Sinar F1 for backpacking

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by mfratt, Jan 5, 2011.

  1. mfratt

    mfratt Member

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    I've been looking for a field camera for backpacking, since my monorail encourages me to just take my medium format instead of lugging it up a 4000ft mountain, but someone suggested I look for a compact monorail to retain the movements of a full monorail but to make it more compact.

    I found a nice clean Sinar F1 kit on CL for $650 with a Schneider Symmar-S 210/5.6 and a handful of other nick nacks. I'm going to check it out tomorrow, but does anyone have any experience with these in terms of portability? I'd like for it to fit nicely into a backpack and not be too much a bother to lug around. The weight is fine with me, I'm more concerned with size.

    Could you also comment as to the quality of the camera overall? I see that it is a budget Sinar, but does it come across as a budget camera in real-world use?
     
  2. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    If you are going to lug a monorail, it is one of the best. It is solid, full featured, relatively lightweight, and breaks down fairly compactly with ease and speed. Believe it or not, my F-1 body with 12 inch rail and standard rail clamp (there is a smaller and lighter low profile one I would get if I was lugging it all the time) weighs less than my Super Technikas sans lenses. The reason the F-1 is so light has a lot to do with its front standard being a multipurpose standard, as opposed to the focusing standard of the F-2. If you can do everything you need to do with coarse focusing (e.g. if you will focus mostly on objects fairly far from the camera and/or use extensive depth of field for everything), you can even use MP standards for both rails to cut weight and bulk even more. I'd also use a bag bellows as a standard bellows for hiking with a 210.

    As for quality, worry not, my friend.......
     
  3. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    There are ways of making an F/1/2 packable. Leave the rail clamp on the tripod and don't use a quick release, because the rail clamp is itself a quick release for the rail. This saves pack space significantly. The camera is sturdiest with the bellows compressed into a block or flat for the bag bellows. You can mount the camera on a 6" rail for storage, then screw in the 12" basic rail when you want to use it, and you don't need to remove the short rail.

    The Alpina and A/1 cameras were designed to be more packable, with their thin flat rail, but then the accessories that attach to the rail don't work with the accessories that fit the F and P cameras, if that's of interest to you.