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ARCA-SWISS Cameras and Monoball Heads
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ARCA-SWISS Downloadable Brochures

The Care and Feeding of Your ARCA-SWISS Monoball Head

Dealers and Resources
2013 Price List
Downloadable Catalog


    P0 Instruction Sheet
    Z1 and P1
The NEW arca Swiss Z1G Plus!     
    Plates and clamps info
    New p0 Monoball

        - Press Release
        - Slide Fix Camera Plates
        - Plate Compatability
        - Camera Mounted Image
        - Image 1
        - Image 2

Cameras and Accessories

Misura Brochure
     Misura Article
Current F- and M-line
System Diagrams
Function Carriers
Popular Models

User Reviews

Tom Westbrook’s review of the ARCA-SWISS F-line Field camera.

Articles from Christopher Barrett

Our Relationship with ARCA-SWISS

We received factory training on the repair and maintenance of all the ARCA-SWISS models, and we have close ties with the US importer and ARCA-SWISS headquarters. Our large inventory of spare parts enables us to work on any Arca model, plus their line of Monoball tripod heads and other accessories such as film backs, viewing systems, and more.

We are expert at mounting view lenses and installing Fresnel inserts. Many photographers send us their cameras for periodic preventative maintenance, which is always a good idea!

History and Identification of ARCA-SWISS View Cameras

The first ARCA-SWISS cameras were made in the 1950s, when they quickly established a reputation for precision and flexibility. Designed to be stable, modular, and easily transportable, the cameras were adept at both studio and location work. Ansel Adams used an ARCA-SWISS camera toward the end of his photographic career. The original Arcas were manufactured to high quality standards, with many still in service with professional and advanced amateur photographers.

The original line was made until 1984. It consists of the Model A (with axis tilts); Model B (with base tilts); and the Model C (with both axis and base tilts.) These cameras use spring backs; the 4x5 is compatible with the Polaroid 545 and 405 holders, plus most “slide-in” roll-film backs. Graflock backs are not usable, although a Graflock compatible back was available as an accessory. ARCA-SWISS also made many specialty cameras, including rare panoramic and medium- and large-format SLR types.


Rails and format carriers for both the old and new series are compatible. Old lensboards will work on the newer cameras, but only the flat versions (not recessed) of the newer lensboards will fit the older cameras. None of the bellows or format frames/standards are interchangeable.

We maintain a stock of repair parts for older Arcas that we repair. We do not sell parts directly.

The Current F-Line and M-Line

Introduced in the early 1980s, the F-Line is probably what most photographers recognize as an "ARCA." Developed as a system, modern F-Line and M-Line camera parts are fully interchangeable. This allows photographers to ?build? a camera ideally suited to the project at hand – from 6x9cm to 8x10 inches – with an almost unlimited number of variations such as rail length, bellows, etc. Over time ARCA-SWISS has developed an amazing array of accessories and specialty items that integrate into the system. These include electronic sensors and servos that calculate and drive the camera’s movements, as well as an array of digital photography adapters. ARCA-SWISS cameras accept nearly all of the professional digital backs. PCW can make custom modifications to your ARCA-SWISS equipment for special applications.

Because of the wide variety of components on the market, it is often difficult to pinpoint exactly which model a photographer might have. It is often best to describe the components that make up the camera rather than simply saying "I have an ARCA-SWISS F ..." To assist you, we have compiled a few resources on this page.

ACRA-SWISS no longer makes the F-Line Basic, although parts are still available. Current models include the Discovery; F-Classic; F-Metric; and M-Monolith. These are available with a normal or a collapsible rail. Versions with the collapsible rail are called "Compact." For example, you might have a 4x5 F-Metric Compact.

The Discovery model is easily identified by its yellow knobs. Both the Discovery and the F-Classic use friction-based adjustments. The F-Metric has geared rise/fall on the format frame and a geared lateral shift on the base. The M-Monolith has geared rise/fall and lateral shift on the base, with center axis tilt on the format frame

System Diagrams

Scanned from the catalog, with code numbers

Diagram 1 Function Carriers
Diagram 2 M-Line
Diagram 3 Bellows
Diagram 4 Wide Angle

ARCA-SWISS Function Carriers



The micrometric Orbix allows 100% “yaw-free” geared displacements. It is available as an option on new format frames.

Orbix Action
Orbix action

Popular ARCA-SWISS Models

ARCA-SWISS Discovery, the entry-level 4x5 8x10 Classic F
Discovery, the entry-level 4x5
8x10 F-Classic
4x5 F-Metric on a Monoball B-2 6x9 F-Compact
4x5 F-Metric on a Monoball B-2
6x9 F-Classic Compact
The Care and Feeding of Your ARCA-SWISS Monoball head
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