Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2005/03/15

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Subject: [Leica] So.. what is the deal with Alpa Cameras?
From: sethrosner at (Seth Rosner)
Date: Tue Mar 15 20:31:46 2005
References: <BAY19-DAV5E65B456B8D781D188C9DED570@phx.gbl>


Eric, this very high quality MF camera is the successor to a line of very 
high quality Swiss 35mm cameras whose prodution started in the 1940's by a 
company called Pignons, S.A. in Ballaigues, Suisse, that also manufactured 
parts, gears, levers etc. for the top-line Swiss watch manufacturers. They 
were very quirky; early models were rangefinders, next lines featured both 
rangefinder and reflex focusing in the same camera (!!!)and the final models 
were strictly SLRs. Alpa made no lenses. They were furnished in Alpa mount 
by Kern, Schneider-Kreuznach, Angenieux, Kilfitt.

Their quirkiness made them relatively uinsuitable for what our group terms 
photjournailsm or street photography as they are slow and counterintuitive 
(e.g. the film advance-shutter cock lever protrudes from the front of the 
camera and is drawn clockwise toward the rear!!!) Thus it is very slow and 
deliberate in operation and was used more by scientists, laboratory and 
research people than by PJ's.

Tom Abrahamssen, who used to collect them, describes having disassembled a 
very early model of which he said the shutter mechanism and gear train for 
the delayed action release were like the inside of a Patek Philippe or Rolex 
watch while the rest of the camera looked like it came from a Soviet tractor 
factory! Later models are magnificently made, rivaling even contemporaneous 
Leitz and Zeiss production.

Take a look at the history that I believe is on the Alpa website. Capaul and 
Weber are a Swiss couple who bought the Alpa name and mark from the receiver 
in bankruptcy in about 1990 and proceeded to design and manufacture this 
current Alpa camera that is built to space station quality levels, nothing 
automatic whatever. They too do not make lenses which are still produced for 
the Alpa by some of the world's finest optics manufacturers.

I have had several Alpa's and 50mm lenses recently and still have a 
collector camera/lens combo like-new in box.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "eric" <>
To: "LUG" <>
Sent: Tuesday, March 15, 2005 6:36 PM
Subject: [Leica] So.. what is the deal with Alpa Cameras?
Do pros really use these? Or just former sultans?
Are these even snobbier than Leicas?

I stumbled into these cameras on a stroll of the net today and I am not 
familiar with them.


Leica Users Group.
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Replies: Reply from creativevisions at (Michael J Herring) ([Leica] So.. what is the deal with Alpa Cameras?)
In reply to: Message from leica_korenman at (eric) ([Leica] So.. what is the deal with Alpa Cameras?)