View Full Version : Arca Swiss"Field" vs."Classic"

Cedric P. Thevenaz
9-May-2001, 20:59
Profile: Serious amateur 35mm photographer currently moving to large format. L ove landscapes, some architecture, general - with some backpacking.

Current status: FYI, I recently posted a lens question (thread: Large Format Le nses 35mm Equivalent), asking what moderate wides compared to in 35 Format, hopi ng for a moderate wide angle. After all that contemplation, I decided to go wit h the wider idea and purchased a SS110XL - whew!

Arca Help: My DEFINITIVE soon-to-purchase camera choice is Arca-Swiss 4x5 ("is that your final answer - yes"). Specifically contemplating the "Field" vs. the "Compact" version, . I would love some first hand help as to these issues (than ks in advance, and FYI I have read all the Arca threads on this site):

1. With the 110XL being moderately wide, if I were to choose the regular "F-Cla ssic Compact" version with the 4x5 front, is the standard bellows which comes wi th the "F-Classic Compact" able to handle sufficient movements with that lens? Or would it require the w/a bellows? Some sources say 150-240 for the standard bellows, some say down to 80 (I assume that means with no movements).

2. I am much more likely to choose the "Field" version at this point. I know i t can handle the 110XL perfectly, however, I plan on making my second lens a 180 or 210. Can the w/a leather bellows that comes with the "Field" handle a 210 w ith acceptable movements, or is 180 more a reality? Is this dependent on the be llows limitation, or rather the monorail length? (By the way, can you tell me w hich rail comes with the "Field", the 30cm collapsible, or the 30cm telescoping. Or do you have a choice when purchasing?)

Any additional comments from users of the "F-Classic" and the "F-Field" would be very much appreciated. I'm already aware of the more limited rise with the "Fi eld's" front 6x9 standard, can't imagine that would be too limiting, or?

Thank you very kindly to all. Look forward to joining the bunch very soon...


Sandy Sorlien
9-May-2001, 21:18
I have the A/S 69FC but today I asked A/S customer support about changing it over to 4x5 and received this post from them: 011201, Format-Set F -classic 6x9-4x5" wide-angle f= 35-150 011202, Format-Set F -classic 6x9-4x5" synth. f= 150-240 So, that is their recommendation for which bellows to use. The wide- angle bellows is leather and the regular is synthetic. Cheers.

Hugo J. Zhang
10-May-2001, 01:00
I use an Arca-Swiss Discover 4x5 with 110XL and a 210 Rodenstock lens. Wonderful combination. No need of WA bellow. Discover comes with a backpack. You can get an extension rail for the 210mm lens if you want to do some close up work. Good luck and welcome to the world of LF.

neil poulsen
10-May-2001, 09:38
I have the classic, the leather WA bellows, the long 700mm bellows, and the 300 telescoping rail.

While I'm not sure about the leather field WA bellows, my bellows works very well w/lenses from 65mm up to 210mm. At 240mm lenses and above, or at 180mm or 210mm at long extension, I swap to the long bellows. Note that, with these two bellows on the Classic, you do not need the standard bellows. This minimizes swapping bellows back and forth. I use a 1" recessed lensboard with the 65mm lens, one of the older style.

How much do you plan to shoot 6x9? With my configuration, by using the 6x9 backs for 4x5, I have no problem shooting 6x9. However, if you were 75% or greater for 6x9, you might want the smaller front together with the 6x9 back. It's lighter. One thing, I believe you're limited to about 500mm lenses with the small front, versus up to about 650mm with the larger front.

Even with the 700mm bellows, lenses over about 450mm will require that you add a longer rail.

While you might want to check this out, if you should want to upgrade to 5x7 or 8x10, I believe you can use the rear standard as the front. So, the smaller front for 4x5 is not a limitation in this regard. Check this out, though, if it's of interest.

Let me comment that my older 1" recessed lensboard has a retro-fitted speed graphic lensboard. Because of the reduced size of these lensboards, this works out very well.

All and all, given my current outfit, I would not want the small front. My outfit works great for just about anything that I want to shoot, and with a minimum of fuss. But, it all depends on your particular needs.

Glenn Kroeger
10-May-2001, 13:33

I had the 4x5 Field. The 110XL is a easy, and a 210 will focus, but you start to run out of rail as well as bellows... despite the fact that the rail is 30cm long, the effective length is less due to the design of the standards. A 180 is more reasonable. The 24cm conical synthetic bellows can easily handle the 110, 180 and a 300, but you will need a rail extension.


10-May-2001, 17:42
Can't contribute to the field vs. standard discussion (I'm also contemplating ex changing my Classic against a Field version, but am not sure about the consequen ces ref. movements/vignetting). But I use a 210mm Sironar S with the 30cm (collapsible) monorail, and can focus down to ca. 1m (4x5 standard synthetic bellows). It's true that you don't get the full 30cm extension due to the monorail block d esign - but if you move the standards outwards on the rail until the focusing cogwheels arrive at/h ave barely contact with the rail ends (the blocks will extend about ca. 3cm beyo nd the rail before the cogwheels `loose grip'), 30cm standart distance can be re ached. Due to the solid and precise construction of the monorail/rail blocks, this `ove rstretching' showed no adverse effects on camera stability - the problem is IMHO more that you won't be able to use substantial movements with the standard (150 -300mm) bellows.

Cedric P. Thevenaz
14-May-2001, 13:34
THANK YOU ALL VERY KINDLY for your informative responses. This thread, as well as many others, have helped me make my decision and I've made my purchases. I have posted my decisions on camera and lenses as a new thread. Thanks again!!!!