comments on silvestri cameras : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

has anyone had any experience with the silvestri camera system?? is it any good, comments please due to purchasing a lightweight compact 5x4 camera system i.e. linhof tech 45s or similar. thanks and

-- andrew pritchard (, April 05, 2000


I have been using Silvestri for the last few years and am very happy with the system. However I use the SLV which is designed primarily for roll film, I use it with 6x9 and 6x7 film backs and 47mm and 100mm Schneider lenses. It has 25mm of shift (in all directions due to its revolving back) and is verylight and compact - ideal for both landscapes and architecture. This camera , and its update the T30, can also use 5x4 backs, and lenses from the 35mm Rodenstock to the 180mm Tele Arton. I was tempted by the S4 but after a great deal of research decided against it for the following reasons which may help answer your question. Firstly the S4 is not lightweight, it is a monster!! Combine this with the lens (normally a heavy XL-type)and the necessary extension tube and you have a hefty set-up that requires a strong pair of shoulders if used any great distance from the car!! This is before adding the remaining paraphenalia of meter, loupe , darkslides, focus cloth, etc, etc. On paper the S4 is ideal, combine it with the tilting bellows for lenses over 58mm and you have a camera capable of all the rudimentary movements for landscape etc. But the biggest drawback IMHO is the price!! The S4 body with ground glass is over #1000 (Stirling), lenses are frighteningky expensive due to the requirement of the helical focussing mount. A Schneider 90mm XL will cost approx #900, but add the mount and the price doubles!! This is a similar story for all the lenses for the whole system, the 47mm I use costs approx #600, but the Silvestri version costs over #1200 !!!!! I would heartliy recommend the roll film version due to its lighter weight and (slightly) cheaper accessories but would not suggest the S4. This is borne out by the fact that you very rarely see used SLV / T30 advertised, but take a look at Robert White's website ( and at last count he had about 6 used S4's for sale !! If you want a quality, lightweight, 5x4 camera then you need look no further than the Ebony range. I recently bought the SW45 with a Schneider 110mmXL and cannot begin to describe how delighted I am !!!! Hope this helps Regards Paul

-- Paul Owen (, April 05, 2000.

Very interesting...Where can I find info on these cameras? The Sylvestri page is not very helpful.

-- Marcel Perez-Calisto (, April 06, 2000.

I was just at Arlington Camera in Arlington Texas and they have the camera in stock. They can help you with questions.

-- Bob Salomon (, April 07, 2000.

Further info!! The Silvestri cameras are all view cameras but rather than needing a loupe and cloth you can purchase a (beautifully made) leather focussing bellows with built in magnifier which is lightweight and flexible enough to check focus in the corners of the GG to which it can be left permanently attached. Also a rather ingenious method of simply inverting the camera using a quick release system (which won't break the bank), thus allowing the camera to give fall rather than rise. This feature is NOT available on the Model H (Hermes) camera which utilises a built in shift viewfinder, but which does allow a restricted amount of both rise and fall without inverting the camera. I agree that the Silvestri web-site is not that helpful and certainly does not do justice to the camera system. Paul

-- Paul Owen (, April 07, 2000.

HI.I just buy a T30 Silvestri camera with a 47xl lens,and after a few test (specialy interior shots),i find the 47xl too large;the 55 apo-grandagon is better.About the body of the camera,it is light for the format,compact,300 rise or reverse camera for fall(30mm).

-- Marc Lefebvre (, January 16, 2001.

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