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Arca Universalis

My questions probably morph over the LF camera / MF / etc forums, but i will try here given it potentially seems the most appropriate as a more modern piece of kit.

I am interested in the Arca Universalis due to its apparently high flexibility as a precision camera body that is suitable for both digital backs (either MF or mirrorless 35mm) + 4x5 film.

Perhaps unusually (if not more traditionally!), I'm angling towards the 4x5 format of the Arca Universalis as the initial set-up.

Has anyone used this set-up across either mirrorless / MF / 4x5? .....it seems super light for what is claiming to be all-metal and high precision, which makes it seem very attractive indeed for travel.

My question is .....how stable is it (e.g., are the front and rear standards 100% precisely aligned and very rock solid, or do they flex if you push them?....as a background in 4x5, I've say a Linhof Technika was pretty rock solid, but you could flex an Ebony's standards).

When i introduce a digital back, is the rigidity / precision / alignment also there for multi-stitching a mirrorless (I have a Leica Monochrom) and / or MF back (likely in the 50-80mp range one day)?

In addition, which other options exist that you'd suggest could provide multi-use (digital and film) flexibility?

Thanks!
 

vjbelle

Well-known member
I demoed one about a half year ago as I was considering switching from my Cambo to it. My considerations were the same as yours as parallelism between the two standards is critical with a digital back. In the end I stayed with my Cambo which is lighter and less expensive but with the same precision. This is not to take anything away from the Arca which I liked. I suggest you demo one from Rod Klukas the US rep who will work with you. As for rigidity, both of the cameras (Cambo and Arca) will flex slightly but won't retain any of the flex. Most importantly its critical to maintain/obtain the 'zero' position on the front standard for swing. Shifting horizontally will magnify any misalignment. The Arca uses a 'detent' which is difficult to finely tune - which means the detent must be very accurate. The Cambo does not use a detent and is much more easy to fine tune if necessary.

You may also, just for comparisons sake, try to get you hands on a Cambo......

Victor

Edit: Not to confuse this but as I now recall I did not demo a Universalis but rather an MF2 which is one step above the Universalis.... heavier and more expensive.
 
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RodK

Member
My questions probably morph over the LF camera / MF / etc forums, but i will try here given it potentially seems the most appropriate as a more modern piece of kit.

I am interested in the Arca Universalis due to its apparently high flexibility as a precision camera body that is suitable for both digital backs (either MF or mirrorless 35mm) + 4x5 film.

Perhaps unusually (if not more traditionally!), I'm angling towards the 4x5 format of the Arca Universalis as the initial set-up.

Has anyone used this set-up across either mirrorless / MF / 4x5? .....it seems super light for what is claiming to be all-metal and high precision, which makes it seem very attractive indeed for travel.

My question is .....how stable is it (e.g., are the front and rear standards 100% precisely aligned and very rock solid, or do they flex if you push them?....as a background in 4x5, I've say a Linhof Technika was pretty rock solid, but you could flex an Ebony's standards).

When i introduce a digital back, is the rigidity / precision / alignment also there for multi-stitching a mirrorless (I have a Leica Monochrom) and / or MF back (likely in the 50-80mp range one day)?

In addition, which other options exist that you'd suggest could provide multi-use (digital and film) flexibility?

Thanks!
Jon,

Here is a review of the Universalis 4X5 from a user in Australia that you might find interesting. Mark Darragh has been a longtime user of our F-line Field camera, and compares it a bit in this review:

https://viewcameraaustralia.org/2017/06/14/review-arca-swiss-f-universalis-4x5/
 
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