View Full Version : Arca Swiss:M-Monolith 4 x 5 vs. Sinar P2: 4 x 5

28-Dec-2003, 17:01
6CM x 12 CM. Any thoughts on which camera you would use for Architectural work. Arca Swiss:M-Monolith 4 x 5 vs. Sinar P-2: 4 x 5 , to be used with a 6 x 12 roll film adapter.

Christopher Condit
28-Dec-2003, 18:33
I'm sure both are full functioned and will do just about anything, so secondary concerns must come into play in making this choice. The major advantage I see for Arca is that it is substantially cheaper new. A number of things can be said in favor of Sinar:

1. A new Sinar actually in stock will be easier to find; the Arca is almost certainly a special order, unless the store brags that it isn't.

2. A used Sinar will be much easier to find, and currently the prices are attractive.

3. Accessories and repairs will be easier to find.

4. Accessories are *very* extensive.

5. Sinar is aggressively pursuing large format digital.

6. Rentals will be very easy to find; there won't be any Arca rentals anywhere.

7. Even loaners will be easier to find, as there are zillions of Sinar owners.

I am a happy Sinar P owner, so take that into account when considering my opinion. It would be very interesting to hear from an Arca-Swiss M owner, but I am afraid they are few and far between.

Finally, two points somewhat off topic. If you haven't already, do yourself a favor and add to your list for consideration the top of the line models of Horseman and Linhof, and maybe Cambo. Hopefully BobS will chime in with the beauties of the Linhof. And, consider buying used if you aren't already. These things are very sturdy and relatively simple mechanically (no chips, not even any batteries), and built to last.

Completely off topic, if I were a millionaire focussed on shooting 6x12 (without movements) I would buy a Linhof Technorama 6x12.

Good luck,

Frank Petronio
29-Dec-2003, 05:58
Either is probably overkill unless you are using huge lenses or a very heavy digital back. But if you don't mind lugging the weight and can afford them, they are excellent, as are Linhofs, etc.

Based on the phrasing of your question, I suspect you may want to investigate deeper - the most expensive model is not always the most appropriate, especially for field work.

Ellis Vener
29-Dec-2003, 09:56
I am a very happy current Arca-Swiss F-line owner. I formerly owned a Sinar C for about 11 years and was pretty happy with that. I also have worked extensively with Sinar P & P2 cameras. All are great. Having said that, all of Christopher's comments are right on target. Most architectural photographers that I know who shoot with Arca-Swis cameras --including the legendary Norman McGrath, use some variant of the Arca-Swiss F. I will make the argument that the Arca-Swiss 4x5FC Metric is damn close to the perfect large format camera for architecture and quite a bit of studio work. the one thing missing from the Arca-Swiss F cameras when compared to the Sinar P based cameras is a built-in depth of field and tilt angle calculator. That is fixed with the us$35.00 depth of field and tilt angle calculator.

3-Jan-2004, 02:34
try a sinar c...thats an x back with an f2 front..much lighter than a p2 but much more controlable and sturdy where you need it rather than the lighter but more flimsy f2.

Sandy Sorlien
15-Jan-2004, 06:13
Hi Stuart,

I tried to write you directly but your spam blocker rejected it.

I love my Arca. It is a wonderful camera. Definitely get the metric, it is a joy to adjust the movements without having to lock them. (except swing/tilt, which you do have to lock). I didn't look at any 4x5s because I knew I would only use rollfilm. If I ever want to upgrade I can buy a 4x5 rear standard for this one. I figured I'd just keep it small so it would be lighter and I could get away with a lighter tripod.

In 2001 I researched on the forum all the options and the architectural people really loved this one. Everyone was saying, if you can afford it, get an Arca. I bought mine from Robert White in UK and got great friendly service from them.

I'm using Schneider lenses with it, 47XL, 65SA, and 80SS, all very good coverage. I shoot color neg and never need a center filter. I would like to get a 110XL.

The only thing I don't like is it's a litle hard to slide it onto the tripod bracket. Sometimes I am afraid I will drop the camera doing that. But if you keep the bracket lubricated with silicon or graphite, it works better.

I didn't actually see a Linhof so I can't say how that performs, but I can say the Arca is terrific.

Check my website on the Main Streets page for 27 images taken with it. (Well, a few of them were taken with a Fuji 6x9 rangefinder, actually.) Don't judge sharpness there, as those were scanned from prints. So they lost sharpness and I re-sharpened them in Photoshop. But you can see that I have adequate movements for my streetscape subjects.

Another good person to ask is Christopher Campbell. (Or is that who CXC is? If so, greetings, how's your new house/studio?)

Cheers, Sandy