View Full Version : Low budget Lenses and Accesories for Sinar F

Paulo K. Ogino A.
14-Sep-2003, 22:07

I got a Sinar F body and since then I've been in a very low budget, so I'd like to know if anybody can give me any advice on low cost lenses, normal and wide angle. I'll be shooting mostly in black and white, landscape, architecture and some portrait. The same question goes for accesories, roll film holders, etc. Any help will be highly appreciated.


Paulo K. Ogino A.


David R Munson
14-Sep-2003, 22:40
I'd recommend a 210mm and a 90mm. With those two focal lengths you'll have your bases covered for just about anything. The 90mm would also necessitate bag bellows. Specifically, I've ben very, very pleased with the Nikkor-W 210mm f/5.6. I picked one up used on eBay for ridiculously little in good condition and you could likely do the same. Some of the older 90mm lenses like the Schneider 90mm f/6.8 Angulon represent really good values, though depending on the model may or may not have a lot of extra coverage, which comes in handy if you're using it to shoot architecture.

As far as accessories go, bare necessities would be a tripod, dark cloth, cable release, meter, and film holders. A dark cloth can be improvised easily with a jacket or something like that. If worse comes to worse, you can always use a 35mm camera with a built in meter to meter your scenes (having a handheld meter makes life a lot easier, though). Film holders can be had for very little used and some of the older film holders out there are better made than a lot of the cheap plastic ones being sold now. A Polaroid back would also be very handy, both for proofing and just for helping you learn the ropes, but is by no means a necessity.

Hope this helps.

Paul Chaplo
14-Sep-2003, 23:18
Thanks interesting, I've always approached it from the other direction: a cost-effective, sturdy, entry-level camera, and using my money on the best glass that I could buy, i.e. the Schneider XL series -- and of course, high-quality 4x5" film. In the end, a camera is a dark box: one one end you have your lens, on the other, your film. I focused more on covering my ends ;-)That being said, I would highly recommend the Nikon M-Series, e.g. the 200mm as your normal -- a great value. I'd second David's recommendation on a Schneider 90mm SA. Also, look at the affordable Caltar lenses from Calumet. I see that you are an architect -- architectural photography can require moves that exceed the image circle of some lower cost lenses. Check the archives when available?

tor kviljo
15-Sep-2003, 02:05
If you are on a very limited budget, even the generally nice-priced Nikkor-M series is to expensive. However, sharpe & nice b& w photos (in fact, some of the best...) were taken 50 years ago, so there is no reason to afraid of old glass. The typical inexpensive normal lens would be a Schneider Xenar (tessar formula) 150mm f 4,7 or 5,6. The least expensive but still good wide-angle a Schneider Angulon 90mm f 6,8 (or Kodak Ektar WA). Get the Linhof approved ones as Schneiders quality-control at that time (-60) were very variable - but Linhof thoroughly checked each lens to be of high imaging quality befor branding them. Both of these are nice & sharp when stopped down, but both of theme have little room for movements due to small image circle. Price typically down to well under $ 100,- each. Slightly more expensive but better & much bigger image circle is the older convertible Schneider Symmars (6-lens - approx 70 degrees or so). I have had one of these - being very satisfied with it.

For light meter: the veeery sensitive Gossen Luna-Pro (Lunasix elsewhere) is nicely priced but check for battery availability. It can be fitted with an inexpensive narrow-angle measuring device (select 15 or 7,5 degrees measuring angle - but at the cost of low-light reading capability) making it a very practical & inexpensive universal spot/average meter for the LF/Zone system user.

For roll film holder: stick to the slide-in holders not having to remove the ground-glass all the time (as with graflok/linhof Rollex 4"x5" roll-holders). on a bargain budget, this leaveds You with either the inexpensive but cumbersome/basic adapt-a-roll holder using 620 take-up spool and having a reverse roll-on of film. Often forund on ebay for around $ 40 - 50. I use one of these - and if I do my things correctly, the holder works nicely with adequately film flatness. Some practice is needed though. The better but more expensive (hard to find it cheap) is calumets slide-in roll film holders plastic (adapt-a-roll is al aluminium) but supposed to be reliable.

For film holders: I use mostly Grafmatics: 6 sheet all-metal magazines for rapid change. Two grafmatics equals 6 double-holders but about halfe the space. In my experience, they have better film-flatness than the ordinary double-film holders: in Grafmatics, the film is locked in place in a metal septum - not rocking back & fort as in a sloppy double-holder. Sometimes grafmatics can be found cheape/left overs - but othervice -expect them to be slightly more expensive than three used double-holders. Used double holders: ok - but check the hinge & film-flatness. In a Sinar (and other LF's w/detachable bellows) - remember You can check the film-deep-setting of film holders by first precise focussing on a target w/GG & loupe and then locking all settings. Then You take off the bellows, darken the room except the target. Using white paper instead of film in each holder and sliding it under GG - you will easily see if the target is in focus on the film-plane (paper): check by fine-focusing back and forth. Holders not in perfect focus: PUT THEM IN THE BIN! (to bad to have THE shot ruined due to trying to save 2 $ using a holder off-focus plane...)

Good luck & welcome in LF! (Sinar is great - but get You a F2 front standard for added stabiity when fortune allows!)

James Driscoll
15-Sep-2003, 07:23
210mm is a good choice, but I find 180mm and 240mm to be better ones, 180mm go pretty damn cheap, and you can find deals on 240mm I bought a mint nikkor (except for ring dent) one for $400, and had it overhauled for $90. When it came back, the dent was gone!!!

If you stick with older glass (not really old glass) such as 1960's era Schneider Symmars and S/A, you can get some awesome deals. I have purchased the following on EBAY, 180mm symmar for $130.00 210mm symmar for $103.00 300mm symmar for $101.00, and these were all WORKING optics, no CLA's or repairs needed.

I shoot architecture for a living, and if that is what you want to do and you are on a budget, go with a 90mm F8.0 Nikkor or older S/A. The Nikkor can be had for around $350 the S/A for under $250 if you really look. Next up would be a 121mm S/A- which is WONDERFUL for buildings....If i only had one lens to shoot architecture with, it would be a 120mm- you can score one for under $400. Avoid angulons, they are fine for the casual architecture shooter....but not the constant one.

Wait on getting a 72mm/75mm- you will not need it as much as you think, but it is a valuable lens- go with the 72mm XL. You can get this puppy new from B&H for $1199.00!!! Used ones go for $950 -$1050, might as well get the LIFETIME warranty for a few extra dollars.

If you are going more into the portrait mode, I feel you should go with the 240mm instead of the 210mm. Also if you later start shooting 5x7 and 8x10, it is more versitile than a 210mm. 240mm Symmars- under $300.

If you decide to get a 150mm (I would rather go with a 180mm, a little more coverage and more pleasing focal length to me anyways) get a G-Claron, a little dimmer yes- but it has more coverage than advertised (I use it on 5x7) and it works AWESOME as a close up lens.

Get a Bag bellows for your sinar (under $150.00), I use mine on everything up to 240mm. Also search out the older sinar Swing Out Filter holder- make sure you get it with the 4x4 gel holder attached. These aren't rare, but everyone who has one won't sell it. I have one (one of the last ones made, very sturdy) and everytime I find one I buy it and sell it, so someone else can have one. I just sold one on ebay for the (i feel) low price of $55.00, I paid $187.00 for mine. People pay $600 for them in NYC. Also, get a fresnel for your sinar, it is invaluable. Under $100 on ebay.

Ernest Purdum
15-Sep-2003, 07:55
To hold your expense to the absolute minimum for a longer lens, I suggest the f7.5 203mm Graphic Optar (presumably made by Wollensak). It gives you enough use of movements to avoid frustration. It is a dialyte type like the quite similar Kodak f7.7 203mm Ektar and all the Goerz Artars. I bought one recently for about $60.00, which I don't think was a fluke. They come in "Graphex" (Rapax) synched shutters which are less convenient than a Copal, but get the job done nevertheless.

For a wide angle, you might consider the f12.5 Extra Wide Angle Raptar. It is sometimes hated because of difficulties in focusing at its small aperture, but you can get around that by patience in waiting for your eyes to accommodate or by various focusing aids such as one of the "million candlepower" cordless spotlights.

My cheapest accessory is a focusing cloth which started out as Dracula's cape, purchased after last halloween.

Dan Fromm
22-Sep-2003, 11:08
Tor Kvilo recommended "the veeery sensitive Gossen Luna-Pro (Lunasix elsewhere) is nicely priced but check for battery availability."

In the US, we've had LunaSix (two push buttons on the side), LunaSix II (rocker switch on the side, doesn't accept accessory finders), and LunaPro (the rest of the world's LunaSix III, accepts accessory finders). The big change came from LunaSix to II, spectral sensitivity was changed to reflect a new ASA standard. If you need a meter, a II or III will do just fine, but may need to be calibrated. I've acquired a II and a III, both used, since about 1990; both were off calibration when received.

As for batteries, Bogen (www.bogenphoto.com) distributes an adapter for running these meters on two SR-44 cells. It costs less than $20, and it works very well. I have one in my LunaPro. My II was retired when it began to smell of cooked printed circuit board.