View Full Version : VX125 or ARCA 69C

Thomas Nutter
23-Nov-2004, 09:27
I'm thinking about selling my toyo field camera and getting a camera for architectural applications (both interior and exterior) that is or can at least be made into a medium format system for that application. The Two I'm looking at are the Arca Swiss 6X9 and the Toyo VX125R . The advantages of the toyo are of course that I could still shoot 4X5 if necessary or desired, and also, I have many toyo accessories that can be carried over to the VX-- even lensboards with the proper adaptor. Which system would be better for multi-medium formant backs--6X9, 6X7 and maybe 6X12--better meaning easier to use, mostly, and which would more easily accommodate Wide lenses like a 65 and the 47XL? Are there other options? Maybe the Walker Titan or Something?

Thomas Nutter
23-Nov-2004, 09:46
---and furthermore, dare I ask it, which would be more suited to a digital future?

Gem Singer
23-Nov-2004, 09:59
Hi Thomas,

If you are looking for a camera that can handle extreme wide angle lenses, take a look at the Ebony SW45. It fits all of your parameters. It is lighter weight and more economical than the two cameras that you mention. You'll need to change over to Ebony/Linhof Tech type lensboards, but that's a relatively minor expense. Give Jim, at Midwest Photo Exchange (www.mpex.com), a call. He is expecting a shipment of Ebonys any day now and will be able give you a good trade-in price for your Toyo field.

Bob Salomon
23-Nov-2004, 10:30
" which would be more suited to a digital future?"

The Technikardan 69 or 45 models accept a conversion adapter for digital that allow them to use any digital back that fits a Hasselblad 500 type back.

Frank Petronio
23-Nov-2004, 11:05
I doubt either camera will ultimately be suited for digital in a few years. The trend is for a heavier, more precise and very accurate geared camera like the Linhof 679, Sinar P3, Rollei Xact, etc.

(But I wouldn't kick either camera out of bed... just use and enjoy)

Thomas Nutter
23-Nov-2004, 11:35
This ebony camera looks interesting, but does anybody out there have any practical experience shooting architecture with one? Just by looking at the pictures, it looks like the movements are not that precise.

Thomas Nutter
23-Nov-2004, 11:49
How about the Walker Titan XL--Any experiences here? I know, I'm really trolling for information here.

Glenn Kroeger
23-Nov-2004, 13:36

I suspect you will want geared movements. In the Arca line, the 69 F-metric with micrometric orbix would give you geared rise and shift on both standards, and geared axis tilt on the front standard. Not much more weight than a classic F-line 6x9. I know quite a few architectural photographers using this setup with both film and digital backs. Things get a bit tricky with the digital backs since you need even shorter focal lengths and there are still some color shift issues with oblique angles of incidence on the Bayer matrix CCDs.


23-Nov-2004, 14:00
Thomas, I have a Walker Titan, it's a fine camera, but not quite a match for a monorail, architecture-wise. It accommodates all my lenses, 65mm-450mm, plenty sturdy for a flatbed. It is awkward with a Copal #3. The only time I have run out of movements was shooting out a 16th floor window in NYC, when I could have used some more indirect drop. Did you have any other more specific questions?

If you are determined to go 2x3, go with something specifically designed for that format, so it isn't any more fussy than it has to be. That probably means Arca, Linhof, Sinar, or maybe Ebony.

I'm personally unconvinced on the need for geared movements -- they are more of a luxury than a necessity. Just so front tilt and front rise/fall are independently controlled.

Henry Ambrose
23-Nov-2004, 16:14
I have an Ebony SW45 and I really like it! Plenty of movements and can use from 38mm up to 180mm lenses. Light, compact, great with roll film backs and its hardly larger or heavier than dedicated 6X9 cameras. Some people want geared movements, I'm completely happy without them, I would want them more for tabletop studio stuff. The SW45 replaced my Arca Swiss 4X5 which as part of a large system is capable of doing more but I did not need the extra features. My second choice would be another Arca 4X5 as I think its the finest, easiest to use camera once its on the tripod of all I've seen.

If you use lenses longer than 180mm you might look at the Ebony 45S model with more bellows or again consider the Arca Swiss 4X5. Every once in a great while I want to use a longer lens but not often enough to buy a bigger camera. If you don't need to use lenses longer than 180mm and want a light, compact simple camera the SW45 is wonderful! The SW45 would replace your Toyo Field and add lots of movement capability in a smaller, lighter package. But its not a monorail with all the possibilities they offer.

Personally I prefer shooting 4X5 over roll film if I'm carrying a camera with movements and its going to be shot off a tripod. I figure for the same amount of work shooting I have a nice fat margin of overwhelming film size with sheet film and I find that once I have the film in hand that my post production work is easier with sheet film. My typical job does not entail a large amount of film and I have a good lab here for sheet film. But with a small compact4X5 camera and roll backs I have lots of choices available if I need something different.

Thomas Nutter
23-Nov-2004, 16:52
Thanks for all of your opinions folks--I'm sure most of you realize the abstract nature of trying to find just the right piece of gear without having the resources nearby to touch and try them all out first. Practical experience of others is often the most helpful.

Jeffrey Goggin
24-Nov-2004, 13:39
If you're serious about using your Toyo accessories, drop me a note as I have a Toyo 23G that I'm getting ready to sell that would be perfect for architectural work (or at least it was for me until my eyes reached middle age and I moved up to a Toyo 810G to compensate). While a bit heavier than the VX125, it can be made nearly as compact for transport by mounting it on a cut-down rail and gives you geared movements with a much larger range of travel (e.g., 125mm of rise!)

Better still, I also have a 4x5 rear standard and bag bellows for it that will let you turn it into a 4x5 in less than a minute and I'm planning to sell that, along with four Toyo rollfilm backs (two each 6x7, 6x9), a Polaroid back, compendium shade, and any other Toyo bits I have that won't work on the 810G.