Sinar "P" compared to other Sinar 4 X 5" Camerasgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread
There is a Sinar 'P' for sale and I need to know if anyone can tell me of its advantages/disadvantages over other recent models of the Sinar 4X5" cameras...I need to know what to expect from an old camera and what to avoid as well. It looks like in a pretty good condition and do not know a price range. Can anyone help ?
-- Tarek El Baradie (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 23, 2001
I have both a 'P' and a 'P2' and they are equally excellent cameras. Please note that Sinar really is making a 'family' of cameras-the older parts can be interchanged with newer parts, the front and rear standards can be mixed and of course the format size changes. Their system means you never have to be out of date or without parts. The P you are considering is for the most part considered a 'studio' camera, but if you don't mind the weight it is certainly excellent in outdoor situations as well! They are not light, but at times I think that is a benefit when I am outdoors with a bit of wind. Both of my cameras feel and operate essentially the same. Technically, I cannot give you the spec differences between the two, but I would recommend you look at Sinar's US web site: http://www.sinarbron.com/mainframe.htm - maybe a phone call to their company would be worth your while as well.
As for pricing, watch and follow ebay's prices or check some places like B&H or Jack's Camera or KEH Cameral Brokers, among many possibilities. P Sinars are certainly workhorses. Check for obvious damage, work the knobs and levers to feel if there is slip and see if the swings and tilts are smooth. You should have years of enjoyment.
I am sure every opinion you see here will be valuable. We all have our own preferences and dislikes, but you will get some really great ideas to consider and helpful advice.
-- John Bailey (email@example.com), March 23, 2001.
the only real disadvantage of a p as opposed to a p2 is it's age - the newest p is from 1984, the oldest from 1970. functionally they are nearly identical with the main difference being in the swing tilt controls (the p2 has separate knobs, the p a single knob with a switch to change function (the operation is still independant)). p2's come with a metering back and the rail clamp II, whereas most p's, i think, will have a nonmetering back unless an upgrade was made (i could be wrong about this but my p and others i know all have nonmetering backs) and the standard, open rail clamp. p2's have nice rubberized grip knobs, p's have plastic knobs. p2's are all black, p's are black and silvery. both take all the same accessories. other than that, unless i'm forgetting something, they are basically the same camera.
i think the p is better made than the new p2's. mine is probably 20-22 yrs.old and is as solid as a new p2 if not more so. the new sinars appear very plastic-y to me.
forget about the f1/f2. you can get a very good p for the price of a new f1. if the weight is a problem (my list shows the 4x5 p at 13.1 lbs. w/o lens or shutter) check out another camera such as a linhof tk45s or arca swiss. personally i don't mind the weight of my 810p (about 15 lbs.) but then again i was using a toyo 810g (20lbs.) and i usually have an assistant.
also, in my opinion, forget about the x. it doesn't have indexing click stops (the p does, and plenty of them) which i find to be a pain. you can convert formats (whether sinarbron admits to it or not) but it's not nearly as convenient as the p/p2. and the lack of metering back is only a problem if you think you'll ever use it (i know i won't).
you should look at the gearing and see that it is smooth with no backlash. the swing/tilt switch should be crisp. make sure the bellows are in good shape and the release levers on the standards don't have too much play. check the bubble levels - usually one is dry. make sure the gg is an original sinar if you want to use the asymmetric movements. check that the rail clamp tightens properly and check the coarse focus locks are tight. new sinar accesories aren't cheap, neither are replacement parts, so the less that is wrong with the camera the better deal it is.
i think the p is a great camera and, unless you are backpacking around, would recommend it highly. accessories are easy to come by both new and used. sinarbron offers great support on new (current) equipment but they don't care much about older models (they will gladly service them, though). sinar in switzerland is much more helpful regarding older cameras. you can email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and you'll get a quick and cheery reply. i've emailed identical questions to switzerland and sinarbron - so far the swiss have answered every one while the locals have yet to respond at all.
on the other hand, if money is no object get a new p2. not having to switch between swing and tilt might just be worth the extra $4-5k and there is something nice about having a brand new camera.
-- adam friedberg (email@example.com), March 23, 2001.
Since you asked about the P compared to other Sinar cameras, I assume you may be wondering what the difference is between the P and the F1 & F2 cameras. Simply put: sturdiness, precision, control & weight. In my judgements the Sinar f cameras are, for their price, flimsy and difficult to use. If you have a chance to buy a P for a good price, go for it! They are great.
-- Ellis Vener (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 30, 2001.