Sinar Multi-format rollfilm back questions : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Hi, I'd like to ask a couple of questions to anyone familiar with the Sinar Zoom 2 Multi-format rollfilm back. I'm new to LF, and would like to get a rollfilm back for my Wisner 4x5 Pocket Expedition. I love the idea of being able to change formats midroll with the Sinar, but...

1) Does anyone know the unit's size/weight? I'm guessing it looks roughly similar to a Fuji Quickload holder. I've checked Sinar's webpages for US and Switzerland, and B&H's catalogue, but there is no info for size/weight. I'm interested in its 6x7, 6x9, and 6x12 formats for landscape use. I want to include it in my backpack, and am concerned about adding more bulk & weight to an already hefty pack. I assume that this single unit would weigh less, and use less room, than if I got single-format backs for just 6x7 and 6x12 formats?

2) If I obtain a "like-new" used unit that *appears* to be in excellent shape, are there any hidden flaws that I need to watch out for? Can it come out of film plane alignment, etc? I've not yet used a rollfilm back, so don't know much about them other than what I've gleaned from review of online questions.

Thanks in advance for any advice :)

-- Danny Burk (, December 19, 1999


It is bulkier, especially on the end where the film cartridge goes. About 2.5x the weight of a Quickload holder, and longer by about an inch. But yes it is smaller and less bulky thatn say two Horseman roll film backs.

2.) It is standard Sinar quality, which is to say very high.

You want to make sure your camera has a Graflok mechanism to hold the back firmly in place.

-- Ellis Vener (, December 19, 1999.

Actually, no Graflok back is required. It slides in just like a regular film holder. The one concern I have is the tension on the springs that hold the GG. It'll be on my list of questions for Ron Wisner when I attend the Death Valley workshop in January. (Is it January yet? Please?!)

-- Todd Caudle (, December 19, 1999.

Sinar brouchure says it weighs 980g.

Horseman for 4x5 graflock: 6x12 weighs 590g, 6x7/6x9 weighs 530g

Fuji Quickload weighs 343g without plastic end cap.

Sinar is much bulkier to pack, but you won't have to remove ground glass.

Or, you can buy alot of QL film for $2000 and crop.

-- Glenn C. Kroeger (, December 19, 1999.

Carrying one each of the 6X7cm and 6X12cm Horseman backs would be about the same weight as the Sinar Zoom II, they would be bulkier and require a graflock back with removable ground glass. A graflock back is not an issue with the Zoom II as there are no notches for the locks on the back. The Zoom II will also use either 120 or 220 roll film, but it's very complicated to tell just how many frames are left on the roll.

Used units are available for about $1500. I haven't heard any complaints about film plane alignment, but did once get a grain of sand on the rubber roller inside and it scratched he film. Earlier zoom backs are tough to get repaired.

-- Jim Blecha (, December 20, 1999.

I have seen these sell on ebay for about $1200 used. I considered this also, but for the amount of money involved, I instead bought a 6x9 back that slides in like a film holder (Toyo) ... This was the easiest to use, I did not have to go through the trouble of removing the back and installing the roll film holder..and I can crop down to 6x7 with very little waste.. as for 6x12, it is only slightly more expensive to shoot 4x5 and crop.. so if you are concerned about weight and size, 6x9 is a nice happy medium and you can still get all the formats you want.. as mentioned in the above thread, you can buy a lot of extra film and processing for $1500! It may be a 10 year payback for the film savings on the Sinar!

-- Bill Glickman (, December 20, 1999.

Danny, I have not the Zoom II but the Vario. The shape is the same and the weight probably not much different. It weighs less than a kilo, just a little more than a Cambo C 243 and looks like it with a slightly bigger film case. It's size is 2,5 cm thick for the insert part, 24 cm overall in length, 17 cm overall height with the commands and 6 cm overall thickness. I think it is a very good choice if you are fortunate to find a used one. Depending on how it has been treated and how much it has been used, watch if the mechanic functions well and if the sliding curtain is in good shape. Light leaks can occur on a damaged curtain. No worries for the film plane alignment. The Sinar backs require a little bit more attention than other backs but when you get accustomed, they are no problem. The spring back of the camera must be designed to carry insert type magazines, otherwise the springs can be damaged.

-- Paul Schilliger (, December 20, 1999.

What happens to the frame counter when you change formats and how do you know what frame you are on?

What happens to the frame counter when you change formats and how do you know what frame you are on even if you don't change formats?

-- Bob Salomon (, December 20, 1999.

I dunno Bob, read the instructions?

-- Ellis Vener (, December 20, 1999.

The frame counter is a bit desorienting at first. It shows instead of frames, the length of film still available for both 120 and 220 films.

-- Paul Schilliger (, December 20, 1999.

Quite simple Ellis. There is no frame counter.

Want to try and figure out how much film is left after switching formats in the middle of the roll?

-- Bob Salomon (, December 20, 1999.

Guess I was wrong, Bob. I based my answer on my Sinar 6x7 back which has a frame counter. Thank you for the correction.

-- Ellis Vener (, December 21, 1999.

Biases, please. Bob, I'm guessing that you market a product that competes with the Sinar? If so, should Danny be considering it? I've always been intrigued by the Sinar's multiformat option but I can also see the downside of figuring out how many shots you've got left. . . .

-- Simon (, December 21, 1999.

No Linhof does not market multiformat backs.

We do have single format roll backs for Graflock back 45 cameras in 35mm, 6c6cm, 6x7cm, 6x9cm and true 6x12cm (56x120mm as opposed to Sinars and most other 56 x 111 or 112cm).

We also have the Linhof Rapid Rollex slide in backs in 6x7cm for 45 and 23 cameras. We also have the 50' 5" roll back with motorized advance 1FPS, and vacuumn but that can only mount on a Technika or Aero Technika.

So we don't really have anything similar to the Sinar back.

-- Bob Salomon (, December 21, 1999.

Many thanks, gentlemen, for your valuable replies. I'm going to go with my initial thought and get the Sinar zoom back. All of those sizes in one back makes it the real choice for me. I'll wait to find an excellent used one from someone that I can trust, and from whom I can get a 30-day guarantee just in case any problems show up after using it.

Happy Holidays!

-- Danny Burk (, December 23, 1999.


Even if you switch formats in the middle of a roll, you allways have the lenght (in cm) of film available both in 120 and 220. I am very happy with my SINAR ZOOM 2.The only thing I dislike is the price.

Pedro Mendes

-- Pedro Mendes (, February 18, 2000.

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