View Full Version : Sinar P???
Is the Sinaar P 4x5 a desirable camera?
If I bought one and didn't like it, would it be hard to sell if the camera is good condition.
The same question about the Cambo Master 4x5.
The P is a superb camera with all geared movements and very nice asymmetrical base-operated axial tilts and a yaw-free design. It is also very heavy and bulky. It's great for the studio, and was a favorite of product photographers before they all went digital (the P3 with a digital back might still be a favorite for those with a lot of provender).
Whether you can get your money back depends entirely on how much money you put in. My sense is that parting it out might make more than selling a whole unit. I don't follow the prices for a P--I have no need for something that heavy and bulky however precise it is.
Rick "no knowledge of the Cambo" Denney
If you choose to follow thru on a P5, I have an 8x10 for sale that I listed here some time ago. I have not sold it. If you would like we can discuss it off list.
Everything Rick said. I added a Sinar P to my Shen-Hao Field for portraits and "Explorer Adjacent" outdoor photography. Great camera to play with. As a completly modular system, it is sure to keep you poor forever. Value should hold if you buy "right". Highly recommend.
Sometimes you see them sell for less than $500 but bare in mind that the chrome Ps are going to be at least 25 years old and even in mint condition they may need service for lubrication and adjustment. Also many were used in high-volume catalog studios and used hard/put away wet. Some photographers, especially employees and not the owners, would over crank and hammer the controls. Also, since the cameras are modular, someone might assemble a kit from less than ideal parts.
(Imagine doing 20-60 shots a day with six-sheet brackets at $150-400 per shot, day after day - that was what it was like in the 80s - somewhat mind-numbing but quite profitable. Of course a new Sinar P cost what, the equivalent of $10K?)
Not to scare you or make you suspicious, but buy from good people based on condition more than lowest price. If you need service, Bob Watkins at Precision Camera Works http://precisioncameraworks.com/ in Chicago used to be a Sinar Tech, and also Sinar-Bron themselves still do a good job with service.
Otherwise, a clean Sinar P is like a rock. A Sinar P2 is a little nicer and I'd argue that Linhofs and Arcas may be better ultimate cameras, but it is hard to beat the value and versatility of the Sinar P in a studio camera.
Get the Sinar Pan-Tilt Head, it makes the system work so much better.
There are so many Sinar P cameras on eBay - some of them you should stay away from, and some of them would end up being pretty good deals.
I bought a rear standard, then a front standard separately, $200 each. Then I bought rails from the used department at a New York camera superstore.
As stated, the P is an old camera. Some of them will be nice, and some will be pretty beat up.
I sold my P because I found my Horseman to be more precise, even without the self-locking gears.
Consider a Sinar X. These are like a P2, but generally newer, without zero detents, a metering back, and a removeable rear frame to change formats.
You all are making me lust after P2's again......they are not light for field work....but really sweet...i would love to have P2's in both 4x5 and 8x10.....
David A. Goldfarb
I was lucky enough to find my P at a New York studio where they clearly had regular visits from the Sinar rep, so sometimes a camera that's seen heavy studio use will also be well maintained.
In my opinion, the best studio camera ever made. Get some F or Norma standards, and you also have a lighter, more compact camera for the field that uses the same boards, rails, bellows, e.t.c.
Biggest potential problem is the gears having been forced in the past leaving flat spots or moving past their intended limits.
In my opinion, the best studio camera ever made.
Ditto :cool: It's great in the trunk of a car. It's not ideal for trekking, but you can walk with it for a reasonable distance too.
Since no one has chimed in on the Cambo Master, I guess I will. I'm not an expert (shooting large format for only a little over two years) but I have had the opportunity to play with a Cambo Master. It's a very fine monorail and you really can't go wrong with it. One of the things that I really liked about it is that it breaks down and fits into it's own very small case.
The problem with the Master is that it sells for around the same price as a Sinar P. The Sinar has the Sinar shutter available plus the ability to mix Sinar F series parts with it. The Sinar P to me also felt sturdier than the "L" bracketed Master. I felt that the Sinar P was the better deal which of course is what I bought.
The Cambo Master is an L-shaped monorail, and is probably a really nice, heavy duty camera.
However, if you're not going to get a Sinar, and you want an L-shaped monorail, I'd get the Horseman (I have an LS model, with center AND base tilts, which would be almost identical to a Master PC).
The reason to get the Horseman L-shaped monorail over the Cambo Master/Master PC is because the Horseman uses Sinar lensboards and bellows!
This is a huge advantage, because there are tons of Sinar bellows/bag bellows/extra wide angle bellows (WA bellows 2)/lensboards/Auto Aperture Copal shutter/Sinar Binocular viewer, etc, that can be bought and used on the Horseman.
When I had my Sinar P, I didn't have to switch lens boards, and I used the same bellows between the two cameras. I could also use my Horseman graflock back and GG on the Sinar. Everything worked perfectly.
I'd forget the Cambo and go for a Sinar X if I were you (P2 if you're lucky and can find a good deal). Even though I sold my P, I still kind of want a like-new X.
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