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Sinar AG
Industry Digital Imaging
Headquarters Zurich, Switzerland
Products large format cameras, lenses, digital backs, RAW Processing Software

Sinar AG is a Swiss company producing medium format and large format cameras.

The name SINAR is explained (in numerous company publications) as an acronym for "Studio, Industrie, Natur, Architektur, Reproduktion", though in an April 2011 company press release, the acronym is explained as "Sach-, Industrie-, Natur-, und Architekturfotografie sowie Reproduktion".[1] (In English it is often seen explained as "Science, Industry, Nature, Art, and Reproduction". The company itself mentions "Still, Industrial, Nature, Architectural and Reproduction photography" in the English version of the April 2011 press release.[2])


Swiss photographer Carl Hans Koch invented the Sinar camera in 1947 due to his dissatisfaction with the imprecise nature of wooden view cameras and the limitations of technical (e.g., Linhof Technika) and field cameras of the day.[3] His main aim was to produce a large format camera of high precision and simple operation, with a system of parts that were readily interchangeable. The Sinar system's versatility is based on the interchangeability of parts as well as a large number of accessories that have been produced over the years. Major components (rails, bellows, lensboards, and standards) made in the 1940s are still usable with currently manufactured Sinar equipment.


The Sinar P, introduced in 1970, had asymmetric tilts and swings, as opposed to the traditional center or base tilts.[4] This permitted rapid and precise settings without losing sharpness on the axis.

The P series also introduced features such as self-arresting rack and pinion gearing and a precision-engineered quick format change system that allows the photographer to switch between 4x5/5x7/8x10 formats quickly without having to fully disassemble the rear standard. This was accomplished by using a common rear standard bearer and unlocking a single knob to switch among the various format frames. Another new feature implemented in the P series was the Sinar system of calculating swings and tilts as well as the Sinar depth of field calculator. A key feature of the Sinar P system, particularly in the domain of scientific and industrial photography, is the precise machine tolerances that are part of the fittings and movements.


Sinar has manufactured many accessories since its establishment, including a unique swing-out filter holder that allows the photographer to use a polarizing filter as well as 4x4 inch gel filters. Sinar also made what many consider[who?] to be the best 4x5 reflex attachment that employed an adjustable mirror for the best possible viewing of the image. Adapters (now discontinued) were made by Sinar to adapt this viewer to various other view camera makes such as Plaubel, Linhof, and Toyo.[citation needed] The Zoom series of roll film backs, which allow the use of 120/220 film formats from 6x4.5 to 6x12 formats with excellent film flatness, further extends the format capabilities of the Sinar. The Zoom film backs are usable on any 4x5 camera with an international (Graflok) back.[5] The Sinar LCD shutter system enables their ccd camerabacks to have a much extended density range in video mode for focusing capability in a wider range of ambient lighting. This system has been used in modified mode by RIT to obtain multispectral images suited to aging analysis of color pigments in artworks. More recent innovations are the integration of Canon and Nikon SLR cameras as camera backs onto the P standard with adaptors from fellow Swiss camera accessories manufacturer, Foba and other adaptions enable standard Hasselblad lens to be integrated which results in improved wide angle performance with DSLR cameras

Sinar cameras provided optional lens-independent, automatic, self-cocking shutters with built-in apertures and film plane metering. More recently, Sinar has promoted the use of digital backs especially within the high-end studio environments.

Originally made in Feuerthalen (north of Zurich), Sinar moved its base of operations to Zurich after separating from Jenoptik in October 2009.[citation needed]

Representative products[edit]

  • Sinar Norma: the original system camera, convertible from 4x5 to 5x7 and 8x10 formats.
  • Sinar P/P2 (Perfection):[citation needed] introduced in 1970, forms the basis for current high-end cameras, convertible from 4x5 to 5x7, 8x10, and P3 formats.
  • Sinar P3: high-end, digital, medium format view camera.
  • Sinar F/F+/F1/F2 (Field): classic, entry-level, 4x5 and 5x7 (F2) and 8x10 large format film view cameras; simple and robust, the starting point for many students of photography around the world.[citation needed]
  • Sinar F3: entry-level, digital, medium format view camera.
  • Sinar C/C2 (Combination) System camera that combines a P/P2 style rear standard with a F/F1/F2 style front standard—marketed as a less expensive alternative to the P/P2.
  • Sinar X: camera that was a stripped down version of P2 in 4x5 format only.
  • Sinar Alpina/A1: entry level view camera that had a unique flat but incompatible rail system with other Sinar cameras, also sold as the Zone VI monorail camera in the 1970s.
  • Sinar Handy: "Point and shoot" 4x5 camera that used a 4x5 P format frame and ground glass back mounted on a handgrip, and used lenses mounted in focusing mounts.
  • Sinar E: P2 that was connected to a computer, which calculated and carried out the movements for the photographer. This camera is very rare and sold at a cost of over US$30,000 in the early 1990s.[citation needed]
  • Sinar m: modular digital hand-held, auto-focus multi-format: medium format and 35 mm format camera (taking Zeiss or Hasselblad lenses in medium format, or Nikon lenses in 35 mm format), also adaptable to the Sinar P3 medium format view camera.[citation needed]
  • Sinar Hy6: auto-focus, hybrid (film & digital), multi-format (6x6 and 6x4.5) camera, developed between Sinar and Franke & Heidecke (the company that continued the manufacture of Rollei cameras after Rollei had stopped doing so. Not to be confused with the original company of that name, which later evolved into the Rollei company.).[citation needed]The Hy6 camera and assessories are now produced by DHW Fototechnik GmbH.
  • Sinar-approved Sinaron lenses: made in partnership with Rodenstock, Germany.[citation needed]
  • Sinar camera backs 22, 23(H), 44, 54 (M, MC, H), 75 H, eVolution, eMotion22, 75,86,86H,eXact and live video (LV) options, (H defines it as piezo crystal controlled multishot which also includes the eXact with 1, 4(uninterpolated),4 (double res),and 16 shot exposure modes).
  • Sinar arTec specialist architectural film/digital panoramic camera with tilts also used for interiors and landscapes with 28 mm lens.[citation needed]
  • Sinar P2/3 adaptation for Canon and Nikon digital SLR mounting using sinar CPL lens (also nikon/hasselblad lens).
  • Sinar eShutter system for remote aperture/shutter control.
  • Sinar RePro system for overhaed/copystand operation.
  • Sinar CTM system (Color To Match) multispectral dual-pass filter solution for accurate color reproduction. Technical correspondence to the visible spectrum in the range of 390 – 700 nanometers in collaboration with Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), Rochester, USA.



External links[edit]