back to the rear standard. On the Discovery, you have a 4x5 Graflock back, so you can attach rollfilm holders designed for 4x5 Graflock (Horseman, Linhof Super Rolex and Wista) or use rollfilm holder that slip beneath the groundglass (Calumet, Linhof Rapid Rolex, Toyo or Sinar). The Discovery does indeed now come with a fresnel screen and an improved tripod block. These improvements caused a slight price increase but are well worth it. Robert White is as reliable a dealer as can be found anywhere in the world!

-- Glenn C. Kroeger (gkroeger@trinity.edu), January 30, 2002.



Good news if the latest Discovery kit includes a Fresnel as standard and sorry for re-posting outdated info. So this improvements actually (or do I still miss something?) reduces the difference vs. a Basic or a Classic 4"x5" to the non-geared front focusing, missing rubber inlays in knobs, and the clamping system for shifts.

As far as wide angle lenses is concerned, being a monorail type the Arca F-line including the discovery is not limited like older Technikas or some wodden cameras, and you can easily accommodate lenses with a smaller focal length than 75mm. A 75 will fit easily fit with a standard 4"x5" Arca board, this holds down to a 45, the standard board being slighlty (3mm) recessed. There is also a recessed panel that will allow you to go down to a 35 but of course with the suitable WA bellows.

This is well explained of thefstop web site. http://thefstop.com/equipment/new/arca/csds.html#LENSBOARDS FOR WIDE ANGLE

-- Emmanuel Bigler (bigler@ens2m.fr), February 01, 2002.


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