View Full Version : Which lens type for Sinar F1 ?

Colin Howarth
14-Mar-2006, 04:40

I'm new to LF - still building up a system in fact.

I have the Sinar F1 and some Fidelity Elite backs. The main thing missing now is a lens :-)

Should I go for a behind the lens shutter and shutterless lenses, or with normal lenses in a (copal) shutter? I'm only aiming to get a few lenses (90, 150 and something longish 300 or 360+500).



Juergen Sattler
14-Mar-2006, 05:47
Hi Colin,
welcome to the world of LF. I started out with a Sinar F1 as well - what a great camera. I really learned a lot using that camera and the built-in shift/tilt/and DOF dials. I would strongly suggest to use regular lenses in Copal or Compur shutters, because like me you might get a different camera later on and the Sinar shutter might not be of any value to you then for the new camera - and trust me you do want to keep that precious glass you are buying! LF is an interesting phenomenon - your first camera is never the last, you always end up buying additional lenses - even if you are convinced that you would only need three. Interchangeability is key in my opinion. Again welcome and let us know how you are making out! This is a great forum to get help - I know it has kept me going:-)

Frank Petronio
14-Mar-2006, 05:50
Properly set up, the Sinar shutters could be very nice. But I've heard and felt them impart vibration to the camera when they go off -- but maybe the one I saw wasn't working 100%. Also the official Sinar hardware for mounting a shutterless lens is almost as expensive as a new Copal! However, if you are buying used lenses off eBay, often the shutterless Sinar mounted lenses are a good deal because few people want them (which will bite you back if you go to resell them).

Modern lenses in a modern Copal (or better yet, a Compur) are really great. You can use them on different non-Sinar cameras too.

You can argue it both ways of course. Sinar tells you a single camera shutter is more consistent. Going with regular Copals is safer because if one goes, you can still shoot with another lens. I think the vibration is less and the system is definitely lighter with Copals/Compurs.

If you are going to do a lot of field work with the Sinar you might consider mounting the lenses on a smaller Technika lensboard and buying one of the Sinar to Technika adapter lensboards that are being made in China and sold on eBay. The smaller board - at least for lenses in Copal 0 and 1 shutters - makes it easier to pack the lenses.

The SK Grimes website has a lot of good info: http://www.skgrimes.com/

Ron Marshall
14-Mar-2006, 08:12
Hello Colin, welcome to LF. I also have an F1, good choice.

I agree with Juergen, go for the copal shutters. In the field you will want to be as light as possible, and once you get a kit you don't want to have to change lenses, or shutters, if you change cameras. I also have a 3lb. Toho for long hikes. It takes Linhof lensboards so I bought an adapter for the Sinar and mounted all of my lenses on lighter Linhof boards.

Try KEH camera brokers, Badger Graphics, Midwest Photo Exchange. There are other good options for used equipment, but these I have dealt with and they usually have a good selection and reasonable prices. Four of my five lenses I have purchased used.

steve simmons
14-Mar-2006, 09:14
If you are new to large format may I suggest some reading

Using the View Camera, User's Guide to the View Camera or Large Format Nature Photography are all books that will be helpful. Sinar also did an intro book specifically about using thei

have fun

steve simmonsr cameras.

There are several articles on our web site that will be helpful


and then go to the Free Articles section

Get lenses in thier own shutters so you can use them on other cameras as well

14-Mar-2006, 11:50
Hi Colin,

I whole heartedly agree with Frank's comments. I had 2 of the Sinar Auto-shutters and sold them off along with all the DB-mounted lenses. Consequently, I replaced them all with Copal mounted versions and haven't looked back since! :)

When the shutters worked, they were great for consistency and ease of use! But, when they packed it in... that meant you couldn't use ANY of your DB-mounted lenses. That was a royal pita! I sent mine back for repairs too many times to count. So, personally, I wouldn't/couldn't recommend the Auto-shutter. BTW, mine were both brand spanking new too!

There are those folks who have had no problems with theirs (and they love them)... but, sad to say, I'm not one of them! :(


In addition to Steve's suggested readings... I'd also highly recommend Jack Dykinga's and Larry Stone's books. The other one that is quite informative is the Kodak Large Format book, which is out of print but can usually be found in used bookstores. The grandaddy of all LF books is the bible by Stroebel but, IMHO, it's quite a challenging read (I'm still struggling through it!!!) :) I'd definitely start off with the others before tackling the Stroebel book.

Good luck... have fun and welcome to the LF community.


steve simmons
14-Mar-2006, 12:08
Here are the three books I recommended in my post

Jim Stone's User's Guide to the View Camera, Jack Dykinga's Large Format Nature Photography, and my book Using the View Camera. Also, the Sinar basic book which is specific totheir cameras.

steve simmons

Frank Petronio
14-Mar-2006, 12:35
You don't need any stinking books or antique media. It's all right here...

Colin Howarth
14-Mar-2006, 13:29
Thanks all.

I'd more or less come to the same conclusion. Lenses with shutters it is.

Now.... does 300 EUR for a used (good condition) Sinar Rodenstock Sironar-N 210/5.6 MC in a copal 1 shutter sound OK?

Thanks, Steve, for the book recommendations.

Frank, :-)

Frank Petronio
14-Mar-2006, 15:38
Yep, that's a fair price and a great lens.

Ron Marshall
14-Mar-2006, 17:47
It is a good price, and a very good lens. I have the 180mm version, my favourite lens.

steve simmons
16-Mar-2006, 07:30
You don't need any stinking books or antique media. It's all right here...

--Frank Petronio 2006-03-14 11:35 PST

I would think we would want to encourage as many sources of information as possible and then let people decide for themselves. I would never want to limit people's sources of info

steve simmons

Dan Fromm
16-Mar-2006, 08:56
Prank Fetronio wrote "You don't need any stinking books or antique media. It's all right here..."

Oh, come on, Prank, the bulletin board is a terrible medium for transmitting long answers to questions. And many of the short questions posted on bulletin boards require long answers.

Colin Howarth
16-Mar-2006, 10:54
I took the "You don't need any stinking books or antique media. It's all right here..." to be meant humorously (although this is an excccellent site - thanks QT Luong). Steve, I've ordered one book "Handbuch der Fachkamera anhand des Sinar Systems" by Carl Koch, but not yours - yet :-) I also have AA's The Camera etc.

So, now I have (on the way) a Sinar F1, Sinar Rodenstock Sironar-N 210/5.6 MC in a copal 1 shutter, 6 Fidelity Elite backs and even some film. Now I just need to get the fiddly bits: black cloth, cable release and maybe some tripod head. Wonder whether my current Manfrotto tripod/ ball-head is enough - don't know the model numbers, so that'll be a different post.

Anything obvious missing?


Frank Petronio
16-Mar-2006, 11:10
A loupe? An inexpensive 4X one will suffice, although some people like to buy fancy ones for whatever reason.

A lensboard? And an inexpensive "key" wrench such as the Rodenstock lens wrenches sold on eBay. They are used for mounting the lenses on the lensboards.

For outdoor photography you need a spot meter to look the part, although I know plenty of folks who use their 35mm cameras and other types of meters.

The nicest tripod head for the Sinar is made by Sinar. It is very sturdy and only moves on two axis, as you can adjust yaw with your rail clamp. You can always get a bigger tripod, like a Gitzo 3, 4, or 5 series.

A Polaroid back (545i) and a box of Polaroids is very nice for practice and testing.

A wide angle bellows for when you get your 90mm lens.

You can purchase two "bellows clips" and a "joint rod" for your Sinar so that you can use the second bellows as an adjustable lenshade. It works very nicely in practice, although it can look odd. You can also use a spare bellows as a viewing hood on the rear, to avoid the darkcloth. So if you come upon a cheap pinholed Sinar bellows purchase it for use as a shade or hood (just mark it so you don't confuse it with the light tight bellows).

You can also drop $250 on a Lee compendium shade and other alternative lenshade "systems".

I've actually read most of the popular American books on LF and still am not impressed by them. If I had to suggest a book, Ansel Adams' "The Camera" covers using movements as well as any of the others and it is the best written and edited, IMHO. Most of the others, like Strobels, are more information than is useful. But of course it depends what learning style you respond to.

Practicing with a box of Polaroids is expensive but it will teach you quickly.