View Full Version : Sinar F1 - complaints?

27-Jul-2008, 22:19

I've been lookin' to get a 4x5 setup for a couple of months now. I'm seriously considering the Sinar F1. Knowing a lot of you shoot with this camera, do you have any complaints about it? Pro's/Con's? Any information would be appreciated. Btw, I tried using the search feature to see if anything would come up but I didn't find much when it came to specific problems... Or maybe the cameras perfect? ; - )


Greg Lockrey
27-Jul-2008, 23:27
It would depend on what you plan to use it for mainly, studio, architecture etc. The F series cameras were designed to be field cameras but they are a bit bulky for that purpose but very doable. The plus with the Sinars is that the are build up able and parts are relatively inexpensive and readily available on the used market. I have one but it's mostly a special purpose studio camera now since my preferred field camera at the moment is an Ebony SV45Ti.

Ron Marshall
27-Jul-2008, 23:40
An F1 was my first camera, which I still have. I also have a Toho, which is 4 pounds lighter and more compact, to bring on day hikes. Though day hikes are feasable with the F1, if one is in good shape!

The F1 is well designed and built, and a pleasure to use. I have seen many go for very little on Ebay, and at dealers. Many of the accessories, such as the bag bellows, are also currently very reasonably priced.

Bjorn Nilsson
29-Jul-2008, 12:54
A Sinar is a very good camera to start LF photography with. It's very easy to understand what the different movements are and as they all have scales you can measure what you do. (That includes the errors. :) ) Whoever asks me about which camera with which to start LF, the answer is a Sinar F/F1/F2. (My own camera is a complete F2 and an extra P rear standart with 4x5 and 5x7 frames.) Just see to that you have the excellent Sinar handbook/manual and you will have a very good book at your bedside.
While it's bigger and heavier brother the P2 is faster to use, it's also much more heavy. But you can do anything with the F1, and just as good as the fully Professional P/P2 camera. It just takes a few seconds more. The F1 is also very steady compared to most other cameras. Finally, it's quite common and there are lots of accessories available on the second-hand market.


Frank Petronio
29-Jul-2008, 13:13
The only "problem" is that as soon as you buy an F1, you'll see an F2 for the same price. The F2 has a more robust front standard.

The other Sinar to consider is the older, all-metal Norma, which preceded the F-series. Do a search, most experienced photographers still think the Norma was the best of all the Sinars.

Also note that the "F" was marketed before they became the F1 and F2. The F is pretty close to being the same as an F1, but over the years they changed a few parts, but sometimes an older F is quite a good buy. Basically the chrome finished Sinars are less expensive and older than the all-black ones.

Brian Sims
29-Jul-2008, 13:32
I have an F/F1 kit available with 2 long rail and a 6" rail, a standard bellows and double bag bellows, a 210mm and 90mm lens, a hard carrying case, holders, & dark cloth that I never use (since I got a good deal on a Linhof 45TK). If you are interested in the details and photos send me an email at simsfive@msn.com.

Robert Fisher
29-Jul-2008, 13:42
AR, do yourself a favor and buy a Norma.

I have owned the big, new and expensive Ebony and Arca bodies and MUCH prefer the Norma bodies.

Presently I own complete 45, 57 and 810 bodies. All the parts are interchangeable except bellows and rear standards.

Last week I bought an absolute mint Norma 45 body (still with the "Made in Switzerland" stickers on it) for $360. It is far superior in build quality to the crappy new Arcas that cost $5,000.

The Norma is a dream to work with in the field or studio.

phil sweeney
29-Jul-2008, 13:55
I never liked the base tilt on the front standard. After using my field camers and then use the F1, I can never remember how to use the base tilt procedure.

29-Jul-2008, 15:51
Thanks for the information guys.

There was some mention of different standards for different cameras. Bjorn mentioned that he has a P rear standard for his F2. What is the main reason for doing this?

btw, brian I sent ya an email.


Bjorn Nilsson
30-Jul-2008, 08:53
First things first, don't get lost in the system as such. A camera and a couple of lenses (such as the camera Brian describes) will get you very far. Many of us here suffers from GAS (Gear Accuisation (sp?) Syndrome), but what really matters is taking photographs.

The F series cameras does have a fixed film size. The most common is for 4x5" film cassettes or in short: 4x5".
The much more heavy P standart bearer takes 3 sizes of frames (4x5", 5x7" and 8x10"). You change format by just loosening a tightening knob and the bellows and replace these two items. Done in less than a minute. It is/was perfect in a studio environment where you could check light etc. with a Polaroid on 4x5" and when satisfied switch to e.g. 8x10". Just change the lens from e.g. a 150 to a 300 mm, and everything will "be the same", just bigger. This is normal workflow in a professional studio where time is a five letter word which spells "money".
With the Sinar you do most of your settings on the back standart to eventually transfer some or all the settings to the front. (The reason for this is that you see what you are doing without having to refocus every time you do something.) One reason for using the P back standart is that its much quicker to work with. (The other is the ability to change format.) The penalty is less portability as it's bulkier and heavier at any format. The last but not the least penalty is of course money. These gadgets have a hefty pricetag.
In my case, I first bought the F2 to later find a "complete" box for sale from an old photographer who had quit his business. That camera was a P 5x7" back and a Norma front. The box of course also contained lots of other goodies. I later found a used 4x5 back for the P.
(B.t.w. a Sinar camera with a P back and an F front is called "C" as in Combination.)
The charm of it all is that all the pieces fits as it's one system. Most old Norma parts can be used with any of the later cameras etc. etc. etc...