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Thread: Retrofitting lenses for Arca-Swiss RM3D

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    Retrofitting lenses for Arca-Swiss RM3D

    Does anyone have a typical cost for getting a lens retrofitted by Arca-Swiss for its RM3D? Under $1k? Over $1k?

    Since the lenses don't require a helical focussing ring (as is the case with similar cameras from Cambo and Alpa) is there a saving to be made in the cost of mounting?

    Or, despite not needing a helical on the lens, is it still an eye-wateringly expensive proposition?

    Thanks.

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    Re: Retrofitting lenses for Arca-Swiss RM3D

    Quote Originally Posted by f8orbust View Post
    Does anyone have a typical cost for getting a lens retrofitted by Arca-Swiss for its RM3D? Under $1k? Over $1k?
    The arca-shop, a German dealer, quotes 770 Euro plus VAT:

    http://www.arca-shop.de/Cameras/R-3D...131_171:2.html

    --
    Chris

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    Re: Retrofitting lenses for Arca-Swiss RM3D

    Mounting-Cost R-bayonet for existing lenses:
    f=23-120mm $1,146 USD
    f=135-210mm $1,581 USD

    L
    LANCE SCHAD - Digital Transitions - Phase One,Mamiya | Leaf,Arca-Swiss,Cambo, Profoto
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    Re: Retrofitting lenses for Arca-Swiss RM3D

    so much for the economy of making only one body mounted helical mount, eh?

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    Re: Retrofitting lenses for Arca-Swiss RM3D

    Quote Originally Posted by jlm View Post
    so much for the economy of making only one body mounted helical mount, eh?
    The lenses when purchased new are still almost $1000K less than Alpa mount.

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    Re: Retrofitting lenses for Arca-Swiss RM3D

    Quote Originally Posted by TEBnewyork View Post
    The lenses when purchased new are still almost $1000K less than Alpa mount.
    Of course, two wrongs don't make it right alas ...
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

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    Re: Retrofitting lenses for Arca-Swiss RM3D

    Wow. No saving from having the helical built into the camera then.

    Had one of those passing thoughts that I might move to an RM3D, but I'd be looking at over $6.5k just to have my lenses remounted...yikes.

    Who'd have thought that Arca's tubular lens boards could be so expensive? I'm surprised 3rd party producers like SK Grimes or Kapture Group don't produce their own versions of these, or the Alpa or Cambo versions (which are functionally even simpler). Maybe they're not allowed to? Arca/Alpa/Cambo have an amazing mark-up on their mounted lenses e.g. Alpa: 47mm Apo-Digitar is 1099 unmounted or 2750 mounted. Absolutely staggering. Having taken my apo-digitars apart for cleaning and replacing the odd shutter etc. I've never seen the slightest change in performance once I've re-assembled them (usually in under about 10 minutes on a bad day). We used to be able to buy lensboards easily in the days of Large Format photography - now Arca/Alpa/Cambo insist they have to do it for us. Sorry, but I don't see why. You simply do not need an optical bench or other fancy equipment to do this - as long as the lens board is machined correctly, it's child's play.

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    Re: Retrofitting lenses for Arca-Swiss RM3D

    Something to keep in mind is that the Copal shutter prices have gone up considerably from what I heard.

    Supposedly they were going to stop manufacturing them but a group of manufacturers have persuaded them to continue production for a number of years.

    I will try to find more details regarding this.

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    Re: Retrofitting lenses for Arca-Swiss RM3D

    so much for the economy of making only one body mounted helical mount, eh?

    an Arca mount consists of

    a first tube exactly the thickness of the rotaslide with male and female mount

    the lens tube itsef with a thickness precision around 1 micron for your specific lens with male and female mount

    the round lensboard some are recessed, others are flat with the mount

    a new sync flash socket

    a new cable release socket

    a new cable release with a magnet ring at the start

    that's a lot of stuff to calibrate !

    yes it's expensive, but i'm not shure that they earn a lot of money from that !

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    Re: Retrofitting lenses for Arca-Swiss RM3D

    Something to keep in mind is that the Copal shutter prices have gone up considerably from what I heard.


    yes, twice the previous price !

    it's cheaper to buy a second hand apo sironar N and his copal on ebay, than buying a copal...

    where are compur and prontor... ;-(

    but, where is (or was) the factory ? (sony lost 6 factory in japan... )

    cross fingers !

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    Re: Retrofitting lenses for Arca-Swiss RM3D

    Quote Originally Posted by archivue View Post
    a first tube exactly the thickness of the rotaslide with male and female mount

    the lens tube itsef with a thickness precision around 1 micron for your specific lens with male and female mount

    the round lensboard some are recessed, others are flat with the mount

    a new sync flash socket

    a new cable release socket

    a new cable release with a magnet ring at the start
    Sure, but this is all standard stuff once the design is in solidworks and ported across to be CNC machined. It's not as if they design and CNC a new mount for every single lens they receive. These are 'off the peg' not 'made to measure'. As such, sell me the lens board and let me mount the lens myself.

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    Re: Retrofitting lenses for Arca-Swiss RM3D

    Quote Originally Posted by f8orbust View Post
    Sure, but this is all standard stuff once the design is in solidworks and ported across to be CNC machined. It's not as if they design and CNC a new mount for every single lens they receive. These are 'off the peg' not 'made to measure'. As such, sell me the lens board and let me mount the lens myself.
    that's the point, they are calibrated for YOUR lens...

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    Re: Retrofitting lenses for Arca-Swiss RM3D

    I'm certainly not trying to be an apologist for the tech camera manufacturer pricing but I do recognize that we are dealing with niche producers who don't really benefit from economies of scale. Heck, to these folks Leica seems like a giant and they're basically a minnow in the big pond of camera manufacturers. If you had to fabricate every part yourself through suppliers and then provide a sales & distribution channel and hopefully have enough of a margin to stay in business, then I'm sure that the pricing isn't so outrageous really. I'm not saying that I like it myself either (as an Alpa guy I live a life of $$ hurt already), but I do sort of understand, albeit begrudgedly.

    HOWEVER - once you've paid the piper, you'd darn well better get the quality of goods you're expecting! That's where you should be able to justify being the demanding customer.

    /rant off

    Damn, I did come over as an apologist after all
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

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    Re: Retrofitting lenses for Arca-Swiss RM3D

    Quote Originally Posted by archivue View Post
    that's the point, they are calibrated for YOUR lens...
    This attitude about just mounting yourself is one many people have trouble with. The truth is that Digital is a minimum of 4 times more difficult to focus than film cameras were. The circle of confusion for digital is 1/4th that of film to start with, and with higher MP backs, it is even smaller. Schneider has great article called Why Choose Digitar which explains a lot of what we are discussing.(www.rodklukas.com on the right side)
    Also even with film cameras, each lens is slightly different in focal length. And there are small variations in focus shift as well as you stop a lens down, from lens to lens. These variations were less of a problem with film, not so now.
    Each lens has a portion of the R mount made specific to that specimen of the lens. The rotaslide ring is uniform lens to lens, but the lens ring in front of that on a mounted lens is specific.

    Another issue even more of problem today: Heavy lenses such as 23mm, 24mm ultrawides. If mounted on the camera and carried over the shoulder many of these physically large lenses are damaging the shutter and losing alignment because of the bouncing on the end of the tripod and therefore lose sharpness on one side or the other. This requires a shutter replacement. Expensive...
    So understand that digital requires much greater precision for the quality images that we all want. Arca-Swiss delivers on that promise with their R cameras and manufacturing quality.
    Last edited by RodK; 15th March 2011 at 22:23. Reason: left out word
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    Re: Retrofitting lenses for Arca-Swiss RM3D

    Quote Originally Posted by RodK View Post
    Each lens has a portion of the R mount made specific to that specimen of the lens.
    Sorry, just to be clear. If I send Arca a lens - they test it, and subsequently design and machine a portion of the R mount specifically for my lens. Really? Or do they have a range of pre-machined portions of the R mount that they pick from? There's a world of difference between the former (custom made for one specific lens from scratch) and the latter - essentially 'off the peg'.

    You can use the 'myth of precision' to argue the toss either way e.g. Alpa won't make a sliding back because they can't guarantee the tolerances involved over time - and yet Arca, Linhof, KG etc. all make them successfully. Who's right? Take your camera, lens and digital back - all made of a combination of aluminium, steel, brass, high grade plastics, glass etc. Now paint most of it black. Now take it out on a hot day for a couple of hours. Suddenly all those eye-wateringly tight tolerances quoted by certain manufacturers ad nauseum are history - and yet it all stll works, and you can go ahead and make great pictures.

    At the end of the day its about choice. I would like the choice of either sending my lenses to them to be remounted or doing it myself. If these companies are so small that they need to keep everything 'in house' in order to be viable, then there's not much to be said. Yet at the same time it's difficult to believe that the 'retrofitting department' is a core part of their business model. I'd have thought new camera, lens and accessory sales was where it'd be.

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    Re: Retrofitting lenses for Arca-Swiss RM3D

    Quote Originally Posted by lance_schad View Post
    Something to keep in mind is that the Copal shutter prices have gone up considerably from what I heard.

    Supposedly they were going to stop manufacturing them but a group of manufacturers have persuaded them to continue production for a number of years.

    I will try to find more details regarding this.

    L
    It's good to hear that they're still being made.

    My OP was really about retrofitting lenses - in which case you've already bought, and paid for, the lens and the copal shutter. With Alpa and Cambo you then need the helical in addition to the lensboard - an added expense ($350) - but with the RM3D you don't. I was guessing that Arca's price for mounting a lens may be more economical because of this...nope.

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    Re: Retrofitting lenses for Arca-Swiss RM3D

    Just out of interest, when you buy a new lens for the Arca (or get one retrofitted) does it always come with the spacer for the rotaslide? Since you only ever need one of these (or none at all if you don't use the rotaslide) are you ever given the option of not buying it, and thereby saving a couple of hundred bucks per lens?

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    Re: Retrofitting lenses for Arca-Swiss RM3D

    Quote Originally Posted by f8orbust View Post
    Just out of interest, when you buy a new lens for the Arca (or get one retrofitted) does it always come with the spacer for the rotaslide? Since you only ever need one of these (or none at all if you don't use the rotaslide) are you ever given the option of not buying it, and thereby saving a couple of hundred bucks per lens?
    You don't need the spacer if you USE the rotaslide. The latter increases the distance between sensor and lense and that's why you remove the spacer.

    Chris

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    Re: Retrofitting lenses for Arca-Swiss RM3D

    Ah, I see - so if you don't use the rotaslide you need the ring to be in place to move the lens away from the plane of focus by same distance that the rotaslide displaces it by (in the opposite direction) if it were in place. Thanks Chris.

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