6 1/2 x 8 1/2 Film Holder Size

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by wfwhitaker, Aug 26, 2006.

  1. wfwhitaker

    wfwhitaker Member

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    Full plate folks I ask your help. I have three 6 1/2 x 8 1/2 cameras (and one loose back). It's been frustrating that there seem to be [at least] two standards to the film holder size. The film holders I have measure 7 11/16 x 10 inches (not counting the grip for the dark slide). The distance to the rib lock (T-dimension, I believe) is 9 1/4". They fit one of my cameras, a Century. They also fit the loose back, a reducing back from 8x10. The other two cameras a Wizard (Gundlach) and a Folmer & Schwing RB Cycle Graphic won't accept my holders. They require holders with smaller outside dimensions. That's the problem.

    The Wizard has a film holder receptacle 7 1/2 x 10 inches. The distance to the rib lock is 9 1/4" with a rib lock width of 1/8". That happens to be the same as the holders I have, all of which implies that if I were to either make my holders narrower or the film back receptacle wider, then my holders would fit. In the interest of being able to use the holders across all three cameras, the obvious choice is to judiciously subject the offending camera backs to the router table.

    My question (I guess) is this: Does anyone know what the different standards were for film holders of this format? Who made the smaller holders? And, what are my chances of finding some of the smaller holders for the Wizard and the RB Cycle?

    Or am I in for some woodworking to fit both cameras to the larger standard?

    Thanks,
     
  2. sanking

    sanking Member

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    There were dozens of different full plate holder sizes. I have at least three or four on hand right now. The closest you can get to a standard would be the Eastman type holders made between about 1920-1940. These holders tend to fit both Eastmand as well as Seneca and Gunlach cameras from that period. However, there is no ANSI standard for this size.

    Personally, I have three different full plate camera. One is to Eastman standard (a Seneca) and the other two (probably English) accept holders of different dimensions.

    Sandy
     
  3. wfwhitaker

    wfwhitaker Member

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    Yikes!

    Well, perhaps I should not have used the term "full plate" since what I am referring to are indeed film holders of the 6 1/2 x 8 1/2 size and not plate holders. Even so, since there was no set standard, it looks like I'm in for camera back modification time.

    Thanks Sandy!
     
  4. sanking

    sanking Member

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    OK, but in the old days the terms full plate and 6 1/2 X 8 1/2 were used interchangeably.

    However, if you are lucky enough to have a camera that accepts Easteman standard type holders you should be able to find some film holders that fit. We made a batch of holders this size about ten years ago but sold only abot two per year so I am not thinking of going there again.

    On the other hand, I really love this format. This is the one that should have survived over 5X7 in my opinion. Almost as much presence as 8X10 but at much less size and weight, and comparable to 5X7 in weight and size, but with a lot more presence.

    Sandy
     
  5. smieglitz

    smieglitz Subscriber

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    FWIW, I like it too, especially doing wetplate collodion work. It is the largest plate I can "palm" easily with one hand which comes in handy when you are trying to sop up silver nitrate from the back of it with the other hand.

    It also is a very nice size visually and the lens choices for it are extensive and a lot lighter than comparable 8x10 lenses.

    Joe
     
  6. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    A bit of off-topic heresy:

    Like several others, I regard whole-plate as a delightful size.

    A 3x enlargement off Linhof 6x7cm (56 x 72mm) is 168 x 216mm. Whole-plate is 165 x 216mm. With only a 3x enlargement, a good lens and the right film, you can usually make an enlargement that is indistinguishable from a contact print.

    And yes, I do know about contact prints, as I also have cameras up to 12x15 inches. The 12x15 holders have reducing frames for 10x12, 8x10 and whole plate.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  7. Harrigan

    Harrigan Member

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    I've modified some of the smaller type holders to fit a century back. This is really easy, just adding a few strips of cherry to the sides and moving the locking bar. Also these were plate holders but its also pretty easy to convert them to film holders. My century full plate is the only one I use is there a reason you need to have 3 usable cams? Why not just stick with one of them so you dont have to modify all?
     
  8. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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    Damn it, you guys make me check things out. My full plate camera has with it 5 different sized holders. I thought they were all the same. Grumble Grumble grumble...... ARRRRRGHHHHH now I have to figure out what fits what. I haven't used the camera yet.
     
  9. Dave Wooten

    Dave Wooten Subscriber

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    Aggie,

    No need to waste the holders,

    You just need a few more cameras. :D
     
  10. wfwhitaker

    wfwhitaker Member

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    Ah, silly lad! Has it not yet occurred to you that I may in fact be a dyed-in-the-wool flippin' gear head?? :smile:

    OK, I got called on it! Fair enough. I will explain. Like you, the Century is my keeper. And the film holders on hand fit, no problem. The RB Cycle Graphic is the heart of a Cirkut #8 outfit - unlikely that it'll go anywhere anytime soon. The Wizard is just a clean little camera, cute as a button. But that one I do want to sell. Knowing now that smaller holders for it are floating around somewhere out there, I'll leave it original for its new owner to deal with. That reducing back I mentioned is an odd one I found and intend to amend it slightly to fit my Agfa 8x10 which uses 7 1/2" lensboards. That's so that I can occasionally use a big portrait lens on the format should I wish. So that's two cameras and an accessory back. Not quite so bad...

    Sandy, I do still use the terms 6 1/2 x 8 1/2 and full plate interchangeably. I only made the distinction between film holder and plate holder for the purpose of the thread.

    And aye, 'tis a lovely little format...