This year, we decided to invest in a portable technical camera, if it was possible to meet most of our shooting situations. So, for the last six months we evaluated the various smaller technical cameras currently available on the market. Our analysis, or at least our approach, might benefit other photographers who are considering the same investment.
First, we list the major features of importance to us that we deem essential requirements to making such an investment:
1. Front lens tilt+swing with any lens (and retaining infinity focus)
2. Rear x-y shift of MFDB suitable for stitching
3. Sliding back optional
4. Compact and lightweight enough for easy portability, setup and breakdown
5. Schneider and Rodenstock digital LF lens choices from 23mm - 210mm
6. Untethered focus accuracy (other than infinity)
7. Hand holdable w/ accurate focus (other than infinity)
8. Zoomable EVF w/ shift indicator for all supported lenses
9. Compact tilt-able 6x9 magnified (4X-6X) reflex GG finder w/ adjustable diopter
Then, we create a table to indicate which technical cameras either meet or fall short of our desired requirements (see our attached table below).
Our conclusion: Only the Arca-Swiss RM3D came closest to our desired features. Most, if not all of the other technical camera choices could not give us reliable untethered performance and handling as with the RM3D. The only shortcoming that we found with the RM3D is the lack of simultaneous swing, or preferably the multi-directional tilt-swing ability as found in cameras like the Sinar arTec and the Cambo WRS. However, our lens movement needs are predominantly a small amount of tilt, so we are happy with this trade-off in favor of the better untethered performance.