View Full Version : Could someone explain Arca Swiss' Orbix to me?

Scott Fleming
10-Feb-2005, 19:44
I can't put my hands on an Arca Swiss camera of any stripe around here (Texas). I've initiated contact with Rod at Photomark and will mosey on over to Phoenix one of these days to have a hands on but I'm curious about just how this Orbix thingy works. Rod sent me some photocopies but they don't go into the details of the Orbix mechanism.

Perhaps one of you lucky folks who own an AS would explain it to me? I'd actually pay money for a detail photo and scan with maybe some line diagrams. I hate to ask someone to go to such trouble just as a favour. Maybe we could trade something. Want to have a guided tour of the best Texas wildflower areas?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Frank Petronio
10-Feb-2005, 19:44
It puts the center point of the movement arc precisely in the center of the lens, so the camera's movements are yaw-free. It comes in two flavors - mechanical (friction) and geared.

http://precisioncameraworks.com/Pages/arca_core.html (http://precisioncameraworks.com/Pages/arca_core.html)

I doubt it is worth the cost for landscape work. It might be justified in a busy studio setting, or on a digital back set up where smaller adjustments make a larger difference. Even so, it adds more weight and complexity to the camera (gears for dirt to get into) and I doubt you'd find a practical use for it in your regular photography.

For that matter, get a Discovery instead of an F-Line, and just upgrade the rails.

I'll duck now.

Donald Hutton
10-Feb-2005, 19:44

It basically converts the camera from having base tilts to axis tilts - it transfers the axis of the tilt from below the standard to the center of the standard. There are some differences to technique to arrive at the correct tilt using base vs. center tilts although either way, it's an iterative process.

Glenn Kroeger
10-Feb-2005, 19:44
Well, I ended up with micro-metric orbix (geared) and although it certainly isn' t necessary for landscape work, and I don't really care that the tilt is coaxial with the lens, I like it for two reasons: 1) I can easily set really small tilt angles with wide angle lenses and 2) I can set tilts with one hand while focusing with the other hand. My third hand holds the loupe... woops, on second thought I use a binocular viewer... but this makes it very quick to set the tilt correctly and get off a shot if the light is changing fast.

10-Feb-2005, 19:45
Is the rotation point fixed - i.e. if the lens is shifted, will the rotation point no longer be on the lens' centerline?

Donald Hutton
10-Feb-2005, 19:46

The rotation point is not fixed, but the axis (horizontal) is, so if you use a shift, the rotation point will still be on the same axis, but off to whichever side the tilt is; so the lens will still be rotating around it's centerline (i.e. rotation point is not important; axis is). Shift does not have any effect on the tilt axis.

Steven Dusk
10-Feb-2005, 19:47
Scott, the Orbix tilt does not replace the base tilts, it is in addition to it. For landscape photography (in fact almost any photography) it is not necessary to use the base tilts on these cameras. Everything on the Arca is designed for speed - and as Glenn mentioned you can focus and tilt at the same time for extremely quick setup. I can go from backpack to levelled, focussed, tilted and shifted (if necessary) shot in under a minute. If swing is required then an extra minute is required. The reflex viewer is mandatory.

Don't worry about getting photos and diagrams - they will not help much. Find one to try and you will wonder why there is anything else.

evan clarke
10-Feb-2005, 19:48
I would not do without it. If you decide to buy an Arca and do not get the Orbix right away, the camera will need to go to France to have it installed later. It is not a bolt-on thing that you can buy and mine was gone for about 3 months..EC

Scott Fleming
10-Feb-2005, 19:49
Thank you gentlemen you have been quite helpful.

Emmanuel BIGLER
10-Feb-2005, 19:54
Additional info : the extra weight of the manual Orbix® (orbix® dynamic) for a 6x9 frame is only 80 grams, 2.6 Oz.

Mike H.
12-Feb-2005, 20:55
Make sure you buy the ARCA-SWISS with the geared Orbix. First, it may take months if you ever want to convert from no orbix or manual orbix to a geared orbix. Secondly, it takes two hands to work the manual orbix, and you need SOMETHING with which to hold the focusing aid. It used to take me forever to focus without orbix. And then it sped up with the orbix, but was very akward because it was manual. Now that I have geared orbix, it is a breeze. I love it. For ALL kinds of images. AND, if you come over to visit Rod and see everything, get him to put you in touch with some of us locals and maybe we can go out and take some images - or maybe just meet over lunch and talk about photography. There are LOTS of us here.

Scott Fleming
12-Feb-2005, 22:38

Thanks. I was leaning that way.

Glen Kroeger in San Antonio was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to show and demonstrate his AS 6 x9 Metric with geared Orbix for me. What a dream unit!! I should have listed to Jack Dykinga two years ago. Live and learn.

Thanks for the invite. I will definitely take you up on it.

Richard Martel
19-Feb-2005, 18:23
Scott, when I received my F-line field with metric orbix, the Orbix control was on the left side. On the right side was the front standard focus and tilt knobs. It was an easy DIY ( use Loctite) job to switch the Orbix control knob to the right side. It sure makes focusing easy with one hand.

Matus Kalisky
25-Jan-2012, 02:27
I am again picking up an old thread, but for a good reason :) I am eyeballing one auction where the latest model of Arca Swill F-field with micrometric Orbix is being offered - but I realized I am not able to actually tell if the camera has the micrometric Orbix or not - because I have never really seen one.

So - would it be possible for you guys to post a snap of the front or rear standard on your Arca F Field with or without the Oribix (or micrometric Orbix)? It would be really helpful. I did not manage to find any reasonable photo of this feature where one could actually see it.

thank you.

Matus Kalisky
25-Jan-2012, 02:40
Beat me to it - I have just found this on the arca-shop.de webpage:
Micrometric Orbix:
micrometric Orbix 3D animation (http://www.snap-rent.de/3D/micrometric.mov).

EDIT: Is the Orbix or micrometric Orbix actually available for both standards, or only for the front one?

25-Jan-2012, 03:33
EDIT: Is the Orbix or micrometric Orbix actually available for both standards, or only for the front one?

It's only on the front standard.

Robert Jonathan
25-Jan-2012, 03:39
Matus, I'm no Arca expert, but I believe it's only available on the front. I have never seen an Arca with rear center tilts.

And the picture you posted is for the M-Monolith series, not the F, though the mechanism is the same (tilt located in the carrier frame, not the function carrier like on Sinar, etc).

Matus Kalisky
25-Jan-2012, 14:33
Thank you. The seller confirmed the same thing.

Ken Lee
25-Jan-2012, 15:38
Is it similar to the Sinar yaw-free (http://www.sinar.ch/en/infos/yaw-free) movements ?


25-Jan-2012, 16:27
Is it similar to the Sinar yaw-free (http://www.sinar.ch/en/infos/yaw-free) movements ?

Almost - that is, both are yaw free, but there is a difference in the tilt axis. As far as I can make out, the Orbix is slap central, while the Sinar is offset at about 25% of the image height - the reason apparently being that that permitted the immediate use of their DOF/swing calculator without recomposing for subjects with a roughly golden section composition (i.e. the vast majority of commercial shots).