Arca Swiss - This Is One Big Cheese!

on October 22, 2014

And no holes in it, either!

The Arca Swiss company is famous for letting it all hang out - in this case in about 4 directions at the same time*. Studio photographers will immediately recognise the way this Arca Swiss C1 cube has been set up - the fore and aft Sheimpflug modulated tilt/shift toggle beam position. As used to render advertising images for sock manufacturers...

Precision is a hard thing to come by in some areas of photography - pet photography and wedding shooters will know what we mean if they reflect on it while hosing out their studios. They are more or less shooting it on the wing and the best chance they have of success is to lead the target and trust to proximity fuses. Studio product and scientific shooting is another story.

If the object that you are picturing does not breathe it can generally be persuaded not to move. And then you can position yourself and your camera in such a way as to show all the salient features of it in the best light. Whether it is the aforementioned socks, or cans of corn, or Mercedes cars, the light is controllable and the angle of the lens is too. In some cases the movement of the camera needs to be very small to produce a great difference in the optical rendering.

Arca Swiss do make that precision possible, for all I make fun of them. The heading image is taken in the tradition of all large-format manufacturers - the extremes of each movement are shown, with the tacit understanding that you never actually do that. You move little bits very precisely - and sometimes you need to move a couple of them at the same time. That's where the micro-drive geared adjustments, the friction gripper, and the scales come in.

It's all metal in there, folks, and it costs a lot, and if you are a studio that deals in science or advertising art, this is a device well worth considering. They're hand made in Switzerland and well worth the wait.

* The Swiss are well-known comedy scamps...