Two decades after its launch, we have adapted the ALPA 12 SWA to the current requirements. The Jubilee version was sold out within a short time last year, and now the camera is available from stock with some improvements.
In 1996, under the new company management, ALPA launched the 12 SWA as the first camera. Over the following years, it gained an outstanding reputation among professional photographers and ambitious amateurs. The latest edition of this classic stays true to the original edition, optically and technically, but offers new possibilities.
The improved ALPA 12 SWA:
As the shape has been left almost unchanged, for example, the latest ALPA 12 SWA, can still be used perfectly with roll film cassettes. New is the improved compatibility with current accessories:
• In contrast to older models, we have narrowed the floor plate. It is now also compatible with 17mm tilt-shift adapters.
• The included ALPA dove tail tripod mount complies with the UniQ/C standard.
ALPA dove tail tripod mount:
• The use of FPS-SB17 lenses is possible.
• An additional 3/8-inch thread at the top of the camera further enhances the combination possibilities, also with a view to the future: ALPA's many new solutions are based on this connector.
• As an example, use the Universal Rail Adapter, which can be mounted via the 3/8-inch connector. This makes it easy to connect monitors to the camera.
ALPA Universal Rail:
ALPA Cameras Are a Save Investment
The revised 12 SWA is thus prepared for current and future developments. At the same time, we have retained its strengths. For example, the camera can still be personalized by hand grips in different materials and finishes.
As with all products, we always strive to improve the ALPA 12 SWA in the future. Thanks to the modular design, the owners of an ALPA have the opportunity to upgrade their camera to the latest state, instead of having to replace it at the same time.
If you have any questions about the ALPA 12 SWA or our other products, please contact ALPA of Switzerland or the responsible dealer in your country. We look forward to your inquiry.
ALPA 12 SWA
ALPA Universal Rail
Have you always dreamed of advancing to the top league of macro photography? With the introduction of the affordable Fujifilm GFX 50R this is now possible. A universal, compact camera with 50MP sensor in 33x44 format and both fully electronic and mechanical focal plane shutter on a high-performance stacking solution from ALPA with high-end macro lens for large sensor. This is now becoming a reality with the connection ring for Fuji G cameras: The investment in a modular and universal system where the camera can always be updated cost-effectively with the latest system in the future.
The adapter allows easy and safe mounting of a Fujifilm GFX body to an ALPA bellows unit or stacking solution. The V-Groove version also allows a comfortable adjustment of the alignment/rotation of the camera body.
ALPA Adapter Ring Fuji G
Alpa Macro Switar 5.6/105 mm float
ALPA Castel Micro Focus Stacking
When we designed the ALPA 12 PLUS, the comparison with the Swiss cross quickly came up and thus the connection to the home country of the ALPA and the national flag with a white cross on a red background. Since a red camera was always associated with too much attention and imponderables during production - who wants red reflexes in the pictures - we decided to use two different color stitching adapters instead. And so there are two colour variants of the product: classic black and a new dash of red. And since we are introducing the adapters in the week of the Chinese New Year, this fits perfectly too.
The Stitching Adapter for the ALPA 12 PLUS is an accessory adapter that allows rise and fall movements The adapter has a built-in, universal, square dovetail adapter to UniQ/C standard for ALPA tripod heads and third-party products. The millimetre laser engraving 20/20 mm allows easy and convenient reading of the high and low adjustment, even behind the camera. The integrated mounting screw (1/4") is designed to be "loss-proof". It is available in black or red - you have the choice.
ALPA Stitching Adapter PLUS in red
ALPA Stitching Adapter PLUS in black
From March 24 to April 8, a solo exhibition of pictures by Chinese ALPA-photographer Chen Yewei will take place at the Inter Art Center in Beijing. The artists shows his photographic series "To the Peaks". For his work, he captured 14 of the world's highest mountains.
Born in the 1960s, Chen Yewei has been photographing landscapes and mountains in particular for over 20 years. He is the founder of the 40° Celsius Club and has been photographing with ALPA since 2008. The 40° Celsius Club derives its name from Chen Yewei's feeling of elevated body temperature, which sets in as he searches for the next picture. ALPA supports the gallery of the Inter Art Center in organizing the exhibition.
The Inter Art Center & Gallery in Beijing is considered one of the most important institutions for photographic art in China. Founded in 2006, the Inter Art Center includes the Pixel Magazine Publishing House, the Pixel Bookstore and a café. The Inter Art Center is dedicated to collecting and presenting classical photography as well as contemporary and experimental art.
In addition, the Inter Art Center has published a large number of illustrated books and books on photography. Its members have been working not only with numerous exceptional Chinese and foreign photographers and artists, but also with other institutions.
Focus on Minorities and Culture
Another focus of the Inter Art Center is the promotion of photography of ethnic minorities and the diverse development of Chinese culture. The Inter Art Center therefore founded the "Country Road: Chinese Ethnic Minority Photography Prize" in 2015 to discover, promote and support photographers who deal with social change and ethnic minorities. In 2017, the Inter Art Center New Documentaries Prize was launched in this context.
Internationally, the Inter Art Center maintains extensive co-operations with other photographic institutions such as the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris, the International Center of Photography in New York and the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, New York.
Photographers page Chen Yewei
Inter Art Center
Each February 28/29, ALPA celebrates the anniversary of the company's (new) foundation. On 28 February 2018, it will be its 22nd anniversary and at the same time the 20th birthday of the ALPA 12 WA/SWA.
It was on the way back from Photokina 1996 from Cologne to Zurich and after the presentation of the first medium-format ALPA. The owners of ALPA of Switzerland, Ursula Capaul and Thomas Weber, discussed the lessons of the last few days and realized that a radically more modular concept of a camera platform is needed for the future of photography.
The idea for the ALPA 12 WA (Wide Angle) and SWA (Shift/Wide Angle) and a completely modular and ergonomic, hand-held medium format camera for reportage, landscape and architecture photography was born on the trip from Cologne: a system with individually replaceable backs and optics and the highest possible degree of individualization for the individual user.
In the course of 1997 a completely new system had to be developed. This included two camera bodies with and without shift, a universal wide-angle viewfinder, adaptations for own roll film backs, a complete integration of large-format optics from Schneider Kreuznach and Rodenstock. But that's not all, Capaul and Weber have also recognized - deep in the analogue age - that future digital backs are a great opportunity and have therefore projected the first digital back adapter for backs with for the Hasselblad V interface. Security of investment has become the hallmark of ALPA and still today the very first ALPA 12 WA/SWA can be used with the most modern digital backs - 20 years after its introduction.
Schematic Drawing ALPA 12 WA/SWA from 1997, completed 1998
By autumn 1997, the most important elements had been completed through several development iterations. The list included a Polaroidback and ground glass as well as high-quality leather goods, straps and hand loops. In order to offer the user more choice, adapters for standard film backs with universal connection (e. g. Mamiya RB67) have also been designed and optimized. The first pre-production series of the ALPA 12 WA was completed in October 1997 and work on the ALPA 12 SWA was started soon afterwards.
ALPA 12 SWA prototype 1997 with study for alternative shift lock in the hand grip
Until Photokina 1998 everything was ready and Capaul and Weber presented the camera platform ALPA 12 in Cologne. They were already able to achieve their first success in advance when the renowned French Magnum photographer and filmmaker Raymond Depardon bought one of the ALPA 12 WA from the pilot series off the exhibition stand in spring and thus realized a project in Mauritania.
ALPA 12 SWA prototype 1997 with study with early hand grip sketches
In 2000, ALPA 12 WA/SWA won the "Red Dot" design award in the highest category with the remark: “Highest Design Quality for: Degree of innovation, Functionality, Formal Quality, Ergonomics, Durability, Symbolic and emotional content, Product peripherals, Self-explanatoriy quality.”
Red Dot Award 2000 for ALPA 12 WA/SWA - Shown with an early Phase One digital back
The cameras have been continuously improved in small details and the ALPA 12 SWA is still in production in the 20th year of its existence.
Happy birthday, ALPA and ALPA 12 WA/SWA!
ALPA 12 SWA, actual model
Poduct Page ALPA 12 SWA
The area around Zurich's Escher-Wyss-Platz has undergone a further transformation into a mixed quarter with the move into the commercial building next to Theaterhaus Schiffbau. Directly next to the last remaining machine plant in the former industrial centre of the city, a commercial building was built according to the plans of architects Jens Bohm and Vittorio Magnago Lampugnani, which also stands out from the other newer buildings in the immediate vicinity due to its design.
"A building of this quality would be more likely to be expected in a more distinguished district of Zurich than in District 5," says Seraina Wirz. She manages the studio for architectural photography in Zurich and has documented the building with her ALPA on behalf of the clients. Your place of residence is not far from the object. "That's why the assignment was particularly exciting for me."
The staircase connects the rooms and allows views into the the courtyard and the neighbourhood. © Seraina Wirz
The rooms are characterised by transparency and a view of the quarter with its different buildings. © Seraina Wirz
View of the Hardbrücke bridge and the traffic passing through the city on and below it. © Seraina Wirz
View from the attic to the Prime Tower. © Seraina Wirz
Elements of industrial buildings form contrasts to newer buildings. © Seraina Wirz
View from the offices into the courtyard of the building. © Seraina Wirz
View between office building and shipbuilding in direction of Hardbrücke. © Seraina Wirz
One of the most important aspects of her work for Seraina Wirz is the cooperation with the architects. Much depended on the first joint inspection of the building, during which the possible settings were examined and the characteristics of the building explained. "Architectural photography is always more about architecture than photography," says Seraina Wirz. "In my opinion, this is a central quality feature and if you look closely at good photographs, you can clearly see the difference."
The pictures for the documentation of the commercial building at Schiffbaustrasse 2 were taken with the ALPA 12 MAX in combination with ALPA / Rodenstock lenses with focal lengths of 40 mm and 32 mm. The ALPA 12 MAX is the successor of the ALPA 12 XY and was developed for architectural photography. One of the characteristics that Seraina Wirz regularly uses is the stitching of panoramic images. In this way, for example, the photograph of the staircase in the office building was taken. "The composite image gives an impression of the openness and dimension of the building, which is difficult to show on a single photograph," she says.
Quarters from different worlds
Transparency is a central feature. Those who work or stay here can gain insights into the inner courtyard and to the outside. The closer environment of the office building is determined by a very different neighbourhood. On the east side it borders on the shipbuilding industry with its rooms for theatre professionals, concert visitors and gastronomy. Together, the two buildings nestle against a mighty plane tree and form the outline of a new public square. Towards the west, the huge MAN Turbo hall is the last remaining plant of the machine industry adjoining the office building. At the front side, traffic passes the Hardbrücke bridge and the tram tracks below it. Nearby are older buildings with restaurants, nightclubs, offices and shops, but also modern residential buildings and other commercial buildings such as the Prime Tower. They are different worlds that collide and the development of the quarter is not complete.
For Seraina Wirz, the question arises as to which of the new buildings integrate into the cityscape and which foreign bodies remain. She sees the office building as an enrichment, because it offers services for the residents such as kindergarten or restaurant and is distinguished by its well thought-out design. "For me, good architecture always depends on the details. Sockets, light switches or handrails can round off or devalue a project. In this respect, the building convinces, among other things, through the use of selected materials. "In addition, the generous interior design, openness and transparency also stand out. The best embodiment of this is the staircase, a central and open space where the rooms converge and which at the same time offers a view across the building and the outside world".
A template for further buildings
The office building is closed off from the roof terrace with its arcades. It allows superimposed views of the surroundings: "An unfinished area in a city that is actually finished," as Seraina Wirz says in reference to a statement by the Berlin architect Hans Kollhoff. In this context, the commercial building provides a direction for future properties, an impulse. "It will be interesting to see whether this impulse is taken up by other architects for the quarter."
Website Atelier für Architekturfotografie afaf
Photographers Page Seraina Wirz
Portfolio "Schiffbauplatz Zürich" - afaf"
ALPA 12 MAX
ALPA / Rodenstock HR Alpagon 4.0/32mm, LB
ALPA / Rodenstock HR Alpagon 4.0/40mm, LB
Website Baukontor Architekten
© Seraina Wirz
Julian Calverley is a master of impressive landscape and commercial photography. He is using his iPhone as quick and simple but also creative complement to his ALPA cameras. Read the offprint of the UK magazine "Amateur Photographer", July 2014 with insight to his work with the iPhone and his love for ALPA. Julian also published a lovely little book with iPhone images only. His commercial work can be seen from his website, too. Julian was repeatedly selected for Lürzer's Archive for the 200 best ad photographs of the year.
Julian Calverley - Books: iPhone Only
Calverley - iShoot landscapes (PDF)
Photographers page: Calverley, Julian
ALPA is featured in an article in the special supplement "SWISSmade" which was distributed with several Swiss sunday papers from the 21st September 2014.
Passion and Perfection
Nearly everybody (of a certain age) in Switzerland knows the famous "Wisa-Gloria Trycicle" from their childhood or other nearly vanished brands and products. The customer magazine of Swiss insurere Swisslife covers in its Spring 2013 edition the revivel of legendary Swiss brands under the aegis of new owners and spirits. Swisslife also selected ALPA of Switzerland as one of these famous and nearly vanished brands.
Link to the PDF article (German only): Swisslife Magazine 1-2013
Pictures tell stories and sometimes, a camera even stands for history. In ten years on the market, the ALPA 12 XY has become a well-known workhorse. Whenever there is a need for stability, very large shifting as well as a highly precise guidance for multiple stitching, our ALPA 12 XY is the answer. Its special features make it a perfect choice not only for the world‘s leading photographers of architecture, but also for automobile photography, landscape photography and other purposes like the reproduction work in the National Library of France in Paris.
The ALPA 12 XY was never restricted to its obvious and dedicated field of work: reportages were made with it or fashion shows documented. Or in September 2016, Photographer Alan Karchmer pictured with his ALPA12 XY the architecture of the new National Museum of African American History and Culture at the Smithsonian as well as the opening speech given by Barack Obama. The era of this camera now somehow comes to an end and becomes part of the company’s history. In the future, we will continue providing an awesome solution for the specific needs of our customers like we do with the ALPA 12 MAX and ALPA 12 STC. They are more compact and more lightweight. At the same time, they follow the outstanding features inherited from the ALPA 12 XY.
A milestone in technical photography
Back in 2006, leading architecture photographers lacked a tool for their needs. So one night the owners of ALPA sat down with local architecture photography professionals to discuss the matter.
It turned out that the camera to design had to be a middle piece between both classic and digital photography. “We had to develop a stable camera, being also able to rise and fall the front at the same time”, ALPA-Co-Owner André Oldani remembers. “All the manipulations, including stitching and shifting, had to be possible without taking the camera off the tripod.” The solution was the ALPA 12 XY. It was first shown in 2006 at Salon de la Photo in Paris. In the following years, the ALPA 12 XY models became even more easy to handle. “It was probably the first camera with this wide but still highly precise range of settings”, Oldani says. “And weight was no real issue back then. But now we have to follow the general trends toward smaller and lighter cameras.”
Instead of a farewell speech for the XY, ALPA created a limited edition: A final, limited and numbered series of ten ALPA 12 XY are available from now on. The limited edition comes in a special case and a graphics according to the philosophy behind the camera: being able to shift in different directions at once. We also improved handling with a new stitching column, which is available separately. It will allow Photographers to do their work even faster and there will be no more hassle with any type of tripod.
An end but not a definite one
The fact we developed this new accessory is an example for our product care and our commitment to improve in every aspect: Even if time moves on, an ALPA camera is never old fashioned. We still provide full service and availability of spare parts as well as accessory for the ALPA 12 XY. Like all ALPA models, this one is also designed for a long-lasting life. All the wearing parts are renewable, which guarantees that there will be a lot of stories to tell with the XY in future. And from time to time, some pre-owned products of ALPA appear on the market. To put it another way: The XY will be around for a long time in action and pre-owend, but the Limited Edition 10 Years is the last chance to get a new masterpiece of ALPA history. There is also a possibility to add your very own name by engraving it on the camera. Just in case taking outstanding photos is not enough.
Field of Application
Links to Product Pages
ALPA 12 XY Limited Edition 10 Years
ALPA stitching column ALPA 12 XY