Best camera for Architecture Work : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I've read the books, the product info, done the math, etc., but I am very interested in learning from working architectural photographers what camera SYSTEMS work best for them and what they would recommend. I'm not new to the LF world, but having only touched briefly on Architectural work in school with a limited selection of cameras, I value and appreciate the opinions of the pros. The systems I have been most interested in have been the Arca Swiss F-Line, Sinar (F and P series) and the Linhof Technikardan. Each have their pros and cons, but I would really appreciate knowing what you folks think of these and others.

Thanks very much Dan

-- Dan Craig (, May 22, 2002


Sinar P or P2. Assymmetric swings and tilts, and shifts, rise and fall, all have micro gearing makes for speedy, straight forward work - no fumbling and correcting for camera design flaws. The fact that ALL movements have micro gearing will enable you to be in comple control of the composition. You want to extend or compress an area? Just dial it in...

OK, so its not the lightest camera around. When the cromes are on the light table or the finished prints are on a client's table you will be happy you used that camera.

-- Per Volquartz (, May 22, 2002.

I'll second Per's advice about the Sinar cameras. The P or P2 are indeed the best cameras for this task (IMHO), but the more lightweight F2, F1, F are also good cameras. The "gadgets", i.e. aids for setting swings, tilts and DOF are excellent and the cameras, especially the P's or P2's are very sturdy.
You can start up with a camera in the Sinar F-range, which will provide parts if you decide to use a P-range camera later on.
Another advice is to rent one of these cameras for a few days to get the feel for what you need.

-- Björn Nilsson (, May 22, 2002.

Thanks for the recommendations thus far. Very useful insights.

So is it true that Sinar equipment is much more widely available to rent then other brands?

-- Dan Craig (, May 22, 2002.

If you want to take a Sinar-P on location, budget for a strong assistant. The F sinars are better on location (lighter, less expensive, just as functional). For the record, one of my teachers, Norman McGrath, used the Sinar-F, and reportedly has switched to Arca- Swiss 6x9cm (or more likely has just added that camera). Another teacher, Steve Rosenthal, used a Linhof Kardan-Bi 4x5. I've used field cameras successfully many times but my vote will still go to the Sinar-F2.

-- Mark Sampson (, May 22, 2002.


According to Norman McGrath's book, he uses the Arca Swiss F-Line 4x5 as his "camera of choice." Julius Schulman used Sinars and Horsemans. I heard, but cannot confirm, that Ezra Stoller used, at least at one time, a Cambo. Lot's of choices.

-- Dave Karp (, May 22, 2002.

The F1 Sinar was affordable 20yrs ago and as I grew into using it, which you will do as you use equipment, I stayed with it because of its ease of use and there is nothing to ware out. What I want to save you from is my look of HORROR when I arrived on location and opened my lens case to discover that my 90mm front element has seperated/broken off from the shutter. Assume airlines throw your cases! As you put together your system pay equal attention to packing and transporting, forget weight, its all going to get heavy eventually. As of my last flight the airlines are still sending my big steele home depot cart free as a luggage carrier. Hope this helps. GoodLuck!!!! John Grunke

-- John Forrest Grunke (, May 22, 2002.

Yes Per and Biorn, Sinar p(2) is the obvious choice - come and play with mine if you can get to the UK midlands.

Lenses: Schneider XLs: I have th 47 XL (120 degrees), but I am still waiting for the lens board.

Are you thinking of 5x4 or what?

Are you into eccleasitical pictorial building photography, or what?

-- Dick Roadnight (, May 22, 2002.

Norman McGrath raves about his Arca-Swiss metrics (4x5 & 6x9) for architectural photography. He switched from a Sinar-F.

-- neil poulsen (, May 23, 2002.

The Arca Swiss F Line has been a front runner for me as well. It seems best suited for all sorts of work but especially architecture. The only question(s) are/is: 4x5? 5x7? Metric? Compact? Is any one of these combinations better for any reason?

-- Dan Craig (, May 24, 2002.

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