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©Julian Calverley/UK, 2013

©Julian Calverley/UK, 2013

For as long as anyone can remember, ALPA has been known to perfectionists of photographic technology as one of the world’s top names. The reputation is now based on six 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.

As simple as possible is as good as possible. That is the principle and ALPA is the result. All six models of the ALPA form a common, modular platform that ensures full compatibility. Part of the concept are integrated lenses from 23 to 250 mm focal length, adapters for digital backs, and directly attachable roll-film backs up to 6×9 as well as an extensive range of accessories. Part of the concept is the full compatibility of all ALPA models with the very first ALPA 12 of 1998. Such compatibility will also be retained in future. Nothing in the ALPA platform is arbitrary, nothing is accidental, nothing is superfluous. All is subordinated to the motive “only the best endures”.

Precision and quality

Connoisseurs and experts have always known the decisive importance of mechanical precision and optical quality. Developments during the past few years have made many more aware of the decisive value of precision and accuracy. It is above all the digital backs that demand a minimum in tolerances and a maximum in optical performance if their potential is to be fully exploited. With more than 60 Megapixels, sensors up to 40 x 54 mm (40.4 x 53.9 mm) at 6.0 µm pixel size – here is where the chaff is rapidly separated from the wheat: the tiniest mechanical inaccuracy, the most minor shortcoming in performance of lenses can turn into distortions, lateral color aberration and other errors. It is here that the ALPA platform is confirmed in the clearest way possible: uncompromising orientation in construction and highest possible precision in execution, only the best lenses and those exclusively adjusted optimally on the collimator by the manufacturers (Schneider-Kreuznach in Bad Kreuznach and Linos/Rodenstock in Munich). Only thus can constant quality at the highest level be developed. That ALPA cameras also look good and have won many a design price merely confirms the old saying “true beauty comes from within”.

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 WA 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 can offer a particularly flexible solution. Where work is done almost entirely on tripod, the ALPA 12 XY 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 and the ALPA 12 XY 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 sixth ALPA model also needs to be mentioned here: the ALPA 12 METRIC is used in digital photogrammetry, i.e. for photographic computer-supported measuring for cartography and many other scientific and industrial applications.

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 12 TCALPA 12 TC | THE TRAVEL COMPACT

  • Description
  • Technical Specs
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This is the ideal camera for travelling (Travel Compact). 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 with the correct adapter. The more traditionally inclined can also make use of roll film backs up to a format of 6×9 cm – which allows truly ‘unplugged’ operation. All lenses with an ALPA adapter fit the ALPA 12 TC and all other ALPA 12 cameras. The ALPA lens adapter is available in different versions: ‘long barrel’, ‘short barrel 17 mm’ and ‘short barrel 34 mm’; adapters are also available with and without an integrated tilt/swing option. One alternative for a viewfinder is the iPhone, which was used for this purpose for the very first time by ALPA. Or the classic optical ALPA 120° viewfinder. Or a number of products from third-party manufacturers. The ALPA 12 TC is the right choice for the creative photographer who likes to travel light, who likes to have full manual control of his or her camera at all times and who is looking for a style and a quality which are practically impossible to find in large-scale produced cameras.

Dimensions, body alone
W: 109 mm, H: 109 mm, D: 20 mm

Weight, body alone
from approx. 220 g (depending on attachments)

Weight, ready for use
from approx. 1,570 g (depending on attachments)

Movements
integrated: none; with corresponding adapters tilt or swing movements of up to 5° are possible with lenses in the correct tube; from 50 mm focal length tilts or swings of even up to 12° are possible

Hand grips
available as an accessory

Viewfinders
holder for the Apple iPhone as an electronic viewfinder in combination with the ALPA eFinder app; optical ALPA viewfinder with a 120° angle of view; screen; separate computer; various third-party optical viewfinders with fixed focal lengths or with zoom

ALPA 12 STCALPA 12 STC | THE SHIFT TRAVEL COMPACT

  • Description
  • Technical Specs
  • Download PDF
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°. All ALPA cameras provide such surprising rotational and reversal positions which e.g. turn front to back, top to bottom or horizontal to vertical. Typically for ALPA, we do not even have to list all the variants – most of our customers like to work out their own special combinations for their particular practical purpose. They – and we – have no time for ‘one size fits all’. Once again: 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.

Dimensions, body alone
W: 146 mm, H: 140 mm, D: 35 mm

Weight, body alone
from approx. 580 g (depending on attachments)

Weight, ready for use
from approx. 1,950 g (depending on attachments)

Movements
integrated: horizontal shift or – depending on the camera position – vertical shift up to 36 mm (±18 mm); with corresponding adapters tilt or swing movements of up to 5° are possible with lenses in the correct tube; from 50 mm focal length tilts or swings of even up to 12° are possible

Hand grips
available as an accessory

Viewfinders
holder for the Apple iPhone as an electronic viewfinder in combination with the ALPA eFinder app; optical ALPA viewfinder with a 120° angle of view; screen; separate computer; various third-party optical viewfinders with fixed focal lengths or with zoom

ALPA 12 WAALPA 12 WA | HANDY PERFECTION

  • Description
  • Technical Specs
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One ALPA 12 model has found special favour with reportage photographers and other extreme photo reporters. It is even used under the hard conditions war reporters often find themselves in. It is the ALPA 12 WA (Wide Angle). Its main qualities include a reduction to what is absolutely necessary, the great sturdiness this requires and optimum handling thanks to the two hand grips. ‘Magnum’ members count among its users and ‘Newsweek’ titles as its results. The ALPA 12 WA is naturally also capable of full integration in the modular ALPA 12 camera platform. The user is thus able, for example, to return from a project in a tropical rain forest using a roll film back and without any need for electric power and can then almost immediately use the same camera with a digital back for a landscape photography commission. A careful combination of equipment will also allow him or her to do all this using exactly the same lenses and many identical accessories. This particularly exemplifies the sense and the purpose of the integrated ALPA 12 platform.
Dimensions, body alone
W: 180 mm, H: 120 mm, D: 47 mm

Weight, body alone
from approx. 620 g (depending on attachments)

Weight, ready for use
from approx. 1,860 g (depending on attachments)

Movements
integrated: none; with corresponding adapters tilt or swing movements of up to 5° are possible with lenses in the correct tube; from 50 mm focal length tilts or swings of even up to 12° are possible

Hand grips
integrated

Viewfinders
holder for the Apple iPhone as an electronic viewfinder in combination with the ALPA eFinder app; optical ALPA viewfinder with a 120° angle of view; screen; separate computer; various third-party optical viewfinders with fixed focal lengths or with zoom

ALPA 12 SWAALPA 12 SWA | THE PROVEN CLASSIC

  • Description
  • Technical Specs
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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.
Dimensions, body alone

W: 180 mm, H: 120 mm, D: 47 mm

Weight, body alone
from approx. 650 g (depending on attachments)

Weight, ready for use
from approx. 1,890 g (depending on attachments)

Movements
integrated: vertical movements +25 mm are possible (−25 mm with a special adapter or by rotation of the camera); with corresponding adapters tilt or swing movements of up to 5° are possible with lenses in the correct tube; from 50 mm focal length tilts or swings of even up to 12° are possible

Hand grips
integrated

Viewfinders
holder for the Apple iPhone as an electronic viewfinder in combination with the ALPA eFinder app; optical ALPA viewfinder with a 120° angle of view; screen; separate computer; various third-party optical viewfinders with fixed focal lengths or with zoom

ALPA 12 MAXALPA 12 MAX | THE UNSURPASSED & VERSATILE ORIGINAL

  • Description
  • Technical Specs
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Imitation is said to be the highest form of flattery. Perhaps that is why there are cameras which look similar to the ALPA 12 MAX. However, similarity does not make a copy into an original, but only into a possibly false promise. 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.
Dimensions, body alone

W: 177 mm, H: 205 mm, D: 31 mm

Weight, body alone
from approx. 1,200 g (depending on attachments)

Weight, ready for use
from approx. 2,350 g (depending on attachments)

Movements
integrated: vertically 43 mm (+25 mm, −18 mm); horizontally 36 mm (r: 18 mm, l: 18 mm); with corresponding adapters tilt or swing movements of up to 5° are possible with lenses in the correct tube; from 50 mm focal length tilts or swings of even up to 12° are possible; stitching adapter available as an accessory

Hand grips
available as an accessory

Viewfinders
holder for the Apple iPhone as an electronic viewfinder in combination with the ALPA eFinder app; optical ALPA viewfinder with a 120° angle of view; screen; separate computer; various third-party optical viewfinders with fixed focal lengths or with zoom

ALPA 12 XYALPA 12 XY | THE ULTIMATE IN MOVEMENTS

  • Description
  • Technical Specs
  • Download PDF
The ALPA 12 XY (X and Y stand for the two shift movements in x and y axis) is a camera for use on the tripod simply due to its size and weight. These properties are highly desirable there for reasons of stability. This in particular applies when very large movements (shift) have to be accompanied by very precise guidance for multiple stitching. These are all demands which the qualities of the ALPA 12 XY meet in full. For instance in the Bibliothèque nationale de France (National Library of France), Paris, where these cameras are used for the most demanding photographic reproduction work. The special features of the ALPA 12 XY are, however, also used and admired by the world’s leading photographers of automobiles, architecture and landscapes. The ALPA 12 XY is a large piece of equipment designed for professional use for many years. The ALPA 12 XY naturally has those special features you will look for in vain elsewhere: for example, both shift carriages never move beyond the closed camera frame in any position, all shift movements are guided solely by roller bearings, and adapters for digital backs can be adjusted to the precision of one-hundredth of a millimeter.
Dimensions, body alone

W: 220 mm, H: 290 mm, D: 40 mm

Weight, body alone
from approx. 2,500 g (depending on attachments)

Weight, ready for use
from approx. 3,650 g (depending on attachments)

Movements
integrated: vertically 70 mm (+45 mm, −25 mm); horizontally 50 mm (r: 25 mm, l: 25 mm); with corresponding adapters tilt or swing movements of up to 5° are possible with lenses in the correct tube; from 50 mm focal length tilts or swings of even up to 12° are possible

Viewfinders
holder for the Apple iPhone as an electronic viewfinder in combination with the ALPA eFinder app; optical ALPA viewfinder with a 120° angle of view; screen; separate computer; various third-party optical viewfinders with fixed focal lengths or with zoom

ALPA 12 FPSALPA 12 FPS | FOCAL PLANE SHUTTER

  • Description
  • Technical Specs
  • Download PDF
The ALPA 12 FPS (focal plane shutter) opens the door into a new dimension: from the modular camera platform to the open toolbox. The ALPA 12 FPS is a shutter module when it is used together with another ALPA 12 camera. It is, however, also an independent camera when it is combined on its own with a back, a lens and a suitable adapter. This opens up the use of brand-new or fond old lenses from dozens of different manufacturers of optical systems – with or without a central shutter and with or without manual or electronic aperture control. Plus a free choice of format – only limited by the image circles of the lenses and by the sensor sizes. Naturally, not all lenses will work equally well with all backs. However, what is ‘good’ and what is ‘less good’ is a decision solely for the photographer or, if he or she is working according to a commission, naturally also for the customer. We see a new attitude toward many aspects of picture quality in this: away from the unedifying factionalism and toward the acceptance of subjective opinions and evaluations.

The ALPA 12 FPS opens up the field of shift/tilt/swing/stitch in a wide range of variants and with the corresponding accessories to a whole new world which had previously hardly been possible, if at all. The whole system is controlled by a continuously expandable firmware in a concept which includes all previous ALPA 12 models, many lenses and almost all digital backs produced in the past ten years. A previously unknown variety of possibilities and combinations is opened up – a toolbox which the user can equip and utilize according to his or her own needs or while using already existing tools.

Dimensions, body alone

  • W: 204 mm, H: 109 mm, D: 33 mm

Weight, body alone

  • from approx. 735 g

Weight, ready for use

  • from approx. 2,180 g (incl. lens, adapters, view finder, digital back, batteries, handgrip and depending on further attachments)

Hand grips

  • available as an accessory

Viewfinders

  • holder for the Apple iPhone as an electronic viewfinder in combination with the ALPA eFinder app; optical ALPA viewfinder with a 120° angle of view; screen; separate computer; various third-party optical viewfinders with fixed focal lengths or with zoom

Compatibility as shutter module

  • with all ALPA 12 cameras: ALPA 12 TC, STC, WA, SWA, MAX, XY

Movements

  • integrated: none;  tilt/swing and shift depending on lens/body combination in use

Shutter

  • integrated focal plane shutter (Mamiya): 1/4000s – 128s and T  in steps of 1/4, 1/3, 1/2, 1 units
  • mechanical leaf shutters: ALPA 12 lenses in Copal shutter
  • electronic leaf shutters: depending on future shutter developments

Aperture control (depending on lens)

  • manual
  • electronical in steps of 1/4, 1/3, 1/2, 1 f-stops (with most lenses in Canon EF mount and Nikon PC-E lenses)
  • further versions depending on developments in process

Operating modes

  • system upgrade and future functionality via firmware upload by the user (USB stick/port)
  • integrated self timer: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 60s
  • integrated bracketing: 1-9 frames | +, -, +/-, -/+ | manually triggered or automatically timed 1-9s
  • integrated RJ45 port for future use

Digital back synchronisation (Lemo 1 pin and Nikon screw-in PC sync)

  • ALPA Open Sync Language: most digital backs with or without latency, the definition language will be published
  • double sockets (Lemo 1 pin and Nikon screw-in PC sync) for increased fallback security and use with various user cabling
  • Flash sync: various modes, 1st/2nd or multiple curtains

Display

  • integrated: very bright transflective LCD display for optimal reading even in bright sunlight
  • modes: automatic turn off during exposure (visual exposure control and elimination of stray light during exposure), manual on/off, rotatable by 180° with automatic adjustment of the relevant navigation keys

Lens mounts (mind the correct flange focal distance to reach infinity)

  • ALPA 12
  • Canon EF
  • Hasselblad V
  • Mamiya 645
  • Nikon F
  • others will follow or can be used with additional third party adapters

Power supply (Lemo 4 pin)

  • worldwide available and pro grade Sony L series batteries (type NP-F550/570/770/970 compatible), battery set consisting of travel battery charger with exchangeable plugs and battery
  • power supply unit with exchangeable plugs for international use (sold seperately)

Remote triggering (Lemo 3 pin)

  • separate plug socket for external trigger, handgrip trigger and third-party triggers like Pocketwizard