View Full Version : Advice needed… How to value an Arca Swiss 8x10 system?

Mark Carstens
22-Apr-2010, 21:34
I never thought I’d be posting this thread, but I’m giving serious thought to selling my Arca Swiss Model C 8x10 system. I can already hear it… “What!? Are you crazy?” Possibly, but that’s a story for another time. ;) Bottom line: I need some feedback on value.

If you’re new to the forum or unfamiliar with the Model C iteration of the Arca Swiss line, this camera includes both front and rear base AND axis tilts (kind of a pre-Orbix innovation that serves a similar purpose). In addition, it has both front and rear swing and shift. That’s right, more movements than I should be allowed to have! And did I mention that it’s a dream to use? Relatively light weight, easy to pack (at least in my experience), quick to set up, and very precise – what more could you want from a camera? Wait a minute…why AM I leaning toward selling this? :p

At any rate, my Arca 8x10 system is probably in the neighborhood of 25 years old, but was very recently overhauled from stem to stern by Bob Watkins at Precision Camera Works and the bellows were replaced with a new, longer set. In short, the clock has been rolled back and the camera is currently in almost new condition, save for a few surface scratches on the standard frames. In the words of Mr. Watkins, “It’ll serve you well for another 25 years.”

Some other particulars that might be of interest…

• Ground glass is in good shape, but a spare (glass is fine, but the grid has worn off in spots) will be included as will a canham gg protector.
• The camera packs in a custom-made carrying case
• It can be fitted with either with an upgraded rail combination 40cm and 15cm (F-Line) plus old-style bracket OR an old-style 40cm plus 18/22cm split rail plus old-style bracket.
• Compendium lens shade in excellent condition
• Arca to Linhof Technika lens board adapter (I have both OEM and custom-made -- on recessed board -- version)
• 8x10/4x5 reducer board and 4x5 ground glass holder with bail back – (with canham gg protector)

I’m still working out the price for this stuff…gotta find my scattered collection of notes. My interest is not in making a killing, rather in recovering my investment. My first inclination is to run this out as a full system, including all of the items listed below and if there’s no interest, repost with itemized prices.

In the meantime, any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

Jack Dahlgren
22-Apr-2010, 22:13
Probably should post this in the buy and sell section to get more feedback. You have checked completed auctions on ebay right?

23-Apr-2010, 01:39
I'd say about $350 to $450. I have the model A and love the system, but recently bought a Shen Hao as the AS is just too much to drag around in the field (but fantastic if I stay near the car).

You may make more if you sell it in parts, as we're always looking for bits and bobs.

It's a great camera system. Good luck with the sale.

23-Apr-2010, 02:29
I bought my 8x10 Arca Model A within the last year. It came off ebay, included 2 rails, and regular bellows. I paid £400 (UKP) which is approx. $600 (USD).

Mark Carstens
23-Apr-2010, 05:04
As a point of reference, the last two times (the latest being last August) I saw an Arca 8 x10 Model A/B/C sell here, they sold for around $1,000 and their "normal" bellows were very short by 8x10 standards, no lens shade, no upgraded rail, etc.

This camera has longer bellows, a compendium shaded, and a recent overhaul, among other things. Frankly, I've never seen an Arca 8x10 in good shape sell at the values you're quoting...4x5's, yes...8x10...not so much. And as for current comparable sales...these are fairly rare birds that come up on ebay a handful of times each year and the last one I saw hit $1,525 when all was said and done, but that was several months back.

More to the point, I've put $1,500 into this thing over the past few years in initial purchase, overhaul and upgrades. I may not get all of that back, but I'd think a sizable chunk would be realistic, right? At a market value of significantly less than that, they'll bury me with this fine piece of machinery clutched to my chest.


PS - Frank and you other Arca Swiss experts, help me out here, guys! :confused:

Frank Petronio
23-Apr-2010, 06:21
Unfortunately, while the value is obvious to those who have used them, the actual selling can be difficult. Last year one fellow had a near mint center tilt 8x10 older Arca with plenty of extras right here in the For Sale section and it took forever to sell, and he lowered his price consistently over the couple months it took. I posted that people were crazy to be passing it up, and they are - dumbs#!ts who rather blow a couple grand on a toothpick wood camera ;-)

I forgot what the final price was but it was under a grand.

And I hate to admit the one I bought was only $600 five years ago. I sold it for near $1000 being the greedy capitalist I am. I did do a great write up and lots of photos, which helps a lot.

Now... what I would do is list it as a set for $1750 and be firm and patient. It is easily worth that, compared to any other 8x10 you could buy for the same money. And some enlightened individual will recognize that eventually.

And I will throw it down, if you're going to pop for a Deardorff or a Wehman or a Chinese Woodie or any of the other mid-priced 8x10s then you're stupid not to get this Arca instead.

Also Mark is an excellent seller and he won't insult you like I just did.

23-Apr-2010, 06:34
Sorry Mark the intention of my post was to show that sultanofcognac's estimate was too low.

With new bellows, compendium, case, rails, lensboard adapter, 4x5 reduction back etc the value of the kit must be at least double what I paid. But The Sultan's advice to sell the extras separately for maximum returns is sound.

Michael Nagl
23-Apr-2010, 06:41
I have heard before that those older Arcas are relatively light - but if you could tell us the precise weight of the camera, that might help. Sure I am not the only one who wants a smooth and versatile camera that is really light. Btw, how long is that bellows?

evan clarke
23-Apr-2010, 09:42
I have one I bought 3 or 4 years ago, it is in mint condition, and I paid $750 for it (I think I committed robbery). I actually prefer it to my new one..more movements. For those who may consider Mark's camera, it will accept modern lensboard adapters. I use one for 110 boards and one for Technika boards with mine. I also split the rail so I can rack the camera on a short section of rail for easy storage and it fits flatt in a large Tamrac pack with room for lenses and holders. The kit is lighter to carry than my 4x5 Arca kit. I agree with everything Frank said...Evan Clarke

Mark Carstens
23-Apr-2010, 10:13
Thanks for being the voice of reason, Frank. I knew I could count on you. :)

Michael, relatively light, in this case, means 13 pounds sans lens.

But, with that said, compared to other 8x10's, it is lighter than most, save for the Wehman and, I believe, the Gowland, though I have only field-tested the former. The Wehman is lighter by comparison (8.6 pounds), but the trade-off, for me at least, was that it was neither as rigid nor as stable, especially with a heavier lens hanging off of it.

Also, once you invest in a good backpack (a given) and master an efficient set-up routine, then the weight is the least of your worries. You still have to get the shot. ;)


PS - Thanks, too, for your input, Evan!! And no worries, jackpie. :)

Mark Carstens
26-Apr-2010, 04:58
The "for sale" thread for this camera can be found here...



Mark Carstens
16-May-2010, 08:07
The "for sale" thread has been purged for convenience sake. So, as a frame a reference, I've added some pics of the system here. Oh...small correction that appeared in the ad...there is no rear base tilt, only rear axis tilt.