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Thread: Arca RM2D v Alpa STC

  1. #1
    bernardo
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    Arca RM2D v Alpa STC

    Hi All,
    First post but a long time forum visitor. Totally and utterly in a "Circle of Confusion" about much of the terminology and technical jargon that seems to be part and parcel of this journey I am about to embark on but the decision has been made and there's no turning back. Have sold all my Leica and Nikon film gear so am now a photo equipment virgin (soon to be a junkie if my readings of some of you guys prove correct). Returning to my photographic simplistic roots as it were. Not quite as far as the Kodak Box Brownie I inherited from my mum though. I want to go the tech. camera route and have narrowed my search down to either the Arca RM2D or the Alpa STC. Don't wish to turn this into which is better per se type of thread as I know much has been written on this so I apologise in advance if this seems a bit tedious to you experienced pros etc. I am in total awe. I merely wish to know which would be more suitable for my needs and thus better understand the underlying differences between the two (if any). I shoot mainly landscape - wild, rural and urban - and I travel a lot. I envisage the back I get (all I can afford) to be the likes of the Phase One P30+.
    And one other thing: if you could afford only one lens to start with, as will probably be the case for me, what would you choose?
    Thanks to all in advance.

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    Re: Arca RM2D v Alpa STC

    Quote Originally Posted by bernardo View Post
    I envisage the back I get (all I can afford) to be the likes of the Phase One P30+.
    Have a look at http://www.captureintegration.com/tests/phase-one/, scroll down to "Phase One P40+, P45+, and P65+" and have a look at the image "Compare Sensor Fall Off". The P30 got microlenses and isn't recommended for a tech cam.

    Chris

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    Re: Arca RM2D v Alpa STC

    Quote Originally Posted by cly View Post
    Have a look at http://www.captureintegration.com/tests/phase-one/, scroll down to "Phase One P40+, P45+, and P65+" and have a look at the image "Compare Sensor Fall Off". The P30 got microlenses and isn't recommended for a tech cam.

    Chris
    Chris beat me to it. Phase does not recommend the P30 for tech cams. Primarily the type of microlens it uses can cause major colour casts that are beyond the limits of what LCC software correction can handle.
    I say "type" of microlens because both the P40 and P65+ have microlenses but of a type that causes Lens colour cast of a lesser degree, usually correctable within Capture One.
    My personal preference is very much in favour of the STC. However, it is important that you try both systems before making a decision. Listen to what others have to say, but dont take anything as gospel until you have run your own tests. Something may be technically better on one count but entirely unsuitable for what you want to do.
    Siebel
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    Re: Arca RM2D v Alpa STC

    Quote Originally Posted by siebel View Post
    My personal preference is very much in favour of the STC.
    Could you explain why, and did you try the Arca RM before settling on the STC?
    Don't you miss the possibility of tilt on lenses below 80mm?

    I'm in a kind of similar situation like the OP but the tech cam will be used a for both architecture and exhibition design in museums. I have tested the Sinar ArTec and the Cambo WRS and should be able to test the RM3d shortly. I'll be able to look at the STC in two weeks time but I guess I won't be able to get one for a test drive at my place - so I'm very interested why you write "very much in favour of the STC".

    Chris

    PS: Great images on your website!

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    Re: Arca RM2D v Alpa STC

    arca is a complete system, you can have a sliding back... and you can use your lenses on a monorail if needed (arca M line two )
    +the tilt will all lenses

    i went with the RM3D mainly because of the sliding back... i much prefer to compose on a GG !

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    Re: Arca RM2D v Alpa STC

    Quote Originally Posted by cly View Post
    Could you explain why, and did you try the Arca RM before settling on the STC?
    Don't you miss the possibility of tilt on lenses below 80mm?

    I'm in a kind of similar situation like the OP but the tech cam will be used a for both architecture and exhibition design in museums. I have tested the Sinar ArTec and the Cambo WRS and should be able to test the RM3d shortly. I'll be able to look at the STC in two weeks time but I guess I won't be able to get one for a test drive at my place - so I'm very interested why you write "very much in favour of the STC".

    Chris

    PS: Great images on your website!
    Thank you for the kind remarks on my work.

    When assessing a camera with purchase, rather than a pure review, in mind, one should always keep at top of mind what you are going to use it for.
    My first love is shooting landscapes, my second love is shooting nudes in landscapes (http://www.modelmayhem.com/portfolio/1376600/viewall), my third love is my wife (yes, she knows the order!).

    In order to indulge my first, second and third loves, I choose to make a living as an architectural and industrial photographer, with a focus on construction.
    Currently 90% of my earnings are shot on my technical camera, which until recently, was a Horseman SW-DII. The nature of my work is such that I have a mix of slow, studied images to shoot in controlled environments and by contrast, crazy rushed days doing ship-to-ship transfers offshore, clambering over filthy and hazardous oil rigs and construction sites etc. Whilst I prefer to shoot off a tripod, I am often winging it handheld. Temperatures can range from -10degC to +65degC. As such, I have to have confidence in my ability to control the camera either with gloves on or with sweaty filthy hands. Some of the places I go to to shoot landscapes aren't kind to cameras either!

    The Arca (I looked at Rm3d and Rm2d) is without doubt a beautiful looking camera and precision engineered. However, I came to seriously doubt it's ability to survive a day, let alone a week on an offshore oilfield. The viewfinder is kinda clever, if a little fiddly, but look at the front mask and tell me how long before it is bent beyond recognition from getting banged about whist hanging from my shoulder as I climb a ladder.
    The grips on the Arca sure look pretty and even feel kinda comfortable. Moisten your fingers a little, then add the cost of the camera, it's lens and the P65+ hanging off the back of it. Now pick it up and tell me how confident you feel. The Alpa grips leave no doubts in my mind that that camera is staying in my hand.
    So, the Arca has tilt. So what? I work almost entirely with ultra-wides, so this is a non-issue. When I use tilt, I want reflex viewing, so I use my Fuji GX680. (I will probably get the Phase 120Tilt shift eventually). Also, the system of setting the tilts with charts, etc is just not practical in a rapid shooting environment. The STC not having tilt is a non-issue for me.
    Try cocking the shutter on the Arca with a short lens and gloves on. This is not really a game for cissies! The Alpa is a breeze to use even in subzero conditions, gloves and all
    Look at the size. The Alpa, by being smaller, is less likely to get knocked around and easier to pack.
    When I looked closely, I formed a view that the fit and finish of the Alpa is better.To me this speaks of the overall quality of manufacture. Look for yourself and form your own view.
    Have a good think about what you are going to put your camera through, then go play with both cameras. Form your own opinion.
    My guess is I'll bump into you one day and you'll be swinging an Alpa on your shoulder.......
    Siebel
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    Re: Arca RM2D v Alpa STC

    Quote Originally Posted by bernardo View Post
    Hi All,
    .....
    And one other thing: if you could afford only one lens to start with, as will probably be the case for me, what would you choose?
    Thanks to all in advance.
    Bernardo which (one) lens depends on what kind of images you like to make...
    my favourite and most used lens on Alpa is a Schneider 35mm digitar - a most flexible focal length offering a not too radical perspective when mated to a typically sized 30-40 megapixel chip.

    Pete

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    Re: Arca RM2D v Alpa STC

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterA View Post
    Bernardo which (one) lens depends on what kind of images you like to make...
    my favourite and most used lens on Alpa is a Schneider 35mm digitar - a most flexible focal length offering a not too radical perspective when mated to a typically sized 30-40 megapixel chip.

    Pete
    This is my most-used lens. I shoot on a 60.5Mp chip though. I stitch sometimes when I need a little extra.
    Siebel
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    Re: Arca RM2D v Alpa STC

    Thanks a lot for your detailed answer, bryan! Very helpful!

    Chris

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    Re: Arca RM2D v Alpa STC

    Quote Originally Posted by cly View Post
    Thanks a lot for your detailed answer, bryan! Very helpful!

    Chris
    Just remember to keep it real.
    Siebel
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    Re: Arca RM2D v Alpa STC

    For a few more thoughts on this subject, see my comments at the end of this earlier thread.

    http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/showthread.php?t=22367
    Siebel
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    Re: Arca RM2D v Alpa STC

    Well I think it is a lot person all view, I looked at Alpa and Arca. I chose aarca, because I personally liked the whole system better. I is just amazing how accurate I can focus, the build quality is fantastic. For example the grips from an Alpa are perhaps formed great, but I think the material Arca uses is much better. Even in rainy conditions I'm never worried aboutnit slipping.

    I don't worry when holding the camera in one hand even if my P65 and 32HR-W is attached.

    Now before I go on, I use it for landscape and architecture work, so the camera is 90% of the time on a tripod.

    Both companies offer a great product, but after using both, I just prefer the feel and how the arca works. I personally find some Alpa approaches not that good at all.

    The best thing would be to try both cameras, which isn't always easy, butnI think the most important part when buying such expensive stuff.

    Oh one thing I forogt, I just came back from shooting 5 days with my Arca in temperatures way below zero (-10C to -25C ), not problem at all. I had no real issues working with gloves on, escape with my iPhone and P65.

  13. #13
    bernardo
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    Re: Arca RM2D v Alpa STC

    Thank you to everyone who has taken the time and trouble to respond. Your advice and thoughts have been invaluable. It looks like the P40+ back (or higher if finances allow) could be the go whether I get an Arca or the Alpa. At least you all agree that I need to get my hands on both cameras which I will do. There wont be any where I live (Tasmania) but as I said I travel a lot and the beasts exist somewhere on mainland Australia. I will take the time to digest the additional info. on the threads and links some of you suggested. All this proves to me that this forum works because of the generosity and enthusiasm of people such as yourselves. Fantastic. Will keep you informed of my progress and inevitable fall into the world of Dante's inferno that is MFSD. Not too worried though as most say I have been hopeless all my life.
    Thanks. Bernardo

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    Re: Arca RM2D v Alpa STC

    Quote Originally Posted by bernardo View Post
    Thank you to everyone who has taken the time and trouble to respond. Your advice and thoughts have been invaluable. It looks like the P40+ back (or higher if finances allow) could be the go whether I get an Arca or the Alpa. At least you all agree that I need to get my hands on both cameras which I will do. There wont be any where I live (Tasmania) but as I said I travel a lot and the beasts exist somewhere on mainland Australia. I will take the time to digest the additional info. on the threads and links some of you suggested. All this proves to me that this forum works because of the generosity and enthusiasm of people such as yourselves. Fantastic. Will keep you informed of my progress and inevitable fall into the world of Dante's inferno that is MFSD. Not too worried though as most say I have been hopeless all my life.
    Thanks. Bernardo
    I didn't realize you were in Oz. Get in touch with Bruce Pottinger at L&P Digital in Sydney (02 9906 2733). One of the great challenges in Oz (I worked there for 20+ years) is finding a reliable pro level supplier who actually knows his stuff and gives you honest info and superb backup. I have dealt with Bruce for decades and considered his team an invaluable part of my support network.
    Best of luck.
    Siebel
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    Re: Arca RM2D v Alpa STC

    P40+ ?
    i will go for a P45+... larger sensor, good long exposure performance...

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    Re: Arca RM2D v Alpa STC

    I just heard that the ALPA STC is the fastest selling Alpa ever. Just confirms that they got the balance of price/features/performance just right for a lot of photographers.

    There is no such thing as "The perfect camera" but there is every now and then a camera that comes along that is "The perfect camera for my needs".

    Chris, no disrespect to the Rm nor to your choice. The major point to take from this is that each of us needs to be clear what our needs are, then make our assessments accordingly. Thanks for sharing your contrary opinion. I am sure you have the camera that is right for you.

    Ring. Ring.
    Hello!
    Alpa?
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    Re: Arca RM2D v Alpa STC

    Quote Originally Posted by siebel View Post
    I just heard that the ALPA STC is the fastest selling Alpa ever. Just confirms that they got the balance of price/features/performance just right for a lot of photographers.

    ...

    Ring. Ring.
    Hello!
    Alpa?
    I think that you are right about the feature balance. I know that I would definitely have bought the STC in preference to the Alpa MAX, had it existed at that time of course!

    Now I also think that Alpa would have a winner on their hands if they could crack the sliding back/ground glass adapter problem too. Somewhat tough to do though with the required level of Alpa precision I guess otherwise I'm sure we'd have seen it already.

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    Re: Arca RM2D v Alpa STC

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    I think that you are right about the feature balance. I know that I would definitely have bought the STC in preference to the Alpa MAX, had it existed at that time of course!

    Now I also think that Alpa would have a winner on their hands if they could crack the sliding back/ground glass adapter problem too. Somewhat tough to do though with the required level of Alpa precision I guess otherwise I'm sure we'd have seen it already.
    I would be surprised if ANY of the tech cam makers invest further in the groundglass area.
    Most are holding their breath hoping for the next MFDB frontier to open up - true Live video. Once we have this feature, groundglasses and to a lesser extent, viewfinders become obsolete.
    As it is, I very rarely use my viewfinder, preferring instead to view over the top of the camera and shoot a test frame, even when shooting handheld.
    The next accessory I want is a 2 way spirit level that I can view from behind the camera, without a viewfinder (ATTN Team ALPA. I hope you are reading this!)
    Siebel
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    Re: Arca RM2D v Alpa STC

    I confess that I use the VF for coarse composition and then shoot/review/tweek with the back myself. In fact I find that more and more that I'm even skipping the careful metering step these days and use the histogram to set exposure based on an initial 'best guess' given that I'm rarely using a wide range of aperture settings.

  20. #20
    bernardo
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    Re: Arca RM2D v Alpa STC

    Hi Bryan,
    You must be a mind reader. Have just been in touch with L&P in Sydney to arrange a hands-on with the STC when I next get there.

    And Archivue, I agree. The P45+ would be better for me after reading yours and others inputs in various threads.

    To everyone thanks.

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    Re: Arca RM2D v Alpa STC

    Quote Originally Posted by siebel View Post
    I would be surprised if ANY of the tech cam makers invest further in the groundglass area.
    Most are holding their breath hoping for the next MFDB frontier to open up - true Live video. Once we have this feature, groundglasses and to a lesser extent, viewfinders become obsolete.
    As it is, I very rarely use my viewfinder, preferring instead to view over the top of the camera and shoot a test frame, even when shooting handheld.
    The next accessory I want is a 2 way spirit level that I can view from behind the camera, without a viewfinder (ATTN Team ALPA. I hope you are reading this!)
    Siebel, Your work is great and the architecture work is obviously carefully composed. So I wonder, how do you do it without seeing through the ground glass? I find that often the slightest change in perspective will completely make or break a composition, so I rely on the gg. And I just like to see the image through the lens, and view what's outside the frame as I compose. I use an Alpa and switch between gg and back, which is slow, anxiety provoking, and admittedly not much fun!

    I'm tempted to try using a mat board cut out for a framing device and then try to fine tune with the back's lcd, but I'm doubtful... I may just end up using a dslr when I have to work fast, and hope live view comes along some day!

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    Re: Arca RM2D v Alpa STC

    Rm2D has just arrived, along with a 43mm Schneider (thank you Martin!).

    I'm taking it with the Aptus-II 12 on a trip to Central America next week

    cheers

    yair

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    Re: Arca RM2D v Alpa STC

    have a nice trip Yair !

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    Re: Arca RM2D v Alpa STC

    Yea little jealous. Like to get both of these in my hands to see what i like best.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Arca RM2D v Alpa STC

    I just took delivery of my Aptus 12. I guess my P65+ just became the backup back.
    I'll post first impressions in a few days.
    Perhaps we have a shootout on Yair!
    Cheers,
    Siebel
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  26. #26
    bernardo
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    Re: Arca RM2D v Alpa STC

    Looking forward hugely to future " cameras at 20 paces shootouts" from Bryan and Yair on their respective Rm2D and STC setups. Keep it coming.
    Cheers, Bernardo

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    Re: Arca RM2D v Alpa STC

    Quote Originally Posted by siebel View Post
    I just took delivery of my Aptus 12. I guess my P65+ just became the backup back.
    I'll post first impressions in a few days.
    Perhaps we have a shootout on Yair!
    Cheers,
    It could only be on GetDPI.com when someone has a P65+ as their BACKUP digital back. Good for you Bryan!

    Love to hear more about how the STC/Aptus 12 work together and comparisons with the now last year's model, technically obsolete, no longer top of the tree P65+. (and for those who don't recognize humor, yes, I am just kidding ... )

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    Re: Arca RM2D v Alpa STC

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    It could only be on GetDPI.com when someone has a P65+ as their BACKUP digital back. Good for you Bryan!

    Love to hear more about how the STC/Aptus 12 work together and comparisons with the now last year's model, technically obsolete, no longer top of the tree P65+. (and for those who don't recognize humor, yes, I am just kidding ... )
    You don't know how close your last statement is to a Messianic vision...
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    Re: Arca RM2D v Alpa STC

    Just warming things up this PM with the Aptus-II 10R:

    Yair Shahar | Product Manager | Phase One | Mamiya Leaf
    e: [email protected] | m: +44(0)77 8992 8199 | yaya's blog

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    Re: Arca RM2D v Alpa STC

    More Rm2D/ Aptus-II/ 43mm work, from Mineral de Pozos, Mexico

    this time as a walkabout tool...handheld, no finder, guestimated shift and focus:

    Yair Shahar | Product Manager | Phase One | Mamiya Leaf
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    Re: Arca RM2D v Alpa STC

    much appreciated Yair

    do you have an Aptus-II 12 with you on this trip and if you do.. could you post some images with Rm2D and the widest lens you have with you?

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    Re: Arca RM2D v Alpa STC

    I only had the 43mm and it is becoming my go-to lens

    Aptus-II 12, 14 seconds @50 iso (cropped the bottom and the right side a bit):

    Yair Shahar | Product Manager | Phase One | Mamiya Leaf
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    Re: Arca RM2D v Alpa STC

    How would you compare the 43 and the 40 HR? What is the image circle on the 43. I'm getting the RL3d and want to stitch large panos.
    Thanks

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