View Full Version : LF Newbie and Arca Swiss

20-Feb-2011, 10:09
I have just bought an old Arca Swiss 5x4 camera (model C I believe) with 171mm lensboard and rear screen.

Can anyone one point me to an online manual or explain any of the following:
what is the little retractable pin is over the ground glass screen for?
what position should the slides (locks) be in above and below the GG screen?
does the black cloth just hang over everything or should it be fastened on somehow?

Many thanks

Frank Petronio
20-Feb-2011, 10:54
1. No manual, just general overview books on using a View Camera. Jim Stone's is the best imho. http://www.amazon.com/Users-Guide-View-Camera/dp/0673396177

Or just read up on this forum and go play....

2. Pin holds plastic ground glass protective cover. You can make one from a piece of thin hardboard or Plexi. It's a good idea. But ground glass doesn't break that often....

3. The slides are for holding a Graflock roll film holder or other Graflock-compatible backs. You want them slid out of your way when using conventional sheet film holders.

4. Most people just drape the darkcloth (or an old t-shirt or jacket) over themselves. Outdoors in the wind you might wish for a third hand so people have come up with all sorts of schemes from adding weights to the corners of the darkcloth (which can break your ground glass if they whip around) to elaborate Velcro and elastic $150 Goretex jobs.

Don't buy a used darkcloth from some dude who uses hair gel, smokes cigars, or has dandruff, which tends to be the case with many large-format photographers.

Personally an old t-shirt can fit over the rear of the camera and remain attached in the wind, so adding Velcro and spending money seems kind of stupid. To me at least.

21-Feb-2011, 12:15
Many thanks for that reply, it is really useful.

Can I ask for more information on the film backs that were mentioned?

Presumably I still have to focus with the Ground Glass screen, so how easy is it to remove the Ground Glass, and should I beware of any film backs that aren't compatible.

The reason I don't try myself to remove the GG is that the camera is at home, and I don't get back until Saturday!

Many thanks