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View Full Version : Sinar shutter vs many shutters for 4x5 use



Ian Greenhalgh
25-May-2013, 17:03
Hi folks

I've accumulated a nice collection of lenses that would be suitable for 4x5, but most of them are repro lenses in barrel, so it would be quite costly to find shutters for them, and some would require machine work which adds even more cost.

So I'm wondering, what about using a Sinar shutter? This would allow me to use all my barrel lenses.

This is what I have for 4x5, if I don't mention the shutter, it's in barrel:

Ross WA Xpres 4/5"
TT&H Cooke Anastigmat 4.5/5.75" (not sure if it will cover 4x5)
Schneider G-Claron 8/135 (not sure if this will cover 4x5 either)
Rodenstock Apo-Gerogon 9/150
Schneider Symmar 5.6/150 in Synchro-Compur #1
Wray HR Lustrar 5.6/178
Ilex Acuton 4.8/215 in Ilex #3
Ross Xpres 4.5/8.5"
Schneider G-Claron WA 11/240
Wray Process Lustrar 10/12"
Ross Apo-Xpres 10/12" (might have got specs wrong as a friend borrowed it so I can't check)

Apart from a 90mm wide angle, I think I have all I need there, if I could use a single shutter for all apart from the two in shutters, that would save me a load of money, but I'm not the sort of person who uses lots of different lenses on a given format so I could put up with just using the Symmar 150 and Acuton 218 that have shutters and add a 90 and a 270 or 300 in shutters later if using a Sinar shutter is a no-go for some reason.

I haven't bought a 4x5 camera yet but i hope to grab a monorail in the next couple of weeks.

Peter Yeti
25-May-2013, 17:38
If you want a monorail, Sinar is first-rate anyway and a Sinar Copal shutter would be the natural choice. If you go for a different brand, you'd have to figure out a way to adapt the Sinar shutter to the standard and bellows. Besides of that there shouldn't be a problem.

Ian Greenhalgh
25-May-2013, 18:02
Cheers Peter, I have my eye on an F1. Do all Sinar monorails accept the Sinar shutter?

Paul Ewins
25-May-2013, 18:06
One thing to bear in mind is that the rear of the lens can't protrude through the back of the lens board or it will hit the shutter. This means that for most lenses built in the past 100 years you will need to make up a spacer for the front of the lens board because the flange is typically sited forward of the rear of the lens wheras the older brass lenses usually had it right at the rear of the lens. The big f5.6 plasmats and f8 wide angles of the 1960's needed quite a pronounced bulge on the lensboard to clear the shutter. Conversely you will want to have the rear of the lens as close to the shutter as you can so that you don't inadvertently cause vignetting, so it is better to have a board dedicated to each lens rather than swap lenses as needed.

The spacer doesn't have to be anything fancy or precision cut, it just needs to be light tight and securely attached. It isn't a big deal, but it is one more thing to deal with.

Tin Can
25-May-2013, 18:14
Don't forget all Sinar lens boards also fit any studio Horseman. Horseman are very heavy duty.

JohnJ
25-May-2013, 18:26
Ian, Sinar is nice an easy to work with so I doubt you would go too far wrong with the F1. I have an F and P and find them great but the F is really a little flimsy, IMHO.


One thing to bear in mind is that the rear of the lens can't protrude through the back of the lens board or it will hit the shutter. This means that for most lenses built in the past 100 years you will need to make up a spacer for the front of the lens board because the flange is typically sited forward of the rear of the lens wheras the older brass lenses usually had it right at the rear of the lens. The big f5.6 plasmats and f8 wide angles of the 1960's needed quite a pronounced bulge on the lensboard to clear the shutter. Conversely you will want to have the rear of the lens as close to the shutter as you can so that you don't inadvertently cause vignetting, so it is better to have a board dedicated to each lens rather than swap lenses as needed.

The spacer doesn't have to be anything fancy or precision cut, it just needs to be light tight and securely attached. It isn't a big deal, but it is one more thing to deal with.

And you can make your own lens boards too, as I've done when needed, so you don't have to buy a genuine Sinar lens board for each lens. The first images is of an aluminium plate cut to size and with black tape on the rear, works great and cost maybe a few dollars, if that. The second is a simple recessed lens board, Ian, you may need the opposite, but you can make it if you need it.

http://photocornucopia.com/images/Lenses/General/g_027_1000.jpg

http://www.johnjovic.com/temp/Sinar/80_4.jpg

Otto Seaman
25-May-2013, 18:45
The easiest solution to the spacing problem is to get an additional "accessory" or "intermediate" standard. Connect the rear standard to the intermediate standard using the standard or bag bellows. Mount the Sinar shutter onto the front of the intermediate standard. Connect a second bellows to the Sinar shutter and forward to the front standard. Mount your barrel lenses on simple flat Sinar lens boards. No problems with spacing and this will save you money over the long haul. You set the aperture at the lens using the lens iris or waterhouse stops, the shutter only controls the timing.

Also look into the "Iris Clamps" that will close a aperture-type iris around any barrel mounted lens small enough to fit inside the aperture. This allows you to quickly switch lenses and saves the expense of mounting all your lenses. Gizo and Luc made various sizes.

When buying a Sinar shutter be sure to get the expensive and hard-to-find proprietary cables with the longer throw needed by the Sinar shutter.

It's not a bad idea to have a few lenses in conventional Copal or Compur shutters as well, since if the Sinar shutter breaks you're stuck.

The Sinar shutters are all the same basic design, from the Norma era (usually green hammertone) or black F-P or the last "digital" shutters from the F2-P2 time. Some of the F-P era shutters will be labeled f/4 or f/5.6 maximum aperture but the aperture requirement would only apply to proper official Sinar mounted lenses and hardware that allows the photographer to set the aperture from the rear of the camera. While it is nice if you can do that, what I am talking about above negates all those concerns....

Of the Sinar system, the F, F-Plus, and F1 are the least expensive because they have the weakest front standards that clamp wire against plastic. While most are strong enough to hold up OK, some will crack, especially as plastic gets brittle with age. It is definitely worth spending a few bucks more to get either the F2 or the original Norma series.

Sinar shutters sell for up to $500 but if you are patient or lucky to get a package deal you can often do a lot better. Also Sinar shutters are still able to be serviced by better camera repair techs like precisioncameraworks.com in Chicago. Intermediate standards are usually found for under $100 and bellows for $50. Or be smart and simply buy a second entire Sinar camera so that you can cherrypick the best parts from and keep a spare ground glass, etc. You can always sell the leftovers or use the parts to build a larger system.

OR just sell all those barrel lenses and stick with simple basic Copal shutters for a lighter, less complex system that will make photos just as well... you probably don't need all of those lenses ;-p

Ian Greenhalgh
25-May-2013, 20:35
Hmm, lots of food for thought, cheers guys. I will be using this camera out and about so I want something not too heavy or cumbersome, so maybe I'll end up going for something other than a monorail, we shall see. I really don't need all the lenses I listed, I'll probably pare it down to a core set of 5, we shall see, I'm still in the thinking stage.

Lachlan 717
26-May-2013, 00:26
Ian,

I had Shen Hao make a field camera that accepts the Sinar shutter for exactly the reasons you describe (the Shen Hao XPO).

If you're considering using a camera outside, this might be worth considering over the F1?

Ian Greenhalgh
26-May-2013, 03:14
That would be nice Lachlan, Ideally I'd like an old mahogany and brass field camera with a Sinar shutter.

Peter Yeti
26-May-2013, 03:38
Ian,

There is no magic bullet when you want to buy a LF camera. You can find plenty discussions here about the pros and cons of different designs and systems. It depends a lot on your preferred subjects and the way you work. If you want to do a lot of outdoors work and have to carry your equipment a lot, a monorail is perhaps not the first choice. Most people would prefer a light wooden field camera for this. But if you work a lot with movements and Scheimpflug, a yaw-free monorail is a good idea. I can pack my Sinar f2 in a backpack and hike with it. But honestly, it's a pain in the butt to assemble and disassemble every time I set up the camera. I prefer using a Linhof Technika for outdoors, which even could be used hand-held. And for table-top in the studio I love the convenience of a Sinar p, the last thing I would take on a field trip.

Aside from the camera type, I always would watch out for the most common brand, system modularity and compatibility. This pays off when looking for accessories or if you want to borrow something from a colleague or rent it. Maybe you can rent a Sinar f2 and see if that works for you. An alternative may be a Graflex with focal plane shutter.

evan clarke
26-May-2013, 03:42
Ian,

I had Shen Hao make a field camera that accepts the Sinar shutter for exactly the reasons you describe (the Shen Hao XPO).

If you're considering using a camera outside, this might be worth considering over the F1?


I bought the Lachlan model,of XPO to ise a Simar shutter and it's an excellent, lightweight solution. If you shop for the Sinar shutter, try to getnthe most recent vintage, it is f4 or 4.5 and has a larger opening. Also make sure to getbthe cable release, they are unobtainable...there are more shutters available than cables.EC

Steven Tribe
26-May-2013, 05:03
As far as I am concerned, the sinar/copal shutter is as near the "magic bullet" as you are going to get in connection with use of barrel lenses!
It is not a complex engineering job to design a non-destructive modification to an ordinary field camera to accept a sinar/copal shutter. Easiest with square bellows/tailboard types.
By the way, there is a third version of the Sinar shutter! Looks like the Sinar/Copal - but has no speeds - just open and instantaneous!

Otto Seaman
26-May-2013, 09:57
If you want a traditional Mahogany and Brass field camera then just get one and mount a lens to a flat wooden lensboard and use it without a shutter. Or perhaps try a "Galli Shutter" (do a Google search for the video).

It's how most photographers worked for the first 60-80 years of the medium. It might not be the best for portraiture or action but if you want sharp, stopped down images on slower ISO film or in modest light, it's ideal.

Otherwise you can still get an old Gandolfi or similar British wooden camera. Mount a lens to it and display it in the parlor... and use the Sinar for actual photography. Once you compare prices, weight, and rigidity, you'll understand ;-p

You could get the modified Shen Hao or other nicer, higher-end, lightweight field camera but they will be 4-5x more expensive and the weight/bulk savings may not be worth it to you, especially for starting out as a beginner. Nothing to stop you from getting something fancy once you decide that this kind of photography is important to you, but it would hardly be suffering to learn on a precision Swiss-made instrument at first....

IanG
26-May-2013, 10:48
For the Brass and other unshuttered lenses I'd suggest looking for Thornton Pickard shutters, or similar, I have an arsenal of them in various sizes, and also a TP focal planee back for a half plate camera that I need to restore, I have ana adapter to use 5x4 DDS with this.

The TP roller blind shutters were made from 1889 to 1960 so there's plenty about in the UK.

http://www.lostlabours.co.uk/photography/cameras/images/hp0024.jpg

The shutter above has no speed dial and a fixed front but many of my other TP shutters have Speed dial 1/15 to 1/90 and T and interchangeable front panels so the same shutter vcan take a variety of lenses, some are for front mounting,

Another option is to get a Speed Graphic body, the shutters are easy to restore if needed, they are a bit pricey in the UK so best bought from the US. You could also look for an LF SLR but these aren't so good with shorter focal lenght lenses.

http://www.lostlabours.co.uk/photography/cameras/images/petzval09sm.jpg

That's been my approaches.

Ian

Jerry Bodine
26-May-2013, 12:03
Ian, there's another option with a Sinar as well: using a Sinar Norma Multipurpose Standard between the camera's bellows and the front standard, connect the shutter to the backside of the MP standard and place a 4x5 square bellows or bag bellows between the MP standard and the lens standard. That would provide the needed clearance between shutter and rear of lens. Those MP standards are plentiful/inexpensive on the big auction site.

Sevo
26-May-2013, 12:20
Cheers Peter, I have my eye on an F1. Do all Sinar monorails accept the Sinar shutter?

Almost - the Norma had a centre pivot point, and its shutter had all protruding knobs and levers on top. When they replaced the Norma with the base swivelling P and F, side clearance was no issue any more, and one or two shutter updates later they moved the levers to the side (where they arguably are more easily accessible). As a consequence, the levers on the later shutters obstruct downward swings and tilts on the Norma.

Lachlan 717
26-May-2013, 14:10
Ian, there's another option with a Sinar as well: using a Sinar Norma Multipurpose Standard between the camera's bellows and the front standard, connect the shutter to the backside of the MP standard and place a 4x5 square bellows or bag bellows between the MP standard and the lens standard. That would provide the needed clearance between shutter and rear of lens. Those MP standards are plentiful/inexpensive on the big auction site.

IMO, this will introduce mechanical vignetting.

Otto Seaman
26-May-2013, 16:32
IMO, this will introduce mechanical vignetting.

Except that it won't with most lenses, having done it (see above). Just keep the rear of the lens close to the shutter. You might possibly get some vignetting with a really wide lens.

Jerry Bodine
26-May-2013, 17:11
Except that it won't with most lenses, having done it (see above). Just keep the rear of the lens close to the shutter. You might possibly get some vignetting with a really wide lens.

Otto is right, and since I can't try it on my Norma as I don't have a Sinar/Copal shutter, my second thought is to attach the shutter to the front of the MP standard, then place the bag bellows between the shutter and the lens standard. The bag bellows can be compressed more than any other. Can't really speak to interferences, if any, that movements might cause.

Bernice Loui
26-May-2013, 19:17
There is no ideal fits-all view camera for every image making requirement.


Consider the images that you have in mind and how they are to be created. This will set the optics required. Once the required optics are set, then the camera choice becomes more apparent.


If the images are to be made outdoors with a lot of foot travel involved, a light weight field camera with a few carefully chosen light weight and compact lenses in shutter and support items could be ideal.

If the images involve more specialty lenses, significant amounts of view camera yoga, then a monorail could be a better choice.

My own experience has distilled my needs into the Sinar system with a Sinar shutter for many, many years now. I do zero back packing, if the image is too far away from the car, it simply does not happen. The optics used can be anything from a 47mm to 35 inch APO artar or even a microscope objective. What is good about the Sinar system is the ability to configure it to specific imaging needs along with the Sinar shutter which allows the use of barrel lenses. The down side is size, weight and bulk.

Shutter accuracy, reliability and consistency is also a significant factor if consistent and uniform exposure is a requirement. This usually a limitation and problem with older shutters. Proper exposure from reliable and consistent shutter speeds can significantly reduce problems later on in the print making process.

Sinar mechanical shutters are quite reliable and durable if they are properly cared for and not abused. The first one was purchased needing repair. After being serviced by Sinar, this shutter has been reliable for 20+ years. Do get the special Sinar release cable. There are two basic varieties, the earlier chrome ones are lighter weight and has more flex than the later all black ones.



Bernice




Hi folks

I've accumulated a nice collection of lenses that would be suitable for 4x5, but most of them are repro lenses in barrel, so it would be quite costly to find shutters for them, and some would require machine work which adds even more cost.

So I'm wondering, what about using a Sinar shutter? This would allow me to use all my barrel lenses.

This is what I have for 4x5, if I don't mention the shutter, it's in barrel:

Ross WA Xpres 4/5"
TT&H Cooke Anastigmat 4.5/5.75" (not sure if it will cover 4x5)
Schneider G-Claron 8/135 (not sure if this will cover 4x5 either)
Rodenstock Apo-Gerogon 9/150
Schneider Symmar 5.6/150 in Synchro-Compur #1
Wray HR Lustrar 5.6/178
Ilex Acuton 4.8/215 in Ilex #3
Ross Xpres 4.5/8.5"
Schneider G-Claron WA 11/240
Wray Process Lustrar 10/12"
Ross Apo-Xpres 10/12" (might have got specs wrong as a friend borrowed it so I can't check)

Apart from a 90mm wide angle, I think I have all I need there, if I could use a single shutter for all apart from the two in shutters, that would save me a load of money, but I'm not the sort of person who uses lots of different lenses on a given format so I could put up with just using the Symmar 150 and Acuton 218 that have shutters and add a 90 and a 270 or 300 in shutters later if using a Sinar shutter is a no-go for some reason.

I haven't bought a 4x5 camera yet but i hope to grab a monorail in the next couple of weeks.

Ian Greenhalgh
27-May-2013, 03:20
Thankyou Bernice, that' very useful.

My health is poor so backpacking is out of the question for me too, if it's too far from the car, it will have to be considered off limits, sadly.

There are two cameras I've seen locally for 100ukp, a nice Lancaster Instantograph field camera in half plate, appeals to me for all the mahogany and brass and I like the idea of shooting 5x7. The other is an MPP Micro-Press, appeals to me because it's small, light and similar to my Century Graphic so already quite familiar. Only 4x5 though.

The more I think about it, the more i think that I can accomplish most of what I need with my Symmar 150 and Acuton 215. Later I can add a 90mm and a 270 or 300, probably a G-Claron 270 as it's small, light and fits in a #1 shutter.

Struan Gray
27-May-2013, 04:45
http://struangray.com/miscpics/verito.jpg

This is a setup I have used for portraits on 4x5, and am currently using for wacky experimental noodling. The sinar shutter is hiding behind the bag bellows. It's mounted back to front on the forward side of the intermediate standard, which allows the shutter blades to come very close to the rear glass of the lens. The lens is a Verito, an 8x10 portrait lens, and even with the shutter in place vignetting on 4x5 is negligible.

I have used the shutter in the field with a single bellows in the normal manner recommended by Sinar. The weight's not too bad, but the bulk is annoying, especially as I padded and enclosed the camera well to protect the shutter from knocks. Compared to a built-in shutter there's a certain element of pfaff too.

I wouldn't hesitate to take the shutter back outdoors if I wanted to use a lens which required it. However, I actually found that at twilight I rarely needed it as exposures were long enough to use a lenscap and elephants. Mid-day I could have done with it for shots with short depth of field, but even there, you can go a long way with f22, 100 ASA film and a polariser used as an ND substitute. If you really want to work with a stripped down kit, for weight or financial reasons, a lightweight field camera and a lens with no shutter will work well for many kinds of photograph.

Inflamed joints have severely restricted my outdoor use of LF in recent years. I have tried using a field camera rather than the Norma monorail, but found that although it saved on bulk, it didn't make any significant difference to the weight I was carrying. Nor did I find setup and strip down any faster. What you gain in simplicity you lose in lack of precision of movements and alignment. The field camera was better for casual use, as I tend to need a full-size hillwalking rucksack to make carrying the monorail comfortable.

The Norma is a better camera than an F for field use. I really appreciate the smooth and accurate movements (only focus is geared, but everything else is beautifully made and balanced). It's well-built, and overbuilt, and copes well with schlepping about in a rucksack with a darkcloth as padding. The best buying tactic is to buy a complete set - which is why you see so many individual components being sold by the commercial dealers on eBay.

Steven Tribe
27-May-2013, 05:18
There are two basic varieties, the earlier chrome ones are lighter weight and has more flex than the later all black ones.

To my surprise, I have discovered, through a lucky lot purchase, that there are 4 versions of the Sinar/Copal release!
There are 2 metal (Norma) types and 2 black plastic types. The common types are heavy duty/non flexible types in both metal coil and black plastic. The more uncommon are much lighter and more flexible. And yes, they do have exactly the same throw! Possibly two designs for Studio and Field use?

Roger Hesketh
27-May-2013, 16:56
I have a motley collection of mainly British barrel lenses as well as some with shutters. I prefer to use wooden field cameras rather than monorails and I use a variety of shuttering solutions. Ian Grant's suggestion regarding the use of T.P roller blind shutters is a good one, they are cheap reliable, give consistent results and I wish I had not dismissed their use for so long. It is possible to add flash sync to them as well. For 4x5 use with barrel lenses a Speed Graphic takes some beating. For the greatest ease of use look for an Anniversary model to which a Graflok back has been fitted.

That M.P.P Micropress you speak of is a 4x5 Pacemaker Speed Graphic dressed in different clothes. The Pacemaker S.G. lens boards will fit it and the shutter is the same should you need a replacement curtain.
Could be a good buy as you are unlikely to be able to get a working Speed Graphic delivered to the UK for under a hundred quid. I say unlikely because I won an auction on Ebay UK a few years ago for a 5x7 Speed Graphic for 32 so it is possible.

Other options not mentioned. If you are into monorails the Mentor Panorama, a GDR monorail has a cloth roller blind shutter built into the front standard. The backs are metric 13x18 and 18x24 and have non standard holders but it is however an easy matter to adapt an orphaned standard 5x7 back to fit. Probably a lot cheaper than the Sinar/ Sinar shutter option.

If you want a field camera. Graflex did some accessory focal plane shutters as well as T.P. they can be really useful with barrel lenses I have a 5x7 one and an 8x10 one but they also have their drawbacks. Not as most people would think because of the vibration from such a big shutter but from the extra extension on the back of the camera which makes it impossible to use short lenses.

Don't forget Luc shutters and Packards can be used. As can front mounted shutters. One I find useful. It fits the front of my barrel mounted 360mm Apo Ronar beautifully is a Graflex Speed I O Scope. I believe they were used to teach aircraft recognition. It looks to me to be a Ilex 3 shutter with a sleeve which is secured by 3 turn screws to the lens barrel. Unfortunately only available in one size.

Ian Greenhalgh
28-May-2013, 14:10
Thanks for all the advice guys, I'm seriously leaning towards the Micro Press, I passed on a very nice very cheap Kodak Specialist 5x7 because of size and weight. My health is really poor so I have to be realistic and go for something small and light like the Micro Press, despite really wanting to go the 5x7 route.

Struan Gray
28-May-2013, 14:59
Most of the benefits of LF come free with the film. Don't fret over maybes - just get the MPP and go and make pictures. Have fun!

Tin Can
28-May-2013, 16:25
I use a dolly or cart to move everything. Never a backpack and never any satchel more than 5 lbs.




Thanks for all the advice guys, I'm seriously leaning towards the Micro Press, I passed on a very nice very cheap Kodak Specialist 5x7 because of size and weight. My health is really poor so I have to be realistic and go for something small and light like the Micro Press, despite really wanting to go the 5x7 route.