Choosing between a Gowland and a Sinar as first camera

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by gbenaim, Apr 14, 2006.

  1. gbenaim

    gbenaim Member

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    Hello,
    I'm debating which of the two to get as my first 4x5 field camera, and wanted to get some experienced input. The Sinar is 3.5 times heavier but more solid and easier to use movements on. The Gowland doesn't need a bag bellows for short lenses, and can be extended for using longer ones I think. I don't know how much I'll use the precision movements the sinar offers for landscape work, and I don't really intend to do architecture or table-top stuff. Is the lack of positive detents a real pain on the Gowland? How do most people zero them in the field? Another consideration is the Gowland comes w a 90m/6.8 rodenstock for $325 total, but the lens has some fungus. I figure it's almost the price the camera alone would fetch. Oh, I also already own a couple of lenses, a 150 caltar and a 240 sironar 5.6. I was wondering whether the 240 is too heavy to use on a camera as light as the gowland, and whether its copal 3 shutter fits in the board. Thanks in advance, GB
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I have both. You can probably get a Copal 3 shutter on a Gowland board or you might need to add a little extension. Send Peter Gowland an e-mail or give him a call. He's always happy to answer questions about his cameras. My 4x5" Gowland uses Technika boards, so I'm not positive about the standard Gowland boards. With a very heavy lens, you may find it necessary to do something like adding washers to the front standard knobs for a little extra security.

    I'd say it's easier to learn with a Sinar, and an F-series Sinar is more portable than most people think. It's overkill for landscapes, but it's a lot less fiddly than a Gowland, so you can concentrate on the image and what the camera is doing without having to think about whether all your knobs are tight, or making sure you apply movements in the right sequence so that one movement doesn't change the one you just did. Once you've got everything under control, though, the Gowland is a great super-light camera for the field.
     
  3. JackGreen

    JackGreen Member

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    I'll second David's remarks. Each has its advantages. I had a Gowland and it could be annoying to use at times; hard to control the movements, yes, "fiddly", but as a camera to unobtrusively tuck into your luggage on a family vacation it was hard to beat. Wish I'd kept it. A Sinar F is easier to set up and reasonably light though bulkier. Keep in mind that camera size/weight is only part of the story. You will be carrying lenses, holders, tripod, meter etc.
    FWIW $325 for the Gowland w/lens, assuming it can be cleaned up into a user, seems like a good deal.
     
  4. JohnArs

    JohnArs Subscriber

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    For a beginner I would recommand the Sinar it is really helpfull with DOF messurement etc.
    This camera helps really in the beginning and even after 16 years of LF I still like it and prefer it over my Ex Arca F-Line!
    Hope it helps, Armin Seeholzer
     
  5. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    I bought a 50 year old Bush Pressman to learn on and in retrospect it was a waste of money and time. There is nothing to be learned by a camera you don't intend to keep. The mechanics of LF photography can be learned on a brand new Shen, Tachi or Sinar or any LF camera offering the features you will use. If you consider yourself a Landscape photographer and your camera has tilts and swings, you will use them when you want to. Not having tilts and swing only makes you want them more.

    What I've learned with the Bush I could have learned with any other modern camera without all the black tape on the bellows, without the slippery rise or any other of the drawbacks an old camera offers.

    I'm not saying you need a new camera but a camera you want to keep a long time.