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Thread: Ordering a super ultimate bellows for an Arca

  1. #1

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    Ordering a super ultimate bellows for an Arca

    This stems off of the other thread asking whether the switch to the newer 141mm standards was worth it. It seems that the consensus is that the slightly smaller standards are not, in themselves, worth the expense of switching cameras. But almost everybody who switched did so in order to also take advantage of the newer, wider range bellows. And most upgraded to Orbix as well (which is where a lot of the price difference $ went too).

    If I wanted to create a more universal 4x5 bellows for a 171mm 4x5 Arca (or heavens help us, a vintage pre-F model) what is the best, most economical way to go?

    I know you have to get a pair of bellows frames somehow. Does this mean sacrifing the old one you already have or purchasing whatever is the cheapest on sold?

    Which vendors are already familiar with doing this?

    Are there patterns or reccomendations for specing the new bellows with these vendors?

    I guess I too would love a bellows that can go from using a 47mm to a 450mm lens in one unit. But really, what is the most realistic and practical range? I also don't want to end up with a bellows that is hard to fold or more fragile than normal?

    And what about materials? I know that scanning backs don't get along with leather but I would sleep with my old leather Arca bag bellows, it was so sweet smelling and sexy

    I know the factory is crazy to deal with but has anyone ever purchased just the frames and would they consider doing a group order?

  2. #2

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    Wink Re: Ordering a super ultimate bellows for an Arca

    Sleeping with old leather Arca bag bellows.

    I didn't know the Swiss were that kinky!

    HA!

    I'm leaving my Arca bag bellows with the camera. Grin.

  3. #3
    Whatever David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Re: Ordering a super ultimate bellows for an Arca

    My 8x10" Sinar P has an extra-long custom bellows (that's still good for 120mm, which is my shortest lens), but I'm not sure who made it. I'm sure Camera Bellows UK could make you anything you wanted.

  4. #4

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    Re: Ordering a super ultimate bellows for an Arca

    Thanks David, I already know about Camera Bellows and Turner, et al, but several of the devoted Arca-lites have actual experience doing exactly what I am asking about so I am hoping they might pipe up with the best case scenario (call Jack...) for everyone's reference.

    I am actually thinking of doing this with a vintage Arca, not a current model, since I need a new bellows anyway.
    Last edited by Frank Petronio; 31-Aug-2006 at 06:23.

  5. #5

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    Aug 2006
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    Re: Ordering a super ultimate bellows for an Arca

    Richard Ritter has fabricated a tapered bellows for my old pre F Series Arca ( 171mm rear and 110mm front) and a bag bellows for my 6x9 Arca. Very reasonable prices (especially when compared to ARCA Bellows) and resistant to IR .

    Richard is located on the East Coast E-mail is LG4MAT.net Phone 1-802-365-7807

    Phil Lindsay

  6. #6

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    Re: Ordering a super ultimate bellows for an Arca

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Petronio
    This stems off of the other thread asking whether the switch to the newer 141mm standards was worth it. It seems that the consensus is that the slightly smaller standards are not, in themselves, worth the expense of switching cameras. But almost everybody who switched did so in order to also take advantage of the newer, wider range bellows. And most upgraded to Orbix as well (which is where a lot of the price difference $ went too).

    If I wanted to create a more universal 4x5 bellows for a 171mm 4x5 Arca (or heavens help us, a vintage pre-F model) what is the best, most economical way to go?

    I know you have to get a pair of bellows frames somehow. Does this mean sacrifing the old one you already have or purchasing whatever is the cheapest on sold?

    Which vendors are already familiar with doing this?

    Are there patterns or reccomendations for specing the new bellows with these vendors?

    I guess I too would love a bellows that can go from using a 47mm to a 450mm lens in one unit. But really, what is the most realistic and practical range? I also don't want to end up with a bellows that is hard to fold or more fragile than normal?

    And what about materials? I know that scanning backs don't get along with leather but I would sleep with my old leather Arca bag bellows, it was so sweet smelling and sexy

    I know the factory is crazy to deal with but has anyone ever purchased just the frames and would they consider doing a group order?
    I actually put a little extension in the channel of my 141 and it draws my 720 tele with ease. The problem with using a set of junk frames is that you have an expensive new bellows on junk frames. The new Arca field has the 141 rear and the 110 front and is a really great camera. It draws as much or more than the new "F"!!..EC

  7. #7

    Re: Ordering a super ultimate bellows for an Arca

    Frank,

    Genuine ARCA-SWISS bellows frames (at least for the F-Line, M-Line and Discovery models) are available from Bob Watkins at Precision Camera Works. When I needed a 171mm bellows frame for my Franken-ARCA, Bob had one in stock and shipped it out right away. I don't remember the exact price, but it was reasonable (about the price of a new lens board, maybe a little less).

    Another possible solution, especially if you already have a bellows that won't fit the ARCA-SWISS frames, is to use a flat ARCA-SWISS lens board and cut out the center portion. This is what I did when I adapted a 4x10 Lotus back and bellows unit to fit on my ARCA-SWISS F-Line function carriers with a 110mm front format frame. The Lotus camera takes slightly smaller Linhof/Wista style boards. So, a stock ARCA-SWISS 110mm bellows frame wouldn't work (the front of the bellows was a tad too small to fit the frame). So, I used a lens board to make my own frame with a slightly smaller opening and glued it to the Lotus bellows. Due to the slightly smaller opening in this homemade frame, I can't use a recessed board with my 4x10, but that's not a problem. The shortest lens I use on 4x10 is a 110mm Super Symmar XL and it works fine on a flat board.

    For my 7x17 conversion, I wanted to be able to use a "recessed" board (as you know, the standard boards for the 171mm F-Line are actually recessed by about 13mm). I also have a 171mm - 110mm adatper that lets me mount my lenses (except a couple REALLY big ones) on the smaller 110mm boards. They take up less space when toting the camera in the field and let me share lenses beteen my 4x10 and 7x17 conversions). This adapter is also slightly recessed. Camera Bellows made the bellows for my 7x17 (and did a right fabulous job). So, I sent them the 171mm frame I got from Bob Watkins, they built the bellows to fit and attached the frame for me.

    Finally (and this may not help you), I already have my ultimate bellows for my 4x5 ARCA-SWISS. One of the things I really liked about the Canham DLC was the ability to use lenses from 75mm - 450mm (or 720mm Telephoto) without changing bellows. A couple years ago when I was building my 4x10 conversion, I was having a discussion with Keith Canham about some of my camera building/modification projects. I happened to mention to Keith that I sure would like to have a bellows like his on my ARCA-SWISS. Keith, being the wonderful, generous guy he always is, said he had some DLC bellows on hand that hadn't yet been attached to the frames and offered to sell me one at a very reasonable price. I took Keith up on his offer. As the front and rear inner dimensions are slightly smaller on Keith's bellows than on the ARCA-SWISS, I once again used a couple of flat ARCA-SWISS lens boards (171mm rear, 110mm front) to make my own bellows frames. This bellows works great with lenses from 80mm - 450mm - which is my complete 4x5 lens kit. Again as the opening in my front frame is slightly smaller than a geneuine ARCA-SWISS 110mm bellows frame, I can't use a 110mm recessed board with this bellows. Not a big deal for me personally as the 80mm SS XL that works fine on a flat board. I'm no longer shooting roll film and sold my 55mm APO Grandagon, but if I ever do need to go wider than 80mm for any reason, I still have the wonderful 171/110 ARCA-SWISS leather wide angle bellows.

    Keith probably doesn't regularly have a stock of frameless bellows laying around (I happened to catch him at a time when he had just gotten a new shipment of bellows from his supplier and hadn't yet glued them to his frames). And he probably has no desire to become an aftermarket supplier of bellows for ARCA-SWISS cameras. But, if you want to make a similar DLC-like "universal" bellows for a 171/110 ARCA-SWISS camera, I'm sure Camera Bellows can help you out and supply the bellows you would need. Heck, if you send them the frames, I'm sure they could make you a custom bellows fior any application you desire. The bellows they made for my 7x17 exceeded my specifications and expecatations in every way - and for a one-of-a-kind custom bellows of such large size, the price was very reasonable. You may want to drop them an email, or fill out the quote request form on their web site, with your requirements. That may end up being the best way to get YOUR personal ultimate bellows.

    Kerry

  8. #8

    Re: Ordering a super ultimate bellows for an Arca

    P.S. The fact that you can use a lens board to make a custom bellows frame is just another example of how well suited the modular design of the ARCA-SWISS is to such projects. That's why I chose the ARCA-SWISS F-Line chassis as the basis for my 4x10 and 7x17 camera conversion projects. By starting with the F-Line rails, function carriers and front format frames, even a klutz like me can easily adapt the camera to whatever format I want.

    Kerry

  9. #9

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    Re: Ordering a super ultimate bellows for an Arca

    Many thanks, Kerry for the address for AS frames! When I made my own bag bellows for my 6x9 F metric (more flexible with wide angle lens) I used frames from damaged bellows. Had I only known...

  10. #10

    Re: Ordering a super ultimate bellows for an Arca

    Quote Originally Posted by GPS
    Many thanks, Kerry for the address for AS frames! When I made my own bag bellows for my 6x9 F metric (more flexible with wide angle lens) I used frames from damaged bellows. Had I only known...
    You're welcome. For those who don't know, Precision Camera Works is the authorized US service center for ARCA-SWISS cameras. In addition to servicing ARCA-SWISS cameras (new and old) and tripod heads, their web site is a great source of info on ARCA-SWISS products. I have always found Bob Watkins knowledgeable, friendly and professional to deal with. Great service/support for a great product line. If you own, or are considering, and ARCA-SWISS camera, I recommend you check out their web site (be sure to scoll down as the links for the ARCA-SWISS catalog pages are near the bottom of the page).

    Kerry
    Last edited by Kerry L. Thalmann; 31-Aug-2006 at 16:57.

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