Arca swiss WA belows : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I am considering an Arca wide angle bellows and am not sure if I want the real "bag" synthetic bellows or the leather WA bellows.I was wondering if anyone is using the leather pleated WA bellows and what lens restrictions/movements they might experiance? I was also wondering if I can put a Horseman 6x9 roll film adapter on the back of a Arca 4x5 Classic or if another brand of roll back would be better?

-- mike kuszek (, March 02, 2002


I've never seen the synthetic wide bellows for the Arca. I have the leather version and it is wonderful. I can use from 65 to a 180 focused down to about 3 feet using the leather wide angle bellows so it stays on the camera nearly all the time. I also have a Horseman 6X9 back that I'm happy with but I don't use it much. I pretty much figure big camera, big film.

-- Henry Ambrose (, March 02, 2002.

Do you think I could push it and use the 47mm or 58mm XL lenses with the leather bellows and still get some decent rise?

-- Mike Kuszek (, March 02, 2002.

The synthetic w/a bellows is more flexible than the leather. I am very happy with it. I'm pretty sure it will let you use shorter lenses than the leather bellows, -like down to a 45mm mounted on the standard ArcaSwiss lens board. So save the money unless leather is important to you.

I have been using a Horseman 6x9cm back on my 4x5 Classic for many years with no problems. The Sinar RFH is very nice as it can go under the groundglass, but the Horseman is fine.

-- Ellis Vener Photography (, March 02, 2002.

The problem with a leather bellows is care and maintenance. If it dries out or is exposed to the really harsh elements it will be damaged. Syn is just plastic. I don't have to treat my camera with kids glove and the bellows hold up fine. The syn bag bellows is very good. It is very large and the one pleats allows for a lot of movement. It is cheaper to boot. I don't have my camera handy but I could movement the syn bag bellows to the max of my Discovery's ability.

-- David Payumo (, March 02, 2002.

If I stretch my leather WA bellows, I can focus a 210mm Sironar S to about 1.2m - of course w/o much movements. With the synthetic WA bellows, almost no movements are possible with the Sironar. Regarding the sensivity of leather bellows: I treat mine like expensive shoes, applying a (very thin) layer of `green' (i.e. not containing chemical thinners) shoe wax if the leather feels dry. In my experience and with this kind of maintenance, my leather shoes tend to get a lot older, and in much better shape than plastic shoes...

-- Stefan Dalibor (, March 02, 2002.

You can get rise with the leather bellows even with the carriers (? the blocks that ride on the rail) touching. The 65 is the widest I've had on my camera and I can move more than the lens covers. I think that a 47 might need a recessed board to focus, but I'm only guessing. I kinda like the leather since it goes nicely with the otherwise spartan appearance of the camera. The synthetic is cheaper and it sounds like from Ellis' post that it might be even more flexible. I wonder if it extends as far as the leather? Which may not matter to you - as I said before I tend to leave the WA bellows on the camera nearly all the time - you may have different needs.

-- Henry Ambrose (, March 02, 2002.

I've had both. I had the synthetic and returned it for the leather.

While the synthetic is capable of shorter lenses, I much prefer the leather. I use it as my normal bellows, and it easily accomodates my 180mm lens on a recessed lensboard. With the 3/4" recessed lens board, the bellows accomodates all my lenses, down to 65mm, with movements.

Plus, there's nothing quite like a leather bellows on a finely crafted camera. It makes for a great combination.

-- neil poulsen (, March 02, 2002.

Save the code (and the animals).

-- Matthew Runde (, March 03, 2002.

This time?

-- Matthew Runde (, March 03, 2002.

I use a synthetic WA bellows with my Monolith 4x5'. It's perfect. In addition to Ellis Verner's remark: I regularly use a Sinar Zoom 2 rollfilm back. The synth. bellows allow me to use a 35 mm (Rodenstock Apo-Grandagon 1:4.5)for 6x12 cm. Yes, you need a (double) recessed lensboard.

-- Jan Nieuwenhuysen (, March 04, 2002.

According to Arca-Swiss when using the synthetic material w/a bellows you can use lenses as short as 43mm and focus at infinity with the standard (13mm recessed) Arca-Swiss lensboards for the F and Monolith cameras .

-- Ellis Vener Photography (, March 04, 2002.

i own both, the leather bellows works fine as an "normal" bellows. but mine is not flexible enough for lenses shorter than 80mm

-- sven glage (, March 04, 2002.

I see that (Arca users)are a group that is strong and plentyfull on this forum.I am glad to be part of this group.I have decided to get the synthetic for the reasons of price ,flexibility, and extreme wide angle lenses I will use.I want to thank you all for your advice.

-- Mike Kuszek (, March 04, 2002.

I own the leather w/a bellows and use it with my Super Angulon 58XL up through my SS 210 XL. I owned the synthetic and sold it as the leather is more flexible and will work with the 210 where I could not get the synthetic to.


-- Michael J. Kravit (, March 04, 2002.

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