Converting a Brownie #3 to Wet/Dry plate

Discussion in 'Plate Cameras and Accessories' started by sdivot, Nov 21, 2008.

  1. sdivot

    sdivot Subscriber

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    I'm sure this has probably been covered before, but I can't find it.
    Can someone tell me how, or direct me somewhere that tells how to modify a Brownie Box #3 camera to wet/dry plate? I suspect it's not too difficult. Yes?
    Thanks,
    Steve
    www.scdowellphoto.com
     
  2. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    No modifications per se are necessary for a box camera. Just cut your glass plates to the size of the film gate and voila! you have a wet plate camera.
     
  3. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Have you tried putting a wet-plate into an unmodified Box Brownie, they are designed for roll-film :D

    Yes it might work but in a very impractical way as the camera has to be taken apart to change each plate.

    You'd need to make a whole new section to hold a plate holder light-tight, there are far better cameras to start from.

    Ian
     
  4. Allen Friday

    Allen Friday Member

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    I modified a Brownie last year for wet plate. THe Flying Camera is right in that you just cut the plate to the size of the opening, put the wet plate in the camera in the darkroom and then run outside to do your exposure. But, one change I did make was to cover the metal on the back of the camera with electrical tape so that the wet plate emulsion will not touch metal and react with the metal. Wipe off the tape completely between exposures so you don't contaminate the new plate.

    The Brownie is a great little camera for learning wet plate. All the basics are covered. The only problem, which isn't very big given the portability of the camera, is you have to carry the entire camera in and out of the darkroom.
     
  5. RobertP

    RobertP Subscriber

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    Put a coat of varnish all over the inside. This will protect it from the silver nitrate. Box brownies make great wet plate starter cameras. I think the #3 is a perfect fit for 1/4 plate.
     
  6. sdivot

    sdivot Subscriber

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  7. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Ian- I have shot wet plate in a box brownie before. Loading/unloading the camera is no more inconvenient than loading/unloading the holder, because the cameras are rather small relatively speaking. I just make sure to wipe down the surfaces that contact the plate between uses, and all is well.
     
  8. bill schwab

    bill schwab Advertiser Advertiser

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    As Scott said, Brownies actually make great little wet plate cameras.
    3.25 x 4.25 inches. Have fun!
     
  9. RobertP

    RobertP Subscriber

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    Another thing that has not yet been mentioned is that you are probably limited to shooting only tins/trophy aluminum. Glass is probably to thick and won't allow you to close the camera. Maybe others can confirm this.
     
  10. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I have to concede Scott & Bill are right, personally I wouldn't potentially ruin a good Box Brownie for what I'd see as quite an inconvenient camera, however I think you'd be able to get the glass inside OK and the camera closed.

    However they have convinced me that it's possible, which is what the OP was asking, with no modifications to the camera.

    Ian
     
  11. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    RobertP-

    I have shot black glass ambros in a #2 Box Brownie (approx 1/4 plate size - 3 1/4 x 4 1/4 or thereabouts). They fit just fine. Brownies were far from precision equipment, and they had plenty of play. In fact, the #2 that I use has a pair of big springs to keep the film flat, which work great for keeping the glass in place.
     
  12. RobertP

    RobertP Subscriber

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    Thanks Scott, I stand corrected. Robert
     
  13. sdivot

    sdivot Subscriber

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    Thanks everybody. I bought the Brownie, but have not received it yet. I'll let you know how it goes.
    Steve
    www.scdowellphoto.com
     
  14. eddie gunks

    eddie gunks Member

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    i just got john coffers video. in the video demonstrates exactly how to convert and shoot with the 3A..........
     
  15. smieglitz

    smieglitz Subscriber

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    [​IMG]

    I just epoxied some aluminum corners onto the back to keep the plate at the film plane, then spray painted it matte black. You should probably cover the ruby window just in case.

    Tins will fit. Glass won't.
     
  16. RobertP

    RobertP Subscriber

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    Joe, This is like the Coffer conversion. I thought he did mention that glass won't fit but I wasn't sure. Thanks Robert