View Full Version : Found a plate holder

01-17-2013, 02:28 PM
My great grandfather did a fair amount of photography and had a 4x5 Graflex (which I have). I finally checked the box with it and found one double-sided plate holder. Is there anyone still making dry plates? Would I be able to use this holder for wet plate? The camera doesn't completely work, but I'd guess someone could fix it (or help me fix it). It would be cool to be able to use it with plates.

01-17-2013, 08:16 PM
No commercial dry plates available. Keep in mind that the goop on wet plates is destructive to wood over time.

Kent in SD

01-17-2013, 08:45 PM
Both statements are what I was guessing but hoping against. Thanks!

01-17-2013, 08:48 PM
Does your Graflex use the slotted Graflex-only holders or standard holders? If the latter, you can always just shoot sheet film and enjoy the camera!

01-17-2013, 10:26 PM
Does your Graflex use the slotted Graflex-only holders or standard holders? If the latter, you can always just shoot sheet film and enjoy the camera!
I admit I haven't tried recent holders with it, but the holders that were with it are the slotted ones. The part of it that isn't working right is the curtain/shutter - and I don't think I could get it to be just open last time I tried.
I've used his Leica IIIg, though.

01-18-2013, 05:28 AM
No commercially made plates made for general use. However, Ilford make glass plates for specialist applications and launched the Holo FX (http://www.ilfordphoto.com/holofx/holofx.asp) a couple of years back - It looks like Adorama (http://www.adorama.com/catalog.tpl?op=itemlist&cat1=Film%20%26%20Darkroom&cat2=Film&cat3=Special%20Purpose%20Film&Feature1=Harman") are the only current USA supplier.

You could have a go at coating your own plates using a liquid emulsion - A good source of plates are microscope glass slides intended for brain or other large tissue samples. Some of these slides can be had off the shelf up to 5x7, but 5x4 slides are more common. As a bonus, they are usually around 1.2mm thick.

01-18-2013, 06:22 AM
Wet plates are quite difficult to get into a standard dry plate holder due to the fact that are are, in fact, wet, and sticky with a somewhat caustic mixture. The corner plate supports in traditional wet plate holders were made of glass or silver because the collodion eats away at wood. Wet plate holders can be concocted from the standard holders, however. It will be much easier fo you to add film sheaths, of course, but that may not be what you want to do. Keep working on the focal plane shutter. There are lots of people out there who can give good advice on a rebuild and Graflex cameras are fun ( I have 6 of them!). They are perfect for that binocular lens I sent you a few years ago.

01-18-2013, 08:05 AM
Whitey - that binocular lens is on my speed graphic with a working fp shutter - works great and has a cool look (I should post some more I did with it).

Paul - Thank you! I had totally forgotten about liquid emulsion. I know it's a pain to coat on glass, but I think it can be done.

I'll have to go looking for instructions on fixing the graflex - good for when I have some spare time (yeah, right) or if we get snowed in.

01-18-2013, 08:28 AM
hi bethe
making glass plates isn't too hard
the hard part is cleaning the preparing the glass
the rest can happen with a foam paint brush (my favorite coater ) ..

does the wind key turn on the graflex ?
... or does it wind, and barely retract ( like the spring is kind of ... yawn .. tired ) ?

oh, not sure if this is help but

Ian Grant
01-18-2013, 09:02 AM
You can get film adapters for 5x4 plate holders, I bought a dozen plates holders with adapters last month and already have some others, I'm not sure yet whether I've any spares until I have a big sortn out.


02-10-2013, 09:38 PM
you could always get slotted film holders

02-11-2013, 11:22 AM

Denise Ross over at http://www.thelightfarm.com/ is going to be doing an online tutorial on making dry plates. She did one on Gas Light Paper in January and, if I remember correctly, she will be doing dry plate later this month.


Photo Engineer
02-11-2013, 11:46 AM

Mark Osterman at George Eastman House teaches both wet and dry plate. He has all of the chemistry and equipment to do both.


02-11-2013, 03:57 PM
Dan and PE, thank you both very much! I'll definitely keep both of those in mind. I do also have regular film holders for this camera. The only problem is that the curtain doesn't move right when you push the lever to expose the film. If I can get it to just be at the open position (haven't tried too hard, yet) and stay there, I can at least do the lens cap method.

Ian Grant
02-11-2013, 05:05 PM
You need to get the camera functional, can't suggest anyone in the US, I've fixed a few Graflex cameras but not for others and it's not too difficult.

Meanwhile who need to find the T setting. not so hard if the shutter will fire.