just bought sinar a-1, can i use off brand film holders?

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I just bought a sinar a-1 (alpine/f-1) 4x5. I'm looking for film holders now. I don't know anything about LF camera's, except LF sands for large format (ha-ha). My class starts jan 18th so i need to know now considering im going to buy through ebay. There are several brands of film holders, do they all fit all camera brands? Or does sinar only axcept sinar brand holders? I haven't seen sinar brand holders yet. I bought the sinar in haste without considering the cost of accessories! eek the cost! I read here that calumet roll film holders fit sinar so i'm assuming that the double sheet holders will fit also. I found this site tonite and it's very helpful except i found nothing to answer my question. Although I am highly confident u all can help me. Thank you for your help, whomever responds.

-- jana brandt (adamjana@worldnet.att.net), December 26, 2001


Yes you can. However, there are articles somewhere on buying used film holders. The tape hinges can leak and so can the light traps where the slide goes in. This is more an issue in 8X10 were a mistake can be costly. I personally would not be afraid to buy holders on Ebay but judge for yourself. There are several reputable large format used retailers who you can trust...Midwest Photo, B&H, etc. You may want to go to a Barns and Noble and buy a "View Camera" magazine and look at the advertisers.


-- Neal Shields (shields@ftw.com), December 26, 2001.

Hi Jana,

The Sinar A1 will accept a number of off-brand film holders (including Calumet ones) no problem. Lisco is a good brand, but there are many others too. The Sinar brand holders are excellent, but VERY expensive and as you are just starting out, I think you are sensible to buy second hand off-brand through eBay.

Kind regards Peter Brown

-- Peter L Brown (photo_illustration@bigpond.com), December 26, 2001.


Another approach you may wish to consider is the purchase of a Polaroid holder such as the 545 (more recent and a bit more expensive) or maybe one of the prior versions so that you can use Polaroid film, but also the new Kodak single sheet Readyloads. That way you can test for lighting and exposure and composition with the Polaroid films and/or use various types of Kodak films with out worrying about changing bags or loading your holders ahead of time.

Enjoy the class!



-- John Bailey (mdwphoto@aol.com), December 26, 2001.

lisco = Fidelity = elite. These are all the same product with different names. you most definitely need a polaroid 545i holder i recommend buying new because you never know how worn out used ones are (unles they look to be in mint condition). the other accesories you need are lenses & lens boards, a darkcloth, a loupw to focus with (start with the Toyo 3.3 (or is 3.6x?) focusing magnifier. The cheap 8x loupes are terrible and too powerful and the focusing 4x loupes from Schneider and Rodenstock are excellent but expensive. You might also need a wide angel bellows (AKA bag bellows), good cable releases and that's about it.

-- Ellis Vener Photography (ellis@ellisvener.com), December 27, 2001.

"Off brand" isn't really a concept in large format the way it is in 35mm photography or even medium format. Lenses of all brands are used on all cameras, as long as they cover the format (setting aside technical cameras with rangefinders), and filmholders are generally standardized, unless you are looking at a very old camera in an unusual format. Lisco and Fidelity are the normal filmholders that most people use. Toyo are a bit better made and more costly, and there are expensive adhesive film holders made by Sinar and others for special purposes.

-- David Goldfarb (dgoldfarb@barnard.edu), December 27, 2001.

Jana, You may want to be sure of what Sinar you have as the A-1, Alpina and F-1 are all different models. It won't matter for film holders but you need to know what you have before buying accessories such as rail extensions. I think the Alpina had a rail that was not compatible with the rest of the Sinar system. By the way, was your question directed at 4x5 sheet film holders or at roll film adapters?

-- Dave Schneider (dschneider@arjaynet.com), December 27, 2001.

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