OVERVIEW

ALPA Lens Collection

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ALPA cooperates with the acknowledged best manufacturers of large format lenses. The large image circle of ALPA lenses places enormous demands on the optical calculation, adjustment, and mounting. ALPA is the only camera manufacturer that has its lenses completely mounted and tuned by the lens manufacturer. The lenses consist of a tube, helical mount, shutter or aperture mount, and the lens itself. Each lens undergoes a "real world" photographic test at ALPA. We do not rely on automatic measurements but examine each lens for its performance at infinity at a distance of over 5000 m.

ALPA Lenses in X-Shutter

The X-Shutter (Phase One)is an electro-magnetic leaf shutter replacing the discontinued Copal 0 size leaf shutter.

Born from the industrial performance and precision of the Phase One Reliance Shutter (Phase One Industrial division) this shutter is now available for some large format lenses (ALPA ALPAGON and ALPAR lenses in the first wave and later ALPA lenses from Scheider-Kreuznach), meeting the needs of demanding users of ALPA technical cameras.

The X-Shutter has been designed to work with the Phase One IQ digital backs of the IQ4 type and later.

Introduction

Starting April 2021, we will accept orders for lens modifications to Phase One X-Shutter. From this date, we also collect orders for new lenses in this new variant.

Please understand that the X-Shutter is a supplier part. ALPA and Qioptiq/Rodenstock have little influence on the availability of this shutter.  You will find all lens types that can be modified in the list for new lenses as below.

The modification price is for an existing ALPA lens with a helical mount and lens barrel into the same version with X-Shutter. For third-party lenses or a change in ALPA lens mount, the needed extra material (helical mount, lens barrel, conversion to "Gold Ring") will be charged on top.

We will also offer the modification of ALPA Schneider lenses, once all the quirks are sorted out.

Handling and Turnaround Times

Feel free to communicate your needs via the Planning or Repair form below. For the time being, the lenses must travel via ALPA HQ in Zurich. We will try to hold turnaround times as short as possible. Nevertheless, we want to support you closely and plan together with you to avoid delays. Due to the still ongoing pandemic situation the normal turnaround times may be increased. Therefore, please send lenses only after everything is prepared, and we give you the go.

For optimal coordination you can make use of the following planning tools:

A. General Planning of Modifications and New Lenses

Use this tool / survey for non-binding announcements of your interest in modifying existing lenses or new lenses. We will then help you with your plans.

Planning Data for X-Shutter (x-shutter-plan.alpa.swiss)

B. Preparing for firm Modification Orders

Use this tool if you are an ALPA Dealer or if you are a customer without a dedicated ALPA dealership in your country. After receiving your request, we will get into contact with you.

ALPA Repair & Return Form (rma.alpa.swiss)

C. eCommerce for firm orders of New Lenses

Use this tool if you are an ALPA Dealer or if you are a customer without a dedicated ALPA dealership in your country. After receiving your request, we will get into contact with you.

ALPA eCommerce (ecommerce.alpa.swiss)

Introductory Offer

For the X-Shutter launch, ALPA offers the modification price of existing ALPA lenses for CHF 3,980 and the lenses as listed below until further notice. All prices are ex Works Switzerland (without transport, insurance, taxes. etc.). All prices are subject to change.

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ALPA Lens Range

Actual Lens Range ALPA

Currently, all our medium format lenses are manufactured by Qioptiq/Rodenstock. Historically, ALPA lenses have also been manufactured by Schneider Kreuznach and Carl Zeiss. The current lens series carries the brand names ALPAGON, ALPAR, and Macro SWITAR. Together with the typical "gold ring", they guarantee the ALPA quality. Lenses manufactured by Schneider Kreuznach were mainly branded HELVETAR. The ALPA Apo-SWITAR 5.6/36 mm was a Schneider lens, too. As a reminiscence to the famous Macro Switar lenses from Kern Aarau for 35mm cameras, we now carry a Macro SWITAR (Rodenstock) and the Cine SWITARE for moving image. For further information, see the Legacy Collection.

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ALPA HPF High Precisions Focusing Rings

This product group consists mainly of the HPF High Precision Focusing Rings for the available ALPA lens range. Over time we have produced a wide range of these handy helpers, namely for ALPA Schneider lenses. Please ask for specific HPFs which are not listed here.

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ALPA Lens Shades (Additive Manufacturing)

ALPA offers a wide range of lens shades. Each individually calculated and optimized for the specific lens type.

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Center Filters

Center Filters are lens- or lens-rage specifically calculated high-end filters. They compensate for lens-type inherent falloff / vignetting towards the edges.

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ALPA Lenses in Aperture Unit

Digital backs with electronic shutter (currently Rolling Shutter for Phase One IQ 3/4, Hasselblad X1D, and partly H6D) are becoming increasingly available. The new Rodenstock aperture unit - with its almost round, 9-piece aperture pattern - optimally supports this shutter type. Besides, photographers can use lens versions in short-barrel can also on the ALPA 12 FPS with its built-in focal-plane shutter (SB34, SB51, FPS SB17).

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ALPA Short Barrel Lenses

ALPA introduced the Short Barrel concept back in 2007. How did this come about and what were the key aspects of this decision?

The History

In June 2007, ALPA visited the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris to help evaluate a successor to its Sinarcam 23. BNF planned to make the best possible use of the digital backs in question from Hasselblad or Sinar and to achieve the highest possible megapixel yield. In addition to multishot backs, extremely precise stitching and planarity were therefore required, and the ALPA 12 XY and ALPA/Schneider Apo-Digitare with electromechanical leaf shutters were therefore already evaluated.

Due to the working distances and the large-format originals, BNF wanted to use the ALPA / Schneider Apo-Digitar 5.6/120 mm as one of its main lenses. With a 4-fold stitch, the image circle of 110 to 120 mm was theoretically exhausted. However, the geometry caused mechanical vignetting. Since this effect did not occur with wide-angle lenses, appropriate solutions had to be worked out. This led to the development of the Short Barrel lens concept.

The Concept

But what changes if a lens barrel is shortened and the complementary element is mounted on the back? The following rough sketch shows the basic problem. In the standard configuration, the sensor is very close to the camera body. The free opening is not infinite with a technical camera. If the back part is shifted considerably, the camera body shades a part of the sensor. If the sensor is now placed further back, this shadowing is substantially reduced and the usage of the image circle is optimized for the BNF. In line with ALPA's system modularity, the first lenses, where constructionally possible, were shortened by 34 mm to SB34, since macro tubes of 34 mm in length were already available.

During research, the so-called "Short-Barrel" lenses of the Mamiya RZ67 were spotted. Back in their time, Mamiya also shortened the lens barrel of some lenses. However, only space was to be created for a shift/tilt module, which could be used optionally. ALPA also referred to the concept as "Short Barrel" as a reminiscence to this RZ solution. ALPA delivered the first SB34 lenses starting in mid-2007.

At Photokina 2008, ALPA also presented tilt/swing modules using the SB concept. From now on, ALPA users could very economically use a single tilt element for any SB34 lens and only had to purchase it once. Later, ALPA extended the group of SB lenses with shorter focal lengths to SB17. Here, too, the user could continue to use and combine existing elements, such as macro tubes. Today, 17mm macro elements and tilt/shift modules can be combined and used with great flexibility. The ALPA / Rodenstock HR Alpagon 6.3 / 138 mm planned for 2019 will be offered as SB51 (34+17 mm) following this philosophy.

Sketch of the Short Barrel Concept - André Oldani 14 march 2019

The Exceptions - Good to Know

The very first short barrel lenses were the SB34, as the corresponding macro tube already existed. In 2004 ALPA introduced a complete set of extension tubes for macro photography. This set initially included tubes of 6.5 mm, 16 mm, 34 mm and 52 mm in length, which were optimally matched to the existing Schneider and Rodenstock helical mounts. The old versions are distinguished by long, SWA-like locking levers.

ALPA has subsequently successfully integrated tilt/swing modules of 34 mm with an inclination of up to 12° into the SB concept. Due to the success and other customer requests, ALPA then transferred the idea to further lenses. However, not all focal lengths allow a shortening of the tubes by 34 mm. It became evident that apart from a few very short focal length lenses with a small image circle (HR Alpagon 23, 28 and 35) an SB17 version was also possible. Thus, two 17 mm elements could be economically combined for the SB34 lens tubes.

This subsequently led to the standardization of the macro tubes to 6 mm (as the shortest, finishable extension and seamless connection to the extension of the standard helical gears, the 17 mm elements (2 x 17 mm = 34 mm) and now 51 mm tubes (3 x 17 mm or 1 x 34 mm plus 1 x 17 mm).


Important & Caveat

The older 16 mm tubes are therefore NOT fully compatible with the current SB concept, as they are one millimeter too short. Of course, they can still be used as extension tubes. The missing millimeter can also be compensated by an additional extension on the screw, whereby the distance scales no longer fit.

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