View Full Version : Sinar Alpina repair question

Peter Galuszewski
24-Jul-2007, 13:10
Hi All,

I am new here as you can tell and right off the bat I have a minor crisis...
I have been meaning to get into LF for a while now, but have always put it off until the finances allowed it more comfortably, but I came across a deal I couldn`t refuse: a Sinar Alpina with a Nikon 300M lens, Manfrotto tripod and a dozen film holders, all for $300 CDN - so I made the plunge.
Well, there is a small (I hope its small...) problem with the camera, but I thought for that price, I could fix it and it would still be a great deal.
The problem is, the rear standard can not be locked from tilting. It has that same well-oiled feel with a little self centering tension that the front has, but the knob which should tighten it in place is missing. As such, slight pressure tilts and that`s not good.
I thought that I could simply use my hand to turn the exposed shaft as I assumed that the shaft tightened and loosened some kind of friction mechanism inside the standard pivot. This is either not the case, or the internals are somehow damaged, as turning the shaft does not cause any change in the effort needed to move the assembly.
Is anyone familiar with the internal workings of this mechanism? Am I overlooking something obvious? Does the knob perhaps work in a different fashion and needs to be attached by botht he screw (and of the shaft is tapped - I thought just to secure the knob, but perhaps I am wrong...) as well as fitting over the nut on the shaft? Any insight into this would be greatly appreciated - I can`t wait to get out there and shoot with this gorgeous new beast!
So far I am keeping myself content by setting up things in the living room and just practicing focusing and various effects of the movements, as that aspect has only been known to me as theory!

Thanks in advance for all you help,


Mark Sampson
25-Jul-2007, 12:09
Peter, welcome to the forum, and to large format photography. It sounds like you got quite a deal on your camera. As far as repairing it, have you contacted Sinar Bron in the USA? If they can't help you directly I'm sure they'd refer you to the Canadian distributor.

25-Jul-2007, 12:48
Howdy/welcome from peterborough ontario :) No advice for you, just thought I would drop a "howdy (sort-of)neighbour"

Peter Galuszewski
26-Jul-2007, 08:44
Thanks for the words of welcome - I appreciate it! Good to know there are real cameras in Peterborough still:)
I think I will write Sinar and see what happens, but I have been weighing my options and am now heavily leaning towards sending it to a reputable repair man to get it done right unless someone can come up with a pretty much "do this and it will be fixed" set of instructions for me!
It was a heck of a deal this camera - I wasn`t planning on LF gear in the near future for financial reasons... but when this came up I jumped all over it as you guys can imagine - it was just too good pass up, even given this little problem. Still, I am on more than a little bit of a tight budget so I have to be really careful with my decisions for the next little while. I cringe when I think about a set up that will let me dev the negs - I don`t really want to try trays, they scare me:) But I will probably have to start there and then think of something better (like the Unicolor drum).
OK - well, totally drifting off topic now - thanks for the advice and words of welcome!

Jerry Flynn
26-Jul-2007, 11:24

I took a look at my F2 which I believe has the same locking setup as an A1. I had an A1 in the past. It appears that turning the entire shaft should lock your tilt. However, I think you might first try just getting the proper lever and machine screw from Sinar to repair the missing lever just to see if using the lever applies enough pressure on the shaft to lock it.

Sometimes, the mechanism on Sinars are not as straightforward as they might appear. For example, I know that the rise lock is not just a setscrew on one of the support posts, it is actually a geared mechanism that moves a collar that tightens around both posts. So, if the replacement of the lever does not do the trick, there may be more involved than simply tightening a screw.

I am fortunate to have a local repair shop that is an authorized Sinar repair station. They have made some repairs for me that were very satisfactory - keeping in mind the exorbitant price of Sinar parts. Evern there, my repair guy gives me something of a break sometimes. Perhaps you can find a similar shop in your neck of the woods (like Toronto).

Good luck with the fix. I think you'll like the camera.

As to using trays, don't panic. It may take a little practiec. but it is cheap and works very well.

Peter Galuszewski
26-Jul-2007, 21:39
Thanks for the input Jerry - I think you hit the nail on head when you said that the mechanisms are often "not as straight forward as they seem". I think tis the case here, as well. The shaft has a nut-like collar, but is also tapped on the end - and I am thinking that it may do something more than just tighten some sort of mechanism simply through rotation. Of course, the tap may just be there - and most likely is - to retain the knob in place. I think I will get a fitting (knob) and see, and most likely send it off to a repair person once I have the spare money. It seems like a lovely bit of machine work, this little Sinar. From what I read it tends to be shunned by many of te Sinar faithful, but I think it will serve me just fine for a very long time. It is - and will be for a long time - capable of doing more than I know how to:) Plus, from what I read that lens is actually quite a nice piece of glass - can't wait to try it!
Thanks again to everyone who chimed in, I greatly appreciate the input and advice.