Hot off the Press: Alpa 12 Plus Announced!

The Alpa 12 Plus was just announced today (October 23, 2018). So what is this camera all about and why is it now here? Doesn’t Alpa have enough beautiful camera options for photographers? I suppose you can never get enough of a good thing.

What the Alpa 12 Plus most resembles is unmistakably an Alpa Max. What then separates an Alpa 12 Max from an Alpa 12 Plus? Before answering that, we have to dig back to March 2017, when Alpa announced a 10 Year Anniversary Edition of the Alpa XY, and the discontinuation of the Alpa XY Camera. For years, the Alpa XY was marked as a super solid and stable platform with huge movement capability (+45mm/-25mm vertical, and +25mm/-25mm horizontal), and fully geared X/Y movements (hence the name).

The Alpa 12 Plus with Alpa Silex II and Rodenstock 90HR in E-M 250 Shutter

But as digital back sensor sizes grew, and image circles from lenses optimized for digital capture shrank, the huge movements of the X/Y camera more often than not, went to waste. And with the large size of the camera (relative to other technical cameras), photographers more and more made the decision to purchase a much smaller and lighter Alpa STC or Alpa Max for field use.

But photographers missed the X/Y geared movements. The Alpa STC has geared shift in one direction only, though the camera can be rotated for geared shift in the other direction. But no shift combinations are possible within a single capture. The Alpa Max has X/Y shift, but only the Y movement is geared, while the X is moved manually (reversed if the camera is rotated).

** One of the nice things about Alpa’s website is that they have a section at the bottom of their product page where you can still review discontinued products. I think more manufacturers should provide this.

The discontinued Alpa XY. Standard bearer for Alpa quality cameras.

The Alpa 12 Plus is here. What will you love about it?

With the demise of the Alpa XY, there was a hole for an X/Y geared shift camera in the lineup. Enter the Alpa 12 Plus. As they say in … (uh, where do they say this?), this is the X/Y geared shift camera you’ve been waiting for.

Since it so closely resembles the Alpa Max in form factor, then notably, specification-wise, the Alpa 12 Max expands upon the Max by producing +20mm/-20mm in all shift directions (compared to +25mm/-18mm vertical and +18mm/-18mm horizontal). But the Alpa Plus has that thing that we’ve been wanting, an Alpa Max sized X/Y camera that provides geared shift in all directions. On top of that, the Plus adds some extras. The cushioning bumpers that were introduced with the Anniversary Edition of the Alpa XY carry forward to the Plus. There are potential built-in handles with the Plus, but then, why punish yourself by excluding the beautiful wooden grip options. Yes, you can still treat yourself to Rosewood grips. Each side of the Plus is identical, in that there are 1/4″ and 3/8″ ports, so the Plus can literally be turned on its head or on its – well, it can be turned and used any way that you like. Amazingly, even adding the full X/Y gearing to the Alpa 12 Plus, it actually weighs less than the Alpa Max (1025 grams vs 1200 grams) and is overall slightly smaller (184mm x 184mm vs 180mm x 205mm).

The Venerable Alpa 12 Max

But here is the beauty of the Alpa 12 Plus. Have you ever actually held an Alpa Max and turned the knob for the vertical geared shift? Right, it barely moves. It is so extremely precise. Infuriatingly precise, I like to say. And I say this because maybe I don’t have the time to gear the shift from one end to the other. And that was behind the genius of the free movement option of the Max. Unlock the gear and you can manually move the shift as fast as you’re comfortable with, albeit with no gearing.

The Alpa 12 Plus fulfills this potential genius by providing full, incredibly precise geared shift in all directions. But with the flip of a switch, one can then assume racer mode (yikes, the sun is setting at a record pace!), and shift to any position by simply sliding the digital back to the desired spot. To assist with this, remember that any Alpa 12 camera can be ordered with pre-set detents wherever you wish them to be set. Detent every 5mm. Or detent every 3mm. Or having one single detent at zero position Whatever you like. The detents are an excellent way to move the digital back and know where you are moving it, even with your eyes closed. Or in the dark with your eyes open. Or from the rear or front of the camera.

The Alpa 12 Plus with Alpa Silex II and Rodenstock 90HR in E-M 250 Shutter (again)

So there you have it, another beautiful looking, beautifully made camera from Alpa. It is all the things we expect from Alpa and more. It is precise, it is fast, it is versatile. And it is at our booth this week at PhotoPlus (Booth # 1028). Come see us!

%d bloggers like this: