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Sinar f, f1 or f2

Ryan Radtke , Sep 18, 2004; 05:02 p.m.

Im looking for a good starter camera for large format. I have decided that I have heard that sinar is very upgradable. I would like to know more about the f, f1 and f2. what are the differences and what would be the better choice for someone who has never dabbled in large format before.

Responses


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Nikos Peri , Sep 18, 2004; 06:11 p.m.

I have only recently started dabbling in LF with a Sinar F2. From what I have seen, the only differences between the f1 and f2 are that the latter has micrometric movements for fine focus of both standards, which the f1 lacks (at least on the front standard). There may be other differences, but I can't see 'em. That said, all the Sinars are great cameras. I tried a Sinar Norma for a month before getting mine, and even that 1950's camera was a fine piece of equipment. Insofar as being upgradeable, I don't think you can get an F and later on, modify it to become an f2, if that's what you mean. But, should you want to, and can afford to, the f range will open the door to Sinar's electronic shutters and digital backs...

Armin Seeholzer , Sep 18, 2004; 06:15 p.m.

Hi

The F1 is the entry level camera from Sinar, and I like it very much because it is not as heavy as my Sinar P and I can use the F1 as extention for longer lenses and also as a compedium in front of the P! The F1 has not so a very stron front standard as the F2 but the F1 frontstandard is much more practicall for all around use!

Good luck and good light!

Nikos Peri , Sep 18, 2004; 06:15 p.m.

Given a little more thought, I do ask you this: you sure you want a monorail? I take more landscapes than still lifes, and carrying it around is really not fun. Rather than ponder whether f, f1, or f2, just wanted to make sure you've asked yourself whether monorail view camera, or field camera would better suit your needs.

Ryan Radtke , Sep 18, 2004; 07:59 p.m.

I only have a vague plan as to what Im going to use it for, but right now I want to play around with archatecture and studio work.. Im not really a landscape kinda guy.. I have never really been able to make landscapes work.. I prefer objects..

Ryan Radtke , Sep 18, 2004; 08:01 p.m.

by upgradeable, I kinda ment bellows, extention rails, and other accessories will work with later model f2 if I wanted to buy one in the future.. as opposed to buying a cheaper norma now and finding out that I really want an f2.

Wilbur Wong , Sep 18, 2004; 09:43 p.m.

I used a f1 for close to 20 years, the lack of a geared front focus I consider trivial. I recently moved into a Linhof technica 2000, which is somewhat of a mercedes of a field camera compared to most other field cameras currently available.

Personally, I highly recommend the sinar f1 as a starter camera, the monorail format is much much easier to understand and adjust than most other folding field cameras, and all components of any of these models are compatible with the entire range of sinar cameras. They are solidly built and all controls lock up well with out any slippage, while you are handling film holders etc. Start with this and move on in a few years if you feel the need.

Since you mention f, I think that that had a fairly weak clamp between the rail and the tripod head (it looks kinda squarish, and is trapped on the monorial, the taller current clamp being used allows you to loosen the clamp and lift the monorail out of the clamp, leaving the clamp attached to the tripod.) I would recommend the stronger clamp interface to the tripod.

Jan Virtanen , Sep 19, 2004; 05:51 a.m.

I bought a F2 5x7 some time ago. I really wanted the 5x7 film size even with all the hassle to find film for it. I wanted more versitality than portability and bought a monorail. You should look for a good set with some usefull acessories cause they will be a bit expencive to buy all them separate even on the auction site. Loupes, film holders, extension rails etc.

W. Veena , Sep 19, 2004; 06:30 a.m.

I purchased a used "P" (silver finish) some time ago for about $700 (ebay). I think it's the better choice for studio, because of it's sturdier design than the F series. Heavier to carry round, but I like it a lot. Swiss quality. Probably the P2 is even better, but it was too expensive for me. The nice thing is, that every accessory will be compatible if you want to upgrade later.

Jerry Flynn , Sep 20, 2004; 10:28 a.m.

There was an f, an f+ and f1 and an f2 (f2 is the only one still available in the US, new. f1's were only available new to educational institutions, the last I heard.) All are available used.

The main difference beteween the f and f+ as far as I know is that the f had the so-called "low profile" rail clamp whereas the f+ used the same clamp as the p. The f1 and f2 also use the p rail clamp.

The f1 and f2 are black, the earlier f's had some chrome.

The f1 and f2 use a rotating dial for the swing/tile "two-point focus" calculator, the earlier versions used a simple pointer.

The f1 and f2 have larger, concentric and more grippable knobs.

The f, f+ and f1 use the "multipurpose" standard as the lens standard. It does not have a fine focus. The design of the multipurpose standard is such that it can be dropped onto the rail at any point without having to remove front or rear caps or standards, etc. The fastener is a sort of clamp arragement that many people have said is easily broken. (I never had the problem, but others have said it is an issue.)

Any of the f's can be converted to a p or p2 with the appropriate components. They will use all Sinar accessories that I can think of.

The f2 has a more substantial front rail connection that provides a fine focus drive. That drive may be more important in the studio working close up than in other applications. Where the f1 used one control to lock swing and shift, the 4X5 f2 has separate controls for the swing and shift movements (I'm not sure that is the case with the 5X7 and 8X10 versions.) The 5X7 and 8X10 versions of the f2 had a special front standard that had longer rods to give more front rise than the 4X5 version would if used with either of the larger backs. This standard also had a bit more bracing around the rods for greater stability.

You will find many people stating that the f's are not ridgid and that you should get a Norma. I have used both designs extensively, and my personal experience is that the f's are no less ridgid and from a mechanical standpoint, are equivalent. (The Norma is, of course, a classic example of fine industrial design of the late '40s and '50s. Whether that is a strong point in their favor is up to your aesthetic sensibilities.) The p's having geared drives on all movements are a different design story.

The f series is very portable. I'm not a landscape gouy in thr sense of hiking through the High Sierra, but most of my photographs are outdoor location photos. I can get my f2, three or four lenses, pare bellows, spare rail, meter, loupe, etc. in a medium-sized Eddie Bauer backpack and walk about without killing myself. (Filmholders in apouch on my belt, tripod in hand.)

Most of what I have said about features could be researched through various Sinar publications. The opinions I voice are based on my use of all sizes and types of Sinars over the last 30 years. There are adherents to various other brands and types of camera that may suggest otherwise, but for a starter camera that you can readily get your hands on used, that has very wide range of accessories and a vialble upgrade path through the used market, I think a Sinar f series would be a good place to start.


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