What I'm referring to is the manipulation of the geometric relationships of the subject matter within the composition.
Have you ever made use of the DoF or angle calc aids on your Sinar(s)?
I mostly shoot an 8x10 Phillips, but I had all kinds of Sinar odds n' ends laying around and luckily found a relatively clean old 4x5 Norma with the
original tapered bellows in exceptional shape - much more versatile than the later Sinar square bellows, although they're interchangeable. It's
a wonderful system for both architecture and for very long focal length lenses - just a pound heavier than similar Sinar F2 configurations, but
distinctly more stable, and still far lighter and more portable than the P series. I did learn all those depth of field calculator things etc, but
quickly ignored them. The Norma is not yaw-free like the F and P series, but for me this is a non-issue. Yaw free helps if you're doing swings
and tilts at the same time when the camera is not level, like pointing down on a tabletop shot with a consistent plane of focus. In landscape
photog things are generally just to complex for any rote formula like that, and in architecture one generally levels the camera first. People do
love their Arcas too, but Sinar is way more abundant and more affordable at this point, and certainly easier to find parts and components for.
If you do go for a Sinar F make sure it isn't a Frankensinar stitched together from mismatched standards then deceptively described. The
true F2 front standard is much more durable than the 4x5 F1 or F+. The F2 metering back on the rear standard might not be important, but
the spring is softer form inserting darkslides. For sheer durability the Norma system is superior to the F, though the F is smoother to operate,
and the trick with any Norma is to find one still in good condition - they're easy to tune-up if everything is there and not worn out.
Thanks for the response. I agree "yaw free" is no big deal for me considering the photography I do. You can work around it anyway, but in fact I can't recall a single time I even had to deal with it, and there are only a handful of situations in which I've even needed simultaneous tilt/swing.
Interesting you mention the Norma. Mark Citret got back to me to answer some of my questions about the Toyo VX125 and he said he actually sold the Toyo about ten years ago and went back to using the Norma.
It's such a difficult decision. I don't use long lenses, so that helps. My longest lens is a 300mm and I really only use it at fairly long distances. I'm down to that Toyo model, Sinar, Arca, and perhaps a non-folding Ebony. The Ebony is obviously somewhat of an outlier in the mix in that it has no scales, indicators, nothing. But there are plenty of photographers who find all the scales virtually useless anyway. I didn't use them much on the Sinar A1. The Ebony and the Sinar P would offer asymmetric tilts, but I'm not convinced this is a deal-breaker feature. Maybe you can save a few iterations vs base tilt if one of your focus points falls nicely on the axis, but people did without asymmetric movements for a long time. Still not crazy about a wooden camera, but who knows.
The jury seems to be out on rigidity when it comes to Sinar vs Arca. It appears to be one of those things. Some people love Sinar, others swear by Arca. The Arca F-lines appear to be slightly more portable than a P2. Lots of Sinar parts out there, but not a lot of full cameras, and you make an important point about franken-cameras when it comes to any modular system. And I'm having a lot of trouble when looking at used F2 cameras. You just don't know what you're getting. If I decided to buy something new, the problem with Sinar is I don't even know who distributes it in North America anymore.
Another option is of course the Technikardan 45s. Some people complain about rigidity at longer extensions, but since I rarely need more than ~30cm (and usually considerably less), I'd be far from its maximum extension so perhaps rigidity becomes a non-issue. Certainly if I decided on a new one it would cost less than either a Sinar P2 or an Arca F-line Metric. But what makes Linhof a wallet killer is the price of accessories. Bag bellows (which I would definitely need) for example.
Then there's the fresnel thing. My A1 didn't have one (none of the Sinars come standard with it) and it wasn't much of a problem for me except with a 72mm lens. On the other hand I find it harder to focus with a fresnel (my current camera has an integrated ground glass/fresnel like the Ebony and others), so that's another variable.
I think the point pasiasty is making is that parallax relates to stereoscopic perception, two lines of sight, not one like a normal camera.
Michael - I have a friend who now exclusively does studio product and food shots for publication, and for him the yaw-free controls and other calibrated features of the Sinar P system are essential. But even Sinar introduced the X series which gave the same mechanical control, but saved the engraving expense of all those calibrations which many people never used anyway. If you have zero detents, most everything else is done visually anyway. I rarely
even used the yaw-free features. Besides some studio and architectural applications, I used various configurations of the Sinar 4x5 system for about
twenty years for hundreds of backpacking trips in all kinds of desert and mtn weather. Equip accidents and general wear and tear were inevitable. Sinar
components were easy to acquire, unlike Linhof or Toyo. You can also interchange bellows from the Horseman monorails. The tripod mount is easy to
balance anywhere along the length of the rail, unlike a Technikardan. The Toyo VX is a very fine camera with a urethane bellows, but the lensboards are
unusually big, making the camera usually hard to pack for its format, though smaller than a Sinar P. But the VX, Technikardan, Arcas are all relatively
expensive compared to the more abundant Sinars, which are flooding the used market at the moment. But for me personally, the pick of the litter is the
Norma. It just takes some luck and patience to find a clean one, but they do turn up, and often at a good price. Finding an original tapered bellows in good condition is harder, but you can always use bag and square bellows from either Sinar or Horseman. Folding and technical cameras are a slightly different subject. I use a little 4x5 Ebony folder for a airline travel and long backpacks, but it's slower to set up and use than a monorail. For my personal 8x10
use, a folder is the only realistic option in a backpack. I know it can all be confusing, kinda like being a kid in a candy store. The main thing is not to be
too paranoid about making the wrong choice. There are many excellent view cameras out there, and once you become comfortable with your choice,
you just start using it instinctively. You want good solid quality which locks down tight, but otherwise I wouldn't bother getting too obsessed with all
the potential bells and whistles you'll probably never use anyway.
There is a dove-tailed rail/quick-release-plate combo for the Technikardan that substitutes the old quick-release-plate that was screwed in fixed position to the telescopic monorail.Quote:
The tripod mount is easy to balance anywhere along the length of the rail, unlike a Technikardan.
The maximum extension I'd probably ever need is around 30cm so I think even with fixed plate on the TK would be ok for me. I may have to rule it out anyway though as there's still that annoying quirk with my 90mm XL where the rear cell is too big my a few mm to fit through a Technika/TK board without unscrewing the protecting ring on the rear cell of the lens. Overall the XL lenses are easier to use on cameras like Sinar, Toyo monorails and Arcas that have larger front standards. Although the TK still seems like a wonderful camera.
The thing about Sinars - I'm not finding there is as much used stuff available as people tell me - at least not anything in fine condition. So far I've found very few used Sinar opportunities actually (although still more than Arca).
Sinar seems to come and go in massive waves. Studio addicts of Sinar are kinda like electronics junkies and just always have to have the latest and greatest, with all the silly bells and whistles. Now they tend to operate with digi backs, so dumped a lot of gear due to that factor. A lot of nice Horseman monorails were also sold off cheap due to that issue. And funny thing how even a number of very clean vintage Normas all turned up around the same time last yr, a number of them from a British dealer who must have raided the closets of a lot of retired photographers. And you can always customize your own Sinar system with odd's n ends, but just make sure you're getting the thing described. Helps to have a copy of the Sinar "Code" with actual part numbers. But if you turn up a nice Arca, you can't go wrong there
either. I started out with Sinar and am very glad I did, because I might switch anywhere from a wide bag bellows application to a 24 inch
extension on the next shot. It' remarkably easy to configure the camera into almost anything (except a cell phone!). The biggest bargains
out there seem to be on mint Sinar X cameras, which are just as precise as P's, but unfortunately, just as bulky and heavy too.