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Author Topic: Alpa FPS  (Read 3735 times)
Jeffreytotaro
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« on: December 04, 2012, 07:05:19 PM »
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I got a good look at the Alpa FPS (focal plane shutter) camera module today at FotoCare in NY. Andre from Alpa came with lots of gear to demonstrate but the feature was the FPS. It fits in well to the Alpa 12 system and when used with Alpa lenses (view camera lenses) they would need to the be mounted in the Alpa Short Barrel configuration since the FPS is meant to mount onto one of the Alpa 12 bodies, and the lens barrel would then need to be the short version in order for the lens to focus at infinity. Short Barrel mounts can also be mounted to the FPS without an Alpa body, but with an adapter to make up the difference. The bad news is that there are limitations on the wide lenses that can be used. The shortest Schneider is a 80mm due to the symmetrical design. A new design is coming to allow use of the Rodenstock 32HR. The other strength of this camera system is that you can use many different camera lenses on the FPS, like Hassy, Leica R (not M), Canon, Nikon, Zeiss (for DSLRs), Mamiya 645 and others. Depending on your digital back and the lens in use, you can figure out the potential coverage. The Canon 24 and 17 TSE lenses seem to fully cover IQ160/180 backs, with no additional movements.

Operationally there are many features of the FPS. It can do bracketing and time lapse exposures. Andre demonstrated how easily it works with Pocket Wizard remote camera controls. You can program the FPS to allow multiple strobe pops on one capture. Further, while I may have to spend $1k for a Copal shutter repair, the FPS shutter has been tested by Alpa to 300K cycles, and it will likely go over 1 million, much better than the 50,000 or so for a Copal. I've had 2 of those go bad recently. In the future Alpa will offer the control portion of the FPS as a stand alone to control possible electronic shutters from Schneider and Rodenstock, which would be very cool for sure.

Overall a very nicely designed system carefully thought out and with lots of flexibility.
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FredBGG
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« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2012, 08:02:37 PM »
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Operationally there are many features of the FPS. It can do bracketing and time lapse exposures. Andre demonstrated how easily it works with Pocket Wizard remote camera controls. You can program the FPS to allow multiple strobe pops on one capture. Further, while I may have to spend $1k for a Copal shutter repair, the FPS shutter has been tested by Alpa to 300K cycles, and it will likely go over 1 million, much better than the 50,000 or so for a Copal. I've had 2 of those go bad recently. In the future Alpa will offer the control portion of the FPS as a stand alone to control possible electronic shutters from Schneider and Rodenstock, which would be very cool for sure.

Overall a very nicely designed system carefully thought out and with lots of flexibility.
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Do you know what they mean here regarding the flash sync?
Flash Sync: various modes, 1st/2nd or multiple curtains

Multiple curtains?  Could that be an FP mode so as to achieve high speed sync?




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gerald.d
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« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2012, 03:51:19 AM »
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I believe multiple means it can sync off both first and/or second curtain.

I don't ever use flash, so no idea what this would mean.

BTW. I've had an FPS on loan for the last couple of months. It is a stunning, stunning tool.

Sadly I have to return it now, but hope to find some time over the next few days to share my thoughts.

Kind regards,

Gerald.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2012, 03:53:01 AM by gerald.d » Logged
Jeffreytotaro
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« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2012, 06:44:10 AM »
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The flash concept I was referring to is a multiple pop of strobes onto one capture. What I mean is that back in the film days, if you needed more strobe power (in order to shoot at f22, 90mm lens on 4x5), you might need 4-8 pops of the strobes onto one sheet of film. Easy with film, but harder with digital. It can be done now with a Phase One back (and others I guess), but Alpa have made this something you can program into the FPS. There are routines that can be written to tell the back to wake, fire shot one at a given shutter speed, wait a certain time for your strobes to recycle, fire shot 2, wait, fire shot 3, wait, then end the exposure by sending the second sync pulse to the back. Pretty cool for sure. In regard to other sync concepts, yes it can do both front and rear curtain strobe sync, and it seems you can also delay the sync to occur at other times too, somewhere in between I think, its very versatile.
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Jeffrey Totaro
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JoeKitchen
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« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2012, 07:57:49 AM »
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Does this particular shutter last longer than copal shutters because focal plane shutters are a better design overall?  Or is that these are just made better than the average shutters?  

Also, I see that the shutters are exposed (not covered or inside the camera) which could lead to damage.  I know you mentioned that Alpa tested these to over 300K snaps, but I am sure that this must have been under factory conditions with minimal wind, dust, etc.  How well do you think these would stand up in real world use, especially considering how exposed they are.  

« Last Edit: December 05, 2012, 08:10:18 AM by JoeKitchen » Logged

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michael
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« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2012, 08:03:54 AM »
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We will have a comprehensive hands-on review of the Alpa FPS online here within a few days.

Michael
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Jeffreytotaro
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« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2012, 08:38:34 AM »
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Does this particular shutter last longer than copal shutters because focal plane shutters are a better design overall?  Or is that these are just made better than the average shutters?  

Also, I see that the shutters are exposed (not covered or inside the camera) which could lead to damage.  I know you mentioned that Alpa tested these to over 300K snaps, but I am sure that this must have been under factory conditions with minimal wind, dust, etc.  How well do you think these would stand up in real world use, especially considering how exposed they are.  



Copal shutters are fully mechanical and were designed long before digital photography and long before snapping a photo became "free". The extensive bracketing, and multiple pieces captured these days to put one photo together have increased dramatically the number of cycles on a shutter for sure. Electronic shutters seem better able to handle more cycles, and are designer better in that regard. The shutter on my Nikon F4, was designed for 150,000 cycles and that was considered pro level at that time.I've got about 100k captures on my P45+, and I would say that 70% of them have been on the 36mm lens, hence the recent need for a shutter repair (lens goes on world tour, NY, Switzerland, Germany, and then back again). Any medium format focal plane shutter is subject to misuse or abuse since its so large and exposed, but as with any precision gear, care must be taken in handling it. I do not know all the details of Alpa's tests, but they were done by setting the camera to auto exposure and firing every one or 2 seconds. I suspect dust would be an issue over time since both the front and rear of the shutter are exposed, but Alpa have made the system very serviceable, the shutter can be repaired or replaced if needed. Perhaps they could design it to open when the lens or back are removed to help protect it?
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Jeffrey Totaro
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JoeKitchen
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« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2012, 08:51:57 AM »
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Thanks for the detailed response.  The reason that I ask about the design is because, although this appears to be a very cool shutter, ultimately I feel the Arca system would be for me.  Due to this, I am looking at electronic copal (by this I mean any between the lens shutter) shutters as a option, especially with the annoucement of Rollei's new design. 

I wonder if what you point out with copal shutters is an inherent flaw or if the electronic versions are made better?
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Joe Kitchen
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gerald.d
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« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2012, 09:42:51 AM »
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I'm pretty sure BTW that the shutter is the Mamiya one - as also used in the HCam.
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Brian Hirschfeld
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« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2012, 10:38:43 PM »
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I just published my Youtube introduction to the ALPA FPS which was shot at Fotocare with Andre which is a very nice overview of the system, there is also a supplemental video available which goes through the menus in-depth... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUqcpcA1ySE
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Jeffreytotaro
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« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2012, 11:45:35 AM »
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I'm pretty sure BTW that the shutter is the Mamiya one - as also used in the HCam.
While it may be the same shutter in the Mamiya, I believe the drive mechanism is better and different with lower vibration leading to longer life.

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Jeffrey Totaro
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Brian Hirschfeld
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« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2012, 12:46:53 PM »
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Yes, it's certainly the same shutter, but I cannot comment on the motor that drives it.
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julienlanoo
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« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2012, 02:29:46 PM »
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Omg, if it is the mamiya one, hold your horses, and always carry a UPS or fedex box with alpa s adress on it..:p

Any other technological similarities with Hardblei's one, as i feel its so hard to believe its ground up design,
I ve got the feeling i ve seen it before

Also: what is the use of spending loads of Gs on a DB and using Canon or other lenses,
And why if you want to use: Blad or Mamiya lensens you don t jus buy a blad or mamiya body?
Plus a tech cam with the correct adapter ?...

My feeling is that this is so fuzzy, i don t understand that part..
And they are making it sooo complicated,  short - long barrel+ limitations and 100 diferent sorts of parts.
But no sliding back ...

Pfff, i understand Alpa is precize, ok but adding 100s of add ons goes into that philosophy, No?..

Explain to me pleaze what the real use of it is ...
From the point of view of a guy that worked on 4x5 wooden stuff, now digital tech cam, and needs a workhorse that can be abused all day every day, as i some times feel Alpas are a bit fragile ( its just a feeling, not a fact!)

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Brian Hirschfeld
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« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2012, 02:47:18 PM »
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Alpa users like to customize everything perfectly. Also 35mm lenses can let you get quite wide, especially those like the Canon 24mm or 17mm lenses which because of how they are made (allowing for them to be shifted) they have image circles which can cover medium format. As you can see here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/brianhirschfeldphotography/sets/72157628975665149/ they hold up very well and allow for some very wide angles....
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Steve Hendrix
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« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2012, 08:57:26 AM »
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Omg, if it is the mamiya one, hold your horses, and always carry a UPS or fedex box with alpa s adress on it..:p

Any other technological similarities with Hardblei's one, as i feel its so hard to believe its ground up design,
I ve got the feeling i ve seen it before

Also: what is the use of spending loads of Gs on a DB and using Canon or other lenses,
And why if you want to use: Blad or Mamiya lensens you don t jus buy a blad or mamiya body?
Plus a tech cam with the correct adapter ?...

My feeling is that this is so fuzzy, i don t understand that part..
And they are making it sooo complicated,  short - long barrel+ limitations and 100 diferent sorts of parts.
But no sliding back ...

Pfff, i understand Alpa is precize, ok but adding 100s of add ons goes into that philosophy, No?..

Explain to me pleaze what the real use of it is ...
From the point of view of a guy that worked on 4x5 wooden stuff, now digital tech cam, and needs a workhorse that can be abused all day every day, as i some times feel Alpas are a bit fragile ( its just a feeling, not a fact!)




Mamiya shutters are actually incorporated in a number of previously existing and developing solutions from 3rd party manufacturers - including Schneider. There are not a lot of shutter options in the world, currently. Mamiya focal plane shutters actually have a relatively good track record.


Steve Hendrix
Capture Integration
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Steve Hendrix
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FredBGG
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« Reply #15 on: December 07, 2012, 08:29:11 PM »
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They should make that focal plane shutter go into park mode when a back isn't on it... like Mamiya.
Looks vulnerable to accidents as it is now.
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Brian Hirschfeld
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« Reply #16 on: December 07, 2012, 09:11:24 PM »
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Yes, it is very vulnerable, caps are essential.
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julienlanoo
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« Reply #17 on: December 09, 2012, 05:43:23 AM »
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The problem for me with the FPS, is , that they say it's an "open " system, but it isn't at all, let me elaborate .

Take the now discontinued Sinar M, 
For me that was the first real step towards a 100% modular camera (pitty they didn't make it open for all backs but hey, it was a step).
It lacked a few options, like changing from brand of lens easy without having to carrie multiple prim element,s, and so on.. 
But the concept was: 1 DB, an electronic shutter, you could choose a prism viewer , and what lenses you wanted to use and so on.. You could choose to only use the electronic shutter on your view camera, or to use it without prism, but you could also choose to make a DSLR from it, and if you wanted to use Sinar lenses = fine but if you wanted to use nikon lenses := also fine..

That was the first step to a real dynamic "open" system, you can do what you want with it..

A combination of, the Sinar M & FPS & Hcam, open to All brands of Tech-Cams and lenses and backs, that would be a body / system i would be happy to invest 10's of thousands in.. like film back or shutters in the good old days..
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Stefan.Steib
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« Reply #18 on: December 09, 2012, 06:38:07 AM »
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>>>>A combination of, the Sinar M & FPS & Hcam, open to All brands of Tech-Cams and lenses and backs, that would be a body / system i would be happy to invest 10's of thousands in.. like film back or shutters in the good old days.<<<<<

Julian
there are 3 models of HCams right now , the standard HCam-B1, The HCam-B1v that can take ANY viewcamera plates by your choice and then the HCam-B1i with no slider, reducing the moving parts even further. A Combination "v" and "i" as Hcam-B1v/i is also possible and available..
The prices are about 60-100% less than an according Alpa FPS setup, because we deliver complete with lensmount,(exchangeable)back-mount and full cabling.
And - even if this is surprising to some, we have some more features, a flash hotshoe, a motorized slider with a viewfinder and 4x Loupe that is part of the package, you can use all Hasselblad finders on the system and we even have a radio remote timer as an extra that can do up to 9h59m59sec. as longest exposure time IF someone needs this.
We have a Parallaxfree Canon TSE collar especially made for the HCam, which allows 90 degrees rotation  of the camera and finally - available now:
A 90 degree bracket that a) serves as a handgrip (to carry the camera - not to shoot!) and b) allows mounting in vertical mode if someone wants this.

I think the FPS is a very welcome competitor, they have some differing ideas, that is good. I also think there will be more contenders soon , e.g. an Hcam-B2..... ;-)
« Last Edit: December 09, 2012, 06:40:14 AM by Stefan.Steib » Logged

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julienlanoo
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« Reply #19 on: December 09, 2012, 08:42:52 AM »
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Stefan, keep me informed, i am interested, ..
and where can i read more about those cirtanly the Hcam B1v, to see what it exactly is.. can i for instance adapt it to my Arca ? .. ?
 
i've been lookin to the site, but didn't find that much info.

There's only 1 thing that is stil a bit of a bother, one can't make a DSLR from it, to make it a real real tool, if i could make it into a dslr to ( for instance to make shots from a helicopter or so ...) i would ,
« Last Edit: December 09, 2012, 08:46:38 AM by julienlanoo » Logged
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