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Thread: Alpa Anyone?

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    Bromo33333's Avatar
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    Alpa Anyone?

    Anyone use the Alpa medium format camera? How does it compare to the Hassy SWC? I am curious - not that I can afford this scarily expansive camera without serious "financial reorientation!" ...
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    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Roger Hicks should weigh in here soon enough.

    If you want an ultrawide 6x6 camera that's really good and not too expensive, see if you can find the Nikor 40mm/f:4 for the classic Bronicas, and then find a classic Bronica body (S/S2/S2a/C/EC/EC-TL) to go with it. Arguably, the whole system, with its complicated falling or split mirror, is designed around this lens, and you can find it for often less than $500 these days (Dirk Roesler was selling one recently for $200!), then figure another $200 for a camera body.
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    Quote Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb View Post
    If you want an ultrawide 6x6 camera that's really good and not too expensive, see if you can find the Nikor 40mm/f:4 for the classic Bronicas, and then find a classic Bronica body (S/S2/S2a/C/EC/EC-TL) to go with it. Arguably, the whole system, with its complicated falling or split mirror, is designed around this lens, and you can find it for often less than $500 these days (Dirk Roesler was selling one recently for $200!), then figure another $200 for a camera body.


    Trying to find one that actually works may be more difficult....

    The other downside is that the Nikkor 40mm is a retrofocus design (as is the 40mm Distagon for the Hasselblad) – the great advantage of the 38mm Biogon on the SWC is that it is not a retro focus design. It is a sweet little camera to use: rich man's Box Brownie!

    OK Roger, over to you.


    Richard

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    ALPA? isn't it just a cheap P&S camera? I mean, Stick on viewfinder and no rangefinder or other means of focusaid.
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    Søren
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    Um, er, ah, Richard, 38/4.5 Biogons have been available for the Alpa. And Alpa offers a modified Mamiya roll holder with 44 x 66 gate. Its also possible to use a 38 Biogon on, say, a Century Graphic.

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    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Kelham View Post
    Trying to find one that actually works may be more difficult....

    The other downside is that the Nikkor 40mm is a retrofocus design (as is the 40mm Distagon for the Hasselblad) – the great advantage of the 38mm Biogon on the SWC is that it is not a retro focus design. It is a sweet little camera to use: rich man's Box Brownie!

    OK Roger, over to you.


    Richard
    Yes, the Biogon is the ultimate, but if you don't have the cash, the Nikor 40mm is less of a retrofocus than the Distagon, because Bronica's mirror design allows the lens to protrude into the mirror box. Plenty of working Bronicas out there, plus they're SLRs.
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    A cheap way round the problem of an ultrawide lens for 6x6 is to buy a Kiev 88 and then buy the 30mm semi fisheye lens. All the reports that I have read say it's a fantastic lens, only snag - it weighs very nearly 2kilos! Look up Arax for both lenses and cameras and there is a review of the lens under the heading of budget medium format in APUG pyrometol

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Fromm View Post
    Um, er, ah, Richard, 38/4.5 Biogons have been available for the Alpa. And Alpa offers a modified Mamiya roll holder with 44 x 66 gate. Its also possible to use a 38 Biogon on, say, a Century Graphic.

    I am sure there have been lots of cameras using the 38mm Biogon, though none would presumably have been SLRs. I cited the SWC as that is the only one I have used (Alpa were just doing 35mm stuff in my day) and the one the OP cited. From what little I have seen of it, I guess the Alpa can be described as a Very Rich Man's Box Brownie, but a superb camera for all that.



    Richard

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    But Richard, the humble Box Brownie has fixed aperture, fixed shutter speed, fixed focus, and, yes, fixed lens. The Alpa offers the user full control and a variety of optics all considerably better than the Box Brownie's meniscus. I hold no brief for the Alpa -- I put my money in 2x3 Graphics that aren't as nice or as expensive but seem to be functionally equivalent -- but you really should give the Alpa credit for what it is and and for what can be accomplished with it.

    Cheers,

    Dan

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Kelham View Post
    I am sure there have been lots of cameras using the 38mm Biogon
    Surprisingly few, and the Alpa is the only camera with an interchangeable one. The Alpa with 38 Biogon delivers quite a lot more sharpness, hand-held, than the SWC with the 38 Biogon, simply because it's easier to hold still.

    Alpas are basic beyond belief, but also built to standards beyond belief. Very few photographers will both be able to afford an Alpa, and to appreciate it. I fall only in the latter camp; without Alpa's generosity when it came to a press discount, I'd not be in sight of one.

    It's easy to say, "Oh, yes, you'll praise the people who give you cameras," but it ain't true. Not unless I want the camera. If it's no good, I don't want it. If it is good, I'll say so even if the ******s ask for it back (as with e.g. Contax, Zeiss Ikon, Gandolfi 8x10).

    And I do spend my own money. My most recent purchase (at a far from nominal price, despite a press discount) was a 75/2 Summicron for my Leicas. I love to use the best. If it's not the best (or, of course, extremely good value for money like Voigtlanders or ZI), I won't lie. Alpas are, if you accept their limitations (no interlinks, barrel distortion in the viewfinder), the best.

    Cheers,

    Roger (www.rogerandfrances.com)

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