View Full Version : I'm in need of some MONORAIL advice

2-Apr-2013, 12:39
A little input please.

I've been studying monorails on the Forum, APUG, and ebay and am leaning toward the sinar system. I have a chamonix 45 I love for field work and now want to buy a monorail for more precision movements. I see sinar P's on the market for around $500-$600 and beautiful looking F2's for $700-$800. (but that is really stretching my budget). I also am looking at the sinar C.

DOES the older Sinar P have all the movements of the more modern P1 model and would the F2 have the same movements of the P/P1? ALSO is this price range about right for these two models (the P or F2) on the used market?

I should say my subject interest is all over the place - table top type, buildings (int./ext.), and macro ...

Any advice at this point is appreciated. Thank you in advance.

Scott McAlpine

2-Apr-2013, 13:03
There's a nice looking Sinar F2 in the classifieds for $425 from forum member Jeff Dexheimer--seems like a great deal.

2-Apr-2013, 13:05
If for any reason you decide against the wonderful Sinar, you might look into a Cambo SCX or Legend. Amazing cameras.

2-Apr-2013, 13:29

Thanks, I put in a message to Jeff.

lenser- I was thinking of the Cambo Legend, and toyo GII,GX too. I am wondering how important the yaw free action/movement might be and if it is worth the extra expense.

I will do further reading. Thanks.

Alan Gales
2-Apr-2013, 15:48

The Sinar P series consists of the Sinar P and the P2. They are easy to tell apart because the P has a silver finish and the P2 is all black. On the P there is a lever to switch from tilt to swing. The P2 has separate controls for this. Some feel the P2 is more robust than the P because of this design but I have never heard of any problem with the P. The P2 has more plastic parts than the P so some feel the P is better in that respect. I read a post where a fellow owned both and liked them equally.

To me the big advantage of the P is that it is less expensive and the big advantage of the P2 is that it is newer. If you buy one of these cameras off ebay make sure you buy from a trusted Seller and ask some questions before you buy. Some of these cameras have been used up and have a lot of slop in them. Others have sat around for years and desperately need a CLA due to the grease drying up causing the movements to be stiff.

I own a P and it is a great camera but it is heavy and was designed to be used in the studio. I bough mine to use for indoor portraiture. I have a bad back so it is too heavy for me to lug around. Ken Lee owns one and uses it outside but I don't know how far from the car he goes with it. Of course there are a few that take it hiking. If weight is an issue then look at the F series or earlier Norma.

So to answer your questions, yes, the P and the P2 have the same geared movements and your prices for both P and F2 seem to be right on with Ebay.


2-Apr-2013, 16:53
Thanks Allen - That's a help.

Ken Lee
2-Apr-2013, 16:53
I am wondering how important the yaw free action/movement might be and if it is worth the extra expense.

Yaw-free movements are very nice when we want to focus along one plane - and then another - without having to adjust over and over until you get it right.

(For some recent examples, see photos 27 thru 35 on this page (http://www.kenleegallery.com/html/still/index.php). Number 33 is particularly illustrative, as the lens was not stopped down very far, but focus was extended along several oblique planes. With geared movements this was all done under the dark cloth.)

One of the core value propositions of monorail cameras, is unrestricted movement front and rear. Like other features on the Sinar P series, yaw-free movements are a matter of convenience, not of necessity. We can arrive at the same goal with more primitive methods, as long as the camera has unrestricted movements.

If you don't get yaw-free, consider geared movements. Again, a matter of convenience and not a necessity.

2-Apr-2013, 18:14
Ahhh, I see what you mean right away with picture number 27. I like the yaw free, and geared focusing too. Viewing your botanicals and other members work are in part what inspired my desire for a monorail Ken. I think it will even make my field camera work more exact. (better)

It's all happened fast and I'm really excited to try a monorail. I was lucky today and bought an F2 from forum member Jeff Dexheimer. A very nice guy and most helpful in answering all my questions. Thanks Jeff.

And thanks for everybody's input.

Scott McAlpine

2-Apr-2013, 18:27
That was a very nice deal--glad it worked out for you and Jeff. Enjoy your camera!

Alan Gales
2-Apr-2013, 20:36
Congratulations Scott! The Sinar F2 is a really nice monorail. Enjoy!

2-Apr-2013, 21:29
Thanks Alan, I'm really looking forward to it.

Kevin J. Kolosky
3-Apr-2013, 09:39
One of the beauties of the Sinar system is that you can use some of the parts over when you decide to "upgrade" your system. So I would also congratulate you on your purchase.

However, I would urge you, after use of your F camera for awhile, to try a P camera. The reason being, as has been mentioned, the asymetric swing and tilts. When you have axis movements or base movements as on the F camera you will need to swing and tilt, refocus, swing and tilt, refocus, etc., until you get it right. With the Asymetric tilts and swings it is rare that you will have to do it more than once. It really is a beautiful thing!!! Of course you pay for that, both in dollars and in weight, but in the long run its worth it.

3-Apr-2013, 10:04
All the monorail advice (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEZjzsnPhnw) you could ask for in one click ...

3-Apr-2013, 13:25
Chuckle, chuckle... it's true!!! "Monorail"

Thanks for your insight Kevin. I see that curve in the road coming up ahead.