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Thread: "Sinar" lens boards for Chamonix... my experiences

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Collinsville, CT USA

    "Sinar" lens boards for Chamonix... my experiences

    Thought I'd put together my experiences with several brands of "Sinar" type boards for my Chamonix. Not a guide but only passing on my experiences... hopefully of some help to a few FORUM members:

    OEM Chamonix boards: IMO the "best" ones out there. Per the Chamonix website: "a carbon fiber lens board, lined with black velvet on the inside in order to reduce reflection." Currently go for $85 each. Own 2 with my 2 favorite lenses on them... just couldn't justify them for all my lenses, since the lenses were already mounted on Sinar boards (went from a Norma to a Chamonix). Not hard to enlarge the holes in these boards.

    Older gray Sinar Norma Boards: Actually my personal favorite. A Sinar Norma was my first 4x5 camera so am partial to these vintage gray boards. Last month scored big with finding and acquiring 3 of them, as new, with no holes in them. Over the years have come across two of them, for only a few dollars each, that were bent/warped. Never was able to re-bend those 2 boards back to being totally flat, had to chuck them.

    Later black OEM Sinar boards: 100% useable and since so many of them are around, probably the best buys out there. Always have found it easy to acquire them, as needed, with the correct sized holes already in them. Oddest find were a few of these boards with their front sides painted white and with notes written on them, passed up on them.

    Horseman boards: Totally useable but IMO 95% of the quality of OEM Swiss Sinar black boards. Does that matter? No. Currently I use 2 of them.

    "1 LENS BOARD 139mm x139mm FOR CHAMONIX 8"x10" CAMERA, 35mm hole, Cherry finish" available on that auction site: Actually good wooden lens boards available at a low cost. So easy to enlarge holes in them, since they are made of wood. Made of plywood and I have found them to be sufficiently stable. But there is a catch to using them... They are not useable on Sinar cameras: Norma or a F, C, P, or X. Have actually seen other "Sinar type" wood lens boards made of a solid one piece of wood - would totally avoid them. If they didn't warp in time, most surely they would crack easily in half from normal use.

    Generic black metal boards available on that auction site: Wide range of experiences with these boards. One fitted great, but others were too thick so that I couldn't "rotate" the lens board locking tabs on my Chamonix over them to lock the board in place. All of them did fit my Sinar Norma and X, but some too tightly. The thicker boards were only fractions of a mm too thick. Visually looking the same, you need to use a micrometer to see that they are thicker than OEM Sinar boards.

    As far as cutting the holes in the boards. Wooden ones easy. Chamonix OEM boards also easy, if not even easier. With metal ones, over the years have marked the circular opening, drilled small holes just inside the marked circle, and then manually slowly filed away rotating the boards held in a vice... I really should have invested in a hole cutter years ago!.

    Others please join in and comment...

  2. #2
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    SF Bay area, CA

    Re: "Sinar" lens boards for Chamonix... my experiences

    Velvet attracts lint. True Sinar boards have a perimeter light trap channel and seem to fit all kinds of "Sinar board compatible" cameras; but certainly not all generic "Sinar/Horseman" boards fit actual Sinar cameras. The real Sinar boards are diecast aluminum alloy and difficult to drill. You need them well clamped onto a serious drill press.

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