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Thread: Buying an Alpa for my IQ140?!

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    Buying an Alpa for my IQ140?!

    Now that I have my IQ140 with a Mamiya and some LS lenses, I am looking into buying an Alpa with 2 lenses. A wide angle and a short tele.

    What Alpa is best for this back if you want both tilt and shift. And what two lenses is best for it.

    Besides T/S, how big is the IQ difference compared to Mamiya and LS lenses?

    And what will this Alpa outfit cost?

    Regards

    Frode Willow Jensen

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    Re: Buying an Alpa for my IQ140?!

    Your question has no simple answer, and in fact, it opens up a huge can of worms as to which tech camera in general would be best for you. I am in a similar situation, and just did two months of obsessive research on this. At this point, I think I could be a salesman for either Arca, Cambo or Alpa. All three have their strengths and weaknesses, most of which have been discussed extensively on other threads in this forum.
    But just to get you started with your journey, you should know that the Alpas are not the best cameras if tilt is very important to you. You can only use their tilt adapter on lenses of over 80mm focal lenght, and then only with buying their tilt adapter which adds another large chunk of cost to the system.
    Even with this limitation, many photographers will only want an Alpa, and they are beautifully made and feel great in your hand, and they're a joy to look at!
    But getting back to your question, within the Alpa line there are basically 5 main choices: The TC is very compact and has no movements; the SWA has rise and fall, but shift is difficult. It is great for landscape and some architectural work, even handheld; the newest model, the STC has great shift and stitching capabilities, but to use rise or fall you must rotate the camera 90 degrees, which is not a big deal with an extra bracket. The MAX, which is a bit larger than the previous ones, has two plane movement ability, and with the stitching adapter, the movements are all on the rear which can be helpful. And finally, the XY is their largest and heaviest model, more suitable for studio use. Expect to spend $12 to 20K for a body and two lenses, depending on which model, lenses and accessories you go with.
    Good luck on your quest. I'm sure many more members will be adding their opinions to help you.
    Last edited by multigary; 11th October 2011 at 07:44.

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Buying an Alpa for my IQ140?!

    Quote Originally Posted by multigary View Post
    But getting back to your question, within the Alpa line there are basically 5 main choices: The TC is very compact and has no movements; the SWA has rise and fall, but shift is difficult. It is great for landscape and some architectural work, even handheld; the newest model, the STC has great shift and stitching capabilities, but to tilt you must rotate the camera 90 degrees, which is not a big deal with an extra bracket.
    Gary sums up the range well.

    Just to clarify though there's a typo regarding the STC - you rotate the camera 90 degrees for rise/fall and not tilt. Tilt in all cases is via the Alpa tilt/swing adapter which is a 34mm spacer and can be used with all short barrel lenses of 80mm and longer.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

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

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Buying an Alpa for my IQ140?!

    Something to consider: You can only tilt lenses longer than 80mm on the Alpa, so that will limit your choices for tilt somewhat. (Cambo can tilt down to the 32 IIRC, and Arca can tilt anything). With the 140, you are already extending net effective focal due to the crop sensor, so a 90 is effectively a 120 as compared to the 90 on a full frame sensor; therefore that's the shortest focal you'll tilt on Alpa.

    For shift, because you have a crop sensor, you can get away with older lenses that had smaller IC's, the advantage is lower cost. However, for extreme shifts, you need WIDE IC's and hence the popularity of the latest SK and Rodie "wide" tech lenses.

    IQ difference in tech lenses is significant over MF glass. Don't get me wrong, the newer Phase/Mamiya (and Hassy and Rollei and Pentax) MF lenses are as sharp as any MF optic ever has been, but the best tech lenses from SK and Rodie up the performance from all of them by an entire level. OTOH, older tech lenses may or may not exceed the current MF lineups.

    As re cost, entry with body, two lenses and a back adapter plate will probably run around $8,000 to $12,000 range depending on body and accessories chosen.
    Jack
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    Re: Buying an Alpa for my IQ140?!

    Thanks for catching that typo, Graham! It's been edited with the correction.

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    Re: Buying an Alpa for my IQ140?!

    Thank you Gary, Graham and Jack.

    I have an old Cambo ( 25years ) , but that is not a solution.

    Tilt with WA is a must, so that rules out Alpa .-(.
    My wallet is happy ...

    So then we have Arca and Cambo.

    I need it for landscape and architectures (and some still life/macro )

    What options do I have then that suits the IQ140 best.

    I was thinking about a 35 mm and a 70 mm.

    And it should not be to big/heavy.

    I know this has been discussed in several topics earlier ( and I have read a lot of them .-) )

    But I hope for a short and sweet answer/solution based on others similar research/experience.

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Buying an Alpa for my IQ140?!

    The lens choice is a difficult one because it depends on what your definition of wide is.

    A 35mm is a great all around wide lens with the 44x33mm sensor. It's basically a 28mm equivalent in 35mm terms and you have the opportunity to stitch using any of the tech camera solutions. Personally I'd say that the ideal wide is the 28mm but that comes with cost & size penalties. There are also intermediate options available from Rodenstock which the Rodie shooters can no doubt attest to.

    At the 70mm end you're not really into true telephoto territory but more 'standard' lens lengths. I personally prefer longer but certainly a 35/72 combo would be a great landscape outfit.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

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

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Buying an Alpa for my IQ140?!

    The SK 35 Digitar XL is very good and has moderate usable IC, the older SK and Rodie version not so much, so be careful what you buy. All 35's will need a center filter, even with your 140 crop back. The R70 HR-W is outstanding as is the SK 72; the R40 HR-W is also outstanding as is the SK 43, and ALL of these lenses have generous IC's. Moreover, you generally do not need to bother with a CF for any of these in a landscape application as LCC takes care of the falloff issues quite well.

    FWIW, my main "duo" are the 40 and 70 HR-W's.

    Re Cambo v Arca, they're both excellent options. Cambo is slightly smaller and more compact than the Arca, but both weigh similarly. The Arca has more total rise/fall built in than Cambo, and why it's a little taller; the Arca profile is square while Cambos is the same width but then a shorter rectangle. Lenses will need to be in Cambo's dedicated TS mounts for tilts on the Cambo, while Arca's tilt mechanism is built into the body, so all lenses tilt regardless. However, with the Cambo you can have tilt and swing together, while Arca is only tilt or swing.
    Jack
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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Buying an Alpa for my IQ140?!

    Jack, remember that we're talking about choices for an IQ140 here so moderate IC means different things between a full frame and cropped sensor. At f/11 the 35XL has a 90mm IC which I might describe as being somewhat more than 'moderate' :-)

    I'd definitely agree on the center filters for SKs. It makes LCC clean up a lot simpler and less noisy, although to be honest the C1 tech wide LCC correction does an excellent job compared to the older version.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

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

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    Re: Buying an Alpa for my IQ140?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Willow View Post

    Tilt with WA is a must, so that rules out Alpa .-(.
    My wallet is happy ...

    So then we have Arca and Cambo.
    Well I may muddie the waters for you a bit. I shoot an Alpa with a P45+ back. I have the T/S adapter, STC, and 35 and 80SB (which is used with the T/S).

    The 35 without tilt has a depth of field from 2.7m - infinity at f/11. What I have discovered is that I can get ultra sharp images from the closest focal distance of the 35 to infinity by using focus blending.

    Now you may say this is a pain BUT realize that you can only stop down to about f/11 or so without diffraction starting to visibly break up your image. If you think about that with tilt, that means very little above and below your Schiemflug focal plane will be in focus. This is not the case with focus bracketing: the image is sharp all through.

    This is a newer concept than we had with film and much easier to do with digital. Here are some examples:

    This image was taken with the 35 with 5 focal ranges blended:
    http://www.rgaphoto.com/2011-09-09-Y...TER_large.html

    This image with about 5 focal distances blended also:
    http://www.rgaphoto.com/2011-09-09-Y...TER_large.html
    Note how the leaves at the top of the front pine and the bottom are in sharp focus as is the tree on the left and Half Dome in the distance and everything in between! Tilt cannot do this in my experience unless you can stop down to f/32 or beyond. Even then it most likely can't.

    Now this shot was taken with the 80 using tilt. Note how the foreground and background are sharp at f/11, but the beach and middle hills are not. Pretty typical of tilt especially at f/11 or so.
    http://www.rgaphoto.com/coastal/cont...TER_large.html

    Also remember that if you use the full image circle of the 80 or any lens, using shift with your tilt, you get the equivalent of wider angle lenses (obviously true with any system you can shift with...).

    So there are new tricks with these backs and cameras that can result in much different images than you ever got with film or SLRs.

    Just my $0.02,
    Bob

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    Re: Buying an Alpa for my IQ140?!

    Thanks guys for the response.

    After some search and more reading, I think I will go for a Alpa STC.

    Havent decided what lenses yet.

    And I will not invest until spring 2012.
    Gives me more time to test.

    Willow

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    Re: Buying an Alpa for my IQ140?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Willow View Post
    Thanks guys for the response.

    After some search and more reading, I think I will go for a Alpa STC.

    Havent decided what lenses yet.

    And I will not invest until spring 2012.
    Gives me more time to test.

    Willow
    Hi Willow,
    I'm very curious as to what lead you to that decision. Would you mind sharing it with us?
    Thanks,
    Bob

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    Re: Buying an Alpa for my IQ140?!

    You mentioned weight being important. With an IQ140, i think the ultimate low weight 2-lens kit would be the SK35, SK72 (or 120 as a longer option), and either the Alpa STC or the Cambo WRS. Your interest in tilt made me think WRS. I believe this is very similar to Guy's setup except the IQ160 instead of the 140.

    But I too went the Alpa route. For some reason the Cambo didn't resonate with me. Personal quirks I guess.

    Dave

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