Converting old (half?)plate cameras to modern needs

Discussion in 'Plate Cameras and Accessories' started by andreios, Apr 4, 2013.

  1. andreios

    andreios Member

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    Hello,
    several times when I've been searching ebay for old cameras (particularly attracted to whole-plate size) I came across several of those british-type half-plate cameras and the idea crossed my mind whether it would be possible to replace their old backs with some more modern ones to take fidelity-type 5x7 (or at least 4x5) film holders and thus get a simple "field" camera - to use on those days when the idea of lugging my Sinar is not very appealing.. :smile:

    Has anyone done this? What would I have to pay attention to, if I wanted to pursue that idea?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Simplest is to use a Graflex back (off a Speed/Crown Graphic) and fit this to a new wooden rear panel. Can be Grflok type or spring. That's what I'm doing for one of mine, and is how many make reducing backs for larger cameras.

    I'm also mid way though making a Wooden back with a Graflok focus frame taht I have spare.

    Ian
     
  3. andreios

    andreios Member

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    Yes, that was my idea - to find a graflock back...
    I presume 4x5 will be no problem for a half plate camera - but would a half plate camera be enough to take a 5x7 back?
     
  4. Slixtiesix

    Slixtiesix Subscriber

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    Some years ago I used to use an old 4x5 plate camera that came with 5 plate backs. I simply put a 4x5" piece of cardboard in each back to compensate for the thickness and used them with 4x5 film.
     
  5. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Yes a 5x7 back would fit, the pre WWII British Half plate cameras used book-form plate holders which were larger than modern half-plate or 5x7 holders (the modern ones have the same outside dimensions).

    5x7 backs do get advertised on this Forum, if you Subscribe you could place a wanted advert :D

    Ian
     
  6. andreios

    andreios Member

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    Thanks Ian, that was the kind of information I was after..

    And I surely will subscribe (again) - my subscription expired some weeks (or months?) ago but I didn't get around to spend any time on APUG. Will soon get it right - however I miss the gallery more than the adverts :smile:
     
  7. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    Half plate is approximately 4.5 x 6.5 so the answer is "No" it will not take a 5x7 back.
     
  8. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    Oops, that should read 4.25 x 6.5.
     
  9. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Sorry it will, as I explained earlier, the British bookform holders were very much larger than modern International half plate and 7x5 DDS which have the same outside dimensions.

    In fact I've seen an Ebay seller (who happens to be a friend) post a sale on ebay showing a 7x5 darkslide sitting where a book form half plate holer would slot, it wouldn't be light tight though.

    Ian