Sinar 4x5 C vs F2 vs P series?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by harlequin, Jan 30, 2018.

  1. harlequin

    harlequin Member

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    Dear APUG Members,

    With more and more view cameras on the marketplace, I am looking to add a sibling to my
    older sinar f, I notice the f2 looks similar but certainly upgraded top to bottom.
    A few questions:

    a) Is a C version basically a F front standard and a P rear standard?
    b) Apart from Tabletop, would a C or P version work in the field, or is it best in the studio.?
    c) I notice the price on several models have come down to the point of affordability, is there anything
    to look out for (maintenance wise) on the P series? Can the adjustment and cams/gears still be serviced.
    d) I have even seen p2 and p3s in the used marketplace, is there a big difference with these models?

    I really appreciate your assistance on this, I have been very pleased with the f series, but the C and P
    series seem mor robust and accurate in their movements and locks.....I only shoot 4x5 B+W mostly, I understand
    one can upgrade to 8x10 however that is not in my immediate future....


    Regards,

    Harlequin
     
  2. pmargolis

    pmargolis Member

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    Hello,
    I owned a C in the 1980s and early '90s, and it was a heavy and ungainly beast. If you needed precision for studio work, I would suggest getting one of the Ps. For field work, the f cameras are very portable and easy to use. They're also quite reasonably-priced these days. I'd get an f1 or f2.
    Good luck with whatever you decide.
    Paul

     
  3. jim10219

    jim10219 Member

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    Yeah, the "C" stands for "Combination". It's basically just a "P" back and an "F" front. You could use a P or a C in the field, but the F isn't too light as it is, and those would be crazy heavy and bulky to carry. The P standards last a long time, so I wouldn't worry about anything maintenance wise with them. Plus, there's plenty of used parts on the internet, so if you just needed a new front or back standard, you could source a good replacement very easily. Though I have heard rumors of them getting some slack in their gears over the years, but that doesn't seem to be a common problem. So buyer beware, as with all things.

    I believe the P3 is really made for their digital camera backs. I also believe they have smaller lens boards and bellows and may not work for 4x5 film, but I've never got my hands on one to verify.

    Is your F giving your trouble? I don't like the front standard on the original F, but the F2 has a pretty nice front standard. So I'd look at that if I were you. The rear standards are fine, I think. I don't have issues with precision on my F1, so the added weight of the P standard has never appealed to me. If you need something with more precision, or geared movements, then why not consider just upgrading a single standard (front or back) to a P and turn your existing camera into a C? How often do you really make adjustment to both standards at once? Since they're interchangeable, you don't need to buy a whole new camera all at once if you don't want to. Plus, having a third standard on hand could come in handy from time to time. That's one of the great things about the Sinar system. They're easy to upgrade and just about everything is compatible with just about everything else, so there's no need to throw the old parts away because they might come in handy one day. Got an extra set of bellows and standard? Now you have a compendium lens shade or a shade for viewing your ground glass! You can even use the third standard and extra bellow for creating an extra long bellows set for macro photography. Then, if you love the P standard, you can replace the other standard with a P as well, and make your old F a full on P2 with a pair of extra standards.
     
  4. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Subscriber

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    I used to own a Sinar P and I did buy an F once to resell. I got the F cheap because it was missing the tripod rail clamp. I assume it broke. The good thing was it had a Sinar shutter so I did well parting it out.

    The P is a joy to use with it's geared movements. It is a heavy beast though. The P2 changed a switch on the camera to two controls to make it beefier but I heard it has more plastic parts. Both are made real well though and I've never heard complaints about either. I prefer the P just because it is a lot cheaper. I also like the silver color better than the black but of course that really doesn't matter. I heard that the "P" stands for perfection.

    The Sinar F series is lighter and designed for field use. I heard that the "F" stands for field.

    The P3 was designed for digital.

    Geared movements are a pleasure to use but really are not necessary for most people. The P series is heavier duty than the F which is a plus unless you have to carry it. You should consider the P series as a studio camera. When I had my P, I also had a lightweight Tachihara wooden field camera. The Tachi went outside and the P stayed home.
     
  5. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    I've shot with a Sinar F2 for many years and they're great cameras. But choosing which one depends on what you want to do. According to Sinar, F is for "Field", C is for "Compromise" and P is for "Perfection". To me, the F is not a field camera though it's the lightest Sinar camera. I have a P and I'd never use it outside because the dirt will wreck the gears in camera. I love the Swiss precision of the cameras, but I only find the tilt / swing and the F stop calculators useful in the studio tabletops. Sinar cameras is wonderful Swiss engineering.
     
  6. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    There's also the X, a lower budget heavy P, as well as my personal field favorite, the original Norma series - much lighter wt than P, but more solid than F series. It's pre-"yaw free". The F2 is more reliable with better controls than the previous F1 or F+. I've backpacked thousands of miles with F Sinars. But my Geezerhood treat to myself was a beautiful old Norma. All the components are interchangeable.
     
  7. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Subscriber

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    Everyone talks about how beautiful some of the wooden field cameras are. I also love the looks of a Norma.

    I wonder if it was named after Norma Jean Baker?
     
  8. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    No. His wife was named Norma. And I don't think I'd want my beautiful brushed stainless Sinar bleached blonde like Norma Jean was.
     
  9. wy2l

    wy2l Member

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    Please compare a Sinar F2 with an Arca Swiss for someone who doesn't know much about large format.
    Many thanks in advance.
     
  10. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    People with Arca seem to love it. But Sinar offers a much larger system, and the sheer volume of what is out there means that both replacement components and even full cameras are likely to be encountered on the used market at a reasonable price. Arca gear has always been scarce.
     
  11. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Subscriber

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    I have never owned anything Arca Swiss. What I heard was that Arca was more popular in Europe and Sinar more popular in the United States. Some say Arca and Linhof are tied for the best and Sinar is a close second. I'm just parroting what I have read on forums though. I really don't know. What I do know is like Drew says, Sinar is a whole lot more available in the United States. Also the Sinar shutters are pretty nice and I have never heard of Arca or Linhof having anything like that.

    http://www.galerie-photo.com/manuels/sinar-shutter-system.pdf
     
  12. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Subscriber

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    Hmmmmm. Was his wife's hair silver or green?
     
  13. The name SINAR is explained as an acronym for "Studio, Industrie, Natur, Architektur, Reproduktion", though in an April 2011 company press release, the acronym is explained as "Sach-, Industrie-, Natur-, und Architekturfotografie sowie Reproduktion".
     
  14. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    Interesting tidbit.
    Years ago at Photo West in San Francisco, I went to a seminar with Carl Koch the inventor of the Sinar system. He's very Germanic/Swiss in his demeanor.
     
  15. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    He probably started thinking how to totally redesign view cameras back when Norma Jean Baker was still a brunette.
     
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