Roll film back for Arca Swiss 4x5 : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Just got my Arca Swiss 4x5 classic.I love it.However I wish it had a graflock back so it would accomodate more types of roll film backs.So far I know the calumet/Cambo/Sinar roll film backs will slip behind the ground glass without removal of the ground glass.My issue is I bought a viewing bellows with magnifier that attaches to the ground glass and I think it would be a pain to have to remove the viewing bellows and ground glass every time I want to compose a shot for roll film.So I was wondering about the other backs that would slip in easily behind the ground glass and viewing bellows.Is anyone using a Toyo roll film holder with the Arca.Do you like it? I have heard good things about these as compared to the bad things I heard about the Calumet types.The Sinar is also nice but very expensive.I would like to get something used .Any suggestions?

-- Mike Kuszek (, March 10, 2002



I suggest that you should try before you buy. The Toyo sli-in RFH has issues of the film advance lever fouling the camera body thereby necessitating removal of the RFH to advance each fram. The Sinar backs do work well but are bulky and heavy. I believe that European Camera Sprecialists in Sydney, Australia have a Sinar Zoom 2 and a Sinar 6x7 RFH second hand - I saw them there while shopping on Friday - try

Having used the Sinar focussing bellows system I would strongly advise the removal of any such device whilst exposing to minimise the possiblilty of movement and ivbration from the pendulous effect in a breeze.

Walter Glover

-- Walter Glover (, March 10, 2002.

Hi Mike-

Is your camera an Arca Swiss F-line classic? My 4x5 F-line metric does have a graflock back and I believe they both use the same format frame. I use the Horseman and graphlex graflock and the Sinar behind the glass roll film holders.


-- Jim Bancroft (, March 10, 2002.

Mike, I do have an F-line classic and it does have a graflock back.

-- Ellis Vener Photography (, March 10, 2002.

Mike I tried sending you a private e-mail about this but it bounced back.

-- Ellis Vener Photography (, March 10, 2002.

My mistake,I did not realize that an international back was the same as a Graflock back.I thought they were two seperate types of backs.So a horseman should slip behind the groundglass.I got a chance to pick up a Horseman 6x7 back in mint shape for a reasonable price so I'm going for it. Thanks to all for the info!

-- Mike Kuszek (, March 10, 2002.

No! A Horseman back will definitely not slip behind an ArcaSwiss ground glass back! The springs are too strong and you will likely break the glass and at the very least gouge it!

You have to remove the groundglass back (per the instructions I sent you).

-- Ellis Vener Photography (, March 10, 2002.

Mike, I have used a Toyo roll film back once with the camera in question. It works but it is a very snug fit, because of the strength of the Arca's springs. The Sinar is definitely the best and can be found used from time to time on E-bay. Even so it is not the easiest back to load in the field. It is not really difficult but you need to pay attention to what you are doing, ifyou can find an additional or some additional cartridges and pre load these that will help. Snar used to make fixed format (6x7 and 6x9cm backs butthese have all been replaced by the VARIO I & Vario II. the Sinar VARIO II is reputedly more reliable than the VArio I, or least more amenable to changing format sizes in midroll. Ii back which as the name implies and you probably know, allow you to shoot in 6x4.5, 6x6, 6x7, 6x9 and 6x12 formats all on the same roll if you desire. You can also use the same back for both 120 and 220 length rolls of film. if all of that is of interest to you then the Sinar Vario II is actually pretty reasonably priced. I think Linhof makes an RFH that will slide under the groundglass frame as well. it will make the SINAR seem cheap. International or graflock attachment systems have nothing to do with being able to slide a rollfilm holder under the groundglass. In fact they were designed so that photographers, using rangefinders to focus with onthe Speedgraphic line of cameras would not have to mess with a fragile ground glass at all unless they choose to attach one to their camera. if you have ever seen a graphmatic holder you'll unfderstand. These allegedly let a press photorapher shoot up t oeight sheets of film with out removing the back from the camera. if you could slide a roll film holder of the "humpback" type like the Horseman, the springs in the groundglass frame would be too loose to hold a standard double sheet holder in place. --

-- Ellis Vener Photography (, March 10, 2002.

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