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Thread: Sinar F2 vs. Norma for 8x10 field use?

  1. #1

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    Sinar F2 vs. Norma for 8x10 field use?

    (I asked this on flickr, but had no response).

    I'm looking into either an F2 or Norma for 8x10, and was wondering which would likely be better in terms of lugging around.

    Weight is an issue, although I'm more concerned with how small the camera is when packed, and how easy it is to set up and in the field.

    I'd expect to be using this for a mix of studio and field use, the latter including urban landscape and transport via subway trains etc. I might need to walk a few kms to get to a spot, but not need to climb mountains or anything too crazy.

  2. #2

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    Re: Sinar F2 vs. Norma for 8x10 field use?

    The Norma is a much better camera overall than the F2, actually one of the best ever. The Norma is a very strong and precise camera with virtually no plastic, it is therefore more durable, especially in the field. It is very lightweight for a rail camera, but anytime shooting 8x10 in the field is cumbersome. I have tried so many LF cameras and always come back to the Norma.

  3. #3
    indecent exposure cosmicexplosion's Avatar
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    Re: Sinar F2 vs. Norma for 8x10 field use?

    some one mentioned the use or adaption of a pram or stroller as a way of getting around, recently i had to carry my sinar p across town about 6 blocks and wished i had a pram for at least 5 of those 6 blocks.

    prams have great shock systems now. enough room to carry your lunch and your images will be your little babys.

    also much better than two wheel trollys you have to drag behind, usually to short and always fall over when hit a bump

    you can usually find them on the street as well. hopefully minus the babys.
    through a glass darkly...

  4. #4

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    Re: Sinar F2 vs. Norma for 8x10 field use?

    I have not used either of those cameras. You will find some people who praise studio monorails for field use because they are incredibly inexpensive relative to their original cost and they are more sophisticated than field cameras. However, if "weight is an issue" and especially portability then I would not go for it unless budget is the prime mover. I think a field camera is much better, hence the name. In either case, a jogging stroller makes lugging the gear around much more fun and you can lug around more film holders.

    Some argue that the film holders might weigh more than any single camera and the rest of the kit makes the camera weight irrelevant. There is some truth to that. However, there is no way to reduce the weight of film holders, but if you can shave 10 pounds off the weight of a camera you have made progress. I had an older, heavier, monorail as my first 8x10 and found it unpleasant for field work. Too heavy and impossibly bulky. Now I have a Wehman field camera which is an excellent option that weighs about 10 pounds and can accommodate almost any lens you could find for it.

  5. #5

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    Re: Sinar F2 vs. Norma for 8x10 field use?

    I love Norma. She has the 8x10 back, and 5x7 and 4x5 reducing backs. She's not a lightweight, but she's solid, smooth, and really fun to use. I like the idea of owning and using a classic, and even though I now have Alice (my Ritter 8x10) and Amanda (my Ritter 5x7), I'm sure I'll find uses for Norma.

    I have no experience with an F2, but will be content in my ignorance.
    Bruce Barlow
    author of "Finely Focused" and "Exercises in Photographic Composition"
    www.brucewbarlow.com

  6. #6

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    Re: Sinar F2 vs. Norma for 8x10 field use?

    An F2 8x10 is no slouch, in good condition it can actually be smoother than a mediocre Norma, so I would buy the camera that is most appealing and the best deal. In most cases the Norma is a better deal and it probably is more robust but if someone offered me a F2 8x10 for $7-800 I'd take it seriously, they are fine cameras. I bought a clean 8x10 Norma for less than that once but usually expect to pay around a grand and some change for a good one.

    All the usual buyer-bewares apply, one advantage of the F2 is that all the parts are available (but Norma parts are not impossible to find). There are sliding plastic parts in the F2 that do wear out and need replacement but you would have to be buying a very well used one to find things worn out, today's hobby/rock and tree photographers don't shoot enough to wear anything out. Likewise the geared focusing on some Normas can be tweaked from over-tightening and poor adjustment, there are online service guides and the better repair people know how to adjust and center everything.

    One thing to watch for with the F2 is that the front standard has long enough legs to give you some rise and not just fall. Because these are system cameras they can be assembled from odd parts, but you'll want extra tall legs so you can get that front up past the center point of 8x10.

    There are also slight bellows incompatibilities between 8x10 Norma, F-P series, and the later F2-P2 series with the metering backs. You'll want to check there is a nice tight connection there as sometimes bellows also get swapped around.

    You can also buy the conversion kits but it is usually a better deal to buy an entire camera plus another for 4x5 and combine parts for a super system.

  7. #7

    Re: Sinar F2 vs. Norma for 8x10 field use?

    I'd go for a Norma any day over an F. I've owned both types.
    “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”
    ― Mark Twain

  8. #8

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    Re: Sinar F2 vs. Norma for 8x10 field use?

    An F2 is a shakier setup than a Norma. I never bonded with mine.

    Peter Gomena

  9. #9
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Sinar F2 vs. Norma for 8x10 field use?

    I loved the f/2 for field use. The delrin focus track was designed so that any wear could simply be shimmed, and I loved the extremely smooth focus. Eventually the locks
    which hold the back and lensbord in will wear out, and with extreme use I found myself
    having to replace the front standard altogether frome time to time. But that's the kind of stuff that's very easy to get at a reasonable price at the moment. With a Norma getting parts is going to be a lot harder. Guess it depends how you treat your gear. I pamper my camera as much as I can, but was out in the elements so much with it, that wear-and-tear was inevitable. Nowadays for 4x5 I use a little Ebony folder, which is slower to use and won't take as much abuse as the Sinar, but it sooo much more compact.

  10. #10
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Sinar F2 vs. Norma for 8x10 field use?

    OOOps ... you said 8x10. My bad. Never did use an 8x10 Sinar in the field (use a
    Phillips folder). If I did I'd take a good Kelty backpack frame (minus pack) and strap
    it on, and leave room for a filmholder and gear bag below.

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