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Thread: ARCA-SWISS F-Metric Rigidity?

  1. #1

    ARCA-SWISS F-Metric Rigidity?

    I am considering adding a smaller 6x9 front standard to my ARCA-SWISS F-Line Classic camera. This is a smaller front standard that will allow me to directly use ARCA's smaller 110mm x 110mm lensboards.

    I have two options: the standard F-Line 6x9 front format frame, or the F-Metric 6x9 front format frame. The F-Metric adds geared, self-locking front rise (vs. the standard non-geared rise on the F-Line Classic). In the past, I generally valued lighter weight over ease of use, but as I've gotten older I tend to put more emphasis on convenience even if it costs an ounce or two here or there. In other words, that self-locking geared front rise looks rather appealing to me.

    So, here's my question. How does the rigidity of the self-locking F-Metric front standards compare to the conventional F-Line standards with locking knobs on both sides? One of the things I like about my ARCA-SWISS is the rock-solid rigidity in a camera that is still portable. Intuitively, it seems like the self-locking mechanism couldn't be as rigid as one with dual locking knobs, but I have always been impressed with the engineering abilities of the folks at ARCA-SWISS. If anyone could figure out a way to make a lightweight, self-locking geared rise that doesn't sacrifice rigidity, I'm confident it would be the folks at ARCA-SWISS. So, anybody out there who has used both F-Line Classic and F-Line Metric care to comment on the relative ease of use and rigidity of the two? All comments welcome.

    Thanks, Kerry

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jul 2001
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    ARCA-SWISS F-Metric Rigidity?

    Kerry, I have an F metric 8x10 and I hang a 155 Grandagon on the front with no problems of rigidity. I have done so for two years without any problem.

    Ed

  3. #3

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    ARCA-SWISS F-Metric Rigidity?

    Hi Kerry, I have 3 Arcas, a 6x9 F compact, 4x5 F metrix/Orbix and an 8x10. The 6x9 front standard will decrease the amount of rise you will get. Arca makes a 171mm to 110 board adapter which fits in the camera in place of the standard board. I have these in both the larger cameras and all my lenses are mounted in 110 boards. The smaller boards pack better and I have no difficulty with large lenses like 360 Rodenstock ( or anything in a #3 Copal), 150 Super Symmar XL and the 360,500 720 Nikkor Tele set. I can see no loss of rigidity in the geared standards on my 4x5 and am actually considering an F metric 6x9 with Orbix, the geared movements are a real snap. The geared movements are as rigid or more than my Sinar P2 and a fraction of the weight and I actually think the geared rise 4x5 standard is lighter than the classic, it has only one knob...Evan Clarke

  4. #4

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    ARCA-SWISS F-Metric Rigidity?

    I'm wondering if you could retrofit an extra-large Misura style leather case with that beautiful round baseplate for backpacking. When you're in the woods, it's OK to treat yourself to a little luxury ;-)

  5. #5

    ARCA-SWISS F-Metric Rigidity?

    Thanks for the responses. It sounds like rigidity is not an issue (as one would expect with an ARCA-SWISS).

    Perhaps a little background info on my question would be in order. A little over a year and a half ago, I assembled a 4x10 camera using a Lotus 4x10 conversion kit and an older ARCA-SWISS A/B with a 6x9 front standard (older style). I was so impressed with the modular design of the older ARCA-SWISS camera, I bought a 4x5 F-Line Classic to replace my Linhof Technikardan TK45S (a perfectly wonderful camera, but not as modular as the ARCA-SWISS). My experience with these fabulous cameras, both old and new, led to an article on the evolution of the ARCA-SWISS cameras that was published earlier this year in View Camera Magazine.

    In the mean time, I continued to amass a complete ARCA-SWISS system with a great many accessories. I have the 110mm adapter Evan mentioned above. I also have 110mm ARCA-SWISS lensboard for most of my lenses. I recently picked up a 4x5/6x9 tapered leather wide angle bellows. The two pieces I still need to add are a 6x9 front standard and a 50cm 4x5/6x9 tapered bellows.

    Once I have those two items, I plan to adapt my 4x10 to work with the newer F-Line camera and ditch the older A/B model. This will give me a reasonably lightweight system that will handle both 4x5 and 4x10 with all my lenses from 55mm - 450mm. Basically an F-Line Field with a 4x10 conversion kit. The Lotus bellows are perfectly sized to work with the 6x9 front standard and will be easy to adapt to the newer camera. So, it all seems to fall into place.

    The 6x9 front standard will decrease the amount of rise you will get.

    Doesn't ARCA-SWISS make some kind of extender block that is designed to center the smaller front standards when using bigger rear standards? I thought they made one for raising up the 4x5 front standard when using it with an 8x10 rear standard. Could this extender block also be used to get a little more direct front rise when pairing a 6x9 front standard with a 4x5 rear? If not, there is always indirect front rise by tilting the rail up and using the base tilts to get the standards parallel (a piece of cake with the front and rear levels).

    As I said, I've become a bit of a sucker for anything that makes my life easier in the field. That's where the standard F-Line vs. F-Metric question came from. As rigidity doesn't seem to be an issue, and weight difference appears negligible, I'll probably go with the geared front rise and the F-Metric 6x9 front format frame.

    Thanks to all who responded.

    Kerry

  6. #6

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    ARCA-SWISS F-Metric Rigidity?

    Kerry and Arca-Swiss users.



    I recently upgraded from a 6x9 "classic" to a 6x9 "metric". No change in terms of rigidity whatsoever. To me the question of "metric" vs. non-metric is more a question of how you feel things manually than an issue about which option is better than the other. Arca Swiss dovetails are similar for a "classic" frame and for a "metric" frame. So you can even mix "metric" and "non metric" elements. Byron Ratzikis had raised the question for a 8"x10" camera.



    Kerry, if you are not familiar with the 6x9 "metric" standard, you'll prebably be amazed since all the rising mechanism is contained inside a standard 6x9 "classic" frame. How the system can slide without locking if it is pushed only on one side ? There is well-know Murphy's law of drawers stating that a square drawer , or worse, a wide drawer, usually locks when you draw or push on one side only ; to be immune against this, a drawer should be much deeper that wide (a ratio of 1.4, like in photographic f-stop scales, being required for comfort);-);-)



    The control knob on the "metric" frame is one side only, so at a fist glance the system should be prone to unwanted diagonal lock. On a classic standard, you gently draw or push with both hands. For the "metric" there is a small... "tric" that you'll discover by a careful examination of the mechanism of your future "metric" frame ;-);-) ("metric" owners please do not disclose the trick too early ;-);-)



    More seriously : friction of A/S 'metric' movements is factory-adjusted are not designed to be adjusted by the owner. So some people actually prefer the non-geared classic slide which is very smooth. The geared metric rise has absolutely no play but some people could miss the feeling of smoothness of a "classic" manual rise. There is a critical trade-off betwen no-play and friction in a geared movement.



    Another short story : if you are used to classic locking knobs, do not forger that the right-hand metric button operates in the other direction i.e. clockwise for "up" ; the classic right-hand locking knob is operated counter-clockwise to loosen when you start from the bottom ;-)



    For front and rear rise I'm actually delighted by the "metric" option. For front and rear shift, the geared translation mechanism is superb and again housed in an incredibly narrow space. But like Byron I would be happy with the classical non-geared dovetail and clamp system for horizontal shifts.



    As far as the front rise extender is concerned such an accessory has been on catalog for a long time for 5"x7" and 8"x10" F-line cameras. I principle nothing prevents the use of a similar accessory on a 6x9 standard. Same dovetail dimensions, same function carriers for all formats.


  7. #7

    ARCA-SWISS F-Metric Rigidity?

    Doesn't ARCA-SWISS make some kind of extender block that is designed to center the smaller front standards when using bigger rear standards? i went to see the arca factory this summer, and i've ask the same question, they told me that something similar exist already for 4x5/8x10, but nothing for 6x9/4x5 yet, but they are going to make one probably this year !

    Metric, or not metric ... if you are going to work in a dusty aera, maybe metric is not the best option if you want to use only one hand (second hand for a beer ...), then metric is the way to go

    Thinking digital, i believe that the precision of the metric can be important, but both line share the same focus system anyway !

    From what i've seen, the rigidity is as good as an arca camera, that is to say extremely good !

  8. #8

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    ARCA-SWISS F-Metric Rigidity?

    Hi All, One funny note about the Arca catalog: There is a 4x5 to 6x9 back adapter which allows the use of my 6x9 ground glass and roll film backs on my 4x5. It has been in the catalog for about 2 years or more and they have not yet made any to ship!!..Evan Clarke

  9. #9

    ARCA-SWISS F-Metric Rigidity?

    For front and rear rise I'm actually delighted by the "metric" option. For front and rear shift, the geared translation mechanism is superb and again housed in an incredibly narrow space. But like Byron I would be happy with the classical non-geared dovetail and clamp system for horizontal shifts.

    Emmanuel,

    Thanks for the detailed information. What you state above is my intended solution (geared "metric" front rise, but with my existing dovetail clamp for horizontal shifts). I use front rise a lot more than shift. So, the self-locking geared rise will be a practical luxury (if there is such a thing) for me.

    i went to see the arca factory this summer, and i've ask the same question, they told me that something similar exist already for 4x5/8x10, but nothing for 6x9/4x5 yet, but they are going to make one probably this year !

    David,

    This is good news and makes the switch to the smaller 6x9 front standard even better as the only compromise is the reduced direct front rise.

    Kerry

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jul 2000
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    19

    ARCA-SWISS F-Metric Rigidity?

    Kerry,

    Without "the extender block", you have 3cm. front direct rise/fall. You still have indirect rise/fall if necessary. So I think there is no need for the extender block.

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