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Thread: studio tech camera choice

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    studio tech camera choice

    We need a better tech cam for strictly studio work than our venerable 4x5 Sinar P2. Need full geared precise movements auto-locking
    Our backs are PhaseOne IQ250 and Leaf Credo80

    I am looking at:

    1. Sinar P3
    2. Cambo Ultima
    3. ArcaSwiss Monolith
    4. ArcaSwiss Universalis

    Any thoughts? Preferences? Reasons? Others I should consider?
    Availability on used market vs buy new?
    Thanks in advance for any recommendations.

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    Re: studio tech camera choice

    Another possible candidate:

    Linhof 679CS
    http://linhof.com/linhof-m-679cs/?lang=en

    Chris

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    Re: studio tech camera choice

    cambo actus has tilt/swing on the front standard, shifts on the rear. nice little rig

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    Re: studio tech camera choice

    Thanks, Jim and Chris!
    I will add those to my list of candidates. (Looking them over online now )

    I should add that the primary lenses we will be using will be a 120macro digital and a 47ish digital (pretty standard stuff product-wise...so bag bellows or reasonable facsimile will be part of the dealio)

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    Re: studio tech camera choice

    I use the Linhof CS679 in the studio with bag bellows. It is a nice camera.

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    Re: studio tech camera choice

    Linhof makes great cameras. Their support/distribution in the US is not good. We've had clients wait months just to get a quote on repairs. In comparison Cambo and Arca have been been very responsive. Notably Arca has a repair center in the US (Precision camera) and turns around most repairs/service in a few days (sometimes even less) and has a rep in the US (Rod Klukas) with inventory to back up their dealer network. To their credit Cambo has also been very good with any service we needed, accommodating special requests and providing lenient interpretations of what should be considered "warranty repair" though most repairs/service require sending the system to Europe.

    This opinion is specific to the US; I cannot speak for service/support in other countries. I've heard Linhof service in the UK is quite good, but that is second hand.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
    Dealer for: Phase One, Mamiya Leaf, Arca-Swiss, Cambo, Eizo, Profoto
    Office: 877.367.8537. Cell: 740.707.2183

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    Re: studio tech camera choice


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    Re: studio tech camera choice

    Doug, thanks, I like the AS Universalis but was told may not be robust enough for studio work, so would be interested in your take on it.
    I am leaning toward the Sinar P3 at the moment just because its a great and known entity, its widely available used, and we already have sliding back for it and lens mounts....although may not fit from P2-to-P3?
    I have owned Linhof before and they are/were great cameras but service and help with them was quite challenging, as you mentioned. (not that there is much to be "serviced" on these things. My last Linhof Kardan lasted 25 years before I traded it for a Sinar, its still going strong for all I know. I wanted a bag bellows for it once back in the 80's and took delivery of the bellows sometime in the 90's if I recall ....not good

    Gerald....ummm....I thats a little too far out there for me I just shoot products...for money
    Looks like some kind've demented torture device...or possibly a multic camera selfie stick (I know, same thing!)
    I'm sure people are using that set up all over the place but I stick to the basics...still learning my VCR clock

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    Re: studio tech camera choice

    Quote Originally Posted by Egor View Post
    We need a better tech cam for strictly studio work than our venerable 4x5 Sinar P2. Need full geared precise movements auto-locking
    Our backs are PhaseOne IQ250 and Leaf Credo80

    I am looking at:

    1. Sinar P3
    2. Cambo Ultima
    3. ArcaSwiss Monolith
    4. ArcaSwiss Universalis

    Any thoughts? Preferences? Reasons? Others I should consider?
    Availability on used market vs buy new?
    Thanks in advance for any recommendations.

    Since we sell every one of these products, as well as the mentioned Linhof M679, from a non-personal standpoint, I would say they each have strengths and arguments could be made in all cases. Wow, that's profound.

    Ok, well....

    The Sinar P3 would be able to utilize some of your existing Sinar accessories for the P2. The newer D-P3 has much improved gearing precision; the P2 can feel a bit like steering a boat, which can be frustrating trying to nail down focus with a 50MP digital back. It is similar to a P2 in size, except the top standards are smaller, and it retains much of the robustness of one of the most popular studio view cameras sold the past 2 decades.

    Cambo Ultima is a more compact camera than the Sinar P3, similar in features, and gearing precision, one thing I especially like is that it is self-arresting, but still has the option to lock. And it is one of the more affordable options. The Cambo Actus, as John Milich mentioned, is one of the smallest modern view cameras available that supports a digital back, and is very affordable. It lacks some of the creature comforts of larger view cameras (not all gearing is self-arresting, for example, horizontal shift is not geared, etc.), but is extremely well made, considering the size.

    The Arca Swiss Monolith is a great view camera, compact, very precise gearing, elegant design. I particularly like the method for how Arca Swiss expands the monorail without having to add another extension piece. That is truly elegant. For a smaller option, the Universalis, like the Cambo Actus, offers an affordable alternative to the larger view cameras.

    The Linhof is another option as well - fitting somewhere between a Sinar P3 and a Cambo Ultima in terms of size/bulk, again very nice gearing, self locking adjustments. But as expensive, or more so than the Sinar, even. As was noted, in the USA, Linhof has not had as large a presence as Sinar/Cambo/Arca Swiss, and recently, HP Marketing, the former US Distributor, resigned and turned over all their product lines to OmegaBrandess and MAC. OmegaBrandess ended up with Linhof. We'll see how it goes, Omega has been responsive to our requests so far, but seem limited by a bottleneck from Linhof HQ (for whatever reason).

    I find view camera preferences among owners are pretty passionate. A view camera is either a camera you're going to love or hate, and if you get the right one, it's a great uh, relationship.

    While there are many great choices, for this type of work, stability and precision are high on the list of requirements, so perhaps one of the larger, bulkier cameras is a better fit.

    Cambo, Sinar and Arca Swiss products all are rentable from our inventory if needed, Eric. You know how to find me....


    Steve Hendrix
    Capture Integration
    Steve Hendrix, Sales Manager, www.captureintegration.com (e-mail Me)
    Digital Cam: Phase One | Leaf | Leica | Sinar Authorized Reseller
    TechCam: Alpa | Cambo | Arca Swiss | Sinar Authorized Reseller

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    Re: studio tech camera choice

    Thanks, Steve, for the very thorough response! You probably never get this question, right?
    I am glad these are all good recommendations, and not a freeforall about what is better...I know people get pretty passionate about their camera choices...I just need a tool here...no dog hunting or however its usually said

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    Re: studio tech camera choice

    Quote Originally Posted by Egor View Post

    Gerald....ummm....I thats a little too far out there for me I just shoot products...for money
    Looks like some kind've demented torture device...or possibly a multic camera selfie stick (I know, same thing!)
    I'm sure people are using that set up all over the place but I stick to the basics...still learning my VCR clock
    If you're shooting products for money, I find it hard to understand why anyone would look at anything else. Unless you need rear movements.

    Is there any other camera on the market that automates focus stacking perpendicular to the tilted and swung focal plane?

    Is there any other camera that stores a metadata file alongside every image, so that you can recall the exact camera settings of any shot you have ever taken, and repeat that shot?

    I would imagine that your productivity with this camera would increase by an order of magnitude over any camera requiring manual movements.

    I appreciate that at first glance it may be difficult to get your head around what it does and how it does it, but I can assure you it's worth investigating seriously.

    Kind regards,

    Gerald.

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    Re: studio tech camera choice

    Quote Originally Posted by gerald.d View Post
    If you're shooting products for money, I find it hard to understand why anyone would look at anything else. Unless you need rear movements.

    Is there any other camera on the market that automates focus stacking perpendicular to the tilted and swung focal plane?

    Is there any other camera that stores a metadata file alongside every image, so that you can recall the exact camera settings of any shot you have ever taken, and repeat that shot?

    I would imagine that your productivity with this camera would increase by an order of magnitude over any camera requiring manual movements.

    I appreciate that at first glance it may be difficult to get your head around what it does and how it does it, but I can assure you it's worth investigating seriously.

    Kind regards,

    Gerald.
    OK, here's the thing, I don't need focus stacking that much if I can adjust focus plane. I have stackshot automated for those times I do.
    File metadata and EXIF are already recorded. That data is hardly relevant since professional product photography is all about the lighting and how I choose to modify that light. The camera and lens is really an afterthought. I could say that applies to ALL photography but wouldn't presume
    Like I said, I am sure there are many people out there using that system its just not for me right now. I do understand how it works and probably even the code behind the software to assemble. Not my thing is all.
    Peace

    e

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    Re: studio tech camera choice

    egor;

    do you typically tilt/swing the front or rear standards?

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    Re: studio tech camera choice

    Egor, I have no experience with a 4x5 P2 (I have an 8x10), but I have been pleased with Sinar. P3 looks like a nice bit of kit.

    I am fond of my Monolith. It's all about convenience. The Monolith is light and compact enough that it is easily mounted and unmounted from the stand. It sits on a shelf in the cupboard without falling over so no need to pack it away. Easy to swap bits about. Everything moves front and rear, and is reasonably precise. Barks at the door when it needs to ..... well, not really.

    However, what really has me keen on the AS line is the new shutter - if they ever get it out. I used the Rollei shutters for years now, and that was far from convenient when tethered. Cables everywhere and some of them very short.

    I look forward to mounting a couple of lenses in AS eshutters, and to using the new FPS with the rest of them. For example, I just bought a 40HR in Copal, and am comfortable knowing I can use it with the FPS on the Monolith and the Copal on the tech camera. Here's hoping the FPS doesn't vibrate a lot.

    That brings up a key thing (for me). With AS, I can move lenses back and forth between the Monolith and my Rm3di. Almost makes up for the truly strange (and awful) AS magnetic shutter release. Oh well, at least the receiver also has a thread.

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    Re: studio tech camera choice

    Jim: Short answer: I need both
    Like most, I typically adjust only the front standard. Occasionally need rear standard movements depending on CoI of lens and how much swing and shift enacted on front.
    When doing art repro capture its the opposite. All movements are rear standard, mostly shifts using PhaseOne sliding plate (not even the rear standard itself.) P1 LCC rules!

    Cunim: So AS has a FPS for the Monolith? And it is integrated with the lens and C1 software for automated control like with a DF+ ? That would be a game changer, imo, if I understand you correctly. I am a huge LV user, even the crappy LV on the CCD backs comes in handy, especially with the view camera. Do tell me more

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    Re: studio tech camera choice

    my first hand experience is based on the Cambo Actus, but an advantage of the "new" view cameras intended for digital backs is that the relatively inexpensive lens boards can take either the less expensive helicoid-less but with copal shutter lenses, or lenses with helicoids and shutters, but with standard mounts for Arca, Cambo and Alpa, with the useful but not entirely necessary, redundant fine focus of the helicoid. presumably, any standard mount device, like a shutter, extension tube, etc. could be sandwiched between the lens and lens board.

    as far as i have seen however, only shifts are on the rear, tits and swings on the front

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    Re: studio tech camera choice

    Quote Originally Posted by jlm View Post
    ... tits and swings on the front
    That's always the best feature I look for

    Ok, back for more coffee.

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    Re: studio tech camera choice

    gee, i must have mis-typed

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    Re: studio tech camera choice

    Naughty, Ken.

    Egor, I am not implying that C1 integrates with any of these shutters. That would be too much to hope for. Control is via a dedicated control unit, sort of like the Rollei LCS. However, as far as I know this one communicates wirelessly with a power/interface unit mounted near the camera. That remote unit has a wire carrying power and control signals to either the FPS unit sandwiched into the Monolith (or the tech camera), or to leaf shutters in the individual lenses.

    Lets you sit at the computer, open the shutter for LV, trigger and acquisition etc - just as you do for other eshutters. What it doesn't do is tell C1 to open LV when you open the shutter, and go back to acquisition mode when you trigger an acquisition. You have to make that switch in C1. Remains to be seen how well this is all implemented. Far as I know, they are in later stages of factory testing now but problems keep arising. The dealers can correct any errors I am making here.

    Not a game changer re LV, but if you have ever put a camera 10' in the air while tethered, and tried to manipulate an LCS with a 2' cable - oh the pain.

    I have no idea how good the AS shutters will be.

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    Re: studio tech camera choice

    For the record - listed weights for some of these cameras is below. It's funny how perceptively we interpret specifications, only to find in actuality they are different.

    Sinar P3 - 11.4 Pounds

    Arca Swiss Monolith - 9.8 Pounds

    Cambo Ultima - 11.9 Pounds

    Linhof M679 - 9.9 Pounds


    And the little guys:

    Arca Swiss Universalis - 2.6 Pounds

    Cambo Actus DB - 2.6 Pounds


    Steve Hendrix
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    Steve Hendrix, Sales Manager, www.captureintegration.com (e-mail Me)
    Digital Cam: Phase One | Leaf | Leica | Sinar Authorized Reseller
    TechCam: Alpa | Cambo | Arca Swiss | Sinar Authorized Reseller

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    Re: studio tech camera choice

    No worries, Cunim! Thanks for the info....and omg...yes...I put my cameras 10 ft in the air tethered and fire and control everything remotely on a daily basis! I know the pain all too well. Although I have 50ft cables though If I only had 2ft cables, I would send up an intern

    Steve, thanks for the extra info, although not sure how to interpret it. Looks like the baby tech cams weigh about as much as a MacBook Air 13inch and the big guys weigh as much as two MacBook Pros

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    Re: studio tech camera choice

    After much reading and deliberation, it has come down to between Arca Swiss Monolith system or Cambo Ultima system.

    Obviously leaning toward the Monolith, and will be checking one out on the job starting Monday.
    Cambo Ultima maybe after that and then decide.
    Cambo would be less money but its all relative...
    Thanks for the help, everyone and I will see how they work in our studio!

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    Re: studio tech camera choice

    The Sinar P3 would be able to utilize some of your existing Sinar accessories for the P2. The newer D-P3 has much improved gearing precision; the P2 can feel a bit like steering a boat, which can be frustrating trying to nail down focus with a 50MP digital back. It is similar to a P2 in size, except the top standards are smaller, and it retains much of the robustness of one of the most popular studio view cameras sold the past 2 decades.
    Just to add in my 2 cents here...we recently had a customer send in two P2s to get upgraded to a DF. Effectively, they got two new cameras for $1050 USD each WITH digital focus, plus warranty on the new parts. They also are using the Sinar e-shutter and love it; with the USB controller, they have C1 open, and the Sinar e-shutter software, and are able to change shutter, aperture, open the curtain, and then command tab into capture one for live view. They absolutely love it and we'll be doing a blog post on it shortly.

    A new P3 is $8350.
    A P2 to P3 conversion is about $3050.
    A X or P2 upgrade to the digital focus is $1050.

    We've seen the Xs and P2s go for incredibly low prices, so this upgrade path is something we've seen and encouraged people to do in the past because it's such a great deal. New P3s come with the digital focus, so the only really difference is where the zero point is between the P3 and the P2. However, if you just start at the different shift point, you'll be all set to use them. Our client that upgraded has had nothing but good things to say about it.
    Chris Valites
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    Re: studio tech camera choice

    Thanks, everyone for the great info and choices. For a variety of reasons, mostly budget related, I will go with the Cambo Ultima 23D. The Sinar option outlined by Chris is very tempting, and equal in saving$, but some other factors fell into place for the Cambo.
    This will free up budget for lenses and possibly a coveted digital shutter.

    When testing the ArcaSwiss M doing production work or even just standard focus stack work, I found the normal manual shutter to kill a lot of time, and in the case of focus stacking, camera movement because of having to touch the lens to cock the shutter... so am interested in putting some $ there, at least into the SK120 ASPH, as that will most likely be my go-to lens for most production and focus stack work.
    Looks like there are a variety of digital shutters on the market, now need to check into them. The Sinar eShutter looks great and is outlined by Chris above which is a big plus for me, but I would like to know more about the competition (SK and Rodenstock have versions too it seems)

    Also, is everybody who knows, in agreement that the 40mm Rodenstock HR-W is the best solution with the IQ250 back? (I know there is always disagreement about this stuff, but heard sometimes the IQ250 has a particular need for microlens straight angles...

    Pic of demo Arca Swiss Monolith in studio being tested...simply awesome machine I must say, but if I went with it, would have no money for the glass I need. Kindle like spending entire wad on a house and having nothing left to furnish with In the end, I'd rather have a fully functioning Toyota than a Ferrari without gas or wheels.
    Last edited by Egor; 7th June 2015 at 08:35.

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