View Full Version : Compatibility of various older Arca Swiss models?

20-May-2018, 06:37
Hi all,

I知 new to large format and want to go 8x10 for contact prints.

I知 attracted to somehow getting a lightweight monorail for field use. I知 considering an older Arca Swiss Model A 8x10. It only comes with the main rail and front and rear standards; it does not come with an additional front standard or with extension rails to make extreme close-ups. Also for sale in a separate listing, however, is a Model B front standard that can serve as the second front standard for extensions.

1. Does anyone know if Model B and A parts are compatible, I.e. same standard dimensions so that there would be no problems affixing bellows? As well, same rail dimensions?

2. Anyone know what kind of extension rail would be needed if the B and A parts are indeed compatible?


20-May-2018, 06:46
I should also add, can anyone tell me at what distance the supplementary front standard and bellows is effective? While I would like to eventually do portraits, this camera will mostly be used in field from distances of at least 15 feet for landscape. Maybe the front isn’t even necessary.

Thanks again

neil poulsen
20-May-2018, 09:35
Oswald (older Arca like yours) era bellows do not fit on the front of their standard. I have this recollection of having seen a special Arca Oswald era center standard used for this purpose, to connect two bellows. But, you could spend years waiting for one to show up on EBay.

I have a model "A" front standard and a Classic F bellows. Being careful, I was able to attach to the Classic F bellows to the front of my "A" front standard. It appeared to be light-tight. You want to make sure that your foam seal is good. I'm not sure whether an Oswald lensboard will fit on a Classic F. But, I have a Classic F recessed lensboard that fits fine on my "A" front standard.

So, an alternative would be to get a Classic F front standard, another Oswald era "A" or "B" function carrier to hold the standard, and a Classic F bellows for the extension. Of course, a Classic F function carrier would work, but they tend to be more expensive. I'm able to attach my Classic F standards to Oswald era "A" function carriers just fine.

Care must be taken in two respects, because the Classic F bellows doesn't just easily slip onto the front of your camera. In attaching the bellows, it's easy to pinch one of the Classic F bellows pleats in the clips on the bottom of your A front standard. (This could put holes in your bellows.) Also, in attaching the bellows, I needed to carefully insert the frame into the clips and then push down to properly seat the bellows onto the front "A" frame that you already have. Having done that at the bottom, the bellows clipped into the top of the standard.

In trying this out, I noticed that my "A" front standard is one of those intermediate models that have characteristics of both Classic F and Oswald cameras. Hopefully, what worked for me will work for you. If you follow this path, get the Classic F bellows first and see if it's usable with your Oswald era front standard. If so, then get the Classic F front standard.

20-May-2018, 11:49
Thank you. Any idea if the F function carrier fits on the same extension rail that would go into the A’s main rail?

And, how much more focusing distance is a front extension giving me? I assume I would need that for portraits, but that’s about it, I would imagine... I could just do those with a dslr and forego the front extension completely, perhaps. Thanks

neil poulsen
21-May-2018, 09:10
Ideally, the F function carrier should work fine. But, they do have some variation. Depending on the rail, I've seen F function carriers fit rather tightly on one rail and still be a little loose on another.

Bob at Precision Camera Works (.com) can adjust them. A general CLA for one of these carriers can run about $250 or more, depending on whether new parts are needed.

Measuring, the standard Arca bellows would lengthen the bellows extension by a maximum of about 14".