View Full Version : sinar f1 or sinar p...

james morgan
8-Jun-2010, 08:32
i'm trying to buy my first 4x5 on a budget. after reading/looking, i've narrowed down to getting a used sinar. there're several available on the auction site, but i can't decide between the f1 and the p.

i'll be using the monorail in a studio setting, so weight and portability is not an issue. ease of use (i'm a total newbie) and performance are.

from what i gather, the sinar p (almost twice the price?) is a better camera compared to the sinar f1, but in what ways? can i get an f1 and replace with parts (standards) for the sinar p later on?

any advice and recommendations for either of these cameras is greatly appreciated.



8-Jun-2010, 08:38
P, by all means. Even for travel I'd recommend the F2 at the very least - the F/F1 front standard is rather on the flimsy side.

james morgan
8-Jun-2010, 09:18
thanks, sevo.

can i do most of my focusing and shifting using just the back standard alone? sorry, newbie question right there. :D (my work is mainly artwork repro)

i intend to just fix the lens/front standard and just work the back. if that's the case, would the f1 suffice? also, could i replace the front standard with this?



8-Jun-2010, 09:24
If weight and portability isn't an issue, and if the price you'll have to pay isn't an issue, then get a P.

The F was intended as a "starter" view camera, but Sinar's definition of "starter" is not at all like "beginner". More like, "entry into our modular system so that we can sell much more stuff to the F's owner." There is nothing about the F that relegates it to beginners, and it is still a top-notch professional camera.

You can easily combine F and P standards on the same rail. The P bearers and standards go together--the standard isn't detachable from the bearer on the F in the same way. So, if you change, say, the rear standard from an F to a P, you have to change everything. But everything that attaches to it will work on either.

The main difference between the F and P is geared movements. The F uses friction movements for tilt, swing, and shift. The F1 and F2 use separate locks for shift and swing, while the F uses the same lock. The F only has base tilts, while the P has both base and axis tilts. Both are yaw-free designs, however. The F has geared movements only for rear focus, and the F2 for both rear and front focus.

The F and F1 front standard is the same as the "multipurpose" standard used on a P for connecting sections of bellows together, holding the front of a compendium shade, holding the binocular viewer, providing a macro stage, etc. It uses a clip that goes under the bottom and hooks into the standard on the other side of the rail. Those clips have to be treated with care. The F2 has a solid front rail block like the rear standards of all Fs, which is also why it has geared focus. The F1 and F2 have a better design for the detent track for swings--the F uses a ball bearing riding in an aluminum channel, and the F1/F2 uses a steel wear plate between the two. For long-term use, I would prefer the latter.

The F2 has a metering back, while the F and F1 back does not have the slot for the metering probe, if that's important to you. All the P cameras had the metering back.

All of them will take the same bellows, boards, and other accessories. All will accept the Sinar shutter.

There is no problem with stiffness on the F series--they are quite stiff and strong in normal service, and also compared to many cameras that are highly respected on these pages. You may get distortion if you try to crank the standards together beyond the maximum compression of the bellows, but I think it would take a pretty stiff breeze to get an F standard to wiggle when tightened down. But with friction movements, they don't have the fine control and repeatability of the P series. That said, that affects efficiency more than effectiveness--I've never had trouble getting the movements adjusted just as I wanted them with my F/F2. It may have taken a bit more fiddling, that's all.

Rick "hitting a 10-penny nail with a 10-pound hammer" Denney

8-Jun-2010, 12:28
I would recommend the cheap route. It is a modular sytem so you can buy a P later and then use it together with f components for close up work. A very tidy 240mm APO Ronar would be good for making reproductions and inexpensive but you will need an extension rail for the sinar. A macro sironar would be nice and bright but more expensive, look at some of Ken Lee's flowers and leaves in the image sharing thread for an example. A more general purpose lens would be fine and may be a better use of money. IMHO spend money on a very good lens and plenty of film holders, dont worry about the camera, you will probably change your mind after using it for a while.


Glenn Goldapp
9-Jun-2010, 20:40
James, The Sinar is designed to measure all swings and tilts for focusing on the rear standard. Once the calculation are made it is transfered to the front. So the answer is yes, you can use the rear to focus. But, it is then transfered to the front. A quick point on the metering back. I have never seen a P with a metering back. I believe the metering back appeared with the P2 and the F2. I have 3 Sinars. Bought an F in 1973. In 1980 got a Wista but sold it and went right back to my Sinar and have never been sorry.