View Full Version : Horseman LE vs Arca Swiss F-metric

Jonathan Lee
7-Jan-2004, 08:20
I am searching for a monorail to complement my Ebony RW45. The thing I like about both the Horseman LE and the AS F-metric is the geared movements. As far as I can tell from the spec sheets, the downsides to the LE are 2.5lbs more weight, non-collapsing monorail and only 60mm of rise and fall compared to the AS 100mm. However, the Horseman sells new for about 40% the price of the LE.

I will use the monorail for urban field photography and keep my Ebony for rural field, so the weight and long monorail aren't such a big deal to me. And I don't think any of my favorite lenses could even cover 4x5 with 100mm of rise. I read the LE review on the site and was implessed but are there any comments on fit/feel/precision/ease of use of the two monorails relative to the price?


Tadge Dryja
7-Jan-2004, 12:07
I think the Horseman LE is a great camera. I want to buy one sometime this year.

I haven't used too many monorail cameras, but of the ones I have, the horseman is probably the coolest. I like it because-

1 Folds up (kindof). You swing the standards 90 degrees and it becomes flat, so you can put it in a breifcase or something.

2 Fast. I got pretty quick at putting it together, and you can do all the geared movements with one hand while you focus with the loupe. For me at least, this is faster than designs like the calumet where you need two hands to do a lot of stuff.

3 Symmetrical. I don't know, I guess it doesn't actually matter, but I like the fact that I could take the groundglass of and put it on the 'front' standard and use the camera 'backwards' and it would basically be the same. You can also flip it right handed or left handed. Neat.


Frank Petronio
7-Jan-2004, 17:23
The Horseman is a fine camera, as are the dozens of other slightly used Sinar P, Linhofs, etc. But frankly the Arca-Swiss is much better built (craftsmanship) and worth the extra money if you can afford it and like presicion equipment.

I would tend to look for one camera to do it all, as the weight and size difference between an Ebony and an Arca isn't going to be that great. You could also go ultralight (Toho) for backpacking (per Kerry Thanlman) and use a Ebony, Arca-Swiss Metric, or perhaps a Linhof Technikardan as your "main" camera.

Ted Harris
7-Jan-2004, 17:38
<p class=MsoNormal>First, which F-Metric?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp;
</span>There are several models with (I believe) different features.

<p class=MsoNormal><![if !supportEmptyParas]>&nbsp;<![endif]><o:p></o:p>

<p class=MsoNormal>Second, do you specifically mean the Horseman LE?<span
style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>There are several different Horseman
monorail models and the LE is the entry level; thus, no matter which F-Metric
you are considering it is not an apples-to-apples comparison.<span
style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>The LS would be a better
comparison.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>Horseman has an
expanding rail which is standard with the LS and above and optional on the
LE.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>It expands from 460mm to
700mm, there is also a short 300 –450 expandable rail and a wide variety of
single size rails.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>All rails can
be joined together to give you as much length as you want.<span
style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>

<p class=MsoNormal><![if !supportEmptyParas]>&nbsp;<![endif]><o:p></o:p>

<p class=MsoNormal>As for rise keep in mind that the Arca offers only rise
(both front and rear) while the Horseman offers rise and fall giving you a
total of 60 mm if you use 30 mm rise on one standard and 30 mm fall on the
other (btw I can’t imagine you would need more than that.<span
style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>Further, the mechanism the LS uses to
achieve yaw free base movements also allows further rise and fall should you
want it for a total more like 120 to 150 (I just fooled with it a bit and the
limitation is more likely to be the bellows).

<p class=MsoNormal><![if !supportEmptyParas]>&nbsp;<![endif]><o:p></o:p>

<p class=MsoNormal>I have never used an F Metric (or any other Arca for that
matter) but everything I have read leads me to believe it is a more compact
package than the Horseman L frames.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;
</span>That said I can setup the Horseman in 2-3 minutes.<span
style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>Horseman offers a vast, fairly
available system and many parts are interchangeable with Sinar.

<p class=MsoNormal><![if !supportEmptyParas]>&nbsp;<![endif]><o:p></o:p>

<p class=MsoNormal>Having said all that it seems like the Technikardan may be
even better for your needs than either of these beasts.<span
style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>I gotta tell you that when I have my LS
packed in its flat traveling case (sort of a monster attaché style anvil case)
I am lugging well over 20 pounds.

Ed Burlew
7-Jan-2004, 18:30
I use the Srca Swiss F metric in 8x10 and it is very easy to use and to set up, I am very impressed with the quick coupling built into the rail and the ease of the controlls, I heartily recommen it the 4x5 I ahve used and it is the same but half the weight it can be used as you only camera and you will be happy.

Lloyd Lim
9-Jan-2004, 22:11

FYI, the amount of rise/fall on the Arca Swiss is the same as what was described for the Horseman. After all, back rise is the same as front fall! (until you get to the macro range, that is)

To get 60mm of back fall on the Horseman, you would have to a) move 30mm rise on the front b) move 30mm fall on the back

vs the arca swiss: a) move 60mm rise on the front

Now which is easier?

Should you wish to set the Arca Swiss or any other camera differently, all you do is put both standards at the midpoint of the rise fall travel :) then you will also get front rise and fall, and back rise and fall...