With the advent of Live View and decent screens on MFDB's in the future, will anyone mourn these convoluted and necessarily over engineered solutions?
I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz
When someone makes a digiback which sends a wifi live view to an Ipad so that I can get an image large enough to easily see Sheinflug in action (in the field) - that will be bliss.
In the meantime we have to make do with third rate ground glass inadequate loupes and a lot of experienced based guessing - even gettiing something in focus in a 200% pixle peeping world is too hard ...
I guess thats why most landscapes made with digital cameras are dead boring because they all rely to much on 'content' depicted from a repetitive boring perspective, using the same lenses in the same way, with over worked filter effects and post shot manipulations - that makes my eyes wince.:sleep006:
A higer resolution on the focus ring (i.e. with much more indications) is also not what I would call overengineered.
Even if LiveView is on the horizon for MFDB… it is not available today. But I want to shoot today…
Too, even if I'd buy a MFDB with LiveView I still would like to use my old school DB on the same camera platform.
In case some aren't aware of it, Kapture Group make a OneShot cable release that wakes up a Phase back and fires the shutter with a single push of the button. http://www.kapturegroup.com/phase/phase.html#4x4one_a It's a big improvement, particularly for hand held photos; no more error messages when you don't press the shutter fast enough after waking the back.
I assume the ALPA solution will be somewhat similar, though I hope it will allow for easy mounting on the camera body.
David, thanks for sharing your research and thoughts on these technical cameras. Very helpful to those of us who are less familiar with them.
Some folks have asked that I update my original table with more details, so here it is. I hope this helps people who are looking into technical cameras.
Last edited by David Klepacki; 30th June 2013 at 20:29.
I've stayed out of this till now however I thought I'd offer a few comments.
As most of you know I've been shooting landscape with a Cambo WRS1000 and P45+ for almost 2-years now. The WRS1000 is the body Cambo designed strictly for digital backs thus it's lightweight and offers a small footprint. The WRS offers geared movements which to date have not failed me. These same movements also offer the ability of flat stitching that is simple to use. I've attempted to use a groundglass with the camera and found it just not to my liking for several reasons, among them the hassle factor of removing the back then adding the groundglass then doing the reverse to replace the back. The groundglass works as advertized when I used it, however I ended up not using it as much as I thought I would. It took me close to 18-months before I finally got a viewfinder and while I use it now I'm glad I waited.
I had to replace my P30+ back for a P45+ when I made the move to the Cambo and I'm glad I did. I also tried Capture Integration's 2-shot shutter system before going with a Kapture Group Oneshot cable system.
I've found the WRS to be easy and intuitive to use with virtually no learning curve. My biggest fear when I started was the ability to achieve critical focus however I found my largest problems were remembering to remove the lens cap and cock the shutter.
I bought in the thought process that I would need all types of measurement devices to achieve focus thus I went out and got laser finders and other "stuff". The only remaining item I continue to keep in my bag and use occasionally is a Fotoman rangefinder.
I could, and maybe one day will have one or more of my lens retrofitted to the new swing/tilt lenspanel; I haven't found a huge need for swing/tilt in my photography however others could. Likewise while at first I thought I would have liked the idea of a sliding back I came to the understanding that I simple don't need it. I like the small size the WRS offers and adding a sliding back would defeat that purpose.
This said, I will admit to having lust in my heart over the looks of the Alpa, come on who wouldn't like the wood handles!
What I don't like is this EVF. Reminds me of a similar setup where a rifleman uses a computer and software for ballistics information (Horus Vision). Anything complicated can and will go belly up when you least expect it. I also remember watching a video on the EVF after it was first introduced and thought then that it complicated what should be simple. It also added things that could (at least in my case) be lost somewhere out in the middle of no and where and then you're screwed.
Guess I just like the simple life.
As always just my 2¢ worth and valued at much less.
I reread what I wrote and want to make it clear that I'm not slamming the system, it's just not for me. Then again we are very fortunate that we have the choices we do as it would be very boring to live in a one size fits all world.
I also want to add my thanks to David for his chart as it would have simplified my life when I started down this road.
David - just a note that there is no Kapture Group sliding back adapter option for the Alpa.
As a simple finder it is not complicated... it's just a finder as any other finder (though the view is much, much better than with the Alpa or Cambo finder; it's brighter and less distorted).What I don't like is this EVF. Reminds me of a similar setup where a rifleman uses a computer and software for ballistics information (Horus Vision). Anything complicated can and will go belly up when you least expect it. I also remember watching a video on the EVF after it was first introduced and thought then that it complicated what should be simple.
Only if you use those DOF barrels and all that tables it get's a bit complicated (at least a bit confusing at first).
- dedicated leveling aid: there are also spirit levels on the rm3d.
- it might make sense to add the rl3d to your table:
you get either tilt or swing (but still not both) - this is a better solution than mounting the rm3d sideways.
shift: V: 40/10, H: 20/20
so far, i haven't been able to find the proper dimensions. i had a look at one next to an rm3d and i thought, it's not that much larger. but when i look at pictures in the web it looks quite a bite larger.
- something else - no idea if this is of any relevance: somewhere i have read that in certain circumstances the limited 'aperture' of a traditional camera body might result in vignetting. if this is true the design of the arca, i.e., the huge helical mount, was another plus. perhaps someone more knowable would like to comment.
and you can use 6x9 ground glass and binocular viewer with the RM3D...
Yes, there is a small circular spirit level on the RM3D, but the new Arca-Swiss E-module better differentiates their available technology.
Also, your are correct in that the RL3D should be added to the table. Indeed, it has all the features of the RM3D and more. If we were shooting with a larger format (e.g., 4x5), then this would have been our camera of choice.
I was just told by KG that their Alpa back won't be available until next year, so it is not something that you can really count on at the moment - and it may not be able to work with all wide angle lenses - hopefully they will be able to work the kinks out and it will work with all lenses, but how long a wait? How many "ticks" for the other cameras are just in the "engineering phase" right now that should be added to the list?
Last edited by David Klepacki; 30th June 2013 at 20:29.
I really appreciate the wealth of information on this thread. Huge thanks for David for sharing his research and willingness to update following feedback from other owners.
Having used a Linhof Techno for a week over the summer with the Linhof sliding back, I was unaware of the other the camera options which provide tilt which was a welcome eye-opener. For Landscape, this movement and rise/fall is of most use. Availability of the majority of them on David's list in the UK seems to be scarce, like I'm struggling to identify some of the importers!
I am slightly confused about the effectiveness of Laser rangefinders to focus and then how to determine the correct amount of tilt and aperture to ensure the Plane of focus renders things sharp which are supposed to be. I can see how it would work for an outdoor architectural shot, but keeping interior sharp with a high foreground object is similar to many Landscape scenarios with a low viewpoint and foreground rock or log to lock the composition and where use of movements scores over non-tech cameras where it would be Helicon Focus to the rescue again! Whilst this compositional description might sound clicheed, it is something which recurs in many scenic shots and is relevant when doing intricate studies instead of the vista. The latter is exacerbated by the fact that often a longer lens is used for these study shots. These issues do concern me before spending heavily once again.
With the Techno, I found it significantly harder to use movements to control focus confidently than my 4x5 camera, even using a 10x Schneider aspherical loupe. This was especially so at the edges of the frame. The Acute screen was like turning the headlights on, great for rise/fall and shift, but too small/tight for accurate application of tilt. It's a wonderful camera and piece of engineering, more practice would have made me a more competent driver. This thread has alerted me to other possibilities.
The Arca-Swiss EVF looks tremendous piece of engineering (happy to include the camera itself), but I struggle to see how easy it would be to use on a windy beach or cliff-top and then to decide how much tilt etc to dial in.
If anyone can shed light by providing their solutions to these concerns and thus allay my worries, then I'd love to learn from you.
For tilts you are pretty resigned to direct focusing using the ground glass or tethered.
In theory you could certainly calculate the required tilt amount using Scheimpflug principles, basic trigonometry, effective DoF tables and laser distancing on near/far objects that you wanted in the plane of focus. However, I think at that point you'd be dealing with spurious accuracy (assuming that you can dial in a calculated number like 6.344degrees and the required focus distance for example).
Of course, there are many third-party leveling aids available for use with any of these cameras, but I wanted to identify anything specific that the camera manufacturer has to offer.
Arca-Swiss is a very innovative company with a strong reputation of technical achievement (e.g., orbix, misura designs, F-line, M-line, R-line, and even their tripod heads such as the B, P, Z heads and C1 cube). So, I am sure they can come up with a 6x9 monocular reflex viewfinder that is articulated, magnified, has diopter adjustments, compact (foldable?) and consistent with the lean design of the Rm3d and Rl3d.
i still using their Binocular because my glasses fit in it... i must admit that i find it cumbersome.
the think is, that my compositions are much bette with the bino... i've plan to adapt the silvestri monocular on it... but i'm not shure it will works !
May your bank manager forgive me...
Alpa - Company website www.alpa.ch
UK Dealer - Linhof Studio (www.linhofstudio.com)
Arca - No company website - they say that their components can be combined is so many ways that it is best to talk to someone!
UK Dealer - Robert White have some stock and can probably order anything (www.robertwhite.co.uk). I tend to look at a German company called the Arca Shop, which has a more comprehensive stock (www.arca-shop.de)
Cambo - Company website www.cambo.com
UK Dealers - Calumet (www.calumetphoto.com) or Teamwork (www.teamworkphoto.com)
Horseman - Company website www.komamura.co.jp
UK Dealers - Calumet, Robert White
Linhof - Company website www.linhof.de
UK Dealer - Linhof Studio
Silvestri - Company website www.silvestricamera.com
UK Dealer - Teamwork
Sinar - Company website www.sinar.ch
UK Dealer - Image 2 Output (www.image2output.com)
Last edited by jbaxendell; 13th September 2010 at 20:47. Reason: Wrong spelling of Image 2 Output
Great links, thanks!
Ok, so let me get this straight...
Ex VAT, the RM3D is 3950 Euro, the external viewfinder is 950 Euro, the M adaptor plate is 535 Euro, and do you need to buy a lens board for every lens as well? And am I right in thinking the lenses are a lot cheaper than those used on the Alpa due to them not needing heliacal focusing rings? On first look the Arca system looks a lot cheaper?
As for Arca not having a web site, it's absolutely stupid in this day and age. The Alpa web site is very clear with information regarding how to build a system. I'm sure a good web site would encourage gear lust in a totally new market for them.
Arca like making cameras and are less keen on making websites. Apparently they have one that is close to being ready but they keep getting distracted by more interesting things.
The helical part of the lens mount is on the camera and is used by all lenses. The lens has to be mounted in a kind of tube that attaches to the helical. You should take a look at the video review on Luminous Landscape to see what I mean [and then come straight back here and be faithful to Jack and Guy].
My conclusion was that the lenses were a lot cheaper, especially when compared to Alpa. You can also buy a plate for the F and M line cameras that lets you attach lenses that are in the tube mount. Chris Barrett has posted about this feature on this forum.
Last edited by jbaxendell; 13th September 2010 at 21:33. Reason: Can't spell
After reading Thomas mention of the "small German maker" - I remembered an article I had read on LL ( above)
The link above may be of interest to those hunting for a tech camera with movements and some background to the artec.
Also the artec pictured in the article is now improved by better locking system for tilt - a response to pretty much the only criticism made when it was released.
perfection for me would also include the mount to tripod over the center of the camera body - and an accessory mount for nodal point shooting - something for sure one can make up oneself with off the shelf parts from RRS or Novaflex etc - but I ask myself how much nicer if Sinar had ticked the only missing box for landscape shooters with their own system including pre-marked nodal points for the sliders?
apologies for the pic - I spend a lot of time getting to know the equipment I choose - before I buy - if I don't love it enough to make a romantic shot - foggedaboudit! -
Gorgeous shot Peter. The conversion is just perfect for the subject. Did you take this with the M9 and a lux?
i've just received a mail from arca... there's a new RM3Di... an update !
And a new smaller one called RM2D...
New monoballFix and a new small 3D head... they didn't find the time for the website ;-)
So how exactly does the RM3D*i* differ from the current model?
"Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."
But it's a nice accessory that adds to the concept of a small and lightweight tech camera. With the leveling base mounted on the WRS body... you actually only need a decent tripod and off you go.
Just bought a Cambo camera plate so that I can use the WRS and my Contax on the level head (as I really love geared leveling with the 3 screws). Works like charm.
But honestly, the WRS now feels a bit castrated... so I think I will order a second leveling base for the Contax (my other leveling bases or not bad but the Cambo is so much better that it's somehow hard to use anything else).
Yes, the Arc-Swiss R-line is less expensive than the Alpa. The lenses are less expensive since they do not require any helical fosucing rings. The camera bodies are also less expensive, especially if you add in the cost of adding tilt to an Alpa camera. However, there is no wide angle tilt solution for the Alpa system that would retain infinity focus, only macro. The lens movements on the Arca-Swiss R-line are built into the camera body.
So how exactly does the RM3D*i* differ from the current model?
we don't know so fare... i suspect tilt in both axes... will see...
I do know that the RM2D is a smaller version, where the lens movements are eliminated. This would be a much more compact and less expensive camera for those who do not want or need lens movements, and would compete directly with the Alpa Max camera. Again, the advantage of the RM2D would be the ability to focus accurately without using ground glass or being tethered, due to the Arca-Swiss in-body helicoid.
I guess we will see at Photokina!
Thanks very much for all of the links and info. I know Robert White well and live dangerously close to them (though I couldn't see them listing the RM3D) and Paula from Linhof & Studio. The others I'll look at. All slightly academic for me at the moment given I've just bought the 645DF and then my car needed replacing.....
So the RM2D won't have shift movements, like the Alpa TC?
Great thread and many thanks for all the useful information.
I think that if ever I were to enter this world, it would be for landscape (and many be reportage) and would I'd like to keep it simple.
One question I have is whether one can do stitching without rear (horizontal) movements? I do stitching now with a M9 either handhold, on a tripod, or using Noda Ninja. I assume that handhold stitching or stitching on a normal tripod would work equally well with a tech camera and, as long as there are no foreground objects, should also not pose a problem.
Another question would be is whether someone can point me to a site that shows (or allows to calculate) the 35mm equivalent of the focal length of the various lenses, which I think depends on the sensor size of the back).
Again, many thanks for the wealth of information in this thread.
As for stitching I will leave that to another post.
One can always stitch with the camera on a tripod and even hand held by just taking multiple images and swinging the camera around.
There are better ways.
In order to improve things the first way is to place the camera on a tripod and pan with the center of rotation being the optical center of the lens. This prevents the relative motion of foreground and background objects in the captures. For this, usually, the camera is offset by using a rail or "nodal plate" that moves the center of rotation from the center of the panning head and relocates the camera so that the optical center of the lens sits over this point.
An even better way is to keep the lens absolutely fixed in position; thus the shifts on the rear standard.
One advantage to just panning for stitches is that you are always using the sweet spot of the lens - when you "flat stitch" with a tech or view camera as Bob noted you end up using the weaker parts of the image circle too around the edges of your image.
Other than for scenes with foreground objects I think the software is so good these days that having to mess with the nodal point stuff is not really necessary, at least with wilderness images. I've got a lots of eight-foot wide prints made from 6-8 frames by just panning the camera (sans nodal plate) that look very nice, and the view is a lot wider than I could ever get with a tech camera and flat stitching.
I'd much rather flat stitch than move the entire camera as you tend to get much more of a finished image. I've also never experienced any problems with the Schneider lens I use on my WRS. Then again I do landscape and "wildness".
On the other hand you have to capture some more images to cover the same final undistorted image plane as with a simple 4way flat stitch on a tech camera.
Using a 40MP back on a tech camera with flat stitching you easily end up with a file at around 80-110MPx (and more). Even if you blow up such a file further (200% or so) the edges are still very good in a 300dpi print.
You can easily get a much wider view via panning than flat stitching any day - with flat stitching you are limited to the image circle, which for some wide lenses isn't much. Plus you have to deal with that LCC stuff all the time, so you really end up with a lot of files for just a single view (only one LCC required for a panned stitch, and only if using a wide lens). My images often push 200mpx and seem to look OK this way.
One of the first new products I found , just in time for the PHOTOKINA .
ACADALUS CPS h1 . An other "must have" for all users of a technical camera (any brand) .
Weight is only 3,5 kilo at $5500 .
Regards . Jürgen .