View Full Version : plate cameras

Kevin Roach
09-30-2005, 08:52 AM
Does anyone actually use these? I'm thinking of an old boigtlander or zeiss 1/4 plate camera. Can I just slip a film sheet in the plate holder. They are so small and light I'd think they'd make great hiking cameras.

09-30-2005, 11:04 AM
I have several, a couple of Voigtlander Bergheils, a Voigtlander Avus, an ICA, a Kodak and a Zeiss, in formats 6x9.5, 9x12 and 10x15. I shoot mainly the Bergheils (Heliar lenses) and the ICA (10x15 format). While the cameras are light, the single-sheet metal holders can add up in weight. If you're thinking of a 6x9.5 and using a roll-film back, that works pretty well. Just make sure your back is still light-tight after all these years.

09-30-2005, 01:05 PM
I've got a Zeiss 207/1 which is in 9x12, and I'm using it to do exactly what you're talking about. Making the sheet holders is a bit of a problem for me, but I've been working on it, and have been using a 120 adapter in the meantime. There's a good number of people in the group who use them.

09-30-2005, 01:21 PM
I've got a Voigtländer VAG 6.5x9cm, a Bergheil and a AVUS (both 9x12cm) and a nameless Rodenstock 9x12cm. And a ca. 1900 German 13x18cm plate camaera, one 18x24cm one, and even a 30x40cm one! There are film adapter sheaths to be had for all "sane" sizes, so you can use sheet film with ease.

I use them all, although my first (and so far only) attempt with the 30x40cm camera failed for a surprising numer of reasons - only one of them having to do with blueberry jam.

09-30-2005, 03:02 PM
BTW - I'm always on the lookout for 10x15 holders and film sheaths if anyone comes across some spares....

P C Headland
09-30-2005, 04:40 PM
I've got a '37 9x12cm Zeh Zeca that I use from time to time. I bought it for around £30 with 3 holders and hard leather case.

The camera itself is small and light, but the metal film holders do add weight. Still quite compact though. The only issue with these is establishing which of the various formats of film/plate holder you need, since there were many different types. Try and get one that comes with at least one holder. Both the holders and film sheaths can be found on ebay (the German site is quite good for these) and at camera shows.

I have shot B+W (from Retrophotographic in the UK, JandC have it in the US) and colour slide in it. The lens performs quite well stopped down, assuming of course you have put the film sheath in correctly ;-).

The holders generally take glass plates "natively". To use film, you need a film sheath which then slides into the holder. At a pinch, you could try taping the film to a glass plate.

This thread (http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=00AySG) over on PNet shows the holders & sheaths.

Finally, here's a shot taken with the Zeca.


09-30-2005, 05:31 PM
I just loaded up (for the second time) the five holders for my ICA 6.5x9 and am going out to shoot near my work. I wish I had at least one more holder since my jobo has six places to put film.

How do you guys develop your small sheet film? Trays or tubes or what?


P C Headland
09-30-2005, 06:38 PM
How do you guys develop your small sheet film? Trays or tubes or what?

I develop my 9x12cm and 4x5" sheet films in my Gepe 120 tank using the "taco method". I can develop 4 or 5 sheets like this, but usually only do one or two.

It's convenient, as apart from loading, everything else is done in daylight. I tend to use 1+100 dilutions of Rodinal.


Donald Qualls
09-30-2005, 11:33 PM
Count me in, too. I have a ca. 1935 9x12 cm Kawee Camera (a Patent Etui for the USA market), with three original plate holders and two that I recently acquired that fit -- 100% functional. I also have a ca. 1927 Zeiss-Ikon 250/7 Ideal, 9x12 as well, now with *fifteen* good plate holders; the Ideal also has a Tessar. In the wings, I have a slightly older (pre-1926) Ica 225 Ideal, which is essentially identical to the Zeiss-Ikon, lacking only a good bellows (the one that's on it is undersize and very, very leaky). The Ideal is my camera of choice when I want/need to make the best possible negative; the combination of the large format, Tessar, and limited movements, plus ground glass focusing and composition, mean I can control everything (except the dust and fingerprints on the film -- working on those factors). This was the camera I chose to make portraits of my grandmother when she was 99 years old and I had no expectation of ever seeing her again (because I was moving 3000 miles away).