View Full Version : Sinar Mechanical Shutter + Filters

21-Apr-2010, 21:34
So, I am the proud new owner of a mechanical Sinar shutter system (and whole 4x5 kit!) and I am looking into the possible filters that I may need in the near future. I am sick and tired of screw on filters, just because 77mm filters (of good quality) are rather expensive and I don't think any two of my lenses (large format or not...) use the same size, and I'm not a fan of the step down ring system. So these rule out thread mount filters and leave me with the behind the lens capabilities of the Sinar shutter.

I know that the shutter can take either 100/5mm circular filters (too expensive, and hard to come by), but it will also take 4x4 gel filters. I have two (multi-part) questions:

#1. How do gel filters affect image quality? Are they as good as glass filters? Does it vary with brand?

#2. Will the glass 4x4 Hitech filters fit on my shutter? Will they be too thick, or something else I'm not thinking of that would cause them to not fit? Does anyone have experience using the filter holder on the Sinar shutter?


Lachlan 717
21-Apr-2010, 23:17

I would suggest that you do some research (on this site will be a good start) about the cons of mounting any filter behind the lens.

Also, be aware that many lenses have a different thread on the rear cell compared to the front cell (if you choose to go rear screw-on).

Third, make sure that you actually need every filter that you're thinking of mounting. Often people buy/want too many filters, especially for B&W work.

Finally, don't write off step UP rings if your wider lens has a smaller filter diameter. Stepping up can often help you to avoid filter vignetting on WA lenses.

Glenn Goldapp
7-Jun-2010, 21:01
I have used gels and polyesters on my sinar shutter for years with excellent results. The real joy - only one of each filter is needed. Another big advantage is mounting the filter behind the lens reduces the additional reflection that a filter my cause.

erie patsellis
7-Jun-2010, 21:55
I built a 4x4 adapter using .032 aluminum and a series 9 retaining ring epoxied on. Works like a champ in the field, though as alluded to above, you want to recheck focus when using any filter behind the lens due to a focus shift approx. .3x the filter thickness.

Struan Gray
8-Jun-2010, 00:06
The Sinar polariser/filter/shade holder has a 105 mm thread built in. The Lee 105 mm adapter screws right in, so you can use their whole 4x4 hood and filter holder system in front of the lens, swinging or sliding it out of the way when you need to.

8-Jun-2010, 06:20
I use step up rings on all my large format lenses. All my filters are 67mm and (luckily) my largerst LF lens has a 67mm thread. I have never had any problems even on my 90mm Super Angulon

Ken Lee
8-Jun-2010, 07:58
I have used gels and polyesters on my sinar shutter for years with excellent results. The real joy - only one of each filter is needed. Another big advantage is mounting the filter behind the lens reduces the additional reflection that a filter my cause.

Glenn - What do you use to hold the filters ? I have a Sinar P, a Sinar shutter, and use a Sinar lens shade, which is just a small section of bellows that hangs out on a little hexagonal stick.

Back in the 1970's, I used gel filters. I just held them out in front of the lens. They never affected image quality. As has been pointed out, only one of each color is required.

Clive Gray
8-Jun-2010, 08:44
I meant to reply to this a couple of weeks ago as I felt that the original answer didn't really answer any of the questions that were specific to the Sinar shutter.

As a picture paints a thousand words..... there seems to be some confusion about mounting filters on the shutter


You can mount one or two if you want to push your luck filters this way Sinar also make a plastic holder you can mount in the recess that will take 3 filters.

Amongst the arguments often mentioned against rear mounted filters is there use with ultra wide angles which pretty much doesn't apply as they are not very easy to use with the Sinar shutter.

The Sinar 100 filters were made by Format (hitech) and are thinner than most so these are the best bet to use.

As Struan has suggested the Swing out filter holder is an excellent accessory and if you have the gel snap with it you wouldn't need anything to do with the Lee system for single filters, if you want to mount multiple filters on a narrow field lens it's an excellent suggestion :cool: I shall go check if I have a 105 ring because otherwise I rarely use the Lee bits I have.


If I need lens shading I just use the bellows hood mask 1 on one of the rod clips.

Ken Lee
8-Jun-2010, 09:10
Brilliant !

A picture is really worth 1000 words !

What is the size of those filters please ?

Clive Gray
8-Jun-2010, 09:51
The 80A in the back of the shutter is a Sinar colour control filter from their 100 system, it's basically a 100mm x 100mm square resin filter approximately 1mm thick. Sinar no longer markets filters but when they did they were made for them by Forrnatt (http://www.formatt.co.uk/default.aspx) who still market them as their Hitech range (http://www.formatt.co.uk/stills-filters/filters/stills-filters.aspx)

The shutter will also take thin circular filters that fit in the circular recess I have a few some where tht I can't track down at the moment.

I found my 105 Lee ring and as Struan says that can be used to adapt the swing out holder to use the Lee system,I expect I'll still use the Sinar gel snap holder for ultra wide angles though, the filter shown in that is a Hitech 100 x125mm ND grad.

Ken Lee
8-Jun-2010, 16:07
I have some 100mmx100mm Lee gelatin filters, but they don't fit. They are 2mm thick.

Any ideas for how to use them with a Sinar shutter ?

Daniel Unkefer
9-Jun-2010, 16:23
I use the 4x4 Kodak Wratten gel filters, and the circular Sinar Norma 103mm Glass Filters, in my two Norma Mechanical shutters.

13-Jun-2010, 10:39
Thank you Clive for posting all that info, the pictures helped immensely. I'm glad I checked back here, because I has not too far off from ordering some filters that most likely wouldn't have fit!

I have finally gotten around to actually USING my camera in the last couple weeks and a lot of the questions that I have had have been answering themselves. Unfortunately for beginners or those looking into getting into LF, the best way to learn about this stuff is to get your hands on a real camera. That can be a little tough these days, unless you know someone already in practice...

I think all I have to say now is: Soooooo long 35mm!

Ken Lee
13-Jun-2010, 11:09
You mean Kodak Wratten Gel filters like this one (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/26532-REG/Kodak_1496967_4x4_100mm_8_Pale.html) ?

How thick are they ? Will they fit in a Sinar Shutter ?

Armin Seeholzer
13-Jun-2010, 14:48
Ken why don't buy the behind the shutter filter holder for 10x10 cm gels and also the Sinar 10x10 Filters?
The product no. is:547.51 and has 3 slots if I remember right!
I have mine somewhere in my studio not at home!

Cheers Armin from Sinar country!

Ken Lee
13-Jun-2010, 17:08
Armin -

Here is the brochure (http://www.kenleegallery.com/pdf/Sinar100FiltersAndShadeAccessories.pdf).


This device does not go behind the shutter, but goes on the front of the lens, with a different adaptor for every lens. It was probably great for studio work, where you may need to combine several filters for the control of color balance (in the days of color film).

The advantage of the filter position behind the Sinar Shutter (as shown by Daniel and Clive), is that we only need one set of filters. You don't have to have an adaptor for every different lens. With it, you don't have to have a collection of glass filters, for every different lens size, or a set of adaptors.

Clive Gray
13-Jun-2010, 23:31

Armin was just off by one digit in his recollection.

It's still available new in the UK at least, I don't have one yet, but find when neccesary I can just about squeeze two filters into the recess on the shutter.

The filters have long since been dropped from the Sinar catalog I got what was advertised as a set of 20 on ebay for 120 turned out to be 27 filters in the wallet case too.

The filters not being available isn't a problem as Formatt's Hitech range is what they were anyway and they are still available.

After all this (http://www.formatt.co.uk/stills-filters/filters/combination-graduated/twilight-nd-grad-filter-graduated.aspx) was never in the Sinar range - my excuse is I got a load of Hitech filters for a really good price from the sadly missed MXV.

Ken Lee
14-Jun-2010, 02:27
Excellent - Thanks Armin and Clive. I will look for that one !

Daniel Unkefer
15-Jun-2010, 04:20
You mean Kodak Wratten Gel filters like this one (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/26532-REG/Kodak_1496967_4x4_100mm_8_Pale.html) ?

How thick are they ? Will they fit in a Sinar Shutter ?

Kodak Wratten filters are very thin. They fit in my Norma shutters, and no loss of quality whatsoever, as long as they are not marred, severely scratched, or folded. Dust can be an issue, I brush off dust and vacuum, every so often.

Black photo masking tape will also hold them firmly and without issue.

Ken Lee
15-Jun-2010, 04:31
Excellent - Thanks !

18-Jan-2013, 02:56
The shutter will also take thin circular filters that fit in the circular recess I have a few some where tht I can't track down at the moment.

Clive, do you mean the threaded circular recess on the front of the shutter? What is the diameter and thread pitch of the recess?

Daniel Unkefer
18-Jan-2013, 06:51
Here are some of my original Sinar Norma 103mm Glass Filters. Yellow, Yellow-Green, Red, and two Neutral Density. These fit directly in several of my Sinar Norma Mechanical Shutters, or can be used externally, in the Sinar Norma Filter Holder. Each filter came wrapped in tissue, inserted into a circular slip-case, made from the same material as on the old Norma Trunk cases.

18-Jan-2013, 07:23
Daniel, I take it these filters are put at the back of the shutter and are held by two little clamps. What about the threaded recessed hole at the front? Do you know its diameter and, perhaps, thread pitch?

Daniel Unkefer
18-Jan-2013, 08:45

No I don't know the front threaded hole diameter or thread pitch.

Actually the threading is to turn the Shutter into a recessed lensboard on the front. I have been searching for that "threaded cup" for thirty years, and I have never seen one.

Here it is in a very old Norma Instruction Book: