View Full Version : newbie Q: Sinar F1/F2/P or Toyo 45C?

18-Aug-2011, 23:55
hello all, sorry for posting a newbie Q.

i'm thinking of getting a 4x5 LF camera.

there are some 2nd hand ones that look like the thing i need, including:

Sinar F1
Sinar F2
Sinar P
Toyo-View 4x5 (think it's the C model)

i'm mainly going to be taking architectural photos and i think those monorail type ones will fit the bill(?)

the buildings i'm going to shoot are in the 60m-70m height range.
mostly will only be shooting the outside - perhaps an odd shot or two inside the building.

so which of those will fit the bill?

and on a lesser note, could they also be used to take landscapes?


18-Aug-2011, 23:59
Got an F1 myself, therefore I vote for the P without a moment of hesitation :)

Ken Lee
19-Aug-2011, 03:53
"could they also be used to take landscapes?"

Of course. I use a Sinar P. Often with a 5x7 back.

If you are looking for something as compact and lightweight as possible - because you intend to trek or climb - then of course there are more suitable cameras. But if most of your landscape work is done within walking distance from a car, then they are ideal.

There's nothing wrong with having all view camera movements available at all times, in a camera that is rock-solid.

Frank Petronio
19-Aug-2011, 04:18
Those are all fine cameras, they are more capable yet quite a bargain compared to the folding field cameras that are so popular with hobbyists.

I slightly prefer the Sinars but Toyos are also "system cameras" that can be expanded and upgraded. You may find the Sinar system larger and more plentiful.

In the end I would buy based on condition and value. The Sinar F2 is a popular camera for architecture because it is not too heavy or bulky, yet has all the movements and locks down nicely. Don't forget a bag bellows for your wider lenses.

19-Aug-2011, 04:50
Good time to get a monorail, they are selling for very little these days.
As others have pointed out, they are all excellent choices for your work.
I would just point out that if you're leaning towards Toyo, better to go with the G series; they are more robust and much smoother mechanically, plus the accessories are more readily available than with other Toyo models.

19-Aug-2011, 05:11
thanks for your replies guys.

and yes, from what i can envisage on the trip, i'll be using a car to lug the gear around, so weight & bulk should not be an issue.

please bear with me as i ask some more Qs....

yeah i know about bag bellows which leads me onto....

a lens like the Super-Angulon 8/65mm, has a image circle diameter, at f16, of 155mm.

so, that lens will project is big enough to cover 4x5 (which is about 101 x 127), right?
just want to make sure i'm getting the right gear and not wasting time/effort/money on the wrong stuff.

does it matter if i choose the 8/65 or the 5.6/65?
i'll probably be stopping down to perhaps f11 or f16 anyway, probably in good daylight, so is there any benefit of f5.6 over f8?

one other thing... dust.

the place i'm going to will be pretty dusty.

so i'll have to use the changing bag thingy or a tent to load film.

either method is not too hard - is it?

19-Aug-2011, 05:20
For image circle data, go here:

or here:

For dust, put everything in Ziploc bags, and a tent is better than a regular changing bag, as it keeps the top of the tent away from your hands.

sanchi heuser
19-Aug-2011, 06:03
I had problems with dust on the film.

I packed everything in ziplocks, cleaned my holders,
purchased a changing tent, cleaned the changing tent,
cleaned the inside of the bellows.
But the dust didn't stop :confused:

I realized that I always opened the dark slide directly after putting the film holder
into the camera. In that time the dust could easy settle on the emulsion.
After this I opened the darkslide only a few seconds before the exposure.
Mind that the vibrations from opening the darkslide - don't open it with fast impetus
and directly press the shutter. To have a solid camera helps.

Mmmhh, that hours stamping away the spots with PS while sitting
in the office were so relaxing:D

19-Aug-2011, 06:13
a lens like the Super-Angulon 8/65mm, has a image circle diameter, at f16, of 155mm.

so, that lens will project is big enough to cover 4x5 (which is about 101 x 127), right?
Sort of. I have one. It is a very extreme wide angle.

It just about covers 5x4 with some brightness drop off to the corners. I wouldn't want to shoot colour film with it. There is a centre filter but this is often as expensive as the lens.

You will not get any excess coverage for front standard movements so I would not recommend it for architecture.

Frank Petronio
19-Aug-2011, 06:43
Many architectural photographers' most used lens is the 90mm, preferably a Rodenstock 90/4.5 Grandagon-N or the Schneider, Fui, Nikon equivalent. These have faster lenses have larger image circles than the less expensive 90/6.8 version. Expect to pay about $500 USd for a clean, used 90/4.5 if you're patient, most people ask for a bit more.

The next most favorite lens might be something longer....

19-Aug-2011, 07:45
hey, thanks for the reply guys. especially for that link to the lens / image circle. was looking for something like that for some time.

Drew Wiley
19-Aug-2011, 08:57
The front standard of the f2 is way more durable than the f1, with the shift and swing lock separate (a valuable distinction), the rise on front and back is greater (more than you'll ever need), and there will probably be a metering back which might not make any difference. Other minor differences. So I'd strongly recommend the f/2. The X
and P models have geared controls and are wonderful studio cameras, but very bulky
and heavy for field use, so not always practical outside the studio. Just do your homework and beware of certain cameras on EBay which have been put together with
micellaneous old components and are incorrectly sold per model type. But prices and
supply are wonderful right now on used Sinar equip.

19-Aug-2011, 09:41
Keep in mind that a lot of Sinar P's have been very heavily used. I would vote for the F2 for field work. Not mentioned on your list - The Norma is also a good choice. I use the P in the studio but the Norma on location. I never warmed up to field cameras as I missed the familiar movements of the monorail too much. If I had started with a field camera then I would probably be more comfortable with one...

19-Aug-2011, 17:37
a lens like the Super-Angulon 8/65mm, has a image circle diameter, at f16, of 155mm.

so, that lens will project is big enough to cover 4x5 (which is about 101 x 127), right?

Barely. The diagonal diameter of the 4x5 format is 154mm by my measurement of film in Fidelity holders. But with that lens you will not be able to shift the lens for perspective correction, which will be a limitation in your application.

The 65/5.6 Super Angulon has a larger image circle of 170mm at f/22. That will allow a shift of about 12mm or so. Still limited, but at least you can do a little bit of tilting and shifting. If you need substantial movements for your architectural subjects, the 72mm Super Angulon XL has an f/22 image circle of 229mm. But it's much more expensive.

I have a 65/8 that I am saving for a box camera with no movements, but for my Sinar I use a 65/5.6 when I need something that short. I use the 90/5.6 Super Angulon a lot more often.

The wide aperture is for focusing and composing. You'll find depth of a field a big issue with large format, and my most used apertures are f/22 and f/32, when I want everything to be sharp.

A 65 is hard to view on regular ground glass--it makes a bright spot between you and the lens but everything else is quite dim. I need a tilting loupe for use with very short lenses. The Sinar Fresnel lens isn't focused for a lens this short, and it doesn't work that well with a 65. (It's great with a 120, or even a 90.) F/5.6 is noticeably brighter than f/8 in practice. It's not a big deal with longer lenses, but with a lens this short, the brightness is already an issue. If you really get into it, consider a Maxwell screen--expensive, but a god-send for using short lenses.

one other thing... dust.

the place i'm going to will be pretty dusty.

so i'll have to use the changing bag thingy or a tent to load film.

either method is not too hard - is it?

Buy enough holders so that you can load your film at home or at least in a hotel room away from the dusty conditions. A bag or tent won't keep out the dust if it's really blowing around. Bring a decent-sized soft camel-hair brush to brush off the holder before inserting it into the camera. Clean your camera frequently. None of these cameras are really happy in very dusty conditions.

Rick "and save up for a center filter for the 65" Denney