Dry plate questions

Discussion in 'Plate Cameras and Accessories' started by Clifford Davis, Mar 19, 2011.

  1. Clifford Davis

    Clifford Davis Member

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    I'm apparently a bum because I can't afford a real 8x10 camera so I've constructed an 8x10 wide angle pinhole camera. I want to coat 8x10 glass and use it as a negative but the liquid emulsions I've tried off the shelf are crap! in my opinion. I want to make my own but cant find the silver nitrate. Anyone know a cheap source for it? Is silver halide cheaper and would it work? Cliff
     
  2. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    you can find silver nitrate through places like
    bostick and sullivan
    and the photographers formulary.

    you had bad luck with off the shelf emulsions ?
    i have used liquid light since 1986 mostly for glass coating
    and never had trouble.

    have you been to thelightfarm.com ?
    it is a website of emulsion makers ...

    good luck + have fun !

    john
     
  3. studiocarter

    studiocarter Member

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    Liquid Light and Formazo

    Hi,
    My efforts have been with off the shelf Liquid Light and now Formazo emulsions from Rockland and Formulary. I coat 4x5 plates by hand. There are some pictures on this site and more in my blog, http://newlightfarmer.blogspot.com/ Some day I'll try to coat a 8x10. From my experience and pouring by hand it will take two full 35mm film canisters or 60ml to cover. I just bought my second pint last night of Light because it is thicker than the other one.
    Michael
     
  4. randy6

    randy6 Member

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    I'm very interested in making my own dryplates as well. I need a little pointing in the right direction. I'm thinking cheap I still need to find 4x5 plateholders
     
  5. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    There is a whole forum here on APUG devoted to emulsion making and coating.

    I routinely make in ISO 40 orthochromatic emulsion for dry plates. Formazo also makes a very nice dry plate but it is mostly UV/Blue sensitive.

    PE
     
  6. dwross

    dwross Subscriber

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    It's been a little hard lately to find plate holders, at least at a reasonable price. Fortunately, that's not a problem if you're willing to do a little woodworking. Find some old wood film holders. They're still pretty available, and beat-up is just fine. What you want to do is take each apart and convert a two-sheet film holder into a one-plate holder. It's pretty intuitive, but here's a few instructions. http://www.thelightfarm.com/Map/DryPlate/PlateHolders/DryPlatePart6.htm

    Congrats on stepping into a great process!! Good luck and fun.
    d
     
  7. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Come to think of it, I have seen some plastic 2 sheet film holders converted to plate holders as well.

    PE
     
  8. dwross

    dwross Subscriber

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    I suppose it might have to come to that someday when all the old wood holders are gone. I tried with the Lisco/Fidelity version. They. at least, have what looks like a seam. I still managed to shatter the plastic trying to get the halves apart. The Riteway holders don't even have seams. The plastic Riteways look a lot like wood. Could be what you saw (??). I think it might be possible for a metalworker with the right tools to cut the septum out, leaving the plastic frame intact, but hopefully, new plate holders will be available before the cheap, old wood film holders are gone.

    Randy, You mentioned being on a budget so I didn't mention that Chamonix cameras is planning on coming out with a couple of plate holders soon. I imagine 4"x5" will be one of the sizes. Bound to be expensive, but also gorgeous. http://www.chamonixviewcamera.com/accessory.html
     
  9. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Denise, all;

    What I saw came back to mind. I saw several made by Mark Osterman. He cut out the septum and placed small corner supports in the holder for the plate. The length of the cutout was shorter than a plate by a fraction, but the width was correct. The plate slid in and was supported by the 4 small corner supports. He used 2 different styles IIRC.

    We talk about this sort of thing at lunch. :wink:

    What will we do when they stop making the plastic holders? And, 4x5 cameras?

    PE
     
  10. dwross

    dwross Subscriber

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    I really don't see LF cameras as being any way in danger of disappearing, and the same people making the cameras will almost certainly also make holders. The plastic holders in circulation now will last as long as any plastic thing. Whether or not any of it will be 'cheap' remains to be seen, but photography has always been an expensive undertaking. Cell phone jpegs shot to email screens is probably as affordable as photography's ever been. Paradoxically, I think it's making the whole film experience (at least LF) all the more attractive.
     
  11. laser

    laser Advertiser

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    Why not try B&W paper to create a paper negative then contact print it on to another sheet of paper? The exposure times will be long but time is cheap. You will fine low contrast paper will be best for capture and probably also for printing.
     
  12. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Well, the paper fibers introduce considerable image degradation, so if your goal is high quality imaging, this is not the way to go. For a complete discussion, see some posts by David Goldfarb and myself a few years back. However, Baryta paper is considerably better than any other paper support.

    PE
     
  13. timlayton

    timlayton Member

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    I am in the process of researching and trying dry plates and ran across this thread. I never thought about trying b/w paper and using it as a paper negative. It makes total sense, just never thought about it I guess. I use Ilford MGIV FB and RC papers at this time. Any input or comments on using RC papers vs fiber? I assume I could read the Ilford data sheet and try and determine an ISO, but not sure if that would translate to using it as a paper negative or not. Any pointers or input to get me going in the right direction would be appreciated.

    Tim
     
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  15. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    You could always try the Ilford positive papers, which means you get an image right away out the developer, not needing to do it in two steps, making a negative that you then need to contact copy on to another sheet.

    I missed out on this discussion before, but it was great to be reminded of the New Light Farmer blog - those are some seriously big plates!
     
  16. timlayton

    timlayton Member

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    Good idea on the positive paper. I will have to give that a try as well during my testing process. Thanks!
     
  17. gandolfi

    gandolfi Member

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    I don't know why PE states that baryta papers should be considerable better than RC papers (he will properly explain)..

    But as a beginners choise, just use RC papers.
    They are political correct (don't curl - are easy and quick to process) and if you're using MG papers, you can place a filter in front (or back) of the lens to lower contrast.

    Make a test to see about the iso. (I normally calculate around 10 iso)...

    It is VERY easy - it is quick, and the results can be fascinating!

    attached a couple of examples.

    all from paper negatives - all RC
     

    Attached Files:

  18. Fotoguy20d

    Fotoguy20d Subscriber

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    For even lower cost, you might want to try Arista Ultra EDU, grade 2 paper. I expose it as ASA 3. I use a yellow filter - helps a bit with the skies. These are 8x10 negatives taken with a 14" RR and a 12" meniscus.

    Dan
     

    Attached Files:

  19. timlayton

    timlayton Member

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    gandolfi, your portraits are beautiful! On a side note I will be using traditional view cameras with a normal lens, etc. It appears to me you used a view camera on these portraits too and not pinhole, is that correct? Really excellent work. I love the softness, but also the definition is just perfect. I do have a question that you may be able to help with. I want to experiment today but all I have is VC paper. I am going to order a couple different papers today but they won't arrive for a few days. For the filters on the VC paper would it be best to use my Ilford VC filters that I use on the enlarger or do I use standard b/w filters (yellow, green, red, etc)? Also, two of your portraits were warn, did you use a warmtone paper and/or developer to achieve this or something else?

    Thanks

    Tim
     
  20. timlayton

    timlayton Member

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    Dan, thanks for the reply. I am in the process of ordering some Arista grade 2 paper from Freestyle at this very moment. I will give ASA 3 a try and also experiment with b/w filters. I will be using a regular view camera setup so I was thinking about using a graduated ND filter to help with the blown out skies a little bit, although I don't want to eliminate that all together because it is part of the Victorian era look that I am shooting for. Beautiful photos, thanks for sharing.

    Tim
     
  21. gandolfi

    gandolfi Member

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    yes - just use the filters you'd use in the darkroom.
    I prefer this method - papers have higher contrast than I want - even with grade 2 - that's why the filters come on handy.. You can make a negative with lots of grey tones, and it they prove too grey, you can highten the contrast when contact copying (which is - of course - always done on Baryta/fiber based papers...)..
     
  22. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Gandolfi;

    My reservations about RC are the following:

    1. It often has a company watermark on the back and this is rather obtrusive if it prints through.

    2. FB paper can be treated with oil or wax to render it more transparent for printing through.

    However, there are ways around both of these. I have used Ilford MGIV RC as a paper negative in-camera at ISO 25 and have gotten some very good shots. I scan mine though.

    And, your results are excellent. So, who am I to argue with such pictures? :smile:

    PE
     
  23. gandolfi

    gandolfi Member

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    hi, and thanks for explaining.

    The watermarks are important to avoid (but I havn't seen those for years..)

    The oiling is a good point, but here is mine:

    If you use fiber based papers, and you're ysing single weight papers, then - in my experience - the fibers in the paper will show much more clearly, than if you use a thicker paper.
    This also goes for RC papers - the "normal" thickness lets the fiber traces cover it self, so to speak, and then the "only" advantage would be a shorter exposing time...

    Also - IMO - fiber based papers can be rather difficult to keep as flat as neccesary for a good contact print.. RC is much easier.

    I am kind of lazy.. so I go for the quick and easy.. :whistling:
     
  24. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    I think that there are arguments either way... Pros and cons. Use what works best for you is one of my mottoes..

    PE
     
  25. timlayton

    timlayton Member

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    PE, if you have any further info or input on converting Fidelity sheet film holders for dry plates pass it along. I have been trying for quite some time to land a couple dry plate holders that will work in my modern field cameras but no luck so far. As bad as I want to avoid it, it appears I am going to have to come up with a DIY type solution. Do you have any idea what your friend used for the 4 small corner supports?
     
  26. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    I have 6 dry plate holders purchased from a company that no longer esits. Several APUG member have given me some as well. I think them for it. In addition, Mark Osterman has been making them from scratch from 4x5 film holders. You may want to contact him.

    PE