View Full Version : Toyo, Calumet, or Sinar? Which is right for me?

14-Jul-2010, 15:10
The Sinar looks the nicest, but I'm not sure which is for me.

I've already got one working 4x5 camera (Speed Graphic w 127/4.7 Ektar), so I want something a little more serious now.

Includes lenses with PC-sync, 645 or 6x7 back (already got an RB67 which I love) and 6x12cm back.

Which camera is the nicest to use and offers the largest range of movements?

Drew Wiley
14-Jul-2010, 15:17
These are all nice monorail systems, but Sinar has ovewhelmingly the largest system of
accessories and components, and is also by far the most readily available system, with
used prices quite tempting at the moment. Another monorail to consider, however, is the Horseman.

14-Jul-2010, 15:43
Yeah one went for ~$200 including international shipping, which is about how much I picked up the speed graphic for, outrageous!

Can ge a nice F1 for ~$500 AUD which is good.

14-Jul-2010, 21:31
I'm assuming that the Calumet you are thinking about is a 45n or 45nx, which is a variation of the Cambo SC made for Calumet labeling. The old Calumet CC-400 family is not really suitable for your requirements with rollfilm holders in that it does not have a Graflok back.

And I'm assuming that the Sinar in question is from the F series, and not from the P series, which is much bulkier and heavier, but which provides all gear-driven movements. The P-series Sinar cameras tend to cost quite a bit more and aren't really in the same price class as the cameras you mentioned.

I'm sure there is an assumption I should state about the Toyo, but I'm not familiar with their product line. I don't have comments about them, having never handled one.

All three are completely competent cameras. The Cambo/Calumet is modular and has lots of parts availability. The limitation with it is if you want to use lenses shorter than about 90mm. Even a 90mm lens will work better in a recessed lens board and with the bag bellows. The 65 is barely possible with a recessed board, and a 47 is out of reach. These focal lengths are rather extreme for 4x5, but not for the 6x7 holder you mentioned. Also, the monorail on these cameras is a fixed length, so if you buy a camera with the standard monorail and use it with roll film and a short lens, you'll have to leave quite a lot of rail sticking out the back, which gets in the way (if the excess length is in front of the camera, it might well be in the picture). The Cambo is a good, general-purpose camera and Calumet downgraded a few features (such as movement scales) to lower their price point. They were definitely designed for the budget price point.

The Sinar F was also designed for a lower price point, but only compared to it's much more expensive high-end models. Originally it was more expensive than the Cambo by a good margin, and intended for more demanding applications. It is lighter and less bulky than the Calumet/Cambo. It has base tilts rather than axis tilts, though the base tilts provide a yaw-free design. That approach has advantages in some situations and disadvantages in others, and I would not use it as a determinant unless you know which you prefer. The F and F1 provide geared focus only on the rear standard, while the F2 provides geared focus on both standards. Other movements are friction, as with the Calumet. With the standard wide-angle bellows, the Sinar will accommodate a 65mm lens on a flat lens board, and also a 47 thought with limited movements and some fiddling to keep the bellows from getting caught up between the standards. With the Wide Angle Bellows II, this is not a problem, and the camera will allow movements even with a 47. For smaller formats, therefore, the Sinar will allow a more appropriate range of focal lengths on the wide end.

The Sinar comes with a 12" rail which can be extended easily and indefinitely with 6, 12, or 18" extensions. The system is more modular than the Cambo, and parts are even more widely available.

I'm sure there are Toyo models throughout this range, though I see more modularity and component availability on the used market with Sinar stuff.

Rick "who owns both a Calumet 45nx and a Sinar F/F2" Denney