Silvestri S4 : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Does anyone own a Silvestri S4 or have experience using one? I would be interested to know how it handles and performs.

-- peter cawthorn (, February 04, 2001


Peter I ALMOST bought a S4, but thankfully I didn't!! Here's why: The camera is a real BEAST!! It is a great hunk of metal that is a drag to carry / handle. It is also expensive for what it is, even a used body in good condition will cost about 800 (see Robert Whites web site). Then you need to buy extension tubes, format backs(either 5x4 or 120)focus screens, then film holders or roll film backs. But the biggest shock comes when you buy the lenses.......they are in helical mounts and are VERY EXPENSIVE!!!!! For an idea of cost take the price of any new LF lens and add about 600 for the Silvestri focus mount!! The system is also very limiting in as much as you only get front rise or fall, unless you pay out even more money for the tilting bellows!! You can use this on lenses of 58mm and wider, I believe. When I costed the basic outfit and got over the shock I had a look at it's baby brother the SLV. This machine is visually very similar to the S4, but scaled down in size and weight. It can use any format from 645 to 5x4 but the accessories are not QUITE as expensive as those for the S4. The lenses are as expensive though!! I use the SLV with a 47mm Schneider(non XL - to keep the weight down) the 100mm Apo Symmar and a 6x9 Horseman back. The quality is superb. I thought I had found my ideal camera in the SLV, but it still concerns me when I look at the price of the lenses!! IMHO Silvestri made a bit of a mistake when he produced the S4, and that is the reason you will find an abundance of them (used) on Robert Whites site. You will NEVER see the SLV or T30 (used) for sale. My honest opinion is that they are superb cameras (not the S4!!) for what they are intended for but the system is too expensive. You would be better off buying a good quality field camera that will give you all the movements you will need and combining this with some quality lenses!! If you need any more advice please feel free to e-mail me. Regards Paul

-- paul owen (, February 05, 2001.

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