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Thread: Alpa SWA and STC

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    Alpa SWA and STC

    Hey Guys,
    I am looking into getting an Alpa sometime hopefully soon and was just wondering what the differences are between these two bodies? from what I can see the SWA cannot be mounted 90degrees on the tripod like the STC can? I will be mainly shooting landscapes but wouldn't mind some hand held capabilities as well. Does the STC have more shifting abilities than the SWA?


    Cheers
    Will.
    www.williamophuis.com

    Hassy H4D-40.

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Alpa SWA and STC

    Will,

    The SWA has 25mm rise when oriented normally. I don't recall it having any way to mount a tripod mounting plate on the side though so you would need to use it on a head that is tilted 90 degrees to get horizontal shift. If you want fall instead of rise then you actually have to mount the camera upside down with a plate/adapter at the top of the camera body (which would now be the bottom).

    This explains it better than I just did:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKbTPI-RUGo

    The STC has +/- 18mm left/right shift in normal orientation but does have tripod plate mounting options on the side so that you can rotate it 90 degrees and use the camera with +/- 18mm rise/fall instead. I have plates on both the bottom and the left side (viewed from the front) and use the camera in this manner.

    Personally I think that the STC is the more versatile camera but less well suited to handheld use (if only because there's only one grip). That said, you can easily handhold and shoot the STC. The movements are more symmetric with the STC than the SWA in that you don't have to faff around with putting the lens / back on different sides of the body to get +/- adjustments or upside down.

    I'm not sure of prices these days but if shooting handheld is important then I suspect that you could pick up a TC body in addition to the STC for the same or less than an SWA. The SWA is a very sexy work of art though to look at
    Last edited by GrahamWelland; 29th April 2014 at 18:07.
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    Subscriber Member jotloob's Avatar
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    Re: Alpa SWA and STC

    I think Graham pointed out all the important differences . So , there is not much to add .
    I use all three types , TC , STC and SWA .
    TC (Travel Camera) is the lightest of them all and ideal for HH shooting if you don't want to carry a lot of weight . Usually you will then have only one lens with you .
    STC (Shift Travel Camera) . That is the camera I use for architecture photography (tripod only) because it is very easy to mount the camera for horizontal or vertical shift .
    SWA (Shift Wide Angle) ? ? ?
    Ideal for HH use because of the two grips . The camera is wonderful in your hands and allows vertical shift (one direction only) in normal HH position .
    Also , you can have a wake up button in the left grip , if required .
    I have that feature and find it very useful . No additional cabling from lens to Digital Back .
    Regards . Jürgen .
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    Re: Alpa SWA and STC

    Thanks for clarifying that for me guys! even though I am in love with how the SWA looks I think the STC would be better suited for my shooting style and most of my images will be shot on tripod, what digital backs suit these tech cams the best? I see some cheaper Leaf backs are they any good for shooting landscapes? or should I stick to the Phase One backs?
    www.williamophuis.com

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    Re: Alpa SWA and STC

    You don't want to use your H4-back on the Alpa?
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    Re: Alpa SWA and STC

    from what I have read the 40 is not very good on a tech camera because of the micro lenses and colour shifts etc, otherwise I would be happy to use it
    www.williamophuis.com

    Hassy H4D-40.

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    Re: Alpa SWA and STC

    Quote Originally Posted by weinlamm View Post
    You don't want to use your H4-back on the Alpa?
    I use a H5 back on mr Arca with great results!
    Why do you claim the
    Hasselblad back is not suited for the Alpa?
    Stanley

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    Re: Alpa SWA and STC

    which H5 back do you use on your Arca? I am pretty sure its only the 40mp that has issues.
    www.williamophuis.com

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    Senior Member stngoldberg's Avatar
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    Re: Alpa SWA and STC

    I use the H5D50 on my Arca
    Specifically what is the problem with the H4D40?
    Stanley

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    Senior Member danlindberg's Avatar
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    Re: Alpa SWA and STC

    The differences has been explained and I agree that the STC is the more flexible and probably the sensible choice for most, but I still argue that the SWA is the most beautiful camera on earth.
    Alpa FPS • MAX • TC | Alpagon 32Hr | Helvetar 75 | Schneider 120N | Leaf Aptus II 5 • Leaf Credo 60 | www.danlindberg.com
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    Re: Alpa SWA and STC

    I chose SWA over the TC (never had an STC) because of portability (easy on tripod and even better handheld) and frankly, looks. The TC is too small for me and it's hard to hold.

    To your landscape/portrait question. On both cameras you can simply dismount the back, turn 90 degrees, put it back on, and you got portrait. no need to take the camera off the tripod. If you use an Aptus ii R back like I do, you can simply turn the knob to rotate the sensor.

    If you buy a Phase one back. you'll want to buy a wake up grip or the Katpure group wake up cable set. THe alpa grips are more expensive but they are beautiful on the SWA. The wake up cable will save you a lot of power because you don't need to keep the back on zero latency. ( I happen to be selling my two pairs since I moved out of Phase one, let me know if you need).
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    Re: Alpa SWA and STC

    Quote Originally Posted by danlindberg View Post
    . . . . but I still argue that the SWA is the most beautiful camera on earth.
    I feel very much the same .

    I took a portrait of her . Using NIK software and Snapseed on MAC PRO3 to give the image the "portrait note"

    Regards . Jürgen .
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    Re: Alpa SWA and STC

    Quote Originally Posted by Will Ophuis View Post
    from what I have read the 40 is not very good on a tech camera because of the micro lenses and colour shifts etc, otherwise I would be happy to use it
    I can't really say anything about any Hasselblad on a tec cam - but I would say "try out!". Much/Most of the 'problems' you should solve with a LCC-shoot.
    And if you after a tryout have to say "it's not good enough for me" - then you should start think about an other back. Not previously.
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    Re: Alpa SWA and STC

    yeah thats not a bad idea but I might need to sell the hasselblad to fund the new camera, after looking at those images I want a SWA haha, wondering how much I would use the different shifts for my landscape work, considering you can get some very wide lenses for these cameras anyways.
    www.williamophuis.com

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    Senior Member dchew's Avatar
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    Re: Alpa SWA and STC

    I'll stick up for the homely STC.(!)

    If you are normally working on a tripod the STC is more versitile. I don't like flipping the camera, lens and back on it's side 90 degrees with a ballhead. Doing it frequently with the cube is not all that fun either. Not so bad maybe with the D4...?

    If you want to merge images into a panorama or stitch two verticals together, it is more straight forward with the STC.

    The STC is lighter, but also smaller so it packs more efficiently.

    SWA=Ginger, STC=MaryAnn for those of you Gilligan's Island fans.


    Dave
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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Alpa SWA and STC

    People with STC cameras take pictures with it.

    People with SWA's can't help but take pictures OF it! it is an achingly beautiful camera as you've seen here.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"
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    Re: Alpa SWA and STC

    And another thing: do people really use the two hand grips on the SWA? When hand holding a camera, I usually have my left hand under the camera.

    Not that the SWA isn't beautiful, but the STC is pretty nice, too.

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    Senior Member Steve Hendrix's Avatar
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    Re: Alpa SWA and STC

    Quote Originally Posted by Will Ophuis View Post
    yeah thats not a bad idea but I might need to sell the hasselblad to fund the new camera, after looking at those images I want a SWA haha, wondering how much I would use the different shifts for my landscape work, considering you can get some very wide lenses for these cameras anyways.
    Will - you're inclinations are correct on a number of fronts.

    The 40 megapixel Kodak sensor used by the Hasselblad H4D-40 has enlarged micro-lenses that can produce limitations and anomalies similar to the 31 megapixel Kodak sensors.

    But also, you'll have to come up with a creative portable power solution, either tether to a laptop, or use perhaps one of the Silvestri firewire-enabled battery solutions. There is now a shipping battery extension from Hasselblad, but it's almost $1,200 and there is not an option for this with H4D, other than the H4D-60.

    So - all in all, H4D-40 with tech camera, yes there are some limitations.


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    Re: Alpa SWA and STC

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    People with STC cameras take pictures with it.

    People with SWA's can't help but take pictures OF it! it is an achingly beautiful camera as you've seen here.
    Quote Originally Posted by stephengilbert View Post
    And another thing: do people really use the two hand grips on the SWA? When hand holding a camera, I usually have my left hand under the camera.

    Not that the SWA isn't beautiful, but the STC is pretty nice, too.
    Regards . Jürgen .
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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    Senior Member rayyen's Avatar
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    Re: Alpa SWA and STC

    Jotloob and Dan, your SWA portrait are awesome!!!
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    Re: Alpa SWA and STC

    Thanks for the help guys, think I will end up with an STC hopefully by the end of the year, now I just need to research the best lenses for landscape work.
    www.williamophuis.com

    Hassy H4D-40.

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    Senior Member dchew's Avatar
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    Re: Alpa SWA and STC

    Quote Originally Posted by Will Ophuis View Post
    ...now I just need to research the best lenses for landscape work.
    Well certainly NONE of us have an opinion on that!

    Dave
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    Re: Alpa SWA and STC

    Happy to hear your opinions
    www.williamophuis.com

    Hassy H4D-40.

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    Senior Member dchew's Avatar
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    Re: Alpa SWA and STC

    There are many good threads here. Sometimes searching in google helps by adding getdpi in the search string.

    Several questions to ask yourself. Because this stuff is so expensive it is important to answer them long-term:
    1. What back will you use? Currently the high MP backs limit your wide angle choices to Rodenstock, and Phase One's first CMOS back is also finicky with color casts so we don't know how much better this will get in the future. If you are going to stick with a digital back that is more forgiving on close exit pupils, that opens up a whole list of marvelous small and light Schneiders. The new Rodenstock lenses are retrofocus designs, so they have less color cast but are larger and have more distortion.

    2. What will you shoot and how much will you shift and rise/fall? Defines your need for wide image circles (IC). If you stick to the STC, then 18mm shift each way (pano) is a 98mm IC. Most of the popular lenses will have at least a 100mm IC. Schneider seems a bit more "liberal" in their IC claims vs. Rodenstock.

    3. How many lenses do you want to own, how many do you want to carry, and how far are you going to carry them? Today if I had to pick only one lens it would be the Schneider 60xl.

    4. What is the widest lens you want? I think barring a particular interest in a specific focal length, this is a reasonable place to start and then gap up from there. Use the image circles to fill in gaps when necessary.

    For example, I've never been a really wide shooter, so my widest is a 40mm. Many, many tech cam users love to shoot wider, and the 32hr is the gold standard for wides. A 40mm shifted horizontally 15.6mm in portrait orientation creates a wider 30mm equivalent 4:3 format. So as long as the subject stands still, my 40mm can act like a 30mm (18.5mm in 24x36 format).* But the Rodi 32 can go crazy wide (and is equally expensive)!

    So I started with 40mm then went up ~ 30mm. 40/70/100/150. I don't recommend the Rodi 100 though; it doesn't shift much and mine is not all that good. I just placed an order for the SK 60xl and the Rodi 90hr.

    But back to your original question. There are a few standouts:
    Rodi 32hr
    Rodi 40hr
    SK 43xl
    SK 60xl
    Rodi 70hr
    Rodi 90hr
    sk 120
    sk 150

    There were rumors about a new sk 100, but I think those got squashed.

    I'm sure I missed some, but at least my list is brand-neutral! I'm also sure others will chime in...


    Dave

    *Note: my lens "equivalents" are based on a 54x40 sensor.
    Last edited by dchew; 6th May 2014 at 06:33.
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    Senior Member dchew's Avatar
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    Re: Alpa SWA and STC

    One important point I forgot above: If you are sticking with Alpa and you want to tilt, you have to get the short-barrel (SB) lens mounts. That limits you to Rodenstock on anything wider than 60mm.

    Dave
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    Re: Alpa SWA and STC

    I thought the SK100 was still coming, but more in the 2014 Photokina time frame.

    I believe it's still a real lens, just was delayed by a huge overseas order.

    Newest SK120, which was already mentioned may also be holding some back, but it needs the mount adjustment for the digital back, where as the 100 will not.

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    Re: Alpa SWA and STC

    Thanks heaps for the info Dave, I will do some searches too! I don't shoot that often really wide but do on occasion and would like the option.
    www.williamophuis.com

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    Re: Alpa SWA and STC

    the 24mm Schneider lens is a love or hate lens. I used to hate it, then sold it, then I think I love it want it back. Small image circle limiting it to a 40mp back , f8+ for best results, and you cannot shift. but the perspective is very dramatic if used correctly. (like the voigtlander 12mm on the leica)

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    Senior Member Steve Hendrix's Avatar
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    Re: Alpa SWA and STC

    Quote Originally Posted by mmbma View Post
    the 24mm Schneider lens is a love or hate lens. I used to hate it, then sold it, then I think I love it want it back. Small image circle limiting it to a 40mp back , f8+ for best results, and you cannot shift. but the perspective is very dramatic if used correctly. (like the voigtlander 12mm on the leica)

    I agree - not a bad point and shoot!

    BTW - we have one available in our inventory in the Cambo Lenspanel....


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    Re: Alpa SWA and STC

    If I remember correctly I saw one some weeks ago in Copenhagen: Objektiver - Fastoptik - ALPA 24/5,6 XL APO-DIGITAR COPAL

    Maybe their stocking status is not up to date.

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    Re: Alpa SWA and STC

    $5k - $6k for this lens ?? I bought one from Calumet in LA (in Cambo mount), what, four years ago (or thereabouts) for $2500. Maybe that's why they went broke

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    Re: Alpa SWA and STC

    Quote Originally Posted by f8orbust View Post
    $5k - $6k for this lens ?? I bought one from Calumet in LA (in Cambo mount), what, four years ago (or thereabouts) for $2500. Maybe that's why they went broke
    It's not a $5-6k lens unless new. Ditto $2500 doesn't include the Alpa fee for the gnomes building their mount
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

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    Re: Alpa SWA and STC

    I ought to opt for a TC with Arca nodelSet for shift stitching.
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    Re: Alpa SWA and STC

    I have both. Stitching with the STC is handy, but even on lenses with big IC (like the Schneider 35 XL) you will have significant falloff to deal with. I took the SWA to Iceland and did a bunch of nodal stitching which was easy enough.
    Since the majority of the (paid) work I do with the camera is architecture I'd sell the SWA first.

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    Re: Alpa SWA and STC

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    It's not a $5-6k lens unless new. Ditto $2500 doesn't include the Alpa fee for the gnomes building their mount
    The lens on the webpage is new (not in stock as I can see) and the price includes a 25% sale tax for Danes/EU

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    Re: Alpa SWA and STC

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    It's not a $5-6k lens unless new. Ditto $2500 doesn't include the Alpa fee for the gnomes building their mount
    I have the SK 24mm XL. I bought it unmounted and sent it to Alpa to have it mounted. The mounting is actually done by Schneider - or was, as they used the last special helical mount on my lens. This is something of a shame as I have another unmounted SK 24mm XL that I was hoping to have put on an Alpa mount.

    Edit: My unmounted 24mm XL is actually on a Schneider electronic shutter release unit. I don't know much about these units so was hoping to have it removed and put onto a standard mount.
    Last edited by Sarnia; 8th January 2015 at 12:17.

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    Senior Member darr's Avatar
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    Re: Alpa SWA and STC

    Quote Originally Posted by Sarnia View Post
    I have the SK 24mm XL. I bought it unmounted and sent it to Alpa to have it mounted. The mounting is actually done by Schneider - or was, as they used the last special helical mount on my lens. This is something of a shame as I have another unmounted SK 24mm XL that I was hoping to have put on an Alpa mount.
    I contacted ALPA last year about mounting my Cooke PS945 so I could continue to use it after I sold off my last 4x5" gear. They responded quickly and kindly, but said they could not do it. I eventually sold it to Richard Man so at least it has a good home, but sadly ALPA cannot mount all lenses.
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    Re: Alpa SWA and STC

    Quote Originally Posted by darr View Post
    I contacted ALPA last year about mounting my Cooke PS945 so I could continue to use it after I sold off my last 4x5" gear. They responded quickly and kindly, but said they could not do it. I eventually sold it to Richard Man so at least it has a good home, but sadly ALPA cannot mount all lenses.
    I am in the same boat but haven't started the disposition of 4x5 gears yet, including some future classics by Thalman. Alpa can't mount any of them. Decision, decision...
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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Alpa SWA and STC

    I'm sure the answer is won't vs can't. They can all be mounted but you won't necessarily get the best from the overall system.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

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

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    Senior Member thrice's Avatar
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    Re: Alpa SWA and STC

    There is no helical for a Copal #3 shutter that can be mounted onto an Alpa mount. A #1 shutter is hard enough.
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    Re: Alpa SWA and STC

    With respect to using great 4x5 lenses with a digital back, consider solid tech cameras that take flat board mounts and have bellows for focusing, such as Linhof Techno, Arca Universalis, M2, Cambo Actus. Especially good with longer lenses and bigger shutters.

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    Senior Member darr's Avatar
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    Re: Alpa SWA and STC

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve C View Post
    With respect to using great 4x5 lenses with a digital back, consider solid tech cameras that take flat board mounts and have bellows for focusing, such as Linhof Techno, Arca Universalis, M2, Cambo Actus. Especially good with longer lenses and bigger shutters.
    I hear what you say and understand the versatility of the view camera design. My first MFD camera was an Arca Swiss (AS) ML2, but I discovered there was a bit of slop in its focusing (like all view cameras I have used) that was a PIA with digital. In my film days, it was not such a big deal, but with digital I was looking for the best precision. I found the precision I was looking for in a pancake design with an ALPA. I probably would have been just as happy with an RM3d, but it was not available at the time and my guess AS realized the market was there and was in the designing stages.
    "Creativity takes courage." ~ Henri Matisse
    Darlene Almeda, photoscapes.com

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