Saturday, December 12, 2009

Arca-Swiss Discovery-Going Long

Have I ever mentioned in this blog how much I like the modular aspect of Arca-Swiss cameras?

Well, if I have not, let me tell you about that now. The Arca system is amazingly modular. In fact the entire system is so modular there are no serial numbers on cameras since an Arca-Swiss camera is really just a collection of whatever modular parts you currently have on a rail.

I normally work with wide to normal lenses on my one folding rail with my leather bellows. However since I have been playing around with the old Rapid Rectilinear lens I needed a way to try it in long configuration. The lens is not labeled with a length but my guess is about a 160mm or so which when you take off one element, you double that to about a 320mm.

Making use of that lens is not possible with my camera in it's "normal" configuration-I just do not have enough rail or bellows for anything over about 240mm. That is where Arca-Swiss modularity comes into play. My Discovery came with a non-folding 30cm rail and a standard bellows that Arca-Swiss says does 380mm.

I just simply put both mounting brackets on my ballhead (each only half way in) and butted the rails up end to end. Viola a 60cm rail! I swapped out the leather wide angle bellows for the standard accordion bellows and I now had a camera that had a long rail with a long bellows. Total time-about 15 seconds.

If you look at the top picture you can see that the mounting brackets each are only partially in the ballhead. That may not look like much but they are both in there rock solid. This set up is not going to move. Gotta love that Arca engineering!

The two rails now give me more length than my bellows can do. I am easily able to focus the RR in long set mode. I have plenty of rail and bellows.

The top image is with focus at infinity. there is still enough stretch in the bellows to do some close up work with this lens.

The bottom image gives you the front view on the lens. As an an aside you may notice that this lens is mounted on a Toyo board and that the holder looks odd. It is a 171mm Arca board cut to mount a Toyo board. Homebrew that I got with the camera. When I got the old RR lens I did not have an extra 110 Arca board with a #0 hole to mount it on. however, I still had this old adapter and a Toyo #0 board. So to save having to order a new board I just put it in that. So if I want to take and use this lens in long format I have to take it, the rail, the extra bellows and this adapter board. Not really that much extra weight when you already have a backpack.

And it is all possible with modular nature of Arca-Swiss cameras.

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