Old glass plates

Discussion in 'Plate Cameras and Accessories' started by Marttiko, Sep 4, 2016.

  1. Marttiko

    Marttiko Member

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    I happened to get package of old glass plates from early 1900's. I decided to use them. After some reading I concluded that they are roughly ISO6 (extra rapid indeed). First one was complete failure, and there was only very faint shapes in parts of the plate. After that I increased exposure (I've been using 4-6 stops "overexposure"), and second one was somewhat of a success. Then I started to get hang of it. I saw that Rodinal wasn't the right developer for these, and HC110 did better job. Plates are very foggy. Too short exposure leads to very faint image, but with too long exposure there is problem of solarisation (which lead to one quite interesting negative).

    I got these about a year ago, and now I have shot 8 of them. Here's some of them:

    Juhlat.jpg
    This is first success. I shot it with Fotokor no. 1 (others with Zeiss Ikon Ideal). Few years ago we (me and my spouse) found old slides used in art history classes of local university. They were in dumpster outside department of art and culture studies. We took as much as we could. Couple of times a year we and few good friends eat and drink well and watch those slides. This is one of those evenings. Shutter opened when first friend arrived and closed when last of them left. Exposure is about 7 hours, but it seems that most of the exposure happened during first hour when it was bright and we were making dinner. There's no-one in the picture, even if we sat there for 5-6 hours... Front element of lens is removed so whole room could fit in the picture.

    Kurun patsas.jpg
    That's a statue for victims of tragedy of steam ship Kuru (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Kuru). I should try less exposure as there is signs of solarisation. There is also marks of poor development. I was too sloppy putting it to tray.

    Niemen navetta.jpg
    Third is cowhouse of Niemi mansion in city of Tampere, Finland. It's quite interesting building, as it's nothing like traditional Finnish cowhouses.

    Kauppias.jpg
    Last one is "Merchant", one of four statues on Hämeensilta (Bridge of Tavastia) in Tampere. This is negative. I tried very long exposure and it lead to solarisation which makes it look like positive.
     
  2. Michael W

    Michael W Member

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    They look like very decent results for vintage plates. Great to see them being put to the use for which they were intended.
     
  3. Theo Sulphate

    Theo Sulphate Member

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    I like how you are using these plates - it's amazing that after 100 years the results are so good.

    There is a person sitting on the park bench - I wonder how long that exposure was.
     
  4. Marttiko

    Marttiko Member

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    There was in fact a family also looking at statue, but they were moving. Person on the bench sat still. Exposure was about two minutes if I remember correctly.

    It has been very interesting shooting these, and I hope I can find more of them. I have one project in mind, for which I need more of these.

    Negatives are very faint and foggy. I don't have skill to make anything from them in darkroom, but with computer one can get quite good results out of them.
    Those were quite hastily processed using Gimp, and with time and patience results would be even better. But then there's the philosophy of using 100 year old plates.
    I don't want to manipulate them too much.

    This is a nonmanipulated picture from scanner:
    Navetta.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2016
  5. onre

    onre Subscriber

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    I take it that you're the person who visited a certain camera store nearby where the pictures were taken and had a Zeiss Ikon plate camera with a rim-set Compur and a broken screw? If so, I lost the card with your email address.

    I may have more old plates for you.
     
  6. Marttiko

    Marttiko Member

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    Yes I am. I send you a private message.
     
  7. Daire Quinlan

    Daire Quinlan Subscriber

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    I've had tons of fun with old glass plates :-D

    First bunch I got was a box of Wellington and Ward 'Antiscreen' plates from 1910 or thereabouts. I'd shoot them at asa5 initially, dev in expired paper dev. After a few mishaps involving the entire emulsion peeling off the plate, I got to the following stage ...

    [​IMG]

    ... just as I ran out of plates. Been buying them since whenever I see boxes of 6.5x9cm plates turn up on the auction site. Best results I've had were similarly ancient Ilford "Special Rapid Panchromatic" plates ...
    [​IMG]

    and rather more recently (and rather more recent) Kodak B40 plates

    [​IMG]

    It's a bit of a crapshoot though. I have gotten several deliveries of Orwo plates from various places and they were all mostly unusable. Some Kodak and some Ilford stuff seems to survive well, though this was the result of one pack of Kodak Lightning pan-press :-D

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Brian Schmidt

    Brian Schmidt Subscriber

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    They've wanted to be pictures for a hundred years and they finally now are getting their chance.

    In doing this do you tend to have a problem with boxes that people have opened over the years? E.g. coming back completely black, or having already been exposed and finding a double exposure?

    Brian
     
  9. Daire Quinlan

    Daire Quinlan Subscriber

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    Can't speak for the OP but I just don't buy them if they're opened. Too hit and miss as it is :-D
     
  10. Nodda Duma

    Nodda Duma Subscriber

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    That's awesome.

    I'd like to suggest that the plates which don't turn out well can be cleaned in bleach water and re-coated with mix-your-own emulsion or Liquid Light.
     
  11. GregW

    GregW Member

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    Ditto on the weak paper developer. I got good-ish results as well using it.
     
  12. Marttiko

    Marttiko Member

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    Daire Quinlan's pictures look very good. I think I'm going to try paper developer too.
     
  13. JPD

    JPD Member

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    That's an interesting experiment. If you get tired of having those glass plates around, remember that they can be stripped of the emulsion and then ground to groundglass that fits many of these old plate cameras. The GG's for my Voigtländer Avus and Bergheil cameras use glass of the exact same dimensions as the plates. :smile:
     
  14. Cycler

    Cycler Member

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    That's interesting. A couple of decades ago, we had a coal strike, and I was put on a 3-day week. Finishing on Wednesday I volunteered at the local museum. We were sorting through the plates left by the late Charles Maude professional photographer; in his business attic/loft. Terribly dusty place and we, there were three of us, going through the results of 5 or 6 decades of work. He dis everything, portraits, industrial & commercial. The results are now in Wakefield MDC's archives. And keep turning-up in various museum displays. During his time we had confectioners, a colliery, 2 British army regimental training units (in the same barracks) and he travelled wherever people wanted photos producing.
     
  15. Brian Schmidt

    Brian Schmidt Subscriber

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    It says in the manual that a new glass plate can be used as a ground glass in emergency situations. It took me a while to realize the glass slides out of the bottom.
     
  16. JPD

    JPD Member

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    Yes! Dim and hard to focus on, but would work in emergency situations. But that was only doable back in the days when you still used plates and they didn't have anti-halation coatings (and I think most did in already in the late 1920's).

    I stripped the coatings off the plates and ground them on a bigger sheet of glass with fine aluminium oxide and drops of water. The result: fine-grained excellent groundglass that fit perfectly in the Voigtländer GG holders. A little bit better than the originals.
     
  17. Marttiko

    Marttiko Member

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    I got more glass plates from onre. Two boxes of Agfa replica Ortho 23, and two Kodak p.1200 Super Panchro-press. I'll be posting some results later.
     
  18. Daire Quinlan

    Daire Quinlan Subscriber

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    I'd say the Ortho 23 will come good, and the panchro-press will very probably look like the last of my pictures above. Although judging from this (brief) thread maybe I just got a really bad batch
    http://www.apug.org/forum/index.php?threads/kodak-super-panchro-press.27708/
     
  19. Marttiko

    Marttiko Member

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    Here's couple of those Ortho 23's. I may have fallen in love a little with these plates. I used last one twice accidentally.

    Savusauna4_2.jpg Lamppu ja liesi.jpg Pentaxmaisema.jpg
     
  20. Marttiko

    Marttiko Member

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    Oh, I almost forgot to post pictures taken with those Kodak plates. I developed this for 7 minutes on HC-110 dilution B. It's stock speed iso400, but I shot it at iso50 because of it's old age. Quite grainy considering it's a 9x12cm plate...

    Saha_yleis2.jpg Saha_yleis2b.jpg