Alternative to Alpa?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by thegman, Jan 29, 2012.

  1. thegman

    thegman Member

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    Hello,
    I've taken a shine recently to the Alpa 12 series of cameras. These are way out of my price range, but can anyone recommend something similar, for a tad less money?

    I like the idea of a portable camera which also has the ground glass for composing when I've more time on a tripod.

    Thanks

    Garry
     
  2. ruilourosa

    ruilourosa Member

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    Dayi cameras...
     
  3. thegman

    thegman Member

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    Certainly the price is right! They look a bit bigger than the Alpas, are you aware of any dealers other than eBay?
     
  4. ruilourosa

    ruilourosa Member

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    well just look for them... i havenĀ“t bought any, i have been using large format cameras only to make panoramas...
     
  5. ath

    ath Member

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  6. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Sir Kenneth Corfield made a similar Corfield camera in the 1990's.

    An alternative is make your own, not as hard as it might seem, there's a 5x4 version in a couple of threads over on the Large format frorum which uses a Cambo back and is fixed focus and I've seen one based around a Toyo back at a camera fair.

    A MF version would be easy you'd need a Graflok type back, I saw a 6x9 Cambo version for sale today, and helical focus mounts are easy to get from China as are viewfinders but you can make one.

    Ian
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 29, 2012
  7. BobD

    BobD Member

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  8. Frank Bunnik

    Frank Bunnik Member

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    I use a Cambo Wide camera (not the current model but the previous model with the black plastic hand grip on the left) with 65, 90 and 120mm multicoated lenses. You can mount a (modern type) Linhof viewfinder or one of the Chinese viewfinders offered on ebay. It can use 4x5 film or roll film backs. The quality of this system is excellent and I have yet to make an unsharp photo due to less tight manufacturing tolerances compared to Alpa. I use 4x5 film holders, a Linhof 6x9 roll film back bought used and a Chinese 6x12 back. Since I am completely satisfied with this system, I can recommend it to anyone.

    Several images made with this camera can be found in the landscape section (both b&w and colour) on my website: www.frankbunnik.zenfolio.com

    Good luck with your choice, Frank
     
  9. thegman

    thegman Member

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    Frank, your colour landscapes are awesome, pretty much the sort of work I'm wanting to do.

    I think the Cambo Wide may be a little big for me, I'm looking to use this handheld as much as on a tripod, maybe more so.

    So far I think the Fotoman 69 is looking good. Very hard to find for sale though, probably the closest thing I can find to a cheap Alpa.
     
  10. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    A Brooks Veriwide would also be an alternative.
     
  11. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

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  12. Frank Bunnik

    Frank Bunnik Member

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    Thanks for the compliments Garry.

    The Cambo Wide is not that big. It is basically an international back, fitted with a handgrip. The lenses are mounted on the frontside of the back. Only the 120 and 150mm lenses are mounted on a large cone, the rest of the lenses are not that big. You can shoot handheld with ease.

    What I like of this system is that you can shoot 4x5 and all kinds of roll film format including 6x12. Not even the Alpa can do that.

    There is a good review of the system here:
    http://www.paul-armitage.com/CamboWide.html

    all the best, Frank
    www.frankbunnik.zenfolio.com
     
  13. thegman

    thegman Member

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    Hi Frank, I'll check out the Cambo some more, if it's handholdable, then I'm interested.

    Garry
     
  14. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Please pardon the late response, I only just noticed this discussion.

    The humble Century Graphic or the slightly less humble 2x3 Pacemaker Crown Graphic (with a Graflok, not a spring, back) is nowhere near as lovely an artifact as an Alpa 12 but will do all that an Alpa 12 can do, and more. The Century is much less expensive. I have one, also a couple of 2x3 Crowns with Grafloks, use the Century because I got it first. Lenses used on it range from 35/4.5 Apo Grandagon through 38/4.5 Biogon (from an aerial camera, not from a Hasselblad, and it doesn't cover 2x3), a 47/5.6 SA, ... to a 10.16" Taylor Hobson Copying Lens. With a little help from my 2x3 Pacemaker Speed Graphic and some simple brackets my little Century can be used with focal lengths up to 480 mm. Read about all this at http://www.galerie-photo.com/telechargement/dan-fromm-6x9-lenses-v2-2011-03-29.pdf

    Graphics are made for shooting handheld but shooting from tripod gives much better control over framing.
     
  15. thegman

    thegman Member

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    Hi Dan,
    I managed to find a Fotoman 69H, and am now waiting for it to be delivered from Hong Kong. I think for me it's as close as I can get to an Alpa without really rethinking my financial priorities.

    All the best

    Garry
     
  16. sneebot

    sneebot Member

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    Like yourself I like the design of the Alpas but they are a bit out of my range. So I patiently acquired all the components used and machined up a couple Alpa-like bodies and all the interface components:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/sneebot/6695950233/
     
  17. thegman

    thegman Member

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    Wow! That looks fantastic, prettier than my Fotoman...

    With a grip, that would have been perfect for the likes of me. I wish I'd seen it before getting my Fotoman, maybe I could have persuaded you to build me one.