Sinar F or Linhof Technika
I'm almost a newbie in LF. Ten years ago I used a Cambo in school, mainly for
tableshots. My interest in LF is scenic shots, landscape. My interrogation is mainly concerned about the difference between field and view camera and why the Linhoff is so expensive. So, is it more convenient, for me, to pay less for a second hand Sinar F with more movement than a Technika? Probably, the focus is more easy to do with the Technika and a viewfinder but
if I pay 10 times more.
Any advise will be appreciated.
A Technika is a more manageable camera in the field, though the F is designed to be transportable.
For landscape you don't really need very extensive movements often, and the rangefinder on a Technika isn't that useful most of the time, except in low light where you might not really be sure what you're seeing on the groundglass. Why not just look for a wooden field camera that's easily transported in a backpack, has enough movement for your use, fits your budget, and is solid enough to do the job?
Linhof (assuming Master Technika line of cameras): you pay for the name mostly. Rolls Royce of field cameras IMO. superbly crafted. almost nothing will kill them. most rental houses rent boards on sinar or technika boards. rangefinder sucks from what I've found when using one. use the ground glass. get a brightscreen for it, makes a world of difference. stock screen is nice though. HEAVY for a field camera, but not as heavy as the F1/F2.
Sinar F(F1/F2): great cameras, more suited to studio use(monorail). very well made, much cheaper on the used market these days. Accessories are everywhere. most rental houses have lenses on sinar boards. very nice system. you can use longer lenses(if that's your thing, or if you shoot 8x10, and want to use the same lenses for 4x5 as well). not very packable(size wise), but if you're only going say 100-300 yards from the car max(all the time). I'd go for the Sinar.
just my $.02
The Technika rangefinder does what it's supposed to, if the lenses are cammed and infinity stops installed properly, and if the rangefinder has been calibrated recently. I use it quite often, but it isn't really needed in most landscape situations. If you want to be able to focus with a holder in the camera, darkslide pulled, and ready to shoot, groundglass focusing isn't an option, unless you have a sliding back, which is a lot more cumbersome than a rangefinder (I have one for my Sinar P).
I am also new to large format, bought a crown graphic a couple of months ago for about US$ 175. The camera is fine for landscape use. I reversed the lens standard so now I have forward tilt without the need to drop the bed first. Easily done within 5 minutes.
I don't see a reason to consider an expensive and heavy Linhof over the Crown Graphic or other field camera's. In my opinion it's better to invest the money in lenses and film.
This week I bought a very nice Aero Ektar 7 inch lens for 55 euro so later this year I am going to get a Speed Graphic as well. These Graphics are truly excellent camera's.
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The convenience of having a strongbox that your lens and bellows are safely stored inside, ready for more rapid deployment than other designs is why the press camera was the defacto standard of newspaper photographers for over half a century.
Super Graphics, Wistas, and Meridians can do virtually anything and everything Technicas can, but do so at with far, far less expense.
The Linhof (Master Technika Classic or 3000) is a lot more than the name. It is the best compact metal view camera ever made. The rangefinder works perfectly if it is set up right. The camera is quite steady hand held even down to 1/4 second, if you use the accessory grip. The Sinar F is an OK but way too bulky budget camera. If you are happy with the Sinar you can save a lot of money over either model Linhof MT currently made.
The Linhof Technika's strongest suit, IMO, is hand held use. Other than that, with today's used market, the Sinar beats it dollar for dollar hands down. They are not hard to carry in a backpack, and definitely no problem "on location", when you can roll or carry the camera case from your vehicle to where you are shooting. Aside from the aforementioned hand holdability, they only really give up anything to the Linhof in terms of size and quickness of setup. Weight is about the same. (At just under 6 lbs., my Sinar F-1 sans lenses with a 12 inch rail is actually lighter than either of my Technika IIIs.) The Technika folds into a nice and compact "brick", while the Sinar is kind of gangly in comparison. Thus, it would seem that the Sinar is also more likely to get damaged from being backpacked, though I have had no problems.
I suggest the F-1 or F-2 to start if what you want is a general-purpose camera similar in style to the Cambo you used to use. If it becomes cumbersome for "the field", there are many options for the field. The Technika is only one of them, and perhaps even one of the least preferable when compared to the many wooden field cameras that are available, as well as the other technical/press cameras that the fellow above mentioned. The Super Graphic is my personal favorite of the lot.
Last edited by 2F/2F; 01-19-2010 at 09:24 PM. Click to view previous post history.
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Are you considering any wood field cameras? They are portable, light, have reasonable movements, and are beautiful (e.g. Tachihara, Wista, ShenHao, Chamonix,...). If you want a metal camera, there are also other less expensive choices like the Toyo. I've only played with a Linhof and it is wonderful, but not light.
If you like the Technika, but not its price, you could look for an MPP Microtechnical Mk VII or Mk VIII. Very similar concept, still well made, but quite a bit cheaper.
Like the Technika, there is a coupled-RF which uses interchangeable cams. Mine is accurate enough with the 150mm lens and matched cam.