My first and only LF camera is a Norma, now I have backs for it to do almost everything from 645 to 8x10 and enough extension rails to get very large enlargement.
I think it is an ideal first camera, because there is nothing it really cant do if you just get the right bits for the system and you can experiment with all the movements that you can possibly ever need. I for one don't really have one genre of photography I like doing, sometimes I feel like landscapes and sometimes indoor still life and macro and the norma is never limiting.
However I have found that I don't bother to take it out with me for longer walks any more even though its very good once you get there, both the bulk and weight of the whole system is a bit much for me. I'm thinking of getting an A1/Alpina for that since then I can use a lot of the stuff for the norma.
The Norma is of modular construction and you can easily upgrade to 5x7 and 8x10 by buying a bigger Norma/F/F2/P/P2 back standard and a larger bellows, or a Norma format changing kit. If you want to go bigger than 8x10 you can do that as well: http://www.glennview.com/sinar.htm
As others have told you it is a very nice camera, I have one with 4x5 and 5x7 standards and I see no reason to “upgrade” to a more modern construction.
Up to 8x10 as noted, larger would be a custom back, which isn't that hard. You can see examples here, and learn about the Norma system. Glenn's high though.
The reason LF folk tend to "get big" is because a lot of people contact print using both normal and alternative processes, so you need a camera the size of the finished print. A lot of people don't stop to think that there was a time before enlargers - actually quite a lot of time - when you used a camera that was the size of the desired print.
I had and uses Sinar Norma (purchased new); the Expert model, which I haf included an excellent, very sturdy case (Sinar suggested standing on it!) and included an additional raul extension, a bag bellows, light weight standar to couple the additional bellows it came with, plus a viewing bellows with a magnifier. All in all it was the Rolls Royce of view cameras.
These days I have an Arca, no longer made, that is, I think, a bit easier and simpler to work with. Equally versatile. But I have often regretted parting with the Sinar; you can,t go wrong with it. The P is way to heavy and bulky to cart around.
When you upscale from 4x5 to 8x10 for example, do you keep the same lens ? Are the covering of these lens are big enough to still allow movement amplitude. In fact, it goes back to a newbie question, is there different lens for each format ?
Here you can see some chart on LF lens coverage etc.
It is fairly easy to acquire a collection of lenses from 90mm and up that can be used on both 4x5 and 5x7. It is, almost, possible to do the same for 4x5 and 8x10 but shorter lenses than 200mm that cover 8x10 are usually expensive, somewhat rare and oftentimes quite heavy. But this is an extreme example.
Originally Posted by jfdupuis
You will find that several lenses of different focal length can be used on both 4x5 and 8x10, primarily when it comes to longer focal lengths.
I would follow the link Soeren provided above. After some reading you will be able to make a more informed decision on which lenses to get.
Indeed; about 2 to 4 times too high; much more in some cases. He must never sell anything at those prices. The only things that *might* be worth what he is asking to *some* people are the custom items. Even then, as someone with just a little mechanical sense, they seem outrageously priced to me for a couple of pieces of wood and such that might take him a half day to construct now that he already knows how to do it.
Originally Posted by Steve Hamley
It's done, I bought it. Let say that my wife is not as excited as I am ;) Feel nice to be at the beginning of whole new world.
The camera is in good shape, just need some cleaning and lubrication after its 10 years of storage. I had to negotiate the price down as the 135mm has fungus inside and 2 shutters are not working at all speeds. Has I'm used to service my lens myself, I will try to clean and lub the shutter to see if it help. I'm crossing my fingers so that the fungus haven't etch the glass. Is any of you have a good reference on how to do a CLA on synchro-compur and compur 1 ?
Basic's: take the top cover off, take the retardment (banana-shaped) out and put it into lighterfluid for 30 minutes to degrease.
Change the lighterfluid once.
Than lubricate the axes with some synthetic oil (micro-tools.com) and put it back into it's place.
Check if 1/15 runs OK.
Remount the rest and you are done for a couple of years.
It is helpfull to have a shutter-speed-tester for this.
Congradīs with your new aquisition, you now have a Lego-box for grown-ups as I call my Sinar.