View Full Version : Using Sinar Norma equipment in the field...

18-Apr-2017, 16:45
I have always admired Fred Picker and Kipton Kumler for using their Sinar Normas in the field. Fred a 4x5 and Kipton an 8x10. Does anyone out there know how they transported their camera outfits around? Sinar's older cases for their Norma systems I have. Both the 4x5 and the 8x10 are huge and tax me carrying them over long distances. The case for the 8x10 system, has attachments for attaching back straps and transportation the case as you would a backpack... I've tried it and you've got to be kidding... a camping and hiking backpack holding twice (or more) the weight is way more comfortable on my back. So... would appreciate how people use and transport their Sinar Norma systems in the field.

18-Apr-2017, 16:53
I carried my F2 4x5 in it's Sinar case when I was doing architectural work. Not exactly field, but it was location work!

Pali K
18-Apr-2017, 17:11
Hi Greg,

I have done 4-5 hours (total time) hikes with my 4x5 Norma a few times. I do have a proper case for it but it is too bulky so I typically just fold it down as small as I can and put the camera in a large general backpack. I am able to carry two lenses and about ten holders fairly comfortably but your long distance might be much longer than any of my trips. What made a huge difference for me was to get a lightweight FLM tripod and ballhead to go with the camera.

I also have the F64 extra large backpack for my 8x10 Deardorff setup that gets a bit more challenging but I have been able to pull it off for smaller trips.


Keith Pitman
18-Apr-2017, 17:22
You could look for a Kelty pack frame. Strap a camera case on the frame and go to work.

Mark Sampson
18-Apr-2017, 17:45
I carry my 4x5 Norma in a Tamrac bag that converts into a backpack. (It's 25 years old now so I don't suppose they still make that model.) It carried a 4x5 Zone VI before, and I was pleased to find that the Norma would fit. Haven't hiked any great distances with it carrying the Sinar, but that kit only weighs about 2lb more than the Z-VI kit did, so it's a feasible option.

Mark Sampson
18-Apr-2017, 17:52
But on the other hand, remember that Fred Picker OEM'd Wista cameras for a while before hiring Ron Wisner to design a compact field camera... and then had it re-designed after a falling-out with Mr. Wisner. And sold that camera for a number of years... perhaps he found the Norma less than ideal out in the countryside.

Ron McElroy
18-Apr-2017, 18:22
When I shot with a monorail I used a cargo backback frame similar to this.....http://www.cabelas.com/product/Cabelas-Alaskan-Outfitter-Frame-and-Harness-Only/745196.uts
I still keep it with me when shooting with my Ancso Commerical 8x10.

Alan Gales
18-Apr-2017, 18:27
Buy yourself some type of cart with wheels especially if you are shooting an 8x10 Norma.

Bernice Loui
18-Apr-2017, 19:43
Have used a 5x7 Sinar C in the field for decades. It all goes into a rolling case (wheels with handle) with the case rolled to where images are made. Don't hike or go off trail much at all or venture far from the car. Currently working on making a hybrid Sinar front Arca Swiss 5x7 monorail and looking to putting together a 5x7 Sinar Norma then making a choice of which of the three ends up being the ideal 5x7 portable_ish monorail.

Camera choice should depend on photographer's needs. There are those who simply do not like field-box cameras and are driven to use a monorail. There have been many stories of folks hiking with a 8x10 Sinar monorail.


Steven Tribe
19-Apr-2017, 01:58
Buy yourself some type of cart with wheels especially if you are shooting an 8x10 Norma.

I have used a Sinar Norma 8x10" just once in the field. This was at the "open air" museum in the north of Copenhagen. This is a huge collection of rural buildings, removed from their original settings and reassembled (like LEGO!) in appropriate locations in a parkland. Watermills by a stream, windmills on top of a hill etc.

This superb museum caters for family outings, so they have a quantity of of 4 wheeled carts for the very young visitors. These worked extemely well on fairly rough tracks with a full load of two cameras (including the Norma) and a couple of big lenses doing archictectual details.

19-Apr-2017, 06:31
Before I found this site, I would occasionally take my Sinar F1 out into the field. I found it very heavy and bulky, and thus not easy to transport. My solution was to build a carry case out of a hard-sided roller suitcase. I cut out some foam (made for a camping sleeping pad) and glued them (contact cement) to shape to secure and protect my camera and some accessories. I then glued on a coating of soft cloth over the foam. This made it much easier to carry the camera around so long as I was on concrete or asphalt, because all I had to do was drag it along on the ground. I could even place my crazy heavy tripod on top, so all I'd need to carry on me was my lens bag. It also is a convenient way to take my camera with me on a plane, as it's really rigid protection and holds up well to abuse (though it's still small enough to pass as a carry-on, which is what I do with it). The problem was carrying it in the field. For that, I bought a back pack frame, much like the others have suggested, and made some Velcro straps to strap it into the frame. The wheels poke out the bottom of the frame and help secure it in place. It's a lot easier to carry in the field now, though it's still really bulky and heavy.

Eventually, I solved those problems by buying a Crown Graphic. So now I have one camera for when I need movements and won't be walking far from my car, and another camera for when I need portability. And I got them both for less than the price of most field cameras. As an added bonus, the Crown Graphic has a focal plane shutter for my Petzval!

Jerry Bodine
19-Apr-2017, 10:29
You could look for a Kelty pack frame. Strap a camera case on the frame and go to work.

Back in the early ‘70s when I was in my late 30s and just starting out backpacking in mountains, I bought a new 4x5 Norma. To pack the kit for long trips, I built an aluminum rectangular box out of sheet metal/angles/pop-rivets with padded partitions and a lid held on by bungee cords (head-first falls were not allowed). The box was very light. It was strapped to the “roll bar” at the top of one of my original Kelty external pack frames (higher quality than current ones). The first time out with this arrangement was a 10-day trip to high mountain lakes at about 7500 feet altitude, very successful photographically. The kit contained six film holders and 100-sheet box of color film, six lenses including a 360 Symmar (beast), many gel filters; tripod was an aluminum Gitzo Series 4 with Sinar pan-tilt head (8.5 lbs) strapped to the frame and resting on the sleeping bag that was strapped to the bottom of the frame. The total weight of the load was about 80 lbs. One does not move very fast with such a load. Couldn’t do that nowadays. The only flaw with this arrangement surfaced after setting up base camp, thus emptying the pack bag - so all the weight was at the top of the frame – then climbing a very steep hillside and coming upon a large boulder sticking out with no way around it, I had to turn around and sit on the boulder and try to push up and over. Worked OK until I got to the top of the boulder and leaned back into the hillside, but then I couldn’t get up and was like a helpless turtle on its back; had to open the waist belt to detach the pack and resolve the situation. We live and learn.

Daniel Unkefer
22-Apr-2017, 11:32
I have hiked for miles in hot weather with my 8x10 Norma, attached to my trusty Zone VI lightweight tripod. I rolled up a towel and layed it across my shoulder, and carried the camera/tripod balanced on that. I carried the 8x10 Holders in a Zone VI large white shoulder bag, it helped to counterbalance my body.

It worked for me at the time. Not sure if I could do that now :/

Bruce Barlow
22-Apr-2017, 12:08
Fred never went all that far from his car...