Voigtländer 9x12 / Glass negative question
I'm new here, still finding my way around, and I hope my posting is in the right section.
A friend of mine gave me a beautiful Voigtländer Avus 9x12 camera including a lot of original accesory parts, probably from the late twenties or early thirties. It belonged to a late great grandfather of his family. With the camera came an assortment of 8 glass plate holders, all of which still have glass plates in the insides. We don't know if they are exposed or not. I suggested that we try to develop them. I have experience in developing film but not glass plates, expecially very old ones that might have been exposed decades ago. Anyone out there who can give a few tips on what brew to use (on the negs :-) ) and maybe special procedures that might be required?
The emulsion on these will only be sensitive to blue light, so you can develop by inspection in a tray.
I would probably try a dilute solution of Rodinal, say 1:100
Then a hardening fixer (Kodak, for example).
Fogging is likely if the plates are really old.
I make glass plates for a 6x9 Zeiss Ikon, which is of a similar era to your camera.
These develop by inspection in Dektol OK, but it is a modern emulsion.
Simon, Are you positive about the "sensitive to blue light" reference? There are a number of plates listed here . . . http://www.earlyphotography.co.uk/site/entry_F13.html that appear to be panchromatic. For example, Ilford appears to have at least one prior to 1918.
"Photography is a marvelous discovery, a science that has attracted the greatest intellects, an art that excites the most astute minds — and one that can be practiced by any imbecile." – Nadar, 1856
There absolutely are panchromatic plates around. I would assume they need to be developed in the dark---better safe than sorry.
HC-110 has good fog control and is easy to find. In my experience, latent images hold up pretty well over the decades, certainly better than an unexposed emulsion does. Developing times will be a wild guess; i might try dilution E or H for about 7-8 minutes for the first plate, then adjust future times according to how that one comes out.
You can get inserts to use those holders for film, by the way. There are also rollfilm backs that fit, so the camera has plenty of opportunities to continue working and not just be a shelf queen.
San Diego, CA, USA
The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
-The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_
Hmm, interesting point Dan and I stand corrected.
Originally Posted by DannL.
I am not sure how common panchromatic emulsion was prior to 1918. In the circumstances it might be better to use an Ilford or Kodak plate tank (if you can borrow one) or a covered dish.
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Thanks for the comments, that is most helpful. I'll set up something up for tray developing and make a test on one glass plate. I think the plates are from the thirties,fourties, or even early fifties, probably made by Agfa, which were quite abundand in these times.
Do you think that pre-soaking them in destilled water would help the developing process?
I happen to have a 6x9 rollfilm back that fits on the camera. I wondered what to do with this thing for some years and almost got rid of it, hehe. Always nice to to see a rather obscure part in the grabble box turning out to be most useful.
One seems to be able to get these rollfim backs even new or relativly new by a company named Rada.
Before capturing something (my cameras must work, I don't have shelf queens) I must inspect the Compur shutter. I feel it's too slow on long exposures, and sounds like it's spinning down unevenly. I figure the lubrication has become sticky in the shutter mechanism.
Do report on what you find! So interesting.
I developed a roll of 120 from a camera from Prague that looked at least decades old and found kitchen shots and streetcars among central city architecture.
Good Morning Mark -- well I was given an 'AVUS' many years ago by an Austrian Lecturer Dr Stumpfl when I was a Photographer at University College London -- I had the lens 'coated' -- I have used it with 9x12 cm plates and cur film AND I have a 'RADA' rollfilm back I have used successfully with Ektachrome and B&W. You are lucky to have more 'accessories' with it -- Peter
Avus by pentaxpete, on Flickr
Green Man by pentaxpete, on Flickr
St Alban's by pentaxpete, on Flickr
An 'Old Dog still learning New Tricks !
Thanks for the comment, Peter. Beautiful captures - did you shift the lens the lower one?
I think it should make a great landscape camera with the panoramic 6x9 format when using 120 film with the Rada back.
Regarding the glass, did you buy new glass plates or did you manufacture your own, if I may ask?