View Full Version : Differences between old-style 4x5 Arca-Swiss and old-style 8x10

Darin Boville
21-Sep-2009, 00:08
There is so little information on the older Acra-Swiss camera that I thought this might be of interest. Mine is an 8x10.

At this link: http://www.largeformatphotography.info/arca-swiss.html

the article points out a few differences between the older style and the F-line. However, some of these differences don't match up with my 8x10. Maybe there are differences between the 4x5 or 8x10 or perhaps there was variation from year to year. I don't know.

First, it says that the gg on the 4x5 has no grid lines (#7) while mine does--of course, I have no idea if my gg is original.

Second, it says that the 4x5 has no scales, except for rise. On my 8x10 model there are scales on both the front and rear swing and front and read tilt, in addition to the front/rear rise and fall.No scales, other than a center line, on either shift.

Nothing earth-shattering here. i just noticed these differences and thought I'd put it here in case someone searches in the future.


Sascha Welter
21-Sep-2009, 00:33
Hi Darin,

with really old Arca Swiss cameras, the factory didn't create "model lines" or "model names" or give "version numbers" to their cameras. (AFAIK they also didn't have serial numbers.) They probably made improvements from time to time and incorporated them into whatever they were building at the moment.

In 1986 my father bought me a pre-owned Arca 6x9. Since I wanted a polaroid back and since I lived in Greece (while my father is in Switzerland), there was a problem to find something that fitted. With my camera there was an original sales brochure, so I sent them that to identify the camera model. (Never got it back unfortunately, it was quite the document. I guess it went straight into their museum.) They actually told us that they didn't really knew the exact age of my camera (besides saying that it was "old style"). The polaroid back they sold me fitted, except for the focal plane being 5mm off (solved with a sticker on the polaroid back "correct focus 5mm forward").

That sales leaflet had the name of the camera as "Arca Suisse" (vs. today's "Arca Swiss"). I still beat my head to the table when I think that I should have sent them a couple of photocopies instead.

BTW: After about 15 years of not using the camera I got it back now. Shot my first roll of film, getting my feet wet again. My hands still find all the knobs with closed eyes, but I will have to work out what to do with the pictures - I have no darkroom or scanner yet. Also the shutter in the 180mm Tele-Xenar didn't like to live in storage, it probably needs at least a good cleaning in order to relearn the value of time.