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Thread: Sinar bellows

  1. #1

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    Sinar bellows

    Hi,

    I'm mostly a digital photographer but I've decided to try and make the switch to 4x5. Specifically, I'm considering a Sinar x. I do alot of macro photography and my question is this: I've noticed that the bellows for Sinars are rather short. Is it easy to extend the bellows or attach multiple bellows together to attain the draw I might need to get a small object in focus?

    let's assume I'd be using a 150 lens. Another question: Is there a better camera to get that has equally available parts and accessories that would also be cheaper?

    Thanks for your help,

    -Alex

  2. #2
    8x10, 5x7, 4x5, et al Leigh's Avatar
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    Re: Sinar bellows

    Hi Alex,

    The standard Sinar bellows is spec'd at 18" (450mm), although it will actually stretch longer.
    You only need 300mm (nominal) for 1:1 with a 150mm lens.

    You can add more bellows, needing only an additional multipurpose standard between each pair.
    Of course you will need rail extensions, since the standard base rail is 12".

    All of these items are readily available on the used market, and not expensive.

    - Leigh
    If you believe you can, or you believe you can't... you're right.

  3. #3

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    Re: Sinar bellows

    Sinar made a longer bellows at various times but most people get an intermediate standard to attach two normal, inexpensive bellows together. This also helps prevent bellows sag. Sometimes it is less expensive to buy an older/entire Sinar F for only $200 to $300 and use it for additional parts on your main camera (the front standard is used as the intermediate standard, the bellows becomes your second bellows, etc.)

    The Sinar X and P2 are very similar and used prices can be equivalent. Also the older P is going to be just as good - what matters is the camera's condition, not the year it was made. Some Sinars were heavily used and abused in rental or catalog production and in spite of being newer models, they may be worn. Likewise some Sinar Ps from the 1970s have been well maintained and are excellent values. They all can be rebuilt and serviced, usually people over-tighten them and wear the plastic parts and sliding bits.

    The Sinar Norma and the Toyo G-series are quite nice and sturdy, simpler designs with less fine gears but still precise and well made. The Sinar F2 is a nice camera with fine geared focusing and friction controls. Cambo also made some fine cameras with a system of interchangeable parts.

    More rare and costly, the Arca-Swiss and Linhof monorails are perhaps even better quality than the Sinar but the Sinar is still excellent and probably the best value with the largest amount of used parts available.

  4. #4

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    Re: Sinar bellows

    Thanks guys,

    both very helpful

  5. #5

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    Re: Sinar bellows

    Watch for some used extra long Horseman bellows. They will work on the Sinar.

  6. #6

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    Re: Sinar bellows

    The Sinar P is a real bargain right now. I picked mine up for $600.00 including a very nice Schneider 210mm 5.6 lens and a rough but usable Calumet plastic case. The P is not much different than the P2.

    Like Frank says, condition is everything!

  7. #7

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    Re: Sinar bellows

    So what d0 you mean by macro - close up, 1:1, or real macro, i,e., greater than 1:1? Probably an unpopular view here, but I think for 1:1 and greater, you do better to stick to FF digital. Diffraction and movement really wash out the advantage of LF at 1:1 and greater. Add a little digital focus stacking and you have LF beat by a mile.

  8. #8

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    Re: Sinar bellows

    Hi Ed,

    I use ff digital now and my reason for wanting to switch is that I enlarge my images to roughly 40x50 and I'm not happy with the loss of detail. If I went up to 3:1 would diffraction really be an enormous problem?

    Thanks

  9. #9

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    Re: Sinar bellows

    3:1 - That was what I was wondering. Diffraction does become an issue, and you need a really long bellows setup - two with a intermediate standard will be more stable. You will also need to set this up with two tripods. That is easier with the Sinar because you can move the rail clamp and put one at each end of the extended rail. I am assuming this is all highly controlled studio work, preferably on an optical bench set up. Ideally, you skip the tripods and set the rail clamps on the stable, hard surface, and put a clamp on the front of the rail to hold the subject. Then everything is tied together.

    Because of the huge bellows factor, exposure will be very long, unless you use strobe light. That might be the best bet, since the subject distance is small, you do not need expensive gear to get huge output. If you do all that, and get a real macro capable lens like the Nikon 120 macro, you can better your digital performance. But it is a huge amount of work and really slows things down. You have to really pay attention to stability and set up or the 4x5 is not going to be much improvement.

    Since your subjects have to completely static (unless you go the strobe route), you might get much better results by focus stacking to increase the detail in your digital images. This can also be combined with stitching images so you get a bigger digital image. For the cost of getting into 4x5 and learning how to do it, you could probably by a computer controlled macro photographer focus stacking rig to automate the process:

    http://www.cognisys-inc.com/stackshot/stackshot.php

  10. #10

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    Re: Sinar bellows

    Hi Ed,

    Yes, it is in a very controlled studio environment. At the moment I'm using a canon mp-e 65mm on a 5d which can go up to 5:1 without any attachments. And, when I need it I do stack a little. Thanks for the link. My problem is really resolution rather then detail though. I don't have trouble with focus or depth of field or time needed to expose, it's simply that even when everything goes perfectly right I'm still not that happy with image quality at 40x50. And I don't want to change the size.

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