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neil poulsen
15-Feb-2017, 21:33
Last year, I picked up a Sinar Norma 8x10 kit at a Kent, Wa. swap meet. My initial intent was to turn this kit over for a profit. But the more I became familiar with a Norma and its accessories, the more I liked the system.

Having always preferred a rail camera, it would be nice to backpack my Norma 8x10. But, the 12” base rail typically used with all Norma formats makes this pretty much impossible. It’s no surprise that the 6” rail on its own is too short. So, I experimented with different strategies, one of which involved a backpack, carrying the camera in one hand using a case, and carrying my tripod in the other. No go, though; too clumsy. (Etc.)

Then about two weeks ago, I stumbled on an EBay listing that involved a customization to “lengthen” a standard Sinar 6” rail. While the EBay example involved machining, it gave me an idea as to how one could more simply accomplish the same goal. The photographs illustrate how this can be put together.

Photo A: Shows parts in the order of assembly for both the 6” rail and the cap.

Photo B: See steps below . . .

>> For the rail, insert the large nut over the screw inside the rail. The nut should be large enough to encircle the nut interior to the rail, and it should be thick enough to extend beyond the interior nut.

>> Add the fender washer over the large nut.

>> Tighten the 6mm (metric diameter) extender enough so that the red knob won’t turn, when adding Sinar rail extensions to the opposite end. Since all the parts involved are metal, I made this quite tight.

>> Screw in the 1”, 6mm metric bolt into the extender. (I cut this to size from a larger bolt.)

>> As for the cap, screw the 6mm (metric diameter) extender over the cap's interior, threaded bolt. I made it snug, but not tight. Otherwise, it could break the black plastic end piece.

>> This photo shows an additional wood piece that I made, plus the cap. A guide is needed to screw the two finished parts together in Photo B. I made this guide by sanding down a 1.5 diameter, 1 5/8 long dowel down to a diameter that would fit snugly in both the rail and the cap. The center hole has just the diameter needed to fit loosely over the extenders.

Photo C: Screw the three parts together, and one has rail that’s just long enough to backpack a Norma 8x10 camera. This rail is 8 3/8” long.

Photo D: Adding a second end cap to the red knob makes it 9 inches total. I usually leave it off.

neil poulsen
15-Feb-2017, 21:38
The photo below shows the end result. (Sans one end cap.)

The dimensions of the camera with the extended 6” rail are 13” side to side, 15” long, and 9” thick. Achieving the 15” length involves loosening and turning the clamp by 45 degrees. I can easily fit this into my somewhat oversized backpack and still have room left for four lenses, some accessories, and film. My pack has an additional compartment on the lid where I can pack the film.

All in all, the addition of the 8 3/8" rail makes this quite a suitable system for field photography. For one thing, a Norma 8x10 is a very capable camera. I have the bag bellows. So any lens that that covers 8x10 (or smaller formats) can be used with this camera. I have both the 4x5 and 5x7 reduction backs that can come in handy. I can also purchase vertical extensions for the front standard that will give me an additional 6" of rise!

The camera is surprisingly light. Most metal rail 8x10 cameras can weigh upwards of 17 or 18 lbs, or more. What you see in the photo weighs a tad less than 13lbs, including the quick release plate for the Manfrotto hexagonal system. My Feisol 3372 CF tripod and Manfrotto 3039 head can easily manage this camera.

Camera setup takes about a minute. It’s a matter of removing the camera from the backpack, setting it on the tripod, and adding whatever additional rail is needed. Recall that the red rail knob won’t turn, so additional rail lengths can be easily added.

I've decided that this camera is definitely a keeper.

Steven Tribe
16-Feb-2017, 08:12
Yes, a good idea.

The usual Sinar packaging in the Sinar suitcases are absolutely not suitable for field transport, but a short rail with the standards and mount makes sense.

neil poulsen
16-Feb-2017, 08:27
I think that in part, as a result of its lack of portability, people are unaware of the versatility and quality of this camera. It has struck me as kind of a sleeper.

Greg
16-Feb-2017, 08:38
Here's how I folded up my 8x10 Sinar Norma to carry inside a f64 backpack.

Will Whitaker
16-Feb-2017, 09:05
Neil,

I don't "get" it. What is the premise? And what exactly is the solution in general terms? (not the construction details)

Seems to me that an 8" rail is going to be very limiting, especially for an 8x10 camera. But I have a feeling I'm missing a key element here.

Pete Oakley
16-Feb-2017, 11:53
You can always carry an extension rail in your backpack. They don't weigh a lot.

Jerry Bodine
16-Feb-2017, 12:22
...Seems to me that an 8" rail is going to be very limiting, especially for an 8x10 camera...

Will, look again at Neil's post #2:
Camera setup takes about a minute. It’s a matter of removing the camera from the backpack, setting it on the tripod, and adding whatever additional rail is needed. Recall that the red rail knob won’t turn, so additional rail lengths can be easily added.

Vaughn
16-Feb-2017, 13:46
I have a Gowland PocketView 4x5...a lightweight rail camera. It's rail comes apart in the middle (two 6" sections), and by loosening the swings, one can fold it nice and flat -- a different method than Greg's , but a similar result. Having the standards stay on the rail(s) does quicken set-up. I take off the lens as it might break the GG.

But backpacking with an 8x10 is out of my league (but I have a friend with burros...so we'll see!) I have a 5x7 Norma that I have not even set-up yet. I have backpacked with an 100+ yr old Kodak 5x7, but I miss the movements and the solidity of a good field camera. I'll think about the Norma's backpack capabilities when I use it on my upcoming car-camping photo trip. I have carried the 4x5 and the 5x7 into the wilderness on the tripod over my shoulder -- and in the pack on the way out. Solo hiking means one has to carry everything that is usually shared by two (or more), and there is not enough room for a LF camera in my pack on the way in. I can usually sneak the Rolleicord into my pack, though.

neil poulsen
16-Feb-2017, 15:21
. . . I'll think about the Norma's backpack capabilities when I use it on my upcoming car-camping photo trip. I have carried the 4x5 and the 5x7 into the wilderness on the tripod over my shoulder . . .

Vaughn,

This "longer" rail is needed for 8x10, given that camera's extra thickness. But, I have a shorter rail (6 3/4") that has a similar construction. (See photo below.) If it's long enough, it makes for a smaller package, and it has the same ease of setup.

In the same way, it's based on the 6" Sinar short rail. But instead of the end cap used above that extends the length, I instead inserted one of the older black plastic or rubber end caps intended for the old base rails that accepts extensions only on one side.

Also similarly to the "longer" rail above, one can use the same large nut, fender washer, and a 6mm metric nut (not the extender) to tighten the red knob on the opposite end of the shorter rail. (Adding extensions to the shorter rail's red knob is going to be problematic, if it's permitted to turn freely.)

Of course, you would have the Norma 4x5 or 5x7 rear standard, versus the Sinar F rear standard that I'm using on this camera.

By the way, backpacking with an 8x10 is easy. It's just a matter of avoiding hills.

neil poulsen
16-Feb-2017, 15:30
Here's how I folded up my 8x10 Sinar Norma to carry inside a f64 backpack.

It's good to know that this works with the f64. Thanks.

Greg
16-Feb-2017, 18:15
It's good to know that this works with the f64. Thanks.

"Works" is more of a positive take on carrying an 8x10 Sinar Norma in a f/64 backpack. Backpack does adapt to carrying the camera by modifying the interior configuration but not all that easily done and space efficiently done. In the end bought an 8x10 Charmonix. The 8x10 Sinar Norma remains, for me, a "studio" or out-of-the-trunk-of-the-car 8x10 camera.

neil poulsen
16-Feb-2017, 22:41
. . . In the end bought an 8x10 Charmonix. The 8x10 Sinar Norma remains, for me, a "studio" or out-of-the-trunk-of-the-car 8x10 camera.

That was my plan for the Deardorff I'm selling and keeping the Norma at home. But given that they weigh about the same, once I was able to conveniently fit the Norma into my backpack, I really had no need for both cameras.

Of course, being under 10lbs, the Chamonix is indeed a light0-weight camera.

Vaughn
17-Feb-2017, 01:19
Neil -- got out the 5x7 Normal -- actually the 5x7 back was made out of a chunk of plastic by a friend I got the camera from.

I have a couple 12" rails and a 5" rail (which rotates and won't stay secure). Just the one 12" should be enough, tho I'll take the other 12" for when (and if) I use my new Fuji W 360mm on it. Otherwise, I found enough Sinar boards to mount the Fuji 360mm, the Fuji W 180 and the Computar 210/6.3 --the Fuji W 250/6.7 was already to go on a Sinar board. My Fuji W 300 is on a wood Sinar sized board, but won't fit on the Norma. My Zone VI 8x10 takes Sinar boards so I am all set. Too many lenses, really! LOL!

A quick image of the beast and the Fuji 180mm.

Will Whitaker
17-Feb-2017, 11:00
Will, look again at Neil's post #2:
Camera setup takes about a minute. Itís a matter of removing the camera from the backpack, setting it on the tripod, and adding whatever additional rail is needed. Recall that the red rail knob wonít turn, so additional rail lengths can be easily added.

I was slow to understand, but got it now. Thanks.
Good idea. The Norma IS quick to set up if you can get past the issue of transporting it, which this seems to do.

Daniel Unkefer
26-Feb-2017, 14:16
It may sound crazy but I have hiked for miles with my 8x10 Norma, on a wooden tripod. I rolled up a towel and folded it around my shoulder, and off I went.
I carried it all put together and it was surprisingly easy to do this. When I got to where I was going, I was glad to have this ready to go.

A soft bag of holders over the other shoulder helped to counterbalance. Yes I was tired and sore afterwards but it worked well in my opinion.

Greg
26-Feb-2017, 16:04
It may sound crazy but I have hiked for miles with my 8x10 Norma, on a wooden tripod. I rolled up a towel and folded it around my shoulder, and off I went.
I carried it all put together and it was surprisingly easy to do this. When I got to where I was going, I was glad to have this ready to go.

A soft bag of holders over the other shoulder helped to counterbalance. Yes I was tired and sore afterwards but it worked well in my opinion.

"Crazy" not the term to use here. Stubborn and thick-headed better phrases to use.... I know because I have done the same with my Norma, usually hiking up wet stream beds to reach waterfalls. Worst time was when I reached the waterfall, set up the Norma, and then discovered that the two film holders that I had brought with me contained already exposed film.

Greg

Pere Casals
26-Feb-2017, 16:06
By now the Norma design is some 70 years old (launched 1948). Mr Koch made a very brilliant and innovetive product.

70 years later... still surprising !!!

I find my 4x5 norma very fieldable, I'd like to own the 8x10, or at least the 5x7 to also field it.

A Norma: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-ZCEXWdIMg

Greg
26-Feb-2017, 17:27
By now the Norma design is some 70 years old (launched 1948). Mr Koch made a very brilliant and innovetive product.

70 years later... still surprising !!!

I find my 4x5 norma very fieldable, I'd like to own the 8x10, or at least the 5x7 to also field it.

A Norma: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-ZCEXWdIMg

I remember once reading that Adams used a 5x7 Norma with a reducing 4x5 back in order to reduce internal reflections off the bellows.

neil poulsen
27-Feb-2017, 00:30
And, I'm not kidding about avoiding hills.:D I can't imagine going up hills with this camera.

But if there's a scene a fair distance from transportation, this gives me the means of using an 8x10.

Will Whitaker
15-Mar-2017, 11:50
Vaughn,

This "longer" rail is needed for 8x10, given that camera's extra thickness. But, I have a shorter rail (6 3/4") that has a similar construction. (See photo below.) If it's long enough, it makes for a smaller package, and it has the same ease of setup.


I have the 6 3/4" rail segment and just discovered that I can just fit both front and rear standards of my Norma 8x10 onto it. Of course I don't have 100% engagement of the front standard, but with caution it does make for quite a compact handful of 8x10 and allows me to place the camera, inverted, into a top-loading Lightware case from which I like to work.
I'll be getting outside with this kit in the next couple of weeks and look forward to finding out if it's entirely practical. But I'm optimistic.

Daniel Unkefer
16-Mar-2017, 05:44
And, I'm not kidding about avoiding hills. I can't imagine going up hills with this camera.



Hi Neil,

Twenty years ago a friend and I went out to Denver and we camped all around Colorado for a month. I DID go up and down mountainside trails with the 8x10". But the majority of the trip was all 4x5 Norma. I carried the Norma attached to my Lightweight Zone VI with Norma head. A towel rolled up on my shoulder provided the padding.

Getting just the right sized Norma rail is an excellent idea for super wide shooting :)

Pere Casals
17-Mar-2017, 01:49
And, I'm not kidding about avoiding hills. I can't imagine going up hills with this camera.



Hi Neil,

Twenty years ago a friend and I went out to Denver and we camped all around Colorado for a month. I DID go up and down mountainside trails with the 8x10". But the majority of the trip was all 4x5 Norma. I carried the Norma attached to my Lightweight Zone VI with Norma head. A towel rolled up on my shoulder provided the padding.

Getting just the right sized Norma rail is an excellent idea for super wide shooting :)

59 years after product release the Norma is still top notch gear. Single problem I've with it is that I feel I don't deserve the privilege to use same gear that Mr Adams.

neil poulsen
18-Mar-2017, 04:39
One nice thing about the way this project came together is that, by tightening the red knob on the end so that it can't turn, after mounting the camera onto the tripod, it's easy to then add however many extensions are needed to the front end of the rail.

For example, in addition to the above 9" rail onto which I would load the camera, one could carry two 6" rails and a 12" rail and incrementally lengthen the camera's combined rail up to almost 32".

That's enough to use a 600mm lens and still attach my contrived, Sinar/Toyo compendium lens hood . . .

http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?130361-Compendium-Bellows-Lenshood-for-Sinar-Norma-Cameras