View Full Version : The first Review of Arca-Swiss MISURA

Wisawa S.
4-Sep-2004, 17:07
FYI, This is the first review of Arca-Swiss MISURA I came across with some pictures.


According to the review, it's not a considerably light camera, 2.4 Kg. I wonder if I can use rear function carrier and rear standard with my 45FC and existing bellow to lighten my camera a bit.

Frank Petronio
4-Sep-2004, 19:45
Reminds me of a Leica Hermes edition - strictly for wealthy amateurs with more money than brains.

David A. Goldfarb
4-Sep-2004, 20:20
The case that functions as a camera baseplate seems neat--kind of like an eveready case for a monorail.

Andre Noble
4-Sep-2004, 21:11
I would not return if it was given to me as a gift.

Donald Hutton
4-Sep-2004, 21:57

Do you consider good Scotch strictly the domain of wealthy amateurs, or the pleasure of overworked professionals?

Frank Petronio
5-Sep-2004, 08:06
Sure, but this is like good scotch poured into a really expensive decanter and sold for double it's worth!

Dave Moeller
5-Sep-2004, 08:39
It's an interesting device that I'm sure will have some application for someone, but I hate to think of what a replacement bellows would cost. This isn't something that any bellows manufacturer can just "knock up" from measurements.

Bryan Willman
5-Sep-2004, 10:03
Well, it appears that the back standard can be very close to the front, and the front is naturally clear of the base. So it might be a very useful camera for ultra wide lenses that need short bellows extension, and tend to include the camera or tripod in the picture if one isn't careful.

David R Munson
5-Sep-2004, 10:56
Would I buy it if I had the cash? I'm not sure - I'd have to play with it first. Still, it's an interesting camera and I think some people will find it quite well-suited to their purposes.

neil poulsen
6-Sep-2004, 09:14
Is it necessary to leave the oval base attached to the camera? That seems a little strange to me. It leads me to wonder how easy it is to backpack this camera.

Graeme Hird
6-Sep-2004, 16:44
Rear tilts are very imporant to me, so I don't think this would be the camera for me.

Some of the smaller and lighter lenses don't have huge coverage and thus require rear tilt when the Scheimpflug movements are employed. Front tilts with these lenses can take the film plane outside the coverage of the lens.

Still, if someone wants to give me one, I wouldn't knock it back .....

Ellis Vener
7-Sep-2004, 10:45
I wonder if I can use rear function carrier and rear standard with my 45FC and existing bellow to lighten my camera a bit.


Frank Petronio
7-Sep-2004, 20:55
Wouldn't that be a really, really expensive way to save eight ounces? Hell, buy a Toho if weight is such a concern. I love my Arca-Swiss camera as much as anybody, but the Misura looks to me to be a marketing exercise aimed at dilettantes. And no, I'm in an otherwise good mood, but am reminded of the story about the emperor's new clothes...

guillaume p
8-Sep-2004, 03:16
I'm french, so I hope you will excuse my poor syntax…

Well, I feel really peacefull since I know I have more money than brain… I just wonder how I can already talk with such no brain ! : ) I'm a misura user, and I want to tell that it fits exactly to my needs. Lack of rear tilt and swing is not critical for architectural photography (for the way in which one small brain works, of course : )). Some photographers work with medium format technical cameras that only have front rise and shift… The misura gives much more movements and, IMHO, is a perfect tool for architectural and landscape photography.

Greetings from France.

Edward (Halifax,NS)
8-Sep-2004, 09:12
It looks very nice but for the cost (I didn't notice a price but I can guess) I would want rear tilt and swing. I will agree with everyone else that if given to me I would use it happily. I have used rear tilt once and rear swing zero times in three years. Unless they price it in the range of the Shen Hao (LOL!!) it is just another camera I can't afford.

Dan Bereskin
16-Sep-2004, 17:57
I've recently acquired an Arca Swiss Misura, having owned an A/S 4x5 F, and a 6x9 Metric FC, as well as other brands of LF cameras, now all sold. My interests are primarily landscape photography, with some architectural work as well. I'm not wealthy, and shop carefully. I bought the Misura because it is perfect for landscape photography, and in many ways is a breakthrough camera in my opinion. Can anyone name a monorail camera that weighs less than five pounds, can accomodate lenses from 35mm to 300mm without changing the bellows, and with generous movements including the excellent Orbix system? The lack of rear tilt and swing is a limitation primarily in the studio, but there's so much front rise that so far I have not missed the rear tilt for architectural shots. Clearly the Misura is not intended for studio use, but so what? Without the lens and back, the camera weighs about 4.5 pounds. The Misura won a coveted Swiss design award in 2003 for innovation and design excellence: 25,000 swiss francs, which tells a lot. Here's what the award said:

Comments by the jury: A precision instrument to be worn lightly: technology on the appropriate scale, convincingly slimmed down. It opens up optical possibilities that have a special significance in our digital era. The object in its own right seductively offers itself to the possibilities of classical photography: the large format takes on a mobile dimension.

David A. Goldfarb
17-Sep-2004, 07:48
The lightweight monorail that serves that function for me is a front-moves Gowland 4x5" (also fixed back). It doesn't have the precision of an Arca, and the minimum FL is 65mm, but it's under 3 lbs. and cost a lot less, and is great when I need to go ultralight or have a 4x5" and two or three compact lenses along with another camera system. My favorite use for it is when I'm doing bird photography with 35mm and a long lens, and I can slip the Gowland with lens in one pocket of my scope pack and maybe another lens and a Grafmatic in another pocket for impromptu landscapes and macros between bird photo ops.

Glenn Kroeger
18-Sep-2004, 00:38

I am impressed by your experience, but wonder if one can actually use a 300mm lens on the Misura? Although the rail length is given as 320mm, the design of AS front standard places the lensboard well back from the end of the rail. Have you actually used a 300mm lens?

Dan Bereskin
18-Sep-2004, 03:13
Glenn, I haven't actually tried a 300mm lens, but am planning to get one. I believe that the answer to your question is that you can advance the front standard beyond the leading edge of the rail and still clamp it down securely. I've seen an article that indicates that a 400mm telephoto can also be accomodated.

Glenn Kroeger
18-Sep-2004, 07:53

Thanks. Another question if you don't mind.

Unlike other AS, the rail folds up, not down (actually, I suggested this to AS when I visited their new office in Besancon in summer 2000). But does this cause a problem with short focal length lenses? If both standards are forward on the rail, lets say with a 75mm lens, is there any way to avoid the rear end of the rail sticking into your neck as you use a loupe on the ground glass?

Dan Bereskin
18-Sep-2004, 08:28
Glenn, I've just tried my 47mm Schneider lens on a recessed board. The rear end of the rail is a couple of inches below my chin and a few inches in front of my neck when I use a loupe on the ground glass. Therefore I don't think the protruding rail should be a problem. With the recessed board, I get all the movements from the front standard that my lens can handle, and the illumination even with the 47mm Schneider is excellent-they must use a really good fresnel. I haven't tried this lens yet without a recessed board, but would guess that the bellows would be pretty tightly squashed. By the way, when I spoke with Martin Vogt before making the purchase, I questioned the logic of the leather case that comes with the camera. They've changed the leather case to a different style, still very attractive, but of dubious functionality to backpackers like me. Martin's answer was that they decided they want to make one camera, not ten different cameras to suit various people's preferences! Modularity is of course a great strength of Arca Swiss, and this applies to the Misura. In my case, it means I can remove the leather case and attach a normal 85mm bracket to the rail, to enable the camera to be fixed directly to a tripod head, although using the plastic base that supports the leather case is an OK option. Also, you could substitute the rail that the camera comes with, for a normal folding rail, or a short rail section. Similarly you could use a long rail and long conical bellows for very long focal length lenses, and of course the excellent binocular viewer can be attached to the rear standard as is the case with all modern A/S cameras.

Glenn Kroeger
18-Sep-2004, 08:56

Thanks again. Sorry to pepper you with questions, but not many have actually laid hands on a Misura.

It is good to know that the case can be removed.

Are you saying that the leather case is different than that pictured in the article that launched this thread?

Also, when the rail is folded up, is there anything that holds it there other than the case? Without the case, would the folded rail flop around or bang the rear standard?

I was originally concerned about the lack of rear tilt, but the generous direct rise is plenty for my needs.


guillaume p
18-Sep-2004, 08:57
Glenn, Dan, there is a little mistake in the review of Galerie-Photo.com wich should be soon corrected.
The longest focal lenght you can use with misura is a 270 mm. With front movements (base tilt + orbix tilt) and if you reverse the rear function carrier, you will be able to use a 300 mm, but it's not the best way to achieve this…
An extension rail is the wise solution to use focal lenghts longer than 270 mm…

guillaume p
18-Sep-2004, 09:04
Glenn, the leather case is the same that is pictured in the article. Otherwise, there's an aluminium case…
Nothing holds the folded rail in the case, but if the camera is corectly folded, the rail should not bag on the rear standard.

Dan Bereskin
18-Sep-2004, 09:11
Glenn, I had not read the article that started this thread, until you mentioned it. I had assumed it was the same as an earlier article in the same journal. In fact, the current leather case is exactly as pictured in the article. The original one was like a clam shell, each half hanging down as I recall when the camera was attached to a tripod. It's been a couple of years since I saw that design, and I suspect that they had trouble duplicating it in metal, hence their resort to a simpler design. The folded rail does have some movement when it is in its folded condition, but it doesn't seem to do any harm, it doesn't contact the ground glass or the rear standard and I doubt that there would be a wear issue at the joint. Still, the point of folding it up is to accomodate the case, so if you don't need the case, you might as well use a conventional FC rail. It wouldn't surprise me that market pressure eventually persuades the Vogts to offer this option.

Dan Bereskin
18-Sep-2004, 09:29
Guillaume, thanks for bringing to our attention your excellent article, which I've now just read. I moved the front standard on my Misura as far forward as it can go and still lock without any wobble, and the rear standard as far back as possible with the focus screw still contacting the rail, and measured about 295mm from the front of the front standard to the ground glass. On the other hand, you can move the rear standard back by hand another 15mm or so, although you would have to focus without the assistance of the geared focus knob. Given the smoothness and precision of the camera, this might be an option, although obviously the extension rail is better.

guillaume p
19-Sep-2004, 09:21
I did not really found it alone but…
…the simple way to achieve an infinity focus with a 300 mm (or a 400 mm Schneider Tele Xenar) is to turn by 180° the front frame !

Glenn Kroeger
19-Sep-2004, 11:23
Dan, Guillaume:

Are the bellows stretched to their limit at 300mm, or are they long enough to go to 350mm with an extension rail.

I previously owned an Arca-Swiss 4x5 field version, but that needed a different bellows to focus any lens longer than about 240mm.


Dan Bereskin
19-Sep-2004, 11:31
Glenn, you can move the front standard entirely off the rail (which is 320mm in length) and there's still lots of give to the bellows. Another option to Guillaume's suggestion of reversing the front standard to accomodate 300mm lenses, is to get an Ebony extender for long focal length lenses. Ebony uses Linhof type boards, so you'd need to get an A/S to Linhof adapter for this idea to work. All my lenses are mounted on Linhof-type boards, so this may be the route I'll go.

Glenn Kroeger
19-Sep-2004, 11:36

This is the same bellows that will easily handle a 75mm lens?

guillaume p
19-Sep-2004, 12:22
I think the belows can easily reach 350 mm extention.

For Glenn, the same belows allow a 55/60 mm rise with a 55 mm ! You have full movements with a 75 mm. This is what makes this camera unique…

Glenn Kroeger
19-Sep-2004, 12:43
Thanks to Dan and Guillaume for all of the info.

Frank scares me, because I don't have much money so my brain must be shrinking fast, but the Misura does seem to solve some of the probems I had with Arcas 4x5 Field. The longer rail achieved by folding up rather than down, plus the more generous bellows should allow me to use my lenses from 75mm to 300mm. The only time I use rear tilt is for indirect rise which was constantly needed with both the Toyo 45 series and the Arca 4x5 Field. With 78mm of direct rise available, I can't imagine needing more for my work.

Actually, the fixed rear also solves another issue I have with the 4x5 Field, which was the need to check the zeroing of the standards during setup. The Misura would seem to eliminate half that issue and offer very quick setup when the light is fading fast.

Although expensive, it is certainly not at the extremes of the price bell curve set by Ebony and Linhofs TKs, and still opens the possibility of all of the pieces of the Arca Swiss modular toolkit.

Kerry L. Thalmann
19-Sep-2004, 13:04
Although expensive, it is certainly not at the extremes of the price bell curve set by Ebony and Linhofs TKs

This statement is a bit inaccurate. The Misura ($3350 leather - $3650 metal) is more expensive than the Linhof TK45S ($3295) and is near the high end of the range for the Ebony 4x5 models ($1495 - $3995).

I'm not knocking the Misura, or ARCA-SWISS in general (I own an F-Line Classic and love it), just providing a little pricing info. These are all great cameras, well built, intelligently designed and priced accordingly. As they are all in the same general price range ($3295 - $3995 for the TK45S, Misura and most expensive Ebony 4x5 models), I doubt price will be the main consideration when comparing these models. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Not a bad camera in the bunch - just different.


Kerry L. Thalmann
19-Sep-2004, 14:10
According to Guillaume's excellent review, the weight of the Misura - without case is 2.4kg (a little over 5 1/4 lbs.).

Dan wrote:
Can anyone name a monorail camera that weighs less than five pounds, can accomodate lenses from 35mm to 300mm without changing the bellows

And I thought I read elsewhere (initial press release, perhaps) that the Misura weighed 4.4 lbs.

So, could some kind soul clear this up by weighing their camera with and without the case and post the results here? Please - inquiring minds want to know.

I'd really like to combine the features of the Misura (lightweight, amazing bellows, geared front rise and Orbix tilt, smaller front standard) with those of my F-Line (rear tilt, telescoping rail), but can't afford to buy two cameras to make one. I was considering getting the F-Metric 6x9 front format frame to use with my F-Line (this would give me the smaller front standard and geared front rise), but now I'm wondering if I could purchase the Misura front standard to use with my F-Line.


As far as limited direct front rise with the F-Line Field goes, ARCA-SWISS has a remedy in the works. It is an extender block specific to the 4x5/6x9 rear.front (similar to the extender block they make to provide additional direct front rise on teh 8x10 F-Line series).


Kerry L. Thalmann
19-Sep-2004, 14:23
Oh, and while you have the scale out, could you also please weigh the front format frame?

Thanks, Kerry

Glenn Kroeger
19-Sep-2004, 14:39

Taking the mean of the 10 Ebony 4x5s and the TK45s as listed on Badger Graphics web site gives: $2677

The standard deviation is: $884

So at $3350, the Misura is within one standard deviation of the mean... hardly at the extremes of the bell curve :-)

I had seen the riser block for the 8x10, but could never find a part number for the 4x5 version.


Glenn Kroeger
19-Sep-2004, 14:42

I don't think the Misura has the geared front rise of the metric?


Dan Bereskin
19-Sep-2004, 16:30
Kerry, I don't have an accurate scale, and so have used our bathroom balance scale to get a rough idea. With the base, but without the leather case, the camera appears to weigh five pounds. It's hard to estimate the weight of the base, but I would estimate 5-7 ounces. Getting rid of the base would not eliminate all this weight, though, because you need the 85mm bracket to fasten the camera to the tripod head. Probably there'd be a saving of a couple of ounces. My best estimate of the weight of the leather case is 3/4 pound. The problem with the case is bulk as well as unnecessary weight, unless you're car hiking. On the other hand, the case is rather neat in that all my lenses, all of which are on the small side, all fit within the case when on the camera. I don't think it's practical to use the front standard of the Misura with the rear standard of a conventional 4x5 FC. One of the beauties of the Misura is that it folds up really small, and you'd lose that advantage with the conventional 4x5 function carrier, which is rather big. No geared front rise on the Misura, but of course the smoothness is excellent, coupled with the very supple bellows. I used to own an A/S 6x9 metric, and a 4x5 format conversion set, which gave me close to what you're thinking about, but this combination takes up a lot of room in a bag, and is a bit heavy to boot. So, I eventually gave up on that, and bought the Ebony 23SW. It folds up to next to nothing. At last year's PhotoPlus show I admitted to Martin Vogt (who I've known for several years) that I had bought an Ebony, he rolled his eyes and said that A/S are concerned about tolerances within microns. I guess his position is that you can't compare a highly engineered, close toleranace metal monorail camera with a wooden field camera for rigidity and smoothness of movements, and of course he's right. The fact that folks are already thinking about mods further proves the power of the A/S modular design. Of course, none of this has anything to do with making photographs!

Glenn Kroeger
19-Sep-2004, 16:44

It looks like even with the case, the Misura would be smaller than the 4x5 Field with it's F rear standard?


Dan Bereskin
19-Sep-2004, 18:12
Glenn, I suspect you're right, that even in its case the Misura is smaller than the 4x5 Field, though this is just a guess. By the way, the 4x5 Field, so I'm told, was the invention of Rod at Photomark in Phoenix. It took a while, but the factory finally realized that the 4x5 back, 6x9 front was almost a necessity for landscape photographers. I have the feeling that the factory will eventually realize that they need to offer the Misura without the case and base, and perhaps with the conventional folding rail.

Emmanuel BIGLER
20-Sep-2004, 04:47
The weight of one of the first prototypes demonstrated to me by Arca Swiss here was actually slightly less than 4.4 pounds (2kg). A real challenge taking into account the figure of 2.1 kg for the classic 6x9. 4.4 lbs stripped of all accessories, no oval base plate no bracket no case but including ground glass.
Then after presentation in trade shows of the first prototypes, A/S was suggested that the capabilities of vertical shift should be increased. The camera was re-engineered accordingly and the weight increased slightly.

Emmanuel BIGLER
20-Sep-2004, 04:52
The misura® is definitely smaller than a classical 6x9-4"x5" 'field' model fitted with a 30 cm folding rail.
The misura® rear frame, inside dimensions ( = bellows attachment frame, at rear) is about 140x140mm, to be compared to the corresponding 171x171 for F-line 4"x5" models.

tim atherton
20-Sep-2004, 10:30
I see they still stuck with the bizarre pizza pan gizmo? I though Arca "Swiss" had moved to France, not the Italian Tyrol...?

Aside from that, a nice looking camera

Kerry L. Thalmann
20-Sep-2004, 10:33

You have now convinced me that my perfect camera would be:

1) 30cm Optical Bench Telescopic 2) F-Line Classic front and rear function carriers 3) Misura rear format frame 4) 6x9 Metric front format frame 5) Misura bellows 6) Long tapered bellows (at least 50cm, preferrably a little longer) to fit the Misura rear frame.

Too bad this isn't available as an off-the-shelf configuration. I already have 1 and 2, as well as a 4x5/6x9 24cm wide angle bellows. So, adding 4 is reasonable and gets me closer to what I want. Adding 3, 4 and 5 (and eventually 6) might be too cost prohibitive to save a little weight and bulk, but it sure would make for one sweet camera. It would have full and generous movements both front and rear (including rear tilt that I don't want to abandon and the self-locking geared front rise I want), would be reasonably light and compact, would easily handle lenses from my shortest (55mm) to 300mm with one bellows (as well as shorter should I ever want a 38mm for 6x12 ultrawide shooting). And it would have that wonderful ARCA-SWISS smoothness and rigidity. The one thing it would lack would be 6, a longer bellows. So, add a long bellows to handle 450mm (and maybe 600mm) to the cost (do they make a longer bellows that fits the Misura rear format frame?).

I'll probably just add the 6x9 Metric front format and frame 50cm tapered bellows to my existing kit as it would be a a lot less expensive than adding two new format frames and two new bellows. But, a guy can dream...


Glenn Kroeger
20-Sep-2004, 11:42
In searching for a Misura, I was advised to wait until after Photokina next week. Apparently, AS will be announcing major changes to their product line. Maybe Kerry's dream machine will arrive!

Emmanuel BIGLER
21-Sep-2004, 05:28
Kerry and friends. See the other discussion for a detailed weight budget of an A/S 6x9 metric Orbix. The misura w/o leather case is slightly lighter than the 6x9 metric orbix. About similar to the 6x9 classic orbix it depends how you count the tripod connecting devices in the budget.