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Thread: why is tech cam equipment so expensive?

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    why is tech cam equipment so expensive?

    I'll start by saying have never had a problem paying for quality.

    We can debate whether a new DB is worth it's price, but its a complex tool, with many very clever people doing very clever things in an elegant little box and more clever software developed to present the user with a great workflow.
    Similar to lenses. I can appreciate the quality control needed to get the best results out of 'multiple bit of glass with a shutter in the middle' - even if the really high end Rodi's are eyewatering

    But when it comes to peripherals for tech cameras I am at a loss to sometimes.

    A back plate for a cambo for example, to attach a DB. Over $500! how can that be? What am I missing in terms of engineering a square metal plate with 2 hooks to hold the back on?
    An arca-swiss plate is even more hilariously priced; up to $1000
    1 wooden handgrip for a WDS - over $500

    Is there a disconnect between cost of production (admittedly in very small numbers) and retail price?

    I wonder if I can get a highend 3d printer and create a bunch of my own peripherals for a fraction of the price of buying OEM

    /waits for someone to make a Rolls-Royce analogy about the cost of replacement windscreen wipers




    *I'm having a bad day and I want to rant about something
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    Senior Member dchew's Avatar
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    Re: why is tech cam equipment so expensive?

    Those examples sound like a great deal! [says an Alpa shooter].


    I don't know what the volume is, but it cannot be much. I can say I've been to Alpa in Switzerland. The office is not ornate, and there are not fast expensive cars out front. I don't think they are rolling in the dough smoking expensive cigars and drinking $500 shots of cognac.

    If you add up the factors of outsourcing (especially in Alpa’s case), small volumes and relatively tight tolerances it fits the expensive, low-volume business model.

    And, the last thing I want is for either one of them to go out of business!

    Dave
    Last edited by dchew; 15th July 2019 at 17:35.
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    Re: why is tech cam equipment so expensive?

    Cambo does nearly 100% of their manufacturing themselves (for total clarity I mean full-time Cambo employees working at Cambo-owned machines at Cambo HQ in the Netherlands). They have a rather impressive array of very high end CNC and automated loaders and other large scale manufacturing and finishing devices. I’ll gladly admit that the first time I visited their factory I found it was at least five times larger than I was expecting it to be.

    They have a very broad product line, nearly 70 years of manufacturing experience, and also do some contract manufacturing (aka making OEM products for other companies, like Seitz does for Alpa).

    The only exception I’m aware of is anodization, since thats a rather nasty process and is better left to a place that does nothing but anodization.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
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    Re: why is tech cam equipment so expensive?

    It’s also my impression that Arca Swiss makes their own equipment (their employees on their machines at their facilities); notably they themselves are located in France (not Switzerland). But I’ve not personally been to their factory, so I’m getting confirmation that this is accurate.

    Edit: I’ve confirmed the above is correct. All Arca Swiss products are made in house.
    Last edited by dougpeterson; 16th July 2019 at 02:10.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
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    Re: why is tech cam equipment so expensive?

    of course I dont want them to go out of business. I just cant reconcile those prices against their perceived cost of manufacture

    I may be totally wrong, and there is a tiny margin on those items


    As above, I'm happy to pay for quality products - I wouldnt be tempted by the cheaper Actus knock offs from china, on ebay for example

    Just confused as to how those accessories got to those price points
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    Re: why is tech cam equipment so expensive?

    Low production volumes and an expensive production line with skilled employees. That will be enough. Yes, the Chinese have made similar cameras for less, but not to the same standards. Whether an Asian manufacturer could compete at a lower cost would also depend on demand. Demand is quite low so there is not a lot of incentive.

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    Re: why is tech cam equipment so expensive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    Low production volumes and an expensive production line with skilled employees. That will be enough. Yes, the Chinese have made similar cameras for less, but not to the same standards. Whether an Asian manufacturer could compete at a lower cost would also depend on demand. Demand is quite low so there is not a lot of incentive.

    absolutely - for the actus I agree, I doubt you could expect the same quality level from the Chinese ones

    But for the back or lens plates, those are far less technical parts

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    Re: why is tech cam equipment so expensive?

    Quote Originally Posted by dougpeterson View Post
    Itís also my impression that Arca Swiss makes their own equipment (their employees on their machines at their facilities); notably they themselves are located in France (not Switzerland). But Iíve not personally been to their factory, so Iím getting confirmation that this is accurate.
    Doug,

    Your assumptions about Arca Swiss production are 100% correct.

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    Senior Member dchew's Avatar
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    Re: why is tech cam equipment so expensive?

    Quote Originally Posted by dougpeterson View Post
    Itís also my impression that Arca Swiss makes their own equipment (their employees on their machines at their facilities); notably they themselves are located in France (not Switzerland). But Iíve not personally been to their factory, so Iím getting confirmation that this is accurate.
    Thanks Doug. Sorry for the bad information about outsourcing, everyone.

    Dave
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    Re: why is tech cam equipment so expensive?

    The bright side of technical cameras is that once you build the kit out you basically have a system that’ll last a lifetime. Digital backs come & go to a greater degree but once you have the few lenses and body you’re essentially done.

    The low volume super high precision accounts for much of the price (new) plus the margins. The only things that I’ve seriously puked on were the 3D printed Alpa lens hoods - there I did feel that the limit was being pushed somewhat, beautiful as they are. (And the truly sad fact is that at some point I’ll break down and buy them for my 40/70HR lenses)
    Last edited by GrahamWelland; 16th July 2019 at 04:50.
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    Re: why is tech cam equipment so expensive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Massive Si View Post
    absolutely - for the actus I agree, I doubt you could expect the same quality level from the Chinese ones

    But for the back or lens plates, those are far less technical parts
    Making flat pieces of machined metal isn't that easy either. And their sales volume is again low. The price is in relation to the camera. I imagine they have found the best balance between supply and demand. I doubt they make a lot of money, but would you want them to make less?

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    Re: why is tech cam equipment so expensive?

    Agree on all points. Iíve ordered the add|metric from alpa and I still donít have a final price... but itís a new version based on the TC.

    The R&D costs for 3D printed parts, plus the high quality materials, plus the extremely expensive printer/printer hours means high prices. Alpa invited me to visit but I havenít taken them up on it; I probably should.

    I donít have a problem with it - or at least, not when itís a company purchase. Privately is a different story.

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    Re: why is tech cam equipment so expensive?

    My understanding is that the adaptor plate for attaching a digital back requires the utmost accuracy and care in manufacture as the makers tolerance has to be measured in microns to guarantee that focus will be critically accurate...an essential consideration for these cameras.

    My take on this is that these cameras offer amazing technicality in manufacture for a very low price!!.......this will become very apparent if you compare with other areas of extreme precision engineering such as aeorospace and medical items. The endoscope found in most modern hospitals makes a Tech cam look quite good value for money.

    Also, some of the modern equipement to actually make these components is incredibly expensive in itself....CNC is Not just a milling machine controlled by a computer, there are challenges in every part of it's design and construction. And, then there are the people!......making items like this in this manner is the skilled knowledge of a decreasingly few artisans...Yes, ARTISANS...ie an extreme craftsman who thinks of his skill set as an adjunct of art.

    And, we have not even considered the hand work needed to complete each camera component...the work that machines simply cant' do and which ordinary folk don't even know about!.......The bespoke watch industry uses fine CNC machines of their own design and making to produce a dozen balance wheels in 4 days but those wheels then require 5 weeks of polishing by hand using nothing more than a copper burnisher and a huge amount of skill gained over years by the holder of the burnisher.

    The area where camera equipement IS massively over priced is in mirrorless full frame models...the Sony A7 offers huge profit on each body and, in terms of manufacture, is priced to what can be extracted from the buyer. Take a look at what else you can get for the price of an a7 and you will see what I mean.

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    Re: why is tech cam equipment so expensive?

    I cant believe a lens plate or db plate has the same level of engineering and craftsmanship as a $500 watch

    But if they are built with tolerances measured in microns then that might go some way to explaining it.

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    Re: why is tech cam equipment so expensive?

    .....Making db plates is significantly more demanding that making a 500 dollar watch in it's entirety, which is actually just a mass produced item. But you are not alone in your 'ignorance' as ordinary people have no real idea of how stuff is made.

    ..........I mentioned the 'bespoke watch industry' where 10k dollars is average priced!

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    Re: why is tech cam equipment so expensive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Massive Si View Post
    I cant believe a lens plate or db plate has the same level of engineering and craftsmanship as a $500 watch

    But if they are built with tolerances measured in microns then that might go some way to explaining it.
    Based on my experience with some Cambo products, at least -- specifically, the four Sony E-mount camera mount rings I have for my Actus (don't ask!), which vary in thickness by more than .020" from sample to sample -- I doubt the tolerances are that tight for every part they make.

    True, these particular parts sell for only $75 -- er, $79 after the recent price increase -- but the variation in thickness I've measured is great enough that I am almost convinced it was intentional.

    And even if some parts are machined to micron-level tolerances, I'm not entirely convinced such levels of accuracy can be achieved in practice, as metal expands and contracts with fluctuations in temperature and where I live, that varies by more than 80 degrees F across the year. During the summer, it's easy to experience a 40-degree temperature variation just by taking the camera outdoors and even higher than that if it's the placed into the trunk of a car, left there for a while, and then brought back indoors...

    That said, I agree the pricing is all down to supply and demand. Making precision parts in small volumes isn't as cost effective as many people think, hence their production cost is likely higher than they expect. And on the other side of the equation, the people who buy these cameras and their accessories usually aren't pinching pennies, either...

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    Re: why is tech cam equipment so expensive?

    There are a whole bunch of other costs to add this picture other than manufacturing the part. There is design, R&D, testing, admin, distribution, markups, marketing, and inventory, to name just a few. Look at the sheer variety of parts and pieces each of these manufacturers have - full systems, not just a few parts. And a whole bunch of that stuff sits for a while. Cash flow.

    When analyzing costs, its interesting to look at the cost of bottled water in a store. It varies widely - and yet the initial product (water) has a nominal cost to manufacture (the water comes from a well, or in some cases, is processed): most costs are downstream (forgive the pun).

    Its all too easy to take one part and say "can make this cheaper". Sure, that's true. But that's like saying the cost of a book is in the printing - which is the only hard cost we see. Its also in the research, writing, editing, distribution, etc. which are hard to assess, but vital to the pipeline.

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    Re: why is tech cam equipment so expensive?

    I think the most easy answer is, because some people are able and willingly enough to pay that price. demand and offer for very low quantity products

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    Re: why is tech cam equipment so expensive?

    The microeconomics of pricing strategy has always fascinated me, especially in these low-volume cases where it is very difficult to figure out what the price elasticity is. I.e., would there be an increase or decrease in marginal revenue if the price was increased / decreased (and the associated marginal profit)? Even if you change the price and watch to see what happens, you never know what caused the volume fluctuations: was it the price change or was it because someone happened to post on GetDPI about the usefulness of that accessory around the same time? Or, some external economic condition? Etc, etc. It's not like any of these manufacturers sell 1000 of anything every month. The standard deviation of month to month quantities really messes with any sort of analysis. I've worked most of my life in these situations, and can't count how many times we've increased prices only do see volumes increase, and the opposite! Just as well to roll dice to decide a price point.

    That's why so many low-volume suppliers resort to a standard mark-up or gross margin requirement. There may be different mark-ups for bulk product groups like cameras, lenses and accessories but beyond that a more sophisticated market analysis just doesn't fly.

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    Re: why is tech cam equipment so expensive?

    Quote Originally Posted by dougpeterson View Post
    Cambo does nearly 100% of their manufacturing themselves (for total clarity I mean full-time Cambo employees working at Cambo-owned machines at Cambo HQ in the Netherlands). They have a rather impressive array of very high end CNC and automated loaders and other large scale manufacturing and finishing devices. Iíll gladly admit that the first time I visited their factory I found it was at least five times larger than I was expecting it to be.

    They have a very broad product line, nearly 70 years of manufacturing experience, and also do some contract manufacturing (aka making OEM products for other companies, like Seitz does for Alpa).

    The only exception Iím aware of is anodization, since thats a rather nasty process and is better left to a place that does nothing but anodization.
    This is pretty much as correct as it can get. The entire Cambo factory team (including Administration, R&D, and Factory staff) fluctuates slightly but is mostly under 20 people most of the time.

    The average product is produced in very limited numbers per run, and are all hand assembled once machined, cleaned, and anodized. All of this done to an extreme level of tolerance.
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    Re: why is tech cam equipment so expensive?

    Quote Originally Posted by CAMBOUSA View Post
    This is pretty much as correct as it can get. The entire Cambo factory team (including Administration, R&D, and Factory staff) fluctuates slightly but is mostly under 20 people most of the time.

    The average product is produced in very limited numbers per run, and are all hand assembled once machined, cleaned, and anodized. All of this done to an extreme level of tolerance.
    Cambo is clearly segmenting its markets by limiting offerings based on the potential customerís camera body.

    For example, they produced a limited run of the Actus for the GFX based on the ďBĒ set up, which sells for $1,975. Lee Varis has articles and videos showing this product.

    They chose not to make more of these, opting to limit the offerings to either the $2,895 Actus GFX or the kit to upgrade from the ďBĒ for $1,375. So the Actus for the GFX sells for a premium of ~ 50% over what one would pay if one had a pro FF DSLR body.

    This premium does buy some additional functionality. It also moves the product into direct price competition with the Arca Swiss Universalis.

    I assume the initial decision was based on an analysis of the potential Actus market for 50S owners. I wonder if the pricing/market segmentation strategy would have been different had they anticipated the much less costly 50R.

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    Re: why is tech cam equipment so expensive?

    I've only been to Alpa, Dave's been to Cambo, I would really like to visit Arca Swiss one day.

    https://captureintegration.com/behin...tains-at-alpa/

    I love that the primary companies that make tech cameras are such craft people, and that they have very non ostentatious offices. As Dave mentioned, when you visit their headquarters, they are quite modest. And they all share this passion about making things really, really well. It does cost something, yes, but their passion is about craft, not about luxury.


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    Re: why is tech cam equipment so expensive?

    Cambo is clearly implementing a market segmentation strategy with the Actus, based on their perceptions of the owners of different camera bodies.

    For example, they limit GFX owners to the new G camera, at $2,895, a ~50% premium over the $1,975 Actus B, which supports the heavy pro DSLR bodies.

    The G has some additional functionality, but is also priced at the level of the Arca Swiss Universalis.

    I wonder if they would have chosen a different strategy had the much less expensive GFX 50R been available at the time they made these decisions.

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    Re: why is tech cam equipment so expensive?

    I dont think that there will be ever cheap technical cam Made in china, it is simply to complicated to make (with this precision that Arca,alpa,cambo,sinar deliver) the marked is pretty small... But there is a really cheap alternative: a very underrated company from Italy: Silvestri. Thay are the cheapest and offer some interesting solutions that no other company have. I dont know why nobody write about them...
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    Re: why is tech cam equipment so expensive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alkibiades View Post
    I dont think that there will be ever cheap technical cam Made in china, it is simply to complicated to make (with this precision that Arca,alpa,cambo,sinar deliver) the marked is pretty small... But there is a really cheap alternative: a very underrated company from Italy: Silvestri. Thay are the cheapest and offer some interesting solutions that no other company have. I dont know why nobody write about them...
    It is ridiculous to suggest that no Chinese company could make a technical camera because the task is too complicated or requires more precision that they are capable of. If the market is attractive enough, it will be just a matter of time.
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    Re: why is tech cam equipment so expensive?

    Hi,

    Outsourcing is not a bad thing. After all the firm sourced probably can have more specialized equipment and better expertise than a small firm.

    The way things are, it takes a a lot of effort to market a product. It is not just the design effort and manufacturing costs. You still need to get those products to customers and that takes effort to.

    But, all those things need to be amortized over a relatively small volume.

    Best regards
    Erik

    Quote Originally Posted by dchew View Post
    Those examples sound like a great deal! [says an Alpa shooter].


    I don't know what the volume is, but it cannot be much. I can say I've been to Alpa in Switzerland. The office is not ornate, and there are not fast expensive cars out front. I don't think they are rolling in the dough smoking expensive cigars and drinking $500 shots of cognac.

    If you add up the factors of outsourcing (especially in Alpaís case), small volumes and relatively tight tolerances it fits the expensive, low-volume business model.

    And, the last thing I want is for either one of them to go out of business!

    Dave

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    Re: why is tech cam equipment so expensive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Doppler9000 View Post
    It is ridiculous to suggest that no Chinese company could make a technical camera because the task is too complicated or requires more precision that they are capable of. If the market is attractive enough, it will be just a matter of time.
    I agree. Most of our hi tech devices are built in ... China. CNC machines work just as well there as they do in Europe or USA.
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    Re: why is tech cam equipment so expensive?

    Itís a matter of quality control. There are good Chinese manufacturers and less good, just like here. Remember when everyone said British manuf. was lousy - except they also had the corner on Formula 1 car making. Itís a question of who does the work, and to what tolerances.

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    Re: why is tech cam equipment so expensive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alkibiades View Post
    ... there is a really cheap alternative: a very underrated company from Italy: Silvestri. Thay are the cheapest and offer some interesting solutions that no other company have. I dont know why nobody write about them...
    "Really cheap"! I don't know? At least, their accessories are at Linhof prices!

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    Re: why is tech cam equipment so expensive?

    I thought the argument for extreme tolerances in tech cams is that there are a chain of connections that must all be perfect for the results to line up. Does good live view ameliorate that issue? It is no longer necessary to get out the laser distance meter and set the high accuracy helicoid accordingly. One can check sharpness directly.

    Or am I wildly exaggerating the usefulness of live view here? Some people attach large monitors to their tech cam rigs.

    Matt

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    Re: why is tech cam equipment so expensive?

    Good live view goes a long way. Never needed a laser range finder however even with the 160 and 260. Playback image review on the backs LCD was plenty enough for me.

    Sadly now I find the live view much less helpful on the 4140 with a tech camera. Lacks the contrast and ability to determine fine focus that the 150 and 3100 both had. Itís been a problem for since day one. Was a big surprise and disappointing evolution for me. But the sensorís last of color cast and lessened need for constant LCC shots is a huge step forward.

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    Re: why is tech cam equipment so expensive?

    Quote Originally Posted by MGrayson View Post
    I thought the argument for extreme tolerances in tech cams is that there are a chain of connections that must all be perfect for the results to line up. Does good live view ameliorate that issue? It is no longer necessary to get out the laser distance meter and set the high accuracy helicoid accordingly. One can check sharpness directly.

    Or am I wildly exaggerating the usefulness of live view here? Some people attach large monitors to their tech cam rigs.

    Matt
    I would say that live view and focus peak pretty much removed the need for the extreme tolerances that you dialed in for back/infinity setting. Without the shimming on the Alpa you could focus at infinity (or any intermediate distance) and the focus could be off. With live view you can nail focus regardless of the lens helicoid settings and in fact itís pretty much the only way that a rail based camera like the Cambo Actus can be used in the field since there are no accurate distance markings.

    Of course precision is still required for everything being square/parallel to start with.
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    Re: why is tech cam equipment so expensive?

    Quote Originally Posted by MGrayson View Post
    I thought the argument for extreme tolerances in tech cams is that there are a chain of connections that must all be perfect for the results to line up. Does good live view ameliorate that issue? It is no longer necessary to get out the laser distance meter and set the high accuracy helicoid accordingly. One can check sharpness directly.

    Or am I wildly exaggerating the usefulness of live view here? Some people attach large monitors to their tech cam rigs.

    Matt
    That might have to do more with advertising and a customer base that is a little OCD. I you take something like a Hasselblad V camera, the tolerances are far higher because of the reflex system: not only does the ground glass have to be positioned accurately in relation to the image plane, but the movable mirror needs to return to the same position every time and that position increases tolerances. It is more than just lens to image plane tolerance of a tech cam.

    I would imagine live view would compensate for the focusing scale, but not the need for parallel planes. Since we are pixel peepers, the tolerance would be in relation to the pixel pitch and f-number in use--also know as Depth of Focus (not Depth of Field), but with the CoC equal to the pixel pitch.
    Will

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    Senior Member dchew's Avatar
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    Re: why is tech cam equipment so expensive?

    The only critical thing now is that all lenses focus at or beyond infinity, and that only applies to helical-based systems. After getting a new lens or a new back, I just check that it focuses accurately or at least has a bit of back focus.

    Despite the tight-tolerance claims, each one of my lenses arrived with slightly different "shim requirements." I adjust the helical to get it close and err on back focus. I do still use the HPF rings, and try to position them so they read accurately. Helps when it is very dark to know where infinity really is.

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    Re: why is tech cam equipment so expensive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Doppler9000 View Post
    It is ridiculous to suggest that no Chinese company could make a technical camera because the task is too complicated or requires more precision that they are capable of. If the market is attractive enough, it will be just a matter of time.
    At the risk of causing major thread drift........

    Pardon me for saying so, but I sense a Eurocentric superiority complex here. I wonder how many here have actually traveled to China in recent times and seen what they are capable of. Most of the 'stuff' we buy in the US has been made in China for a long time now, heck even Apple is moving its new Mac Pro production to China

    India sent a successful mission to Mars for less than it cost to make the Hollywood movie 'Gravity'. I doubt your camera plates need more precision manufacturing than a rocket and probe that travels 34 million miles and yet it can be made for far less than it costs elsewhere in the world.

    It is not that advance technology requires a ton of money (sure it does more than simple stuff) but what most people forget is the other costs - predominantly human. A person working in a high tech company or on an assembly line in The Netherlands requires at a minimum, a certain amount of money to support a specific lifestyle. This is several times that of a similar worker in China, India, Malaysia or Vietnam. It is not just the cost of labor, but the expectations from that labor, from that company that are different in the West. Everything is aimed at a higher standard of living that people living in the rich parts of the world are used to, the cost of production of anything in such places has to be much higher. Which is why there is so much friction on trade tariffs and such.

    I humbly submit that the cost of technical cam parts (or anything of a similar nature) has less to do with 'how difficult it is to make them' and more to do with how much money the maker needs to keep his business afloat and to provide a decent livelihood to the workers living in that part of the world. In a world becoming increasingly flatter, there is very little difference now in the capabilities of workers any where, what is really different is the cost of living and the expectations of the people working there.
    Too much to list, let's just say I have a bad case of GAS.........

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    Senior Member Steve Hendrix's Avatar
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    Re: why is tech cam equipment so expensive?

    Quote Originally Posted by dchew View Post
    The only critical thing now is that all lenses focus at or beyond infinity, and that only applies to helical-based systems. After getting a new lens or a new back, I just check that it focuses accurately or at least has a bit of back focus.

    Despite the tight-tolerance claims, each one of my lenses arrived with slightly different "shim requirements." I adjust the helical to get it close and err on back focus. I do still use the HPF rings, and try to position them so they read accurately. Helps when it is very dark to know where infinity really is.

    Dave

    I also still like the HPF Rings. With live view, they are now more optional than before, but I simply like having the larger focus ring wrapped around the lens, easier to find in the dark (or the light, for that matter).

    BTW - remember, that as long as one doesn't have a Tilt/Swing mount on their Cambo, that the Alpa HPF rings will also fit the Cambo WRS mounted lenses.


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    Re: why is tech cam equipment so expensive?

    Quote Originally Posted by dchew View Post
    The only critical thing now is that all lenses focus at or beyond infinity, and that only applies to helical-based systems. After getting a new lens or a new back, I just check that it focuses accurately or at least has a bit of back focus.

    Despite the tight-tolerance claims, each one of my lenses arrived with slightly different "shim requirements." I adjust the helical to get it close and err on back focus. I do still use the HPF rings, and try to position them so they read accurately. Helps when it is very dark to know where infinity really is.

    Dave
    It's rare that the literal-distance on the lens is of much direct use in an age of live view.

    However there are, in my view, three very compelling use cases for high precision helicals:
    - A/B testing (or A/B/C/D/E... testing): in the field if you want to compare your current focus position (A) to some other focus position (B) it is enormously helpful if you can return precisely to (A) if it turns out (B) was worse. In other words if you say "I think this is the best point of focus, but I wonder if it would be better if I pushed focus very slightly back" and then find out that the answer is "no" then the ability to recall the previous focus position (with extreme accuracy) means you don't then have to re-test. Otherwise you end up in a situation where you're always unsure whether your current point of focus is the best point of focus.
    - Presets: For pre-dawn when it's too dim to work, or in a building with dim lighting, or when shooting hand held street photography... in such situations the ability to set the focus to a known-good preset, that is either a hyperfocal (infinity included), pseudo-hyperfocal (some known far distance like 100 feet included, but not infinity), or zone focus (e.g. 6-7 feet). A precise helical means that once you've determined that preset, you can recall it with extraordinary precision, meaning no second guessing where the focus will lay in the scene.
    - Focus Stacking: as an extension of the "presets" above it's possible to find a "second shot" position that compliments the hyperfocal preset such that in two shots you have some (but not much) focus overlap for a great two-shot focus stack. Of course the concept can be further extended to multiple shots. The result can be something like a sharpie-on-tape note of "32HR 5/15/33 @ f/9, 3' to ∞" as a preset on the lens cap of your 32HR that indicates the proper focus positions for a 3-shot focus stack that covers from 3 feet to infinity. Without a precise helical you end up going very conservative on tech camera focus stacking to ensure you overlap between the frames, making a could-be-done-in-3-shots focus stack into, often, a 6-shot focus stack or more.

    From this point of view the Arca Swiss R system takes the cake as having, by a very large margin, the most precise helical both in terms of movement precision and in terms of physical markings.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
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    Senior Member dchew's Avatar
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    Re: why is tech cam equipment so expensive?

    Quote Originally Posted by dougpeterson View Post
    - Focus Stacking: as an extension of the "presets" above it's possible to find a "second shot" position that compliments the hyperfocal preset such that in two shots you have some (but not much) focus overlap for a great two-shot focus stack. Of course the concept can be further extended to multiple shots. The result can be something like a sharpie-on-tape note of "32HR 5/15/33 @ f/9, 3' to ∞" as a preset on the lens cap of your 32HR that indicates the proper focus positions for a 3-shot focus stack that covers from 3 feet to infinity. Without a precise helical you end up going very conservative on tech camera focus stacking to ensure you overlap between the frames, making a could-be-done-in-3-shots focus stack into, often, a 6-shot focus stack or more.

    From this point of view the Arca Swiss R system takes the cake as having, by a very large margin, the most precise helical both in terms of movement precision and in terms of physical markings.
    Focus stacking is a big one, especially since the helical pitch are all very similar, at least for Alpa: sk 0.02778 mm/degree; Rodi 0.03333 mm/deg. With a bit of experimenting it is easy to figure out how many degrees / tick marks you need to rotate in between images. I just rotate 5 degrees between images regardless of the lens mounted or the focus range. A bit overkill for f/11 but good for f/8.

    Dave
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    Re: why is tech cam equipment so expensive?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheDude View Post
    "Really cheap"! I don't know? At least, their accessories are at Linhof prices!
    Yes. I would say they are really cheap compared with other high quality small companies.
    take a look:

    a new bitcam II something about 1400 euro (Linhof Techno 6000 euro?),
    Digital Adapters for 300 euro- others 600-800 euro?
    I would say they are really cheap.

    I do own Linhof Techno, 679CS, Cambo WRS and Arca R 3D, I can compare the prices.
    I like all of these companies, thay all have stong products but when somebody would ask me for a cheap technical camera so I would say Silvestri is the best solution for that.
    I love some Arca or Linhof pruducts becouse thay are so absolutly unique. Not becouse there is a arca or Linhof name on it.
    All that copy stuff from china made for analoge large format was not of that quality that these small company could deliver. Some of them are usable some absolutly not. For digital use were the precision is so important the china stuff absolutly not usable, for example: sliding backs with radiculous cheap focusing screens, absolutly not usable.
    You could alway say if they would want it theay would do it but the fact is: thay can not, whatever the reason for it is.
    The market for technical cameras was always small and will become even smaller so there is also no reason for a change.
    To make big money the big china tech companies will make great i-phones and they can make it very good indeed.
    But this fine hand made precision is something like making machanical watches ( swiss made!).

  40. #40
    Senior Member DougDolde's Avatar
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    Re: why is tech cam equipment so expensive?

    Because a Dante driven sucker is born every minute
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    Re: why is tech cam equipment so expensive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alkibiades View Post
    Yes. I would say they are really cheap compared with other high quality small companies.
    take a look:

    a new bitcam II something about 1400 euro (Linhof Techno 6000 euro?),
    Digital Adapters for 300 euro- others 600-800 euro?
    I would say they are really cheap.

    I do own Linhof Techno, 679CS, Cambo WRS and Arca R 3D, I can compare the prices.
    I like all of these companies, thay all have stong products but when somebody would ask me for a cheap technical camera so I would say Silvestri is the best solution for that.
    I love some Arca or Linhof pruducts becouse thay are so absolutly unique. Not becouse there is a arca or Linhof name on it.
    All that copy stuff from china made for analoge large format was not of that quality that these small company could deliver. Some of them are usable some absolutly not. For digital use were the precision is so important the china stuff absolutly not usable, for example: sliding backs with radiculous cheap focusing screens, absolutly not usable.
    You could alway say if they would want it theay would do it but the fact is: thay can not, whatever the reason for it is.
    The market for technical cameras was always small and will become even smaller



    To make big money the big china tech companies will make great i-phones and they can make it very good indeed.
    But this fine hand made precision is something like making machanical watches ( swiss made!).
    China is by far the world leader in fusion reactor technology. I am guessing that fusion reactors might require even more precision than mechanical watches.

    It is quite remarkable that so many seem to believe that Chinese people are simply genetically incapable of being careful and skillful enough to use cnc or manual machinery at the level of people or European descent.
    Last edited by Doppler9000; 4 Weeks Ago at 12:45.
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    Re: why is tech cam equipment so expensive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Doppler9000 View Post
    China is by far the world leader in fusion reactor technology. I am guessing that fusion reactors might require even more precision than mechanical watches.

    It is quite remarkable that so many seem to believe that Chinese people are simply genetically incapable of being careful and skillful enough to use cnc or manual machinery at the level of people or European descent.
    As I said, there is a degree of Eurocentric Condescension here. Ironically, the biggest consumers today of such 'finely crafted' products as high-end Swiss watches or Leica cameras are probably the Chinese. And yet, they are fast catching up and even surpassing everyone in their ability to make high precision equipment.

    The people who persist in their belief that only Europeans are capable of producing very precise machine or hand crafted items are in for a rude shock. The world is changing very rapidly.
    Too much to list, let's just say I have a bad case of GAS.........

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    Re: why is tech cam equipment so expensive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Doppler9000 View Post
    It is quite remarkable that so many seem to believe that Chinese people are simply genetically incapable of being careful and skillful enough to use cnc or manual machinery at the level of people or European descent.
    It's not racism, it's a misunderstanding of what the businesses are actually doing.

    There is a world of difference between the high end parts they produce which go into equipment most people will never see or bother to understand versus cheap products made in a random factory for bulk sales but if all you've ever seen is the latter it's easy to assume they're not up to more complicated stuff.
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    Re: why is tech cam equipment so expensive?

    Quote Originally Posted by dougpeterson View Post
    Cambo does nearly 100% of their manufacturing themselves (for total clarity I mean full-time Cambo employees working at Cambo-owned machines at Cambo HQ in the Netherlands). They have a rather impressive array of very high end CNC and automated loaders and other large scale manufacturing and finishing devices.
    That's actually kind of interesting/funny because I just noticed the other day that my different Cambo lens mounts have slightly different tolerances when measured with calipers as I was trying to fit something very precisely.

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