Alpa Camera Bodies

ALPA has been known to perfectionists of photographic technology as one of the world’s top names. The reputation is now based on seven camera models, all engineered to the highest supportable degree of mechanical precision. Their versatility and the reduction to the essentials attracts all those photographers who wish to leave the world of compromise behind them when they choose their instruments, who search for unhindered access to their creativity.

Key Benefits

  • A range of 7 precisely crafted camera bodies that can accept digital or film backs.
  • 6 of the 7 bodies have varying amounts of shift latitude.
  • All 7 bodies can offer tilt capability
  • Every lens that mounts to the camera body can take advantage of the movements.

Why It Matters To Us…

  • Crafted like no other cameras in the world
  • Precision roller bearings for accurate shift movements.
  • Beautifully sculpted Rosewood Hand Grips
  • Correct for perspective
  • Shift for panoramic reproductions
  • Paired with the world’s best Rodenstock optics

©Image Courtesy of Alpa.ch

 Alpa Camera Bodies

Alpa 12 FPS offers an integrated and electronically controlled focal plane shutter, runs with extremely low vibrations and has a fastest exposure time of 1/4000 sec. It is also possible to use mechanical and electronic leaf shutters – installed in the lens – for particularly short flash synchronization speed.

Key Features electronic aperture control, remote control, wide range exposure bracketing, multiple exposures, simple user interface, flexible programmability, continuous expansion of functions through uploadable firmware. Not to mention a wide assortment of lenses (Canon, Nikon, Leica, Hasselblad, Contax 645, Mamiya/Phase One 645, Mamiya RZ, Rodenstock/Schneider) that can be paired with the FPS.

Alpa 12 TC This is the ideal camera for traveling. As small and as light as possible, while offering full integration into the modular ALPA 12 camera platform. All current digital backs fit the ALPA 12 TC (Travel Compact) with the correct adapter. The more traditionally inclined can also make use of rollfilm backs up to a format of 6×9 cm – which allows truly “unplugged” operation.

The ALPA 12 STC (Shift Travel Compact) sets the standard for very compact and light cameras with an integrated shift (perspective correction). The STC thus also offers a stitching function and a corresponding multiplication of the number of pixels for one shot. A lateral lens shift is turned into a rise or fall option by a simple rotation of the camera by 90°. There could hardly be a bigger difference from mass-produced solutions. From a design aspect, the STC, like all ALPA cameras with an integrated shift, offers one feature that no other camera manufacturer does: all shift movements take place over the full length of movement on roller bearings – not the cheapest solution, but certainly the most precise.

The ALPA 12 SWA (Shift Wide Angle) was the first model in the ALPA 12 medium format camera series. First only with roll film backs and later, not least thanks to its superior precision and extremely tight tolerances, also with digital backs. It is physical confirmation of ALPA’s philosophy of no artificial obsolescence, no change for change’s sake. Fully integrated into the modular ALPA 12 platform, the ALPA 12 SWA represents an interesting option in particular for architectural but also for landscape photography: shift (perspective correction) is integrated into the camera – in the most frequently used direction of vertically upward. If the ALPA 12 SWA is turned on its head, downward shift is achieved. This rotation can be done by hand or using an additional adapter on a tripod. When digital backs are used, the same effect can also be achieved by a simple swapping of the lens with the back. This allows to achieve our design goals of reliability, precision, versatility and simplicity in equal measure.

The ALPA 12 MAX is intended predominantly as a tripod camera; however, it is also just small and light enough also to be used as a hand-held camera. Its versatility is in particular demonstrated by a glance at the work of some of our customers on our website. The ALPA 12 MAX offers extensive shift options (perspective control) in vertical and horizontal directions simultaneously, without the lens being moved and without unwanted stereoscopic effects arising. Further fascinating photographic options are also available using the different ALPA tilt/swing adapters or simply software solutions. Stability, an ideal weight, a convenient size and very high precision combine in the ALPA 12 MAX to produce practical versatility at the highest possible level.

The ALPA 12 PLUS, ideal for traveling, comes with a protected fixed frame and does not protrude when moving. The camera provides several hardpoints with full ALPA accessory Interface (3/8″ on the body, 1/4″ on both standards). The ALPA Plus features horizontal and vertical movement that is achieved via sophisticated linear guides and a smooth-running mechanism that can be blocked if needed.
The standards are equipped with shock absorbers in all directions to prevent accidental decoupling and fall of the lens or the digital back. The body can be used in any position (rotated 90°) and positioned optimally depending on the photographic task with four individually adjustable circular bubble levels.
The shift guides made of brass with click stops that can easily be replaced by the user.

 ALPA 12 PANO opens up completely new perspectives. Movements of only 10 to 12 millimeters are not enough. And that’s why the PANO offers full 35 mm of horizontal movement to the left and right with a newly conceived shifting system with fixed detents for “pre-programmed” final formats. And we keep the 10 mm for additional rise and fall… simultaneously!

The advantages of “flat stitching” over simple rotation are manifold. In particular, the time-consuming search for nodal points is no longer necessary, and the new live view backs allow convenient and straightforward framing. And this happens without much guesswork, as is often the case with rotational panoramas.

Which model for what purpose?
Those who like or need the technical quality of a high-end digital back or of a grown-up roll-film format up to 6×9, but who must travel light and work expeditiously, those are the very people who most appreciate the ALPA 12 TC, the ALPA 12 STC, and the Alpa 12 SWA. They are the ALPA cameras that are easy-to-handle not just with light-weight lenses, but that can also remain within the ever-tighter limits for traveling bags. Ergonomically formed handgrips and the silky-smooth, instant shutter release contribute to the superior quality of your freehand shots.

Where complex camera settings such as shift (perspective control) simultaneously in both directions with tilt/swing (zone of sharpness control) from tripod are used but where free-handed photography is also required, the ALPA 12 MAX and Alpa 12 PLUS can offer a particularly flexible solution. For nearly unlimited shift with current lenses, ALPA 12 PANO comes into its own by adding the capability of shift movements limited only by the sizes of the image circles of the lenses available. The ALPA 12 MAX, 12 PLUS, and the ALPA 12 PANO offer the possibilities of digital stitching, without the slightest movement of the lens during shifting. This is needed to avoid a change of perspective and is a characteristic indispensable to avoid unwanted stereoscopic effects. The seventh ALPA model also needs to be mentioned here: the ALPA 12 FPS, which has a built-in shutter, and can accept lenses from many manufacturers for use with digital backs, or medium format digital cameras or film backs.

In praise of simplicity
Why do we lay so much stress here on the uncompromising orientation of all ALPA products towards the greatest possible simplicity? We think that there is a direct connection between limiting oneself to the essentials – and the reliability of a camera. We also think that there is a growing general weariness with the missing transparency, the limited control, the patronizingly automated picture-taking – and above all with the arbitrary nature of the results. We think that there are enough photographers out there who are not meekly inclined to tolerate this situation, but who are trying to escape from it with the help of their photographic knowledge and skills – and possibly with an ALPA.

Alpa Camera SpecsAlpa TCAlpa 12 STCAlpa 12 SWAAlpa 12 MaxAlpa 12 PlusAlpa 12 PanoAlpa 12 FPS
Geared ShiftNoneX or YYX or YX + YX + YNone
Manual ShiftNoneX or YYX + YX + YX + YNone
Horizontal MovementNone18mm/18mmNone18mm/18mm20mm/20mm35mm/35mmN/A
Vertical MovementNone18mm/18mm25mm/25mm+25mm/-18mm20mm/20mm10mm/10mmN/A
Tilt/Swing OptionAdapterAdapterAdapterAdapterAdapterAdapterAdapter
Size (w/o opt. wooden handgrip)4.1" x 4.1" x 0.8"5.7" x 5.5" x 0.9"7.1" x 4.5" x 1.8"7.1" x 8.1" x 1.2"7.2" X 7.2" x 0.9"9.9" X 6.9" x 1.1"8.0 x 4.3 x 1.0"
Weight7.8 ounces20.8 ounces22.6 ounces42.3 ounces36.2 ounces54.5 ounces26.5 ounces

©Image Courtesy of Alpa.ch

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