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Thread: What will my Sinar F2 4x5 do that a Chamonix 4x5 or Ebony 4x5 won't

  1. #1
    stradibarrius stradibarrius's Avatar
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    What will my Sinar F2 4x5 do that a Chamonix 4x5 or Ebony 4x5 won't

    For those who have more experience than me is it necessary to have one of the better 4x5 field cameras and a high end monorail like a Sinar.
    I have a Graflex Super Speed Graphic and it seems that the bellows are a bit short to do much semi close up work. Not macro but if I were out in the woods and saw a composition that had a mushroom in it requiring a "close up" shot the SSG doesn't have enough bellows to isolate the mushroom subject.
    Generalizations are made because they are Generally true...

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    Re: What will my Sinar F2 4x5 do that a Chamonix 4x5 or Ebony 4x5 won't

    The sinar will do those things over any nice field camera:
    It will not fold
    It will be very heavy
    It will be very big to transport
    It will potentially offer a stiffer/sturdier camera at the cost of the above mentioned other "benefits"

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    Re: What will my Sinar F2 4x5 do that a Chamonix 4x5 or Ebony 4x5 won't

    Quick note: I owned a Sinar F, which was replaced first by a Wista/ZoneVI, and now by a Canham DLC^2. The answer to your question depends on what kind of photography you want to do. The Sinar has one more movement than most field cameras, rear rise. (My Canham, for example has rear tilt, swing, and shift, but not rise.) The Sinar can handle physically bigger lenses, because Sinar lens boards are larger; it can handle longer lenses, because with Sinar's modular system, you can continue to add rail sections, bellows frames and bellows, so that in theory you can handle as long focus a lens as you can get your hands on. The Sinar bag bellows is quite inexpensive, so it can handle very short lenses more cheaply than many field cameras (I can get a bag bellows for my Canham, but it is very expensive.) And the Sinar can be fitted with any of Sinar's behind-the-lens shutters. Bottom line, the Sinar system is ultimately more flexible. But if you don't need those particular features, a Sinar is heavier and more difficult to pack compactly than a good field camera.

  4. #4
    stradibarrius stradibarrius's Avatar
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    Re: What will my Sinar F2 4x5 do that a Chamonix 4x5 or Ebony 4x5 won't

    I don't really do macro work and if I want to do that I will use my digital gear. just makes more sense. I like to do portraits, table top still life subjects, some flowers and urban landscape or street photos. I would really like to get out with my LF ad not be restricted to close to the car. or figure out a workable way to carry my F2 out with me. Does anyone carry their monorail out for day hikes? if so how do you carry it? I have taken the F2 into the city to shoot some of the things you shoot in the city by putting the F2 case and tripod on a luggage dolly like you see in airports. That works fairly well but I wouldn't want to hike up a mountain and have to pull that little dolly.
    Generalizations are made because they are Generally true...

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    Preston Birdwell
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    Re: What will my Sinar F2 4x5 do that a Chamonix 4x5 or Ebony 4x5 won't

    Take a look at the Chamonix 045N-2 or the new F1. They are light, compact, and rigid camera--ideal for field use. They will handle a 300mm without the extension rack (max bellows draw w/o the rack is 395mm). I've had my N2 for a couple of years, and really like it.

    045N-2 Specs are here. The F1 specs are here

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    Re: What will my Sinar F2 4x5 do that a Chamonix 4x5 or Ebony 4x5 won't

    Respectfully, no single camera can be ideal for all applications.

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    Re: What will my Sinar F2 4x5 do that a Chamonix 4x5 or Ebony 4x5 won't

    Quote Originally Posted by koh303 View Post
    The sinar will do those things over any nice field camera:
    It will not fold
    It will be very heavy
    It will be very big to transport
    It will potentially offer a stiffer/sturdier camera at the cost of the above mentioned other "benefits"
    You left out, that like most modern monorails, it will have full movements, front and back and handle a wider range of lenses, wide to long as well as allow for greater macro ratios.

  8. #8
    Tim Meisburger's Avatar
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    Re: What will my Sinar F2 4x5 do that a Chamonix 4x5 or Ebony 4x5 won't

    I think the only reason to get a field camera is ease of portability. Otherwise, a monorail does everything better. My Ebony 45s is as rigid and precise as a monorail, and has the same movements, but uses a small (linhof) board and has limited bellows length. It is sufficient for me (especially since I have a Norma in the closet).

    If you only want one camera, and you are normal in the sense that you want to shoot outside sometimes, then a field camera is the best compromise. If you only shoot in the studio, or do so a lot and can afford a second camera, then a monorail is the perfect choice. There is something really nice about having a camera in the house set up and ready to shoot anytime.

    Most people, if they only have a monorail, will want a field camera. Many people are happy with just a field camera. Plus, if you only have a field camera, its easy and cheap to pick up a monorail as a second camera to throw in the closet (which truthfully is where mine lives).

    My two cents, for what its worth.

  9. #9

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    Re: What will my Sinar F2 4x5 do that a Chamonix 4x5 or Ebony 4x5 won't

    Quote Originally Posted by stradibarrius View Post
    I don't really do macro work and if I want to do that I will use my digital gear. just makes more sense. I like to do portraits, table top still life subjects, some flowers and urban landscape or street photos. I would really like to get out with my LF ad not be restricted to close to the car. or figure out a workable way to carry my F2 out with me. Does anyone carry their monorail out for day hikes? if so how do you carry it? I have taken the F2 into the city to shoot some of the things you shoot in the city by putting the F2 case and tripod on a luggage dolly like you see in airports. That works fairly well but I wouldn't want to hike up a mountain and have to pull that little dolly.
    When I had my Sinar F, I certainly took it hiking. As you are probably aware, the Sinar F series was designed as their "field" camera, and by detaching the bellows from the front standard you could fold the two standards parallel to the rail, "pancaking" the camera for transit. I took off the extension rail, so the pancaked section was on a 6" rail, and dumped the whole thing into a medium unframed rucksack. I took along two lenses in wraps, plus the usual collection of holders, dark cloth, and light meter (i.e.nothing as sophisticated as padded compartments). It was fine for day hikes (and this was when I was in my 30s, not my current 60s). But I switched from the Sinar to first the Wista, and then my Canham, because they were lighter and packed more compactly. For what I was (and am) doing, the folding cameras worked better than the Sinar.

    I sold the Sinar plus the Wista to buy the Canham. While I don't regret the decision, I sometimes wish I still had the Sinar (but only in addition to the Canham) because it was a little easier to use for table-top still lifes (although that just might be more nostalgia than fact, hard to say since I can't do a side-by-side comparison). And with the bigger lens board and the potential for behind the lens shutter, it might be fun to play with some of the antique lenses many people on this forum use and sell.

    So in the end, we seem to choose similar subjects, and I made the decision to switch to a field camera. I thought the Canham was the most flexible of the field cameras in terms of what it could do (movements, bellows extension, etc.) but I have no experience with the Ebony system or the Chamonix, so my opinion is no more than just that, my own opinion.

  10. #10

    Re: What will my Sinar F2 4x5 do that a Chamonix 4x5 or Ebony 4x5 won't

    I have packed my monorail [ Sinar Norma ] up a mountain. Not fun but once I got up there I much appreciated it's movements.

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