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Thread: Sinar Alpina

  1. #1

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    Sinar Alpina

    David Goldfarb mentioned the Sinar Alpina on a different forum, and I'm just spreading the good word.

    Alpinas are AWESOME buys right now. The Alpina is a lower-end Sinar view camera. It uses a different lower rail from the usual Sinar line, but otherwise most important Sinar accessories fit. A particular advantage for used hardware buyers is the bellows - it's a composite so one is highly unlikely to find one with pinholes. They last forever.

    $150 or less for a high-quality, trouble-free system body is a no-brainer. IMHO

  2. #2

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    Having owned a Sinar A1 (the same as the Alplina I believe) for a few years, I second John's recommendation. Most Sinar excessories work with it, except those that depend on a round rail. Be carefull, though, if you use a reflex viewer with it, as using one caused the back standard on mine to flex a bit, which can affect focus. The rail is very sturdy but a bit bulky. While not pefect, it is an excellent camera, especially for $150.

    On a related note, Sinars in general are excellent buys used, as Sinar has been one of the main commercial brands in the USA for years. Hence there's lot's of accessories available used for fairly reasonable prices. This is in contrast to ARCA Swiss, which makes excellent cameras, better than the Sinar F series in my opinion, but the parts are very rare and expensive. For the cost of an ARCA bellows, you can put together a nice Sinar kit.

    Personally, I have an 8x10 Sinar P system, with 8x10 and 4x5 backs, bag and standard bellows for both formats, spare standards, Sinar pan-tilt head... all for a very reasonable amount. If you mostly do studio work or shoot close to the car, check out the Sinar P. The gear driven asymmetric tilts are terrific.

    Finally, if you have a Sinar F or P series camera, you really should get a Sinar Pan-Tilt head, as they work very well with Sinars round bottomed rail holder.

    Peter De Smidt

  3. #3

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    On a related note: I just bought an Alpina. An issue I think I may have is with the standards. They tilt from the bottom. I seem to remember that this means that I will have to raise the standard slightly with each tilt. Does anyone know about this? And does anyone know it this puppy is "yaw free?"

    Thanks!
    --Gary

  4. #4

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    Rear tilt should be yaw free.

  5. #5

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    As someone who worked for Sinar back then I thought some information on the Alpina might be interesting to some. In the late '70's Sinar designed the Alpina to compete in the "student" camera market, specifically the "Omega View" from Toyo. It is really just a modified "F" model but removing the focusing tracks and bottom assembly that affixes it to the round rail. They designed a new rail casting to fit the focusing track configuration of the F standard and added a new focusing track assembly to the rear standard. At the time it was designed Sinar did not want to market it under their name and sought out other marketing channels, similar to what Toyo had done with their Omega View marketed by Saunders/Omega. After a few years of trying to find a home for the camera with no success Fred Picker picked it up and marketed it as his "Zone VI Monorail." He claimed that he had personally designed the camera with Sinar. That was, to say the least, a bit of an exaggeration. I was already out of the company but I believe Sinar eventually marketed the camera themselves but only in select markets, the U.S. being their major one.
    Last edited by Rick Rosen; 09-20-2009 at 04:10 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  6. #6

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    But how heavy is it? That's what most new users getting into large format care about I think.

  7. #7

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    It's not that heavy. It is fairly bulky, though.

  8. #8

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    Does anyone know specific weights? That's what us field users are used to for comparsion. Large Format cameras seem to be like any other piece of backpacking gear- the smaller and lighter they are, the higher the price.

  9. #9

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    I've owned and used a Sinar Alpina for more than 25 years. It is not heavy for a monorail (weighs slightly less than a Sinar F1) and is functionally very good. The only complaint I ever had with it was the length of its primary rail (~18 inches). This makes it somewhat inconvenient for use with shorter focal length lens (90mm and shorter). I solved the problem taking the rail to a machinist who cut an 8" section from one end and made a slide in bridging mount like that used by the Alpina's extension rail. Now I a shorter primary rail that works well for lens ≤180mm and two extensions that can provide all the length one would ever need for a 4x5 camera.

  10. #10
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    I owned a Sinar F1 for over 25 years and never regretted buying it. Back then it was the only camera that had a DOF, swing and tilt calculator. I shot a lot of tabletop work with it. Also the best book I own on view cameras is The Photo Know How book by Koch. Really wanted a Sinar P but the F1 served me well.

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