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Author Topic: Newbie to MF: pros and cons of Tech Cams ?  (Read 5289 times)
satybhat
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« on: March 12, 2013, 12:46:46 AM »
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Hi All,
First of all, let me thank you all for the amazing information on the forums and on my previous question. I hope this question would be of as much interest and help to everyone else as it would be to me.
On my decision to plunge to MF, this is what I have distilled to. Over this year, I will be trying (renting) the P1 (160 / 180 ) back on a cambo tech cam.
Then next year, I plan to buy the IQ 260 ( for long exposures ) and "a" technical camera that suits me. Now my issue is this: I can only afford one or at the most two weeks of renting the gig to avoid digging into the gear money too much, and I plan to do landscapes only, no products, no portraiture.
Could someone advise me on their experiences as to why they chose their particular technical camera and how they have fared ?
eg: Dan Lindberg swears by the Alpa (citing precision / tolerance, etc), David Ward talks about the Linhof Technikardan, someone else about cambos...
thus, totally confusing me in my quest to reign the landscape world !!! Wink
Apologies if I am wasting my time, but I have gone over the previous forum posts, tried search queries such as "vs", etc, and am yet to come to a conclusion.... (my wife thought that I was employed by Lu-La !!! I spent so much time on the forums  Grin
So please.... for landscapes and panoramas: which technical camera and why ?
Thanks,
saty
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torger
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« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2013, 02:19:32 AM »
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I'd choose Arca-Swiss RM3Di of the pancake cameras. Why? It has tilt builtin to the body and it has high precision focusing ring, and it is a little bit cheaper(?) than Alpa. Cambo is even cheaper but seems to lack high precision focusing rings (can be added afterwards on most lenses, but problem on tilt lenses(?)).

The advantage of pancake cameras is that it is compact if you like wide angles and that you don't need to focus on the ground glass, and can do so with very high precision so you can shoot at large apertures and still hit focus. The disadvantage is that lenses cost much (helical focus mount is expensive) and are bulky if they are long, and movements can be a bit limited, especially concerning tilt/swing.

If you like to carry many lenses (5+), including long lenses, like to use tilt (=you often want to look at the ground glass even with a pancake camera), and intend to shoot at f/11 as largest aperture most of the time I'd look into Linhof Techno, which is what I use myself. You get a lighter, cheaper system with more movements. The disadvantage is that you need to focus on the ground glass which has limited precision, but works well if you don't shoot at too large apertures (=too short DoFs). The IQ260 will be an excellent choice of back.

Tech cam users often like to do panoramas by stitching inside the lens image circle. With the Techno you do this by using the sliding back which has fixed side positions, with a Kapture Group sliding back you can get more stitch flexibility compared to Linhof's own. With the pancake cameras you do this by turning gears for back shift. I don't like the geared way for stitching landscapes -- it's too slow! Presets on a sliding back is better. However, I personally (most often) prefer cylindrical projection for landscape panoramas and stitch using a panorama head rather than stitching inside the image circle, i e turning the camera with click-stop pano head.

You might find my review of Linhof Techno useful (it also discusses other tech cam types): http://www.ludd.ltu.se/~torger/photography/linhof-techno-review.html

And remember, no camera is perfect, although there will be some that try to convince you that their camera is Smiley
« Last Edit: March 12, 2013, 02:32:01 AM by torger » Logged
Chris Barrett
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« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2013, 08:08:35 AM »
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I have no doubt that you would be pleased with any of the tech cameras.  I've worked with the Alpa, Cambo and Arca and they're all quite good.  My preference is the Arca for the built in tilt and high resolution focusing.  I also own an Arca view camera and can swap lenses back and forth (awesome).

My review here...

Also, I'd suggest renting a back only when you are very close to purchasing.  Many dealers will apply at least a percentage of your rental as a credit towards your purchase.

Good hunting!

CB
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kdphotography
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« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2013, 08:29:01 AM »
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Unless you already have an extensive background using medium format digital or a MFDB, I'd suggest that you spend some time with others immersing yourself with technical cameras and the different MFDBs.  TO be honest, they are all pretty darn good at image making, and the subjective personal factor is really what you need to draw out when selecting a particular MFDB and a camera platform.

Look for a medium format digital workshop and join in.  These are great opportunities to try equipment and learn what works best for you.  Phase One offers their PODAS trips; Jack Flesher and Guy Mancuso offer workshops at GetDPI.com, Capture Integration was just in Carmel, etc.  And they are a lot of fun.

ken   Smiley
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satybhat
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« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2013, 03:03:20 PM »
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Torger, Ken and Chris,
Many thanks. +1 on the suggestion of trying out close to purchasing. Will bear that in mind.
Ken: unfortunately, I am in Australia, so workshops are a bit difficult to come by. Will look out for PODAS when it happens here.
Chris: great review, although I am not sure of the availability and service of arca in Melbourne.

One question: this shimming business: is it much of a hype ? for tolerances that small, does heat and cold (considering coefficients of thermal expansions) not throw off the adjustment ?
When people talk about the preciseness of alpa and arca swiss, does that mean (with a pinch of salt) that cambo is not precise enough ?
There was a reference to a post earlier citing the pros and cons of the systems available, but I cant find it anywhere Huh
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nutcracker
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« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2013, 03:26:04 PM »
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Agree fully with suggestions for PODAS local to you (quite frequent I think).
When I began to consider medium format seriously, I did the Ireland PODAS 2011, fell hook line and sinker for MF, and Phase system. The Scotland PODAS 2012 confirmed new addiction. Lots of Tech cameras at PODAS workshops in addition to Phase bodies: great opportunities to see how all systems function with experienced and new enthusiasts alike. Have just succumbed to variation on Tech camera, ALPA FPS and testing on my Nikkor PCE 85, looks good so far but conditions not suitable yet to check shimming.
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satybhat
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« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2013, 08:59:06 PM »
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allright. thanks, will definitely look at PODAS locally. perhaps will be another one this year, unsure of that. may actually be better than renting the gear to try.
is there any great difference in the lenses that are available on the systems ? are these lenses interchangeable over various platforms, as long as you stick to one manufacturer ?
thanks
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jsiva
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« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2013, 09:57:58 PM »
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If you are a landscape shooter, then a tech cam + MFDB back is the best there is.  While I like the convenience of an SLR like the DF, the lenses from SK and Rodie (especially the newer ones like the SK60XL/Rodie 32HR/90HR) are in a totally different league from anything I have shot including Leica and the P1 SK/LS line.

It sounds like you have already made this choice, so great.  The IQ260 will be a great all rounder for landscape use on a tech cam from the specs and the sample files I have seen so far.  The IQ160 is again the best all rounder given lens cast issues with the 180.  So again, I think you are on the right track here.

When it come to tech cams, you've got the 3 major players with pancakes and some hybrids like the Arca ML2 and Techo (as discussed above by Torger, do look at his review, it is quite extensive and useful, not just on the techno, but on using MFDB on a tech cam in general).  Chris B., also has some great info on his blog on both the Arca Rm3di and ML2.

I do primarily landscapes and went with the RM3Di.  I use an IQ180 and have am IQ260 Achro on order that I just cannot wait to get my hands on.

The reason  went with the RM3Di are as follows:

1.  The company and Martin are all about engineering precision - not marketing, market share etc.  This has its downfalls like no website, unknown lead-times on orders, some stuff like eModule (and cloud) that have been outstanding for 2-3 years etc.  BUT, at the end of the day, when they release something it works as promised.  It is all about form follows function. 

2.  In keeping with the above, it is a system that is open and modular -- you can use your adapter plate on a Monolith 6x9 or ML2.  Same thing with any other accessories like the Rotaslide or Rotamount.  You can even use the RM3Di as the front standard on the Monolith, F-line etc.  The new Factum, carries on with this thinking.  The RotaSlide is a marvel of engineering precision, technical execution, and creativity.  I can assure you that claims that a sliding back cannot be made to the tolerance levels needed by modern MFDBs is BS.

3.  The focussing system - Although the IQ180 has LV, it is not what you'd call close to what you'd find in a CMOS DSLR.    I needed an idiot proof system for focussing, and the Arca system gets me this.  Shimming does make a difference.  with the Arca, it is simply an offset on the focussing index.  I think you can get infinity accurate in all three manufacturers, but with the Arca, I can ensure that I have it calibrated so I have the maximum DoF from infinity in.  Not sure if I am being clear on this, I can elaborate if needed.  I shoot in some strange places, often just pulling my kayak up on a rock in the middle of nowhere, and don't usually have the time to check and recheck focus.  The Arca system for me, is as idiot proof as it comes.

4.  While the eModule/cloud was not available when purchased my RM, it is now slowly trickling in.  I demoed a production version a couple of weeks ago, and again for me, it is a game changer in terms of controlling DoF and close focussing with large apertures.  One thing you will find with the hi-res MFDB's and the near lenses, especially Rodies, is that optimal performance is in the f7-9 range.  So this is important for me.

5.  Why not Alpa - I think they make great high-quality gear.  But I wanted Tilt in a more integrated way, so the RM made more sense.  I did think long about Alpa given the multiple body options, but once the Arca Factum was announced, I had the option of a lightweight or a full featured setup.  The lack of a sliding back was also a downer for me.  On focussing, the HPF rings get you closer, but again, I find the precision of the Arca mount to be better.  When it comes to look and feel, I think Alpa has the edge.  The various options for shutter releases are also better integrated.  On the other hand, all the bits and add ons for T/S, stitching etc. could be clumsy.

6.  Cambo - just never connected with it.  Cambo is a little cheaper and likely more in use, so you are likely to find better availability of used lenses and bodies.

Good luck with your purchase, and strongly recommend finding a good dealer for whatever option you choose.  This is at best a cottage industry and dealers and their relationship with the manufactures make all the difference.

Cheers.
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torger
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« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2013, 02:23:20 AM »
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One question: this shimming business: is it much of a hype ? for tolerances that small, does heat and cold (considering coefficients of thermal expansions) not throw off the adjustment ?
When people talk about the preciseness of alpa and arca swiss, does that mean (with a pinch of salt) that cambo is not precise enough ?
There was a reference to a post earlier citing the pros and cons of the systems available, but I cant find it anywhere Huh

My take on the shimming business (which only Alpa does as far as I know) is that it is more hype than providing much value in practical photography. What it is good for is to maximize sharpness at infinity when you focus at infinity and use largish apertures. However, if you just focus at a little bit closer than infinity and use typical landscape apertures you get a nice sharp infinity, possibly the sharpest point is a bit closer but likely you'll have something useful for the picture there too (i e focusing at infinity is not necessarily the best), and after sharpening step it will be extremely hard if not impossible to differ from the perfectly infinity-focused image.

What the shimming compensates for is sensor alignment errors in the digital back (which generally is shimmed internally in the factory by the way), not alignment errors in the Alpa system, i e if you change the lens and the other lens has different alignment than the first there will still be an error. I don't know how common it is that the modern backs in the IQ-series are poorly aligned, I think it would be a scandal if $40K back don't deliver the precision so I find it unlikely, but I don't know.

The precision is a very strong component of Alpa's marketing, they want you to feel insecure about precision so you will want the best and then Alpa attempts to be that manufacturer. I have see no independent tests though to actually test the precision of the different manufacturers (which is a very difficult test to do, as you need to take sample variation into account, i e test many cameras) so we cannot know how good Alpa is compared to say Arca-Swiss. And we don't know how common it is with significant sensor alignment errors in the digital backs.

What Cambo is lacking is high precision focusing rings out of the box, but I've heard that Alpa rings can be used for many of the lenses, but not on the tilt-lenses (?, please correct me if I'm wrong). Alpa has HPF rings but you need to buy that extra. With RM3Di high precision focusing is there out of the box for all lenses.

If you focus manually with a view camera like Linhof Techno using a ground glass the mean focusing error according to my own formal tests is about 60um (0.06mm) on the rail. I'd be surprised if shimming errors is not much smaller than that. I feel the GG focusing precision is adequate for real picture making, and the advantages of the view camera outweighed the pancake camera alternatives for me. On the other hand, if I did have a pancake camera with a high precision focusing ring I'd like to be able to trust it 100%.

The type of camera you choose may affect your shooting style a bit. I only very rarely do focus stacking with my Techno (it's possible to do but not that practical), I always strive to capture everything in one shot, tilt/swing to make the best compromise. I don't shoot with larger apertures than f/11, DoF simply gets too short, therefore I would not want more resolution than IQ260 (6 um pixels) if I had to pay extra for it. I have a pragmatic approach to focusing precision, if it's good enough for the DoF I work with it's good enough, I don't need perfect, and then the GG is adequate (but you need a high magnification loupe!). I often use tilt where HPF rings don't help much (you can use presets though for typical focusing scenarios). With a pancake camera with high precision focusing you open up for shooting with larger apertures and still place DoF precisely and do focus stacking to further maximize sharpness etc. It's personal what you prefer.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2013, 02:35:55 AM by torger » Logged
Doug Peterson
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« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2013, 06:38:33 AM »
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What the shimming compensates for is sensor alignment errors in the digital back (which generally is shimmed internally in the factory by the way), not alignment errors in the Alpa system, i e if you change the lens and the other lens has different alignment than the first there will still be an error. I don't know how common it is that the modern backs in the IQ-series are poorly aligned, I think it would be a scandal if $40K back don't deliver the precision so I find it unlikely, but I don't know.

The precision is a very strong component of Alpa's marketing, they want you to feel insecure about precision so you will want the best and then Alpa attempts to be that manufacturer. I have see no independent tests though to actually test the precision of the different manufacturers (which is a very difficult test to do, as you need to take sample variation into account, i e test many cameras) so we cannot know how good Alpa is compared to say Arca-Swiss. And we don't know how common it is with significant sensor alignment errors in the digital backs.

Just because Cambo and Arca don't use the word "precise" as many times in their marketing does not mean they adhere to looser standards.

Both Cambo and Arca maintain their own manufacturing and do all lens and body testing/calibration in-house.

Anyone who has used any modern product from any one of these three manufacturers (or in Arca's case, any product ever) knows that all three produce incredibly well made, high precision, systems. All three produce, if anything, over-engineered needlessly-precise machines (though it does leave you with a great feeling when using them).

All three provide a high-precision method to accounting for any variation from one digital back to the next. I think that issue is mildly over-blown, as it's pretty rare for me to see any significant variation in that regard. However, it absolutely is possible, and all three systems allow you to account for it. In Cambo's case it is an adjustment to the helical, in Arca's it is a numerical offset to their focus scale, and in Alpa's system it is a physical shim(s).

The focus system on the Arca deserves a special shout out. By incorporating a very large focus bayonet into the chassis itself Arca is able to provide a level of focus precision that is absolutely unachievable otherwise. There is a strong argument to be made that for many (most?) applications it is far greater accuracy than is needed and the standard helical mounts provided by Cambo/Alpa are perfectly fine. But for sure, with the Arca, you will never find yourself wishing that you were able to make a smaller tweak, or have a more precise way to re-establish a focus preset.

Cambo deserves a special shout out for providing a system which, for many configurations, offers the lowest cost of entry while maintaining very high quality standards and a very good list of capabilities (tilt/swing from 28HR and up, simultaneous tilt and swing, good range of movement even on their smallest body, light weight and small pack size).

Honestly a big part (maybe most) of selecting a tech camera is to determine which one "feels right" to you. One of the main joys of using a tech camera (in my opinion) is that it's a highly tactile, very direct, very traditional style of shooting. There are big knobs and nice feeling handles, and a lot of manual manipulation (e.g. recocking the shutter, prodding the aperture to your desired setting). So I advise that it's not arbitrary/silly to make your decision partly on which system makes that process the most enjoyable to you - there is no universal answer to that. When people come to our office or Remote Demo Center and see the Arca has it's rise/fall and shift knobs close together on the bottom corner, and Cambo has it's on the top corner, about equal numbers think the "Arca's placement is the only one that makes sense" and "Cambo's placement is the only one that makes sense". There are a dozen "little things" like that which draw one customer to one platform, and another to a different platform.

Just don't believe anyone who tells you Alpa is the only company with precision. That's a case purely of marketing and "if you say it often enough it must be true".
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torger
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« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2013, 07:49:31 AM »
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When you compare different cameras, do look at what movements they can do and how. Pancake cameras are a bit limited concerning movements, and have made different tradeoffs.

While Arca-Swiss RM3Di has builtin tilt, it is only +/- 5 degrees, and you cannot tilt diagonally (i e not combine tilt and swing). Alpa uses tilt adapters as far as I know and thus you cannot tilt with the widest angle lenses(?, somebody correct me if wrong) and you cannot tilt/swing at the same time, Cambo offers tilt lens panels (more expensive than the normal panels) to some popular focal lengths where you can combine tilt/swing (5 degrees), not for the Schneider 28 and 35mm though (too short flange distance to fit the tilt mechanics) so you need to use the substantially more expensive Rodenstock 32mm or the small image circle Rodenstock 28/35 in that range, which you may want to do anyway but it's good to be aware of these types of limitations in the system before buying in.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2013, 08:04:40 AM by torger » Logged
ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2013, 07:52:02 AM »
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Hi,

I think that the shimming feature may be overclaimed. The pixel pitch on the IQ 180 is 5.17 microns. I would expect the effect of defocus be visible at a CoC of the same size as the pixel pitch, say 5 microns. With f/5.6 that would correpond to 28 microns. Tolerance for phase backs is said to be 12 microns, so the back should be OK, camera and lens tolerances come to that. Shimming to 10 microns may be to narrow to detect.


I have seen videos claiming loss of resolution for 10 micron shimming change, I am a bit skeptical.

Best regards
Erik

Just because Cambo and Arca don't use the word "precise" as many times in their marketing does not mean they adhere to looser standards.

Both Cambo and Arca maintain their own manufacturing and do all lens and body testing/calibration in-house.

Anyone who has used any modern product from any one of these three manufacturers (or in Arca's case, any product ever) knows that all three produce incredibly well made, high precision, systems. All three produce, if anything, over-engineered needlessly-precise machines (though it does leave you with a great feeling when using them).

All three provide a high-precision method to accounting for any variation from one digital back to the next. I think that issue is mildly over-blown, as it's pretty rare for me to see any significant variation in that regard. However, it absolutely is possible, and all three systems allow you to account for it. In Cambo's case it is an adjustment to the helical, in Arca's it is a numerical offset to their focus scale, and in Alpa's system it is a physical shim(s).

The focus system on the Arca deserves a special shout out. By incorporating a very large focus bayonet into the chassis itself Arca is able to provide a level of focus precision that is absolutely unachievable otherwise. There is a strong argument to be made that for many (most?) applications it is far greater accuracy than is needed and the standard helical mounts provided by Cambo/Alpa are perfectly fine. But for sure, with the Arca, you will never find yourself wishing that you were able to make a smaller tweak, or have a more precise way to re-establish a focus preset.

Cambo deserves a special shout out for providing a system which, for many configurations, offers the lowest cost of entry while maintaining very high quality standards and a very good list of capabilities (tilt/swing from 28HR and up, simultaneous tilt and swing, good range of movement even on their smallest body, light weight and small pack size).

Honestly a big part (maybe most) of selecting a tech camera is to determine which one "feels right" to you. One of the main joys of using a tech camera (in my opinion) is that it's a highly tactile, very direct, very traditional style of shooting. There are big knobs and nice feeling handles, and a lot of manual manipulation (e.g. recocking the shutter, prodding the aperture to your desired setting). So I advise that it's not arbitrary/silly to make your decision partly on which system makes that process the most enjoyable to you - there is no universal answer to that. When people come to our office or Remote Demo Center and see the Arca has it's rise/fall and shift knobs close together on the bottom corner, and Cambo has it's on the top corner, about equal numbers think the "Arca's placement is the only one that makes sense" and "Cambo's placement is the only one that makes sense". There are a dozen "little things" like that which draw one customer to one platform, and another to a different platform.

Just don't believe anyone who tells you Alpa is the only company with precision. That's a case purely of marketing and "if you say it often enough it must be true".
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satybhat
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« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2013, 08:29:48 AM »
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wise gentlemen,
points duly noted.
Doug, thanks for your very thoughtful comments, I do appreciate the time you spend helping out here ...and Torger, BRILLIANT review of the techno and TCs in general.  Eric, I'm with you on the maths of micron-peeping.
in this regard then, what would you recommend for panos ? cylindrical projection or fixed base- shift panos ? is the IQ better on using click stop pano heads as opposed to stitching within the image circle ?

Jsiva, you mention: " I think you can get infinity accurate in all three manufacturers, but with the Arca, I can ensure that I have it calibrated so I have the maximum DoF from infinity in.  Not sure if I am being clear on this, I can elaborate if needed.  I shoot in some strange places, often just pulling my kayak up on a rock in the middle of nowhere, and don't usually have the time to check and recheck focus.  The Arca system for me, is as idiot proof as it comes." 
Not quite sure I understand that. Does this calibration hold true for all lenses ? shooting from a kayak ? i'm sure you mean handheld ? Would love to see these pics !!

Panos: As i understand, the SK 60 is quite good for panos, handling 3-stitch panos quite well. I don;t envisage doing panos more than that. with that in mind, if you need a tilt for the individual pano component images, does the choice of body matter ? Or am I better off using pano-heads for cylindrical panos ?
Mind you, it seems arca-swiss availability in Australia / Melbourne is pretty bleak. any pointers here ?
Ta,
saty
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« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2013, 08:31:09 AM »
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....

What Cambo is lacking is high precision focusing rings out of the box, but I've heard that Alpa rings can be used for many of the lenses, but not on the tilt-lenses (?, please correct me if I'm wrong).....

You can use the HPF rings on lenses for Cambo no problem.  If there is any difficulty, it is with the lenses with t/s panel.  There is a workaround thanks to John Milich:  http://www.getdpi.com/forum/medium-format-systems-digital-backs/40262-alpa-hpf-ring-cambo-lens.html

ken
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« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2013, 08:41:27 AM »
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Tilt and swing on Arca and Cambo are both +5 and -5, as mentioned Cambo's TS mount offers both at the same time, Arca only one.  I have yet to find a place where  I need both, but I also don't find myself looking for it.  

Cambo's knobs for adjustment are behind the lens and up near the mounting plate front.  They are  IMO smallish and hard to get to both physically and visually.  With a shutter release and various cables in there I felt it was just one more thing to move out of the way.  

Cambo's most common camera the RS is 20mm L and R shift and 25mm and 15mm Rise and fall.  Arca's rm3di is 15mm L and R horizontal shift and 30 and 20 Rise and fall.  I often will rotate the camera 90 degrees and turn the rise and fall into horizontal shift of 30 and 20mm. There are not too many wides out there that will hold up to 20mm of horizontal shift on a 60mp and up back.  The 32mm and 40mm Rodenstock's come to mind.  The 43mm Schneider will do about 18mm max and the 60mm Schneider will actually do 25mm all of this on a 60mp back.  

By the time you add the $1200.00 cost of a Cambo TS mount to any of the lenses it's offered in, I think the cost of Arca and Cambo are very close if not even.
You won't find any discounts by a dealer in the U.S. but I have seen several Cambo systems for sale, most recently a AE one for very good pricing.  You will see Arca for sale but just not as often.  

I also feel that Cambo is more innovative with their new products, i.e. more focused on what is needed.  I give examples the Hood from last year, a overall much better design than the square compendium from Arca.  Their new Groundglass and loupe (see the getdpi site for a full review by Don Libby).  It's the small things like this that can help out.   However both companies sometimes seem to be working from a different playbook IMO.  I sometimes wonder who they are talking too as far as ideas for new designs, i.e. outdoor shooters or indoor studio shooters.  

I am not sure if you are in the U.S. or not, but by far the best U.S. Source for info is Rod Klukas in AZ,  You can find his website easily.  Rod is the US rep for Arca.

Cambo has a website,which  shows all the product lines and it a great place to start for info on the various lenses. Alpa also has a website, but I find the Cambo site easier to navigate.  As far as I know Arca still chooses to remain in the dark ages without any form of e-commerce or website. Remember, between Alpa, Cambo, and Arca, they are all using the same lenses, but each has it's own proprietary mounting system.  You can interchange the lenses, so once you pick the brand you are in there for the long haul.  You can remove the mounts but it's expensive.  

All three are great products and each has their own following.  Like has been mentioned already, best way is to demo, pick a dealer and then work with them.  Most dealers will sell multiple brands.  Once you have the basics, you can start looking for used lenses as many of them pop up on the for sale forums.

Paul Caldwell
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« Reply #15 on: March 13, 2013, 08:56:14 AM »
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Cambo's knobs for adjustment are behind the lens and up near the mounting plate front.  They are  IMO smallish and hard to get to both physically and visually.

The newer Cambo RS1250 and Cambo RS5000 both have larger knobs than the previous generation RS-1000.
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« Reply #16 on: March 13, 2013, 08:57:36 AM »
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Just because Cambo and Arca don't use the word "precise" as many times in their marketing does not mean they adhere to looser standards.

Both Cambo and Arca maintain their own manufacturing and do all lens and body testing/calibration in-house.
And your point is?

Could you perhaps expand on this and explain what benefits in-house manufacturing brings? Surely if something is made to the correct specification, it doesn't really matter who does the actual machining?

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Just don't believe anyone who tells you Alpa is the only company with precision. That's a case purely of marketing and "if you say it often enough it must be true".

Ironically enough, the most common instance I've seen of someone saying "if you say it often enough it must be true", is you making claims that there are people out there claiming that "Alpa is the only company with precision".

Can you provide any basis for your assertion that this claim is actually being made on a frequent basis?

Or should we just file these type of comments under "marketing"?
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torger
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« Reply #17 on: March 13, 2013, 09:32:52 AM »
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My suggestion to do cylindrical panos in landscape scenes (or rather use a panohead calibrate for nodal point and shoot and stitch the way you would with a DSLR) even when you have a tech camera is "controversial". The tradition to stitch within the image circle is very strong, I'd guess 90% of tech cam users would stitch that way, because that's how you always have done it.

Stitching existed before panorama software like autopano giga had become as good it is today, when stitching is automatic and you can choose projection etc, so I think the case of stitching by turning the camera is stronger today than before, so I think it's definitely worth considering. If your panorama is (ultra)wide angle I also think that cylindrical projection looks more natural for most landscape scenes as you avoid extreme stretching on the sides which rectilinear projection leads to.

You could prefer stitch inside the image circle just because you like that photographic process better, i e you sample what a lens at a fixed position see and renders, while the turning-camera-method may feel more computerized and artificial.

Quality-wise the cylindrical camera-turning pano will likely be better as you won't be using the edges of the image circle, but you'll probably get adequate stitching performance inside image circle with the 60mm anyway. Simple tilting can be done with camera-turning pano (as the tilt axis is perpendicular to the turn axis).

Multirow-stitching and exact nodal-point calibrated (as you can do with a DSLR) is a bit more cumbersome to do with a technical camera due to the form factor, so simple one-row stitches (with the sensor in portrait position to maximize resolution) is the way to go.

*Maybe* the lack of AA filter has an effect on the choice of method. Sharp, aliased images don't stretch as well as a softer image, i e jaggies on the pixel peep level can become worse. When stitching inside the image circle the stretching of pixels is kept to a minimum (theoretically zero), while the camera-turning method will lead to more stretching.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2013, 09:44:56 AM by torger » Logged
torger
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« Reply #18 on: March 13, 2013, 09:38:18 AM »
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Can you provide any basis for your assertion that this claim is actually being made on a frequent basis?

I thought about this, and I cannot really say how my own view of Alpa as the company promoting "being best on precision" in an almost snobbish fashion has come into place. It has grown on me over time and possibly it comes more from users, dealers, articles/reviews read here on Lula and elsewhere than Alpa themselves. Maybe it's unfair.
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tom_l
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« Reply #19 on: March 13, 2013, 09:51:43 AM »
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As with the MF bodies and lenses,

all the Tech Cams are great in their one way. Some offer all movements, some invented different ways to use tilts, some have sliding backs, others the precision focussing rings. Others feel inspired by the color of the wood handle. I never met a pro that told me he wouldn't like his Cambo, Arca, Silvestri, Linhof (insert your brand here) and that he would regret his choice.

To the 3 brands already mentioned, you can surely add Silvestri (The Bicam is a shift only body that can be modified to use tilt, I use one) and Sinar (The Artec has a sliding back, the IanTec hasn't) too. Linhof has their own system too. Some brand may not be available in your region, I would go with
a camera you can test near you.

I haven't met someone (RL or in forums) who uses an Sinar Iantec. And if there's no Sinar dealer on the several  MF forums, you might not have heard of it. Does this make it a bad cam...probably not. But if there is no Sinar dealer in my country or closer than a 3 hours drive away, I would probably choose another system.


Tom
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