Sinar - opinion please

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by miha, Feb 19, 2014.

  1. Hi,
    some days ago I was asking about a Plaubel camera. Link here :
    Your comments were extermely useful, but the camera was sold.
    Now I found another outfit, this time a Sinar : http://www.photobö m_ 5_6_150mm Symmar-S.html
    Sinar P with Schneider Kreuznach 150mm 5.6, 90mm 5.6, 210mm 5.6, 'behind the lens shutter' (I hope to get the translation correct), case, WA bellows and 'a lot more' (as quoted). The price is 1800 Euro, it is (as I think) the usual price for this equipment in this corner of the world.
    I'd like to hear your comments about the set (you don't need to comment the price). I think the Sinar P is better than the Plaubel, beacause there is a lot more of equipment and accessories available - in the shops and on the net.
    Please, help me, I need the advice(s) quick.
    Regards, Miha.
  2. The Sinar P is an awesome studio camera, though pretty heavy. I use its little
    brother, the X model and love it. Accessories abound, at least in the states. The Sinar
    system to adjjst movements and obtain focus is great. Takes a lot of the guesswork
    out of the process. The price of 1800 eur is astonishing to me. Though it was a very
    expensive camera in its day, i have seen them as low as 600 usd for a good one in
    the states, though many are higher. I would think you should be able to get that
    setup for well under 1000 eur. The 150mm is a good lens, but not that valuable.
  3. You can't go wrong with Sinar! I had a Sinar P a while back, I bought it to replace my Norma cameras, 4x5 and 8x10. In the end I decided I liked the Normas better, so kept them. There seem to be many Normas around in excellent order for $800 or so:
    Cheaper ones seem to have minor parts like locking knobs missing. If you are buying a camera just to use for fun and there's no question of losing prestige by being seen working with a 50-year-old camera, I'd say go for a Norma - they are so well engineered and last forever. Plenty of accessories including pre-drilled and undrilled lens boards on e-bay for not too much, as well. The Sinar behind the lens shutter is a clever idea but unless you want to work with weird lenses that only come in shutterless barrel versions, I'd go for lenses in normal shutters. Note that a "standard" lens for studio work is really 210mm.
  4. Many years ago I was a sales rep for Sinar cameras, and actually trained in the Sinar factory in Switzerland. I know the Sinar to be possibly the world's best. One of the things that makes it stand out is a patented method of controlling yaw. I can't remember much more than that, so I Googled it for you. See this site:
  5. Miha - This is a nice looking complete Sinar outfit. One thing to consider with the Sinar P is it is a heavy camera for a 4X5. I'm remembering a weight of somewhere around 13 pounds, but if weight matters to you, do a search and find the actual weight in kg for a P. Possibly you aren't worried about camera weight. Photographers do use these P models outside the studio, so it can be done. If you ever needed a lighter camera, all the lenses and accessories with this Sinar P will work for a Sinar Norma or Sinar F or F2.
    I see a couple of items included in the outfit which add to the value. The Sinar behind-lens shutter seems to sell in the US for around $400, more or less. The shutter in the pictures has the special Sinar cable release included. A normal cable release won't fire the Sinar shutter, so it is very important this cable is included. And I see in the pictures there is a Sinar tripod head (shown in the upper right-hand corner of the bottom of the case). I don't have one of these for my Sinar, but I wish I did. Sinar owners seem to love them. These also sell for around $400 on eBay here in the US. So the shutter and tripod head add quite a bit to the value of this outfit.
    The lenses appear to be older versions of Schneider lenses, but are probably fine lenses. The 90mm Super-Angulon is the f5.6 aperture version which is more desirable than the f8 version. All of these lenses are designed to work only with the Sinar shutter so can't really be used on another view camera. However, other lenses with built-in shutters can be used on the Sinar, if you find these lenses not up to the work you do. There are many lenses available on the used market in the Sinar DB mount for use with the Sinar shutter. If you ever want to use older brass-barrel soft-focus lenses, the Sinar shutter is wonderful for those or any lens without a built-in shutter.
  6. More thoughts - The Sinar P is easily upgraded to 5X7/13X18 format size by changing the rear frame, focusing back, and bellows. Just these parts need to be changed; the lower part of the rear standard with the knobs and movement controls stays on the rail. I believe an 8X10 frame will fit also, but there may be restricted movements for 8X10 format on the 4X5 standard. There are some details there I can't remember. 5X7 conversion pieces should be easier to find, especially in Europe, than a 5X7 Norma conversion kit.
    You mentioned possibly shooting roll film. There are several ways you can do this with the Sinar P, including a slider back like the one that was included in the Plaubel outfit.
  7. I too think that the Sinar Ps (i have and use a couple of them) are the best ever made. Well built, though they too will need service now and again, have nylon parts replaced, will take knocks pretty well but will also show the signs.<br>And a pleasure to use, with a well thought-out way of controlling movements and focus, and a completely modular system that offers bits for everything you might want to do.<br><br>The price of this kit, however, seems o.k., a little bit high, to me. (And there i go, commenting on the price even though...)<br>Sinar Ps, like other LF cameras, were dumped in large numbers not that long ago by studios who stop using LF and movements, use Canons and Photoshop instead. The kit in question probably too.<br>And that meant that prices dropped to almost nothing. Eu 400 for a complete P (without lens) is already a lot. They are sold for that money, so people buy them. But you can also find them for a less.<br>The Sinar Copal shutter is a desirable thing, not just sought after by Sinar users, So it usually fetches quite a bit, but Eu 200 should buy you one in good shape.<br>The three lenses in DB mount are good, but nothing special, and will not make up the remaining Eu 1200. Not by far. Half that, perhaps Eu 800 for all three (for some reason the same lenses mounted in a Compur or Copal shutter are more expensive than those mounted in Sinar DB mounts).<br>Then there are some other items: the tripod head in particular, and the case, both fetch Eu 100 or thereabouts.<br>So all in all, a bit short of the asking price. And considering that stuff sold in a kit fetches less than the individual parts sold separately (people selling complete kits just want to get rid of the stuff - you often see the items return on the market sold as individual parts by someone who wants to get as much as possible for them), i would say making an offer in the region of Eu 1200 - 1400 isn't unrealistic at all.<br><br>Things get expensive when you want to add a 5x7" conversion kit. An 8x10" kit is more expensive still, can easily set you back Eu 1000 or so.<br>Lenses too can get expensive. An ultra wide like the Schneider Super Angulon XL 47 mm (very usefull both on 4x5" and smaller roll film formats: i like 6x12 and 6x9 behind the Sinar - no way near as big as the 4x5", but very usable still, and combining all the good things the Sinars offer with the ease of handling and processing, and scanning, roll film) will easily fetch Eu 800, used.<br>But will you need a 5x7" or 8x10" kit? And other lenses than the three, 'basic set' you would get in this kit?
  8. An 8x10" kit is more expensive still, can easily set you back Eu 1000 or so.
    You never can tell ... I bought my 4x5 Sinar Norma from a second-hand dealer in GB by phone (I think it cost £300) and while I was talking, they said "Would you like an 8x10 conversion kit for £100?" I said yes - when it arrived, it turned out to be a COMPLETE 8x10 camera - it was quite old but it works fine!
  9. Miha, before you jump, I hope you know that the Sinar DB shutter has a shortest speed of 1/60th sec. That's not usually a problem for studio work, but it may be a consideration if you're planning on doing landscapes or suchlike outdoors.
  10. From the photos It looks like what you have there is an entire Sinar P expert kit including extra monorails, bellows ,
    possibly the lens shade/ filter holder kit, the cas e, AND a Sinar tripod head which among the very best three or four
    tripod heads ever made for still photography.
  11. Re weight: the Ps aren't field cameras that fold neatly and fit in a back pack. They are heavy indeed. The way to transport them is in their case, on a trolley. Even if the case would be one with wheels: you can pack your tripod, light stands, other cases (containing lenses, filters, film holders) all on that trolley.<br>You obviously will not travel far on foot with such a load, and only on 'easy' ground.<br><br>One thing that probably needs attention on any Sinar are the sirit levels. There are quite a few on them, and you will come across empty ones. You can replace them, but they cos a bit. What i do is first inspect the thing to see why the content managed to get away and fix that (a bit of superglue, or plastic cement), than slowly bore a hole in one end of the level with a thin needle, heated until red hot so it melts its way through the plastic (you will need a number of needles because the heating makes them brittle and they will break), fill it up (not completely, of course) with pure alcohol (water is too sticky, will not work in these levels) through a syringe and a fine needle, and seal the hole with superglue or plastic cement. Works.<br><br>The Normas mentioned a number of times are great cameras. Very high quality. True classics. But they work as any other, not having the axle arrangement that turns the Ps into yaw-free cameras, and not using the easy two point adjustment system. Good as they are, they are not as good as Ps.
  12. ... not having the axle arrangement that turns the Ps into yaw-free cameras, and not using the easy two point adjustment system.
    This is true, but what I didn't like about the P was the "gearshift" IIRC between swing and tilt, which I thought was not well engineered and could give trouble over time. What "yaw-free" amounts to is being able to apply tilt while keeping the image in focus - since I trained on MPP technical camera and De Vere LF monorails, refocusing as I applied tilt never bothered me! It's hard to say whether a Norma or a P is "better" - I would say P is a little quicker to use, Norma is somewhat more durable.
  13. With "good" or "better" i meant easier to use. No more. And though it is perfectly possible to work quick with a more traditionally arranged camera, the difference remains.<br>But yes, the Normas are great cameras (though, like everything, with their own little "issues" too). (And they too, like all 'traditional' view cameras are yaw free, if you turn them 90 degrees on their side. ;-) )<br><br>Ps will take a knock or two without much pain. I don't know that they would be less robust than the Normas. But they (Ps) do have their weak points as well.<br>The 'gear change' you mention, David, is indeed not the most elegant thing, which is why they changed this to two separate controls on the P2.<br><br>For me, the asymmetric, gear driven movements take the way you work with view cameras to a different level. From an iterative process, approaching the best setting by minimizing the error through a series of tries, to a precise and 'measured' process that gets you there in one go. Like trying to close a bottle with the right size stopper by trying many until you find the one that fits, or by measuring the size of the stopper needed and getting the right one straight away.<br>A fundamentally different approach. But the real question indeed is how big a difference it makes in practice. Not huge, i'd say. But certainly big enough.<br>Ps certainly can't beat the classic look of a Norma though. Shiny, with all those rods and bars and levers. Beautiful bit of design. ;-)
  14. To satisfy my curiosity I looked up weights of Sinars. I'm not saying a Norma or an F2 is "better" than a P because of being lighter, but I believe weight is the primary reason the P is considered a studio camera. Although they can be used in the field and some photographers use them that way on a regular basis. I seem to recall a landscape photographer on the LF Forum who uses an 8X10 P as his main camera
    From this Sinar page:
    4X5 P2 - 5.9 kg (13 lbs.)
    5X7 P2 - 6.8 kg (15 lbs.)
    8X10 P2 - 8.2 kg (18 lbs)
    From this page:
    4X4 F2 - 3.6 kg (8 lbs)
    My own 4X5 Norma weighs 7 3/4 lbs. with a blank lens board.
  15. This may be a little off-topic, but can someone please post a Sinar raw image sample?
    I just want to play with it in my software.

    Thank you very much
  16. Pardon? - It#s a view camera. You can probably cobble any back of choice onto it, adapt your mirrorless or DSLR or stick to film
  17. I would be interested on any .sti - regardless of digital back used
  18. Search on Flickr.
  19. The Sinar is basically a flexible box to hold a lens at one end and film/sensor at the other.

    Without knowing the characteristics of the lens fitted, viewing digital files taken with the aid of the Sinar box is entirely pointless. All that matter are lens and sensor.
  20. The Sinar P weighs about 13 pounds. While it is heavy, you don't have to worry about the standards shivering in the wind. The movements are yaw-free and gear operated. The X model is good, but the P is top of the line.

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