View Full Version : Arca Swiss Reflex 4x5 questions - does a manual exist?

11-May-2017, 01:46
Hello I am very interested in the Arca Swiss Reflex 4x5 camera.

Of course, the camera becomes far more interesting if one could use 1 or 2 favorite lenses and different shutter speeds, therefore I am trying to find out the following:

1) if it is possibile to use a different lens altogether, together with a Copal shutter, provided they can be mounted on the Arca board.

2) related to the first question, if it is possible, once you have composed your image through the viewfinder, to lock the mirror up, in order to shoot using the shutter of a Copal shutter, instead of the camera shutter.

3) if the back is revolving?

Anticipated thanks to all who read and also to all those who can help !!!



11-May-2017, 05:59
There's a manual in french, on ebay, for the 6x9 version, but the 4x5 version is basically the same: www.ebay.com/itm/162463121868

You can essentially read the manual by looking at the large images on that listing. I copied them and will post them somewhere eventually too, so they are available to all.

There's a couple versions of the Arca Reflex - one with a focal plane shutter, that has speed ranges from B through 1/500. There's a version without the focal plane shutter, that uses the mirror as a shutter, and has speeds of B and 1/25 I believe.

For the 4x5 version of the arca reflex: You can use any lens on it, that has a focal length of about 180mm or longer, and still be able to reach infinity focus. Shorter focal lengths will only work as closer-focus lenses, since the mirror would hit them if they are recessed or racked back enough to reach infinity. The lenses I have used on mine: Pentac 8" f/2.9, Aero Ektar 178mm (only usable to about 12 foot focus distance or so), Congo 210mm f/4.5, Nikkor-T 360/500/720mm, Imagon 200mm. I tried the Nikkor-T 270mm but the flange-focus distance is too short, and the mirror interferes with the lens beyond about 3foot focus distance. Some of these lenses mentioned above are in shutter. The Arca board is 143mm square so plenty large enough for most any shutter.

For the version of the Arca Reflex with the focal-plane shutter, there is a B setting. you could shoot on B, and then fire the copal shutter to make the exposure. The shutter release on the Arca has to be held down either by hand or with maybe a locking cable release, but it should be doable to shoot this way if you wanted to use a copal shutter for it's better flash sync speeds, for example.

The back does switch between vertical and horizontal, though it's a remove-and-replace operation, not a rotation. Still, very quick and easy to switch orientations.

Best regards

12-May-2017, 00:48
Dear Ed, many many thanks for your help and your very exhaustive description.
I thought of going for one of these awesome "machines", as I would love to shoot 4x5 but am unable to entirely give up the viewfinder way of composing typical of medium format.
I didn't at all know that a model with a focal plane shutter existed !
However, I was hoping I could use my favorite and mostly used focal lengths, which are the 90 and 135, but it seems that this is not an option, on the Arca 4x5 reflex : (
Thank you Ed!

12-May-2017, 06:29
hi Pietro -

Thanks for the note. Those are nice focal lengths, but sadly won't really work on any 4x5 SLR without mirror issues, they are just too short.
Good luck,