Swiss camera and adapter manufacturer Alpa has introduced a new device that allows Nikon and Canon users to mount some of their lenses on digital medium format backs and have access to aperture controls. The Alpa Silex control unit works with the company’s 12 series bodies and brings aperture control to electronically operated lenses from Canon and Nikon, as well as Contax, Hasselblad and Rollei. All Canon EF lenses can be controlled but only Nikon E lenses, with electromagnetic diaphragm mechanisms, will work.

With a Silex in place compatible lenses can be used to record images on a wide range of digital medium format backs. The A12 cameras accept digital backs of a variety of ages, so users don’t necessarily need the latest, and the image area will depend on the size of the sensor used and the covering circle of the lens. 

The Silex not only allows aperture adjustments but also AF control in most Hasselblad H, Canon EF and Nikon E lenses, and web access means the device can be handled remotely over a server.

Initially presented at Photokina 2016 the Alpa Silex is available now for $3600/CHF3355. For more information see the Alpa website.

Press release

The control unit ALPA Silex is a brand new, central element of ALPA’s extended modular photographic system. Photographers and soon even videographers will be able to combine ALPA cameras with digital backs of various manufacturers and lenses from Canon, Contax, Hasselblad, Nikon or Rollei. A variety of functions and operating modes are available to the user.

Handy and flexible - Silex is the Swiss pocket knife of the control units. Under this claim, ALPA presented the product at the Photokina 2016. The name Silex itself, however, goes much further back: it reminds us of the material for the all-purpose tools of the stone-age. ALPA Silex is the new all-purpose tool in the ALPA system. It can be used to convert any model of the classic ALPA-12 series into an electronic camera.

The basis for the development of ALPA Silex is the ALPA 12 FPS, introduced at Photokina 2012, with electronically controlled focal plane shutter. The integrated controller was separated as a standalone module and all functions except for the slot shutter were taken over. All known digital components from Hasselblad, Phase One / Leaf and Sinar can be synchronized and the electromechanical diaphragms of Canon EF, Contax, Hasselblad H, Nikon E and Rollei can be controlled. The leaf shutter in Hasselblad HC / HCD (up to 1/800s, "orange" line even up to 1/1000s) and Rollei 6000 (up to 1/500s) can be used, as well as the focus control of many of the lenses from Canon, Hasselblad H and Nikon E. The integrated web server allows remote control in networks without software installation. The future support of Sinar eShutter systems is already prepared.

Together with existing camera models from ALPA, the photographer can use a vast number of third party lenses and, depending on the available image circle, also perform shifts (shifting and stitching). In the future, our back-end adapters will also make it possible to use ALPA cameras for video recording in conjunction with the corresponding digital backs.

Available now:

  • The control unit ALPA Silex,
  • The electronic lens adapter (ELA),
  • As well as the ALPA lens module Hasselblad fix (HAF).
  • Also, immediately available for download is the latest firmware version 4.03, which makes all new functions of ALPA Silex also available for the ALPA 12 FPS. Free as always - as an investment in the ALPA system is sustainable and the term ‘planned obsolescence’ is alien to ALPA. Even if the environment changes, an ALPA will persist.