View Full Version : Sinar P, P2, X

Jeremy Graves
31-Mar-2011, 07:56
Looking to possibly purchase a Sinar camera for field use, mostly landscape and architecture work.

I've done some research and can't seem to come up with a side by side comparison of the three models I am considering the Sinar P, P2 and X. On the surface they all appear roughly the same.

Do anyone have experience with these cameras and know the advantages or disadvantages of one model over another?

Eventually I would like to get a digital back and an 8x10 conversion kit which of these models can handle those additions the best?

Bob McCarthy
31-Mar-2011, 08:10
Are you interested in an inexpensive P 8x10?

You can always convert to the smaller format when you want.


Jeremy Graves
31-Mar-2011, 08:17

I might be interested, do you have a price in mind?

What would be included?

Bob McCarthy
31-Mar-2011, 08:35
Jeremy, .

Its a true P 8x10 with the T rear standard. It does not have the giagantic meter back, but to me the more desirable small compact normal back. Mechanically it is fine but not perfect and could use an inexpensive tuneup. Sinars were build so that they could be brought back to new condition with a kit of minor parts. ($100 give or take)

The bellows is original and I've kept it light tight with some sealant. Works fine, looks like it was repaired.

I think it's a solid camera that with a little TLC can be brought to new condition for a few bucks.

That is exactly why I bought it, but I'm so frickin' busy, Im just not getting to it. And I need a new field camera in 8x10 as my plans for this year are to go far afield the car. I've used it out to 1/2 mile, but beyond is where I'm going.

Price, I'm thinking $800 ish.


Jeremy Graves
31-Mar-2011, 08:42

Would you be able to send pictures?

Do you have an idea of where I could get the refurb parts you speak of?

Bob McCarthy
31-Mar-2011, 09:05
If your handy, you can do it yourself, or there a a number of shops that do it. It just consists of nylon tracks and gears to tighten tolerances. Its concidered a wear item on a Sinar, like your windshield wipers on your car. I'll pass on a few names later tonight when I get home from work. The camera is certainly usable now, its just not super-tight like a new one or tuned one.

I will get pictures to you tonight. Pm me your email address.

It really is a wonderful camera. I would throw in the extra extension rail I got with the camera of course.

my email address is


if you want to reach me, I'll be out and about this afternoon at some meetings. The above email address goes to my phone.


Robert Jonathan
31-Mar-2011, 18:51
Let's see...

The P2 is black, and has individual knobs for tilt and swing, while the P has one knob for tilt and swing, with a switch to change the function of the knob from tilt to swing and vice versa. Both the P and P2 have removeable rear frames to easily change from 4x5/5x7/8x10.

The X seems to be even more popular for digital, since it's the same as a P2, but without removeable rear frames (you can remove them, but it's not the same as the P/P2), no metering back, and no zero click stops. It would be a great live-view/tethered camera for digital backs, or even SLRs/scanning backs.

For what you want, I'd get an X, and look for a P/P2 rear standard and a format changing kit when you want to go to 8x10.

However, for digital, it seems people are leaning toward Arca Swiss M Line 2 and Monolith 6x9 systems instead of Sinar 4x5. Supposedly the Sinar gearing isn't tight or precise enough, but it depends on the shape of the camera. You'll have to try before you buy of course, but for the used price, the X is a steal.

Bob McCarthy
31-Mar-2011, 19:01

Pm me your email so I can send some pictures. I just got home and did a few p&s shots. They should give you a good idea.

It comes down to $$'s. You can spend a lot and get exactly what you want - or - start with a good camera and spend money on lenses and other accessories. You could buy a great English bellows and put a kit in the camera and get the absolute equivalent of a out of the box P2 for 10-15% of the cost.


Bob McCarthy
1-Apr-2011, 07:51
Pictures sent this am.

Jeremy Graves
1-Apr-2011, 08:29
Got the pictures and e-mailed you a few questions

Frank Petronio
1-Apr-2011, 09:06
While you can certainly get away with using a medium format digital back on the Sinar P, P2, or X, the gearing is rather coarse for the finer degree of movements used with such a small imaging area compared to 4x5 film. That's why they make expensive view cameras with finer gearing and tighter tolerances, i.e. the Sinar P3.

Not commenting on your prospective sale but I'd buy based on condition since the cameras are very similar in use. Getting the 8x10 rear is a nice thing to have since buying one alone can be expensive. I'd also rather get the non-Metering back (MB) but be sure you get the right 8x10 bellows because they are different between the Metering and Non-metering versions (one of Sinar's few exceptions to interchangeability over the years). Nobody is really going to actually use the metering back, it's stupid and bulky but not so much you'll worry about it if you get a good deal, haha.

Some of the Ps that were used in busy studios have been worked hard over a nearly 30-plus year life. You'll want to track auctions on eBay for a while, sometimes there are fantastic deals for larger outfits and you can always resell the extra bits you don't need.

Someone like Bob Watkins at http://www.precisioncameraworks.com/ can maintain and get your camera perfect.