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Thread: Tech camera: Which system?

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    Tech camera: Which system?

    Dear Friends,

    I have currently had Cambo WDS, Phase One IQ 180 and a couple of lenses. Although the WDS is a good camera, it was designed for large format.
    I would like to buy a new tech camera but have a hard time making a decision which system to buy- Arca RM3Di, Alpa (and which one) or Cambo WRS. Almost all my works is landscape photography.
    GetDPI is the only place on earth I can get REAL information. I don't mean to start a troll but really need help from friends at GetDPI. Friendly comments would be greatly appreciated. I believe there are lots of newer members like me want to hear your expert opinions.

    Thank you very much.
    Pramote
    Last edited by Landscapelover; 17th April 2012 at 16:53.

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    Re: Tech camera: Which system?

    getdpi forum is NOT the answer! go to a get dpi workshop and you will see all of the options and can play around as much as you need to

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    Re: Tech camera: Which system?

    I can only comment on the Cambo products.
    I have the WDS and the WRS (non-aniversary edition.)

    I like the extra movement in the WDS when needed and like the fact that the movements are lockable in place when carrying around.

    I use the WRS when I want something smaller and have used it for landscapes and as my "point and shoot" camera for walking around.

    The advantage for me being able to use the lenses on either camera.

    Certainly can't complain about the robustness and build of them.

    Jon

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    Re: Tech camera: Which system?

    Jon and jlm...Thanks very much for your comments.
    I would love to go to the workshop but with work and kids, it is very hard. I am sure it will be some days.

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    Senior Member stephengilbert's Avatar
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    Re: Tech camera: Which system?

    Optechs Digital has videos of ALPA cameras in use (Videos), and there's an Arca video here: Video Introduction to Arca-Swiss R Cameras - Arca-Swiss & Large Format Photography - Rod Klukas

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Tech camera: Which system?

    Well since you already have the lenses in your mounts than you obvious least costly option is the WRS or even nicer the AE model which I have myself. I really love it. Also I will be in Atlanta at CI doing a Cambo open house this Friday and staying on til Sunday. If you can make it I can show you all the options with your existing system and the AE/WRS model as well. Actually you could keep the DS since they are not worth that much for times you want to get past 20mm of shifting which really is a lot and depending on the lenses you have they may not get that far anyway. Love for you to sneak into Atlanta and let me personally help you. That's why I am there doing the open house. I believe this is your dealer as well .


    I should add switching systems is costly on your lenses since either you have to sell them in your Cambo mount or switch them into a new mount which can be very expensive. Trust me you not missing anything by staying in Cambo. It still is the only system that has tilt and swing together outside of Sinar I believe.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Tech camera: Which system?

    All the systems are very nice but switching midstream can be hazardous to your wallet and you may not gain anything in it except lose money.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Tech camera: Which system?

    Thanks Stephen for the links.
    Thanks Guy for your advice. Unfortunately, I will be in New Orleans for the meeting this weekend.
    I've heard about the Cambo AE. What is the main difference between WRS and AE?

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    Re: Tech camera: Which system?

    Let me find the thread here
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Tech camera: Which system?

    Here I have one in black myself. Really nice

    http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/medium...on-wrs-ae.html
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Tech camera: Which system?

    Just looked at CI site and they have one not sure what color but 4990.00. Give Dave a call
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Tech camera: Which system?

    I think you can use your existing camera mount which saves you about 400 dollars and your ready to go with your existing lenses. Seems like a easy choice to me.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Senior Member Steve Hendrix's Avatar
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    Re: Tech camera: Which system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    I think you can use your existing camera mount which saves you about 400 dollars and your ready to go with your existing lenses. Seems like a easy choice to me.

    Yes WRS and WRS AE are the same mounting plate. The WDS is a different plate (but does take the same lenses, as was pointed out).


    Steve Hendrix
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    Digital Cam: • Phase One | Leaf | Leica | Sinar • Authorized Reseller
    TechCam: • Alpa | Cambo | Arca Swiss | Sinar • Authorized Reseller

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    Re: Tech camera: Which system?

    Parmote,

    First try and find a dealer that will help you make the decision. That help should include the ability to try the system out for a couple days.

    That said, I'm partial to the Cambo WRS having had it now for several years. I've tested both the WDS and WRS and found that while there was little difference in either the WRS was just better. Better for me that is - again you need hands on experience before making your decision.

    Guy brings up a very interesting point. You already have the most expensive part to the system (besides the back). Since you already have the lenses then the less expensive way is to pick up the WRS. The WRS allows you full access to the movements from the rear of the camera versus the front knob of the WDS. Plus the WRS was made specifically for digital use which makes it lighter and smaller.

    Listen to Guy....

    Don

    Cambo now offers wooden handles for their WRS; I've got them and they make a world of difference.
    Don Libby
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    Re: Tech camera: Which system?

    Thanks very much Guy/Don/Steve for your insights. They are very helpful.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Tech camera: Which system?

    If you like your existing lenses, I agree that staying with Cambo makes a lot of sense, especially finacially. However, if your lenses are older designs and not current, it's possible the IQ180 can over-tax them and you may be upgrading those too. In that event, it may be worth at least handling an Arca and Alpa to get a feel for them since you'll be laying out all new money anyway.
    Jack
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    Senior Member dchew's Avatar
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    Re: Tech camera: Which system?

    Pramote,
    I use an Alpa STC. Given your situation I agree with the comments above recommending the Cambo. Your switching costs are lower and you can get tilt if you want it. I think the other differences between Alpa, Arca and Cambo are relatively minor compared to those two things.

    Dave
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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Tech camera: Which system?

    Exactly David they all have great qualities and features that some are unique but end of day it's really a body between the most important parts lens and sensor. The cost of switching mounts is just in some ways a waste unless you have to have a certain body/brand. In any of these systems you just better off staying within your system and upgrading the body and in Cambo the DS To WRS is a big difference a lot smaller compact body in the WRS and all the movements are in the back standard. If going in new than you have the 3 main ones to look at and make a call on but once your in it pains me to switch a lens mount out at 1200 to 1600 dollars per lens. Unless you have lenses that won't work with your sensor but I think Pramote just bought a Rodie 23 Cambo mount which is perfect on a 180 so sounds like your lens choices are fine for that so you have to sell them or remount them if you switch. Logically does not make a lot of sense unless you have to have a certain brand or feature. Believe me they are all excellent systems, it's down to features pretty much. Now if you want to completely switch for whatever reason than working with your dealer to switch is probably your best bet.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Tech camera: Which system?

    " Tech cams which and why" is an informative and civilized thread started by Jack on the pro and cons for the different systems:

    http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/medium...s-one-why.html

    there is lots of info that will help you to see the perceived ins and outs of the most used systems.

    it remains a slippery slope though

    best of luck

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    Re: Tech camera: Which system?

    Jack, Dave, Guy and rupho..Thanks very much for your thoughtful comments!
    I have 2 lenses Rodie 23mm HR and SK47mm XL. I plan to sell SK 47mm XL and change to either Rodie 40 HR or SK43 XL.
    My main problem of the WDS is that I shoot landscape and adjusting the movement in the front is not convenient especially when I stand on a cliff (which is not uncommon). Large size is another drawback although it is not as a big problem to me.
    The body is important and personal. After 6 months of using the P1 DF with great result, I've still missed my old Hasselblad H4D & lenses.
    I really appreciate your kind opinions.
    Last edited by Landscapelover; 18th April 2012 at 02:07.

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    Re: Tech camera: Which system?

    Check.



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    Quote Originally Posted by Don Libby View Post
    Parmote,

    First try and find a dealer that will help you make the decision. That help should include the ability to try the system out for a couple days.

    That said, I'm partial to the Cambo WRS having had it now for several years. I've tested both the WDS and WRS and found that while there was little difference in either the WRS was just better. Better for me that is - again you need hands on experience before making your decision.

    Guy brings up a very interesting point. You already have the most expensive part to the system (besides the back). Since you already have the lenses then the less expensive way is to pick up the WRS. The WRS allows you full access to the movements from the rear of the camera versus the front knob of the WDS. Plus the WRS was made specifically for digital use which makes it lighter and smaller.

    Listen to Guy....

    Don

    Cambo now offers wooden handles for their WRS; I've got them and they make a world of difference.

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    Re: Tech camera: Which system?

    Thanks Chris for the information about upcoming Cambo iPhone.
    It would make Cambo more attractive.
    Thanks Jack & Guy...I've just realized I am a senior member now. I am honored.
    Pramote

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    Re: Tech camera: Which system?

    Hey you let the cat out of the bag on the iPhone for the Cambo. Lol

    I'll do a report on it this week in Atlanta. I heard it is really nice . Hope there's a app to go with it.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Tech camera: Which system?

    LOL... I am so proud I beat you this time

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    Re: Tech camera: Which system?

    My Droid isn't feeling the love....
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    Re: Tech camera: Which system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Landscapelover View Post
    LOL... I am so proud I beat you this time
    Damn you. LOL
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Tech camera: Which system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Libby View Post
    My Droid isn't feeling the love....
    Don, when are you just going to accept that the photo world is also an "i" world? (And not a peecee world)

    ROTFLMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Jack
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    Senior Member Joe Colson's Avatar
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    Re: Tech camera: Which system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Landscapelover View Post
    Dear Friends,

    I have currently had Cambo WDS, Phase One IQ 180 and a couple of lenses. Although the WDS is a good camera, it was designed for large format.
    I would like to buy a new tech camera but have a hard time making a decision which system to buy- Arca RM3Di, Alpa (and which one) or Cambo WRS. Almost all my works is landscape photography.
    GetDPI is the only place on earth I can get REAL information. I don't mean to start a troll but really need help from friends at GetDPI. Friendly comments would be greatly appreciated. I believe there are lots of newer members like me want to hear your expert opinions.

    Thank you very much.
    Pramote
    Pramote,

    In the last two years, I've owned and used a Hasselblad H4D-50, a Phase One 645DF with IQ180, an Alpa 12 STC with IQ180, and a Cambo WRS-AE with IQ180. Not a financially smart path to travel, but fun nonetheless. I can't say that I mastered each system, but I know what I like.

    I love the Cambo WRS-AE. The difference maker for me between Cambo and Alpa is the ability to tilt/swing Cambo lenses without an adapter and at focal lengths more suited to landscape photography (i.e. wider angles). I have also found lenses available in the Cambo mount more frequently on the used market than Alpa-mount lenses. The price for a Schneider-Kreuznach (or Rodenstock) lens in a Cambo mount tends to be less expensive than the same lens in an Alpa mount. I have no familiarity with Arca-Swiss, and if you're considering that alternative, find a good dealer (or workshop with Jack) to help you as there is less information on the Internet from the manufacturer. The build quality of all these systems is very high.

    Given you already have Cambo-mount lenses, going with a WRS (or WRS-AE) is a convenient choice. That's the route I'd suggest.

    Joe
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    Re: Tech camera: Which system?

    Thanks Joe.
    You sound like me except I've never tried ALPA but Cambo WDS.
    Your suggestion is very reasonable and well accepted.
    Pramote

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Tech camera: Which system?

    Let me state up front that I'm a dedicated Alpa shooter and love the system. However, if I were starting again today I'd also probably go Cambo AE with a set of their t/s glass.

    My Alpa is flawless in what it does and the build quality and just about everything about it is excellent but the fatal flaws these days are (1) lack of wide angle tilts (coming I know ... actually, I do KNOW ) and (2) it's very expensive compared to the Cambo for a system that'll produce the same results. I just think that Cambo have got the best price/performance combo at the moment.

    The Arca is also a fine system but let's just say supply ... I don't think that even the Arca folks would argue with that one. Nice gear ... when you can get it. Alpa may be expensive but I know that if I order something it'll be here in a couple of weeks at most.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

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

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    Re: Tech camera: Which system?

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    My Alpa is flawless in what it does and the build quality and just about everything about it is excellent but the fatal flaws these days are (1) lack of wide angle tilts (coming I know ... actually, I do KNOW ) and (2) it's very expensive compared to the Cambo for a system that'll produce the same results. I just think that Cambo have got the best price/performance combo at the moment.
    Basically, I agree (having a Max). But there are two features in favour of the Alpa:

    If you do a lot of horizontal stitching, the fact that you can shift very fast because you can unlock the Alpa body, comes in very handy (shoot left, shoot right, shoot LCC left, shoot LCC right). This is something I didn't appreciate when I used a Max the first time. Today I would miss it.

    HPF: If you use the Cambo TS-lenses, you can't use the Alpa-HPF-rings unless you are brave and have access to the required machinery to adapt them to the Cambo TS-lens mount (see jlm's modification: http://forum.getdpi.com/gallery/files/7/4/cambo_x1.jpg)

    Chris
    Last edited by cly; 19th April 2012 at 01:39. Reason: Link to jlm's mod added

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    Re: Tech camera: Which system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack View Post
    If you like your existing lenses, I agree that staying with Cambo makes a lot of sense, .
    The key to creative landscape photography is a full set yaw-free movements... and, I believe, none of the current MFD view cameras offer this...

    ...and the Sinar P3 is too heavy and not ridged enough.

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    Re: Tech camera: Which system?

    Thanks Graham, cly and Dick for your comments.
    Graham...I greatly appreciate your honest & thoughtful opinion. Your long-exposure photography is amazing.
    Pramote

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    Senior Member dchew's Avatar
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    Re: Tech camera: Which system?

    Pramote,
    It might help if I explain what led me to my choice. Everyone has priorities. I associate the different brands with distinct priority lists:

    Alpa
    Pros:
    Simple, elegant design – Alpa pays attention to details. From the matt, ribbed finish inside the camera to the ball bearing mechanism, it is a camera designed to be used in a manner that doesn’t get in the way.

    Light weight (some models) – This was big for me. The STC can be oriented for rise/fall or shift, can be managed without a grip or viewfinder. So for backpacking I think it is The Cat’s Pajamas.

    Robust – There is just not much to go wrong on the camera. No little pieces sticking out, and not much to be bent or dented that would prevent it from working flawlessly.

    Shimming & HPF rings – Good, accurate system when combined together. Measuring distance with a Disto and dialing in focus is efficient and very accurate. Just look at the number of people shooting Cambo’s that have purchased HPF rings! However, shimming does not account for any differences in lenses. You have to pick the lens you shim with. Then, if necessary, make any helical adjustments to the other lenses to match.

    Cons:
    No tilt for wide angles – Probably Alpa’s Achilles Heel. They are supposed to come up with a solution this year, but from reading their press release it sounds like it will be only for certain lenses.

    Cost – I think this may be blown out of proportion. I do think dealer margins are smaller, so in some cases dealers are screaming about the cost more than owners. Some accessories are indeed crazy expensive. For example I can get the iPhone holder and buy an iPhone cheaper than the $1600 viewfinder.

    I think of Alpa STC as a Porsche 911; designed for the task at hand.

    Arca
    Pros:
    Beautifully built and designed – Everything is thought through, just look at the viewfinder with its DoF barrels, magnetic shutter cable…

    Rm3 has tilt in the body – If you don’t mind a larger camera, the Rm3d is hard to beat because of this feature.

    Focus mount – Arca’s focus mechanism is very fine and indirect. It’s design adjusts (calibrates) for each lens so there is no need to shim. It is not as simple and direct as the Alpa system, but it does account for any differences in lens tolerance (except for infinity).

    Cons:
    Long lead-times on parts – Not sure what the truth on this is, but it does seem to be exacerbated by inadequate communication.

    No website – Eh, whatever. People can find the info they need if they do their homework.

    More small parts – This might just be me, but I drop stuff. In rivers, at the most annoying times. I would go through those barrels, magnetic pieces, etc. faster than Phase One batteries on Live View. Again, I think the design is well conceived; it is just not something that fit my priorities.

    Arca Rm3d is the Mercedes S-class

    Cambo
    Pros:
    Value – You arguably get the most for your money with Cambo.

    Tilt in a small package – I separate the Arca Rm2d, Alpa STC and the Cambo WRS into their own subgroup because they are considerably smaller than their brothers and sisters. These three were my short list because of size and weight. As of today, the WRS is the only one that has tilt, albeit in the lenses, not the body.

    Back calibration – It can be done by adjusting the setscrews in the back. I have never done it; it is not as well documented as Alpa’s shim system, which is designed for the user to adjust. I believe Cambo recommends sending the camera and back to be adjusted by their technicians.

    Cons:
    Design - The WDS design is a bit crude in my opinion. I don’t want to get in trouble here, but it just does not feel that well thought out compared to the other two companies. The WRS is better, and the AE version better still. Some may categorize this as dressing, but not to me. It is the little things that become the stone in my shoe.

    The Cambo WRS is the Chevy Corvette. Maybe a little rough around the edges, but it gets you there as fast as the others (or faster?). In contrast the WDS is, um, the Suburban? Ok maybe the Escalade!
    Last edited by dchew; 19th April 2012 at 16:43.
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    Re: Tech camera: Which system?

    I disagree and find your post a little elitist and a little insulting to Cambo owners.

    To get away from car analogies, because like cameras we all have different tastes. You're suggesting the Alpa and Arca are like apples and pears, similar but different and the Cambo is a conker!

  36. #36
    Senior Member dchew's Avatar
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    Re: Tech camera: Which system?

    Gareth,
    Sorry I did not mean it to sound that way at all! I am a big Corvette fan!

    Barring an specific requirements, I think the WRS is the best option.

    Dave

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    Re: Tech camera: Which system?

    Quote Originally Posted by dchew View Post
    Sorry I did not mean it to sound that way at all! I am a big Corvette fan!
    Thats the problem with car analogies, one man's Corvette is another man's conker!

    Although I'm an Arca user, I've never considered the Cambo to be an inferior product and would happily use one any day of the week. I personally think Guy's Anniversary addition is one of the best looking tech cameras available and the quality of the product looks first class.

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    Re: Tech camera: Which system?

    take a look at Terry's sale

    the whole ball o'wax

    http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/gear-f...amera-kit.html

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    Re: Tech camera: Which system?

    Blend the Apples and Pears, add some rum and you have a conker! Just what you'd like to have after a long day of shooting!
    Likes 3 Member(s) liked this post

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    Re: Tech camera: Which system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Hendrix View Post
    Yes WRS and WRS AE are the same mounting plate. The WDS is a different plate (but does take the same lenses, as was pointed out).


    Steve Hendrix

    Hey Steve ...

    A bit off topic, but I thought that the Cambo DS and RS have the same lens mounting adapters and the lenses are interchangeable between the two models. Did I miss something?

    Thanks!

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    Re: Tech camera: Which system?

    Quote Originally Posted by dchew View Post
    Pramote,
    It might help if I explain what led me to my choice. Everyone has priorities. I associate the different brands with distinct priority lists:

    Alpa
    Pros:
    Simple, elegant design – Alpa pays attention to details. From the matt, ribbed finish inside the camera to the ball bearing mechanism, it is a camera designed to be used in a manner that doesn’t get in the way.

    Light weight (some models) – This was big for me. The STC can be oriented for rise/fall or shift, can be managed without a grip or viewfinder. So for backpacking I think it is The Cat’s Pajamas.

    Robust – There is just not much to go wrong on the camera. No little pieces sticking out, and not much to be bent or dented that would prevent it from working flawlessly.

    Shimming & HPF rings – Good, accurate system when combined together. Measuring distance with a Disto and dialing in focus is efficient and very accurate. Just look at the number of people shooting Cambo’s that have purchased HPF rings! However, shimming does not account for any differences in lenses. You have to pick the lens you shim with. Then, if necessary, make any helical adjustments to the other lenses to match.

    Cons:
    No tilt for wide angles – Probably Alpa’s Achilles Heel. They are supposed to come up with a solution this year, but from reading their press release it sounds like it will be only for certain lenses.

    Cost – I think this may be blown out of proportion. I do think dealer margins are smaller, so in some cases dealers are screaming about the cost more than owners. Some accessories are indeed crazy expensive. For example I can get the iPhone holder and buy an iPhone cheaper than the $1600 viewfinder.

    I think of Alpa STC as a Porsche 911; designed for the task at hand.

    Arca
    Pros:
    Beautifully built and designed – Everything is thought through, just look at the viewfinder with its DoF barrels, magnetic shutter cable…

    Rm3 has tilt in the body – If you don’t mind a larger camera, the Rm3d is hard to beat because of this feature.

    Focus mount – Arca’s focus mechanism is very fine and indirect. It’s design adjusts (calibrates) for each lens so there is no need to shim. It is not as simple and direct as the Alpa system, but it does account for any differences in lens tolerance (except for infinity).

    Cons:
    Long lead-times on parts – Not sure what the truth on this is, but it does seem to be exacerbated by inadequate communication.

    No website – Eh, whatever. People can find the info they need if they do their homework.

    More small parts – This might just be me, but I drop stuff. In rivers, at the most annoying times. I would go through those barrels, magnetic pieces, etc. faster than Phase One batteries on Live View. Again, I think the design is well conceived; it is just not something that fit my priorities.

    Arca Rm3d is the Mercedes S-class

    Cambo
    Pros:
    Value – You arguably get the most for your money with Cambo.

    Tilt in a small package – I separate the Arca Rm2d, Alpa STC and the Cambo WRS into their own subgroup because they are considerably smaller than their brothers and sisters. These three were my short list because of size and weight. As of today, the WRS is the only one that has tilt, albeit in the lenses, not the body.

    Back calibration – It can be done by adjusting the setscrews in the back. I have never done it; it is not as well documented as Alpa’s shim system, which is designed for the user to adjust. I believe Cambo recommends sending the camera and back to be adjusted by their technicians.

    Cons:
    Design - The WDS design is a bit crude in my opinion. I don’t want to get in trouble here, but it just does not feel that well thought out compared to the other two companies. The WRS is better, and the AE version better still. Some may categorize this as dressing, but not to me. It is the little things that become the stone in my shoe.

    The Cambo WRS is the Chevy Corvette. Maybe a little rough around the edges, but it gets you there as fast as the others (or faster?). In contrast the WDS is, um, the Suburban? Ok maybe the Escalade!

    Capture integration did a first class job in getting me three schneider lenses (43mm,72mm, 120mm) for my area rm3di. In addition they provided me with as much face time as necessary to help me master the use of the camera.If you have the patience to wait a few months for all of the parts to come in, you will be rewarded with a technical camera that seems to do everything. The best part is this dealer answered all of my phone calls and emails almost immediately. The results from this camera an my H4D50 back are astonishing

    Sranley

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    Re: Tech camera: Which system?

    Thanks very much Dave, Gareth and jlm! I will check out Terry's sale.
    Dave...I truly appreciate your thoughtful opinion. You may not know your first picture of the Sand Dunes in Tech Cam Images has really inspired me.
    Pramote

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