interested in wetplate collodions

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by daveandiputra, Nov 10, 2010.

  1. daveandiputra

    daveandiputra Member

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    Hi All, after seeing the documentary "genius of photography" i became interested on trying in the alternative processes like Daguerrotypes and colodion, although Daguerreotypes which requires pure silver might be to expensive and advance for me that made the collodion and tintype more interesting.

    what i gather is i need a large format camera and the chemicals. the chemicals i can search and there's the how to articles on http://www.alternativephotography.com

    now for the camera, maybe someone knowledgeable with the process can guide me on the right camera with my small budgets of maybe around US$300 for the camera and all its accessories (lens, holder, etc). and i'm hoping for at least 8x10 size, as i'm more interested on positive image.

    thanks all.
     
  2. 2Bugles

    2Bugles Member

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    You do not need to use a large format camera, although you may find it preferable. Many start with an old Kodak Brownie with is modified to accept a plate holder. Any large format camera can be used with the appropriate holder and many like to start small to save money. I'm new to the process and bit the bullet and purchased a new 5X7 wet plate camera (made by Ty Guillory of Texas) that has both 5X7 and half-plate holders. I can easily add quarter-plate or even sixteenth-plate if I desire.
     
  3. davido

    davido Subscriber

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    If you don't have a large format camera you can do Ambrotypes. I took a workshop learning how to make these using an enlarger. You coat the wetplate negatives and then expose them under an enlarger. when they're dry you paint the other side black and you have yourself an Ambrotype. You can use original images from any format you want.

    david
     
  4. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council

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    The first place I would send you for more information on doing wet plate would be to the wet plate forum - www.collodion.com . I'd also recommend the Kodak Brownie (or any other similar box camera) as a starting point. They're very cheap and easy to work with. If you start going down the view camera path, you'll have to have a bigger budget than $300.
     
  5. Fourtoes

    Fourtoes Member

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    Hi, I've just started with wet plate collodion, shooting on an old half plate camera.
    Not sure what you can get hold of in Indonesia. Plenty of stuff on ebay if you dont mind paying the postage.
    The forums mentoned above are very useful.
    I have some small posts on my blog if your interested
    link to blog
     
  6. daveandiputra

    daveandiputra Member

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    thanks for all the response guys..
    LF stuffs are not easy to find here, but i did saw what i think is a graflex (don't know the specific model), can that be converted to use as a wetplate camera? i'm betting the price can be very low as very few LF shooter as far as i know.
    the enlarger approach does sound interesting, but my darkroom is still suspension as i just moved. I think that will be a very great starting point.
    hopefully i can start this project soon, many thanks for the links and help!
     
  7. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council

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    Any camera can be used as a wet plate camera if you really want to enough - even a 35mm SLR if you're REALLY crazy (but don't count on the shutter lasting very long - silver nitrate is corrosive). So yes, the Graflex can be used for wet plate - you'd just need to convert one film holder into a plate holder, which isn't hard to do yourself, or you can find people who make and sell them online.
     
  8. vickersdc

    vickersdc Member

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    ...or make your own camera...?
     
  9. daveandiputra

    daveandiputra Member

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    actually that idea already came across but don't think it's feasible now david :smile:
    looks like the enlarger approach will be nice introductory to wet plates...
     
  10. vickersdc

    vickersdc Member

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    You will keep us all posted about how you get on with this new project won't you? I, for one, am very interested...

    Best wishes,
    David.
     
  11. daveandiputra

    daveandiputra Member

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    Will Do! as soon as i get the dark room up and running, i'll try to find out the availability of the chemicals needed.
    I'm currently trying to find out how to make my own wet plate holder, as trying to find a used holder to modify will be next to impossible.
     
  12. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    What sort of filmholder size are you looking for?
     
  13. nsurit

    nsurit Subscriber

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    http://www.lundphotographics.com/

    May be able to help you with holders/supplies.

    Attached is wetplate made of me by a friend using a Holga.

    Bostick & Sullivan in Santa Fe, NM has supplies.
     

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  15. daveandiputra

    daveandiputra Member

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    if i go the enlarger way i think the smallest size i'd want is whole plate (6.5" x 8.5") as it is big enough for a positive image compared to 4x5.

    thanks for the link Nsurit, that picture of you is what i imagine i want to shoot, nice!
     
  16. daveandiputra

    daveandiputra Member

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    after a quick check looks like i can get mavidon collodion USP from a local distributor, just emailed them for confirmation. if true than thats one ingredient solved!
     
  17. vickersdc

    vickersdc Member

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    All this talk of wetplate images... I want to build another camera anyway, the actual body of which is not a problem, but does anyone know where I can find out a bit more about the wetplate backs? I don't think that constructing one would be too difficult (I'm really fortunate to have a fairly well stocked workshop :smile:), but I need to find out what I'm trying to build!
     
  18. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council

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    The great and glorious thing about wet plate backs is that A: there is no standard T-distance from the lip to the focal plane, and B: because there's no standard distance, you don't need tight tolerances. Most purpose-built wet plate cameras have square backs, and the plate holders have inserts that allow for vertical or horizontal plate positioning without having to rotate the holder and/or the camera back.
     
  19. nsurit

    nsurit Subscriber

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    You can adapt a standard LF filmholder to accept a wet plate and then use it in your LF camera. See my first post for someone who will do it for you. Lundphotographics.com.

    Bill Barber
     
  20. vickersdc

    vickersdc Member

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    Thanks for the answers...

    Bill: I don't have any LF filmholders (any more) and I'll be making my own back - I want to make one anyway for dry-plate usage, so I might as well do another for wet-plate too.

    Scott: from what I've seen so far, the wet-plate back has a darkslide, an opening that only holds the plates by the corners, with the plate placed into position from the rear. Presumably there is some form of pressure applied to the plate via a flat spring. Oh, and some additional 'depth' to capture the silver. Does that just about sum up what there is? Or do I need to know more!

    Cheers,
    David.
     
  21. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    David, if you want something smaller for wetplate, I have a few spare Fidelity 12x16,5 cm holders. Drop me a line if you are interested.
     
  22. daveandiputra

    daveandiputra Member

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    i too are now interested to build my own camera david :smile: i got a how to ebook by Jon Grepstad, and now trying it out in sketchup (google 3D app).
    I would be interested in your plans for the wet plate holder, if it's ok i want to copy it.
     
  23. vickersdc

    vickersdc Member

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    Jerevan,

    That is an amazingly kind offer, but I am intent on building my own from start to finish! Having recently finished my sliding box camera, I've got ideas floating around my head on what to make next - to be honest, the biggest issue is time as I'm currently studying for my degree as well as holding down a full-time job, maintain the house and keep the wife happy :blink:

    Thanks for the lovely offer though.
    David.
     
  24. vickersdc

    vickersdc Member

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    Yes, no problems... although if you get the plans before me, can you send me them! I've just bought a little brass rapid symmetrical lens that I'm going to build the camera around, and once I've done a bit more homework into the wetplate holder, I'll share the information with you.

    Cheers,
    David.
     
  25. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    Yeah, I figured that you'd say "can do myself", David! :D
     
  26. vickersdc

    vickersdc Member

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    Tools + Enthusiasm = Sawdust :D