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Arca Swiss F-Line Metric vs Metric C Field for architecture


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I've been shooting architecture with DSLR's and tilt shift lenses as well as medium format film for many years but am new to large format photography. I'm looking at buying either the Arca Swiss F-Line Metric or the Field version to shoot mainly architecture plus some landscapes. I plan to shoot 5x4 as well as some 6x7 with the roll back. A digital back is a possibility in the future but it will be all film for now.


I'm leaning towards the Field version because of the reduced weight/size and the universal bellows allows for greater lens flexibility without switching bellows around. My only concern is the reduced front rise on the field. The field camera has "Front: 25mm rise, 35mm fall Rear: 100mm rise only" whereas the regular metric has "Front and Rear: 3.9" (100mm) geared rise". I expect that when shooting architecture front rise will be my most used movement so am I limiting myself too much with the field version? I realise you can incline the bed (tilt the whole camera) and re-level to get extra rise but is this going to be annoying if I'm doing it regularly? 25mm rise on the Field doesn't sound like much but maybe it is? Being new to Large format I have no idea.


Any advice would be greatly appreciated.





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Maybe you could get a cheap used 4x5 camera to play with, and find out how much rise you want, before getting your Arca Swiss? I bought an old monorail camera (a Calumet CC-401), more or less because it was there, not far away, and cheap: I had no plans to spend a lot on large format. The camera cost me 40 UK pounds, plus driving to the next city to pick it up (then of course I spent a little more on some accessories...). I haven't used it much, but when I do I use front rise, mostly to get rid of excess foreground without tilting the camera. The front standard allows 75mm of geared rise, and I think you can get more by tilting the rail as you said. I usually only need a little.


Also, do you already know what lens you will be using? If so, you can check how much rise it's image circle would let you use anyhow.


Good luck!

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100mm back rise only sounds absolutely useless to me. I think I can count the number of times I've needed to use even half that amount of back rise on the fingers of one hand. A small amount of front fall, or downwards camera tilt with compensating front/back tilt is usually enough for product shoots - which you say you won't be doing anyway.


The only plus point I can see to the A-S Field is the rubbery bellows - and no, I don't have a speech impediment. But whoa! That price tag!


I'll second Dustin's suggestion to look for a (much) cheaper used option, preferably with an additional bag bellows. It takes, like maybe 30 seconds to swap out a standard bellows for a bag - only needed for short wide angle lenses in any case. At least until you know exactly what your needs are.


After all, most monorails are pretty much the same, and most offer rear fall as well as rise, and a lot more than 25mm of it on both standards. My old Devere Devon - got for free in a lab clearance - offers over 4" of rise/fall differential between front and rear standards, with about the same amount of lateral shift, as well as more tilt/swing angle than anyone could sensibly use.


Save your cash for decent lenses would be my advice. The make of camera affects image quality hardly at all.


Fujinon, Rodenstock and Nikon are the lenses to look for in wide-angles. Schneiders are OK in mid-to-long focal lengths, but I was never impressed with their Super-Angulon range. Although maybe the 80mm Super-Symmar was a bit better.


Oh, P. S. Only buy Toyo film-holders. I have some Fidelity ones that have warped and don't shut properly. Never had a problem with the Toyos.

Edited by rodeo_joe|1
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