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toby
6-Dec-2006, 09:26
hello,

im new here, so hi to everyone. I'm looking for some simple advice about my 1st purhase of a large format camera. I'm not new to large format since i use my universities but i need some advice on this:

someone has offered me a sinar f1, with 150mm lens, bag bellows and 10 dark slides for 600. Is this a good deal? Other option is to purchase a shen hao and sep. lens. 600-900 is my limit on a complete set of kit (body, lens etc)

I'm drawn towards a field camera due to their ease of carrying etc but this chap insists the sinar will pack up small and go in a rucksack and weighs next to nothing etc etc.

im a bit confused really! - just need some advice on the sinar specs, pros/cons, prices etc i suppose.
any advice much appreciated.
Toby - tobycarter@hotmail.com
(apologies if im covering old ground with my post.)

Joseph Dickerson
6-Dec-2006, 09:47
Toby,

I'm not sure of the current exchange rate, I'm in California, but the price seems a little high.

One of my college students just bought a Sinar F2 (no lens) for about $600 USD. You might want to check the KEH web site for more info on pricing.

As far as using a Sinar in the field your friend is correct. I carry an F1 on day hikes and find that the increase in rigidity and convenience is worth the pound or two (weight) I'd save by using a field camera of some sort. I used a Shen Hao for a while and really liked the camera but it weighs almost as much a the Sinar.

If you can find a good one that fits your budget you might consider the F2. Only a pound heavier than the F1 but micro focusing front and back and seperate locks for swing and shift.

The "F" in F1(2) supposedly stands for field and the camera(s) can be folded fairly compactly. I prefer to simply slide the standards and tripod block onto the 6 inch rail extension and store the 12 inch rail section separately. Only takes a second or two once you get the hang of it.

I carry the F1, four to six lenses, film holders etc., in a Lowepro Super Trekker or, when traveling light, I carry the camera on the tripod (Manfrotto carbon fibre w/Really Right Stuff ball head) over my shoulder and a couple of lenses film etc., in a day pack.

I don't do overnight backpacking with the camera but it travels well for day hikes.

Joe D.

toby
6-Dec-2006, 11:06
thanks for advice Joe. much appreciated.

anyone else got any advice?

Ernest Purdum
6-Dec-2006, 11:13
The nice thing about Sinar items is that they are all modular parts of a very large family. You can grow a lot and not outgrow the system. Sinar components can be put together to satisfy most any photographic need.

As to price, looking at the sold prices on eBay might give you some basis for comparison.

To me, it always seems a good idea not to spend your budget on a first large format camera. That way, you can find out what you like and dislike and later, spend with more knowledge. If you took the time to find something moderately priced in the first instance, you should be able to sell it for close to your purchase price later.

Jean-Marie Solichon
6-Dec-2006, 11:33
The Sinar F1 is a very good entry point into large format as already said. Seen from Europe the £600 price seems a little bit high (for a man to man transaction) unless the camera is really mint and the lens is a very recent one (like an Apo-Symmar or Apo-SironarS). Although it's standard price for this gear bought from a shop with guarantee.

Ron Marshall
6-Dec-2006, 11:57
A used Sinar F1 is about $500 at large US dealers such as KEH Camera Brokers.

They are solid and easy to use, not too heavy, just bulky for field use. But with a good backpack it can be taken on hikes without much difficulty.

Frank Petronio
6-Dec-2006, 12:09
I use a Sinar F2 after assembling various components. Their modularity and plentifulness are their strongest attributes. I've had several other high quality view cameras but it is hard to find a better value than the Sinar system. You can find the older F (similar to a F1) for around $400, F1 for $500, F2 $600. But deal abound. Last week I sold a beautiful 210 Rodenstock in a valuable Prontor shutter for only $240. But I also just picked up another Sinar F1 with several accessories and a 240/5.6 Sironar for only $630. A little patience with eBay is all it takes.

Bob McCarthy
1-Aug-2011, 12:18
I tend to prefer the early F's, for the simple reason they are smaller/lighter and pack a little smaller.

The later the model, the larger the knobs/controls attempting to make a marketing connection with the P. A meter back just takes up space and the odds are 100 to one you'll never use it.

You give up a touch of front rise with an F, but you'll likely never use it anyway. Since it was such a rugged camera. there are plenty of fine examples.

Everytime I think about selling mine, I pull back saying why....

Excellent camera and it does carry well if you know how to fold it, and what bags work. I use a Lowe reporter and it works.

bob

Brian Ellis
1-Aug-2011, 13:06
. . . I'm drawn towards a field camera due to their ease of carrying etc but this chap insists the sinar will pack up small and go in a rucksack and weighs next to nothing etc etc. . . .

If about 3.6 kgs or 7 1/2 pounds is next to nothing then the Sinar F1 weighs next to nothing.

rdenney
1-Aug-2011, 13:17
I tend to prefer the early F's, for the simple reason they are smaller/lighter and pack a little smaller.

The later the model, the larger the knobs/controls attempting to make a marketing connection with the P. A meter back just takes up space and the odds are 100 to one you'll never use it.

You give up a touch of front rise with an F, but you'll likely never use it anyway. Since it was such a rugged camera. there are plenty of fine examples.

The F2 front standard is more robustly attached to the rail and has two features not found on the F: Fine focus and independent locks for swing and shift. The fine focus is easy to live without. The separate locks for swing and shift, though, is worth having. Also, the F2 has a steel guide that better resists wear in the aluminum detent slot where the standard rests on the bearer (to borrow lingo from the P model).

I completely agree on the F2 rear--the separate locks are not as valuable on the rear and the metering back just adds bulk and thickness. Better without it.

Frank's pricing matches my observations. Those are prices without a lens.

Other members from the UK can confirm or deny this, but it's my impression that large-format stuff tends to sell for the same number there as here, despite that the British pound is worth a lot more than the U.S. dollar. So, if an F with a decent normal lens might get $600 here (if bought separately, at least), it might well fetch 600GBP on that side of the pond.

As with any older stuff, though, condition is important. These were professionally used cameras and many have seen quite a lot of use. They don't wear out easily, but anything can be abused.

For comparison: I bought a plain Sinar F in well-used but decent working condition with bag bellows and a Fresnel for $360 from KEH a couple of years ago. I paid another couple of hundred for a Sinaron 210/5.6, which is a Sironar-N. That's $560, not including the set of standard bellows I bought, the lens board, or shipping. Those were solid, representative deals. I ended up adding the F2 front standard and a whole range of accessories more than anything because they are so cheap and available. It was completely usable and enjoyable as-is.

Rick "seeing prices rise a bit in the last year or so" Denney

sanchi heuser
1-Aug-2011, 13:42
Toby ,

I carry a F2 :
the two standards are on a short base rail,
without bellows mounted, the plastic insert of the rail clamp
stays on the base rail between the two standards.
Standards are shifted together.
The back with ground glass keeps on the rear standard (+ plastic protector
for ground glass)

The pan tilt head keeps mounted with the rail clamp.
I fix that combination on the tripod -
open the rail clamp wide-
put the rest of the camera together into the clamp-
shift the two standards to each side-
mount the bellows, lens-
Ready!
If I need more extension i can mount another rail to the
base rail and take the Horseman long bellows:cool: no third standard needed.
If I know I stay under 150 mm focus length I only take the
wide bellows with me.

Needs 5-10 minutes max. to build up.

What I didn't found yet is a foldable, light and flexible hood
against stray light, but that's another story -
maybe I should try to build one.

Well, if you decide only to make landscapes
than I'd take a foldable field camera.
I can say from my experience that in the beginning I
only wanted to photograph landscape, trees etc.
But on my weekly trips to Italy I discovered the beauty of
industrial and other rough urban landscapes and of architecture.

rdenney
1-Aug-2011, 14:18
What I didn't found yet is a foldable, light and flexible hood
against stray light, but that's another story -
maybe I should try to build one.

Get a 100mm rod and the plastic bellows clips, plus a standard bellows. The hexagonal rod will clamp into the front standard and hold the bellows in the place of a compendium shade. The bellows can be adjusted infinitely and easily for position and length. Find a bellows with pinholes and buy it cheap.

Rick "who has both a jointed rod and an auxiliary front standard but has never yet needed either" Denney

sanchi heuser
1-Aug-2011, 14:29
Rick,

I have all that stuff. But i thought about something smaller
and flexible - better to adjust and precise as the bellows mask #2 ,
the one with the four curtains.
it could be made from black cardboard or plastic, the functions of the curtains replaced by two angles monted with velcro.
A magic bullet that isn't round:D