ALPA Combines Analogue and Digital

06.2017 - In a time when manufacturers like Kodak are bringing new film to the market, many photographers find themselves asking the question: analogue or digital? At ALPA, we answer this question with a counter-question: What speaks against using them both at the same time? ALPA cameras sure don't... They form an interface between analogue and digital photography. Thanks to the modular design, the ALPA system allows the photographer to decide on a case-by-case basis on which technology is used.

The duality of an ALPA corresponds, among other things, to a trend that we see within the filming process: quite a few professional photographers use digital at work and rely on analogue cameras for their spare time.

Neither retro nor vintage

Although manufacturers are launching new products, the "film movement" in photography is mainly focused on used cameras and accessories. However, the terms retro and vintage clearly distinguish ALPA. Our customers do not have to resort to equipment that is decades old to photograph using film. We have been offering our photographers the opportunity to do so since the revitalization of the ALPA brand 20 years ago.

As usual with ALPA, we also use our experience to develop our products further. In doing so, we help to ensure that photography with film is not a pure lifestyle trend, but remains future-proof. The fact that ALPA photographers can also digitize the negatives with their camera and the coinciding back piece using only a light table, is one of the characteristics that distinguishes ALPA from other providers. It's a lot quicker than to scan and thanks to the high resoluting digitalbacks there is no loss of quality compared to a negativ scanner.

ETH relies on film

A further development from which we delineate is the trend towards cameras that make snapshots possible: in this respect, ALPA is located at the other end of the scale. Analogue photography in particular transports clear values ​​such as authenticity, immediacy and appreciation for meticulous craftsmanship. Anyone who decides to use film generally appreciates ​​these values ​​highly. An image which they have recorded and developed with film, will often be described by professional people as an original, which has more character than the digital counterpart.

In our opinion, this feedback is in line with the results achieved by photographers through "Slow Photography". ALPA also supports the photographic education of ETH students in the context of the promotion of young researchers. For the project "Ice Light Voids", we provided the Institute of Landscape Architecture ILA with a large section of photographic equipment. The analogue images for the project were created from February to April 2017 with four ALPA cameras and various accessories. Below this article you can find some "behind the scenes" images from this day on the glacier.

The "Serendipity" course of the Chair of Landscape Architecture at ETH Zurich discusses the possibilities of spatial composition with photography and sound on the basis of a large structure in the landscape. "We have approached the dying Morteratsch glacier at the south-eastern tip of Switzerland and investigated its concept", explains Bruno Vollmer, coordinator of the MediaLab at the ETH. "When working with Alpa's medium-format cameras, the workflow of an analogue image and the technique of sound recording and editing, we discussed the communication of space."

Focusing on a single image

The students had the task to approach the glacier for two days and to give their personal reference to this landscape in a photographic and acoustic work. This involved the question of landscape perception and representation, on the other hand, the use of media. "With analogue photography and development, we have chosen a medium that forces the students to rethink. There were only a limited number of negatives available and there was no way to check the results on site. Aspects which are no longer used in modern times, but which have led to the concentration on the individual image rising sharply and the moment of the impression is given a completely different meaning. "

The project participants needed material that is absolutely reliable and allows for a high degree of precision and, at the same time, provides a simple and clearly understandable operation, as the students had very little time to prepare themselves. All this had to work under very difficult conditions: "At the beginning of March, there was still plenty of snow on the ground that was further covered with ice and rock. On the first day of our workshop, we also had to struggle with a snowstorm, but the results have convinced us and the disadvantageous circumstances aren't percieved.", Vollmer said. "The students have managed to put the cameras in the most impossible places to portray their personal view of the ice mass." Alpa's equipment has worked together with the analogue film without letting us feel the circumstances. "

Classics ALPA 12 SWA available as kit

The ALPA 12 SWA is predestined for use with film. We launched it in 1996 as the first camera on the market from the "new" ALPA. The ALPA 12 SWA can be combined perfectly with film rests and suitable lenses due to its dimensions and its characteristics. Recently we reworked the camera slightly. The new version will soon be available from stock again. For the friends of analogue photography, a kit with a corresponding lens will soon be available.

If you have any questions regarding the shooting with film or ALPA products, please contact your ALPA-dealer or contact us. We are happy to help.









© Ralph Rosenbauer

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Product page ALPA SWA
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