Using cut film in a whole-plate glass holder
I have been asked if I can take a couple of photographs for an exhibition using an old whole-plate camera. The camera was used around 1895 - 1905 to shoot two dozen glass negatives from which I have made prints that will form the central part of the exhibition.
The challenges I have are in (a) sourcing film, though I guess I can cut down some sheets of 10" x 8" Ilford or Efke (Adox) material, and (b) getting the film to lie flat and in the correct plane to ensure sharp focus (the glass negatives are 2mm). I am hoping to get by with some quick temporary mods to the existing plate holders rather than having to make something from scratch for film but since I haven't yet had an opportunity to examine the kit I don't yet know what I'm going to find.
I haven't been down this road before and would welcome observations from anyone who has!
Yesterday I used some honey to glue 18x24 cm film to cardboard, that was put in the plate holder where the glass goes. (Others have reported using jam with success.) Worked fine, except that my 1980-s Tasma film seems to be fogged. (If I am not still using it backwards...) If you don't get the film to stick to the cardboard/glass whatever you use, it might get trashed by the darkslide.
The prewash washed the honey away just fine...
That is a sweet solution to an old problem!
Originally Posted by matti
Long ago metal septums were available to hold film in plate holders. These were usually made of metal with three edges rolled over to retain the film. They can be improvesed from thin sheet metal and painted black. There will be a slight focus shift, about the thickness of the metal. The typical small apertures one might use with an old plate camera should cover that. The film should be backed with loose cardboard to minimize this. With a little more work, one could adapt 5x7 sheet film to whole plate holders.
I still recomment orange marmelade - the stickiest stuff known to man.
Sheet film adapters are still around, I use them in all sizes up to 18x24cm (6.5x9, 9x12, 4x5", 10x15, 5x7", 13x18 and 18x24cm). They may not be mad anymore, but there are still lots of them around.
-- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
retrophotographic in the uk usually have odd sizes like whole plate in stock (wephota film) if you dont fancy cutting it.
Cutting glass to size and sticking film on with favourite sticky substance works pretty well. Picture glass is 2mm, and any shop will cut it to size. Make sure you sand the edges before use. Its easier to stick the film before loading the holders not after.
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Thanks guys. I have sourced some wholeplate film from Retro Photographic and there's a pot of honey in the larder!
Hi there - did you ever get anywhere with your wholeplate shots?
Originally Posted by Ole
Wish they were. Can't seem to find any to fit my new (to me) whole plate glass holders. Got any contacts????
Was pointed to this the other day so I cant take credit but here it is:
Sheetfilm, though having trouble w/ sources in the past has supposedly worked through those issues. whole plate film ASA 25, 25 sheets for 34 euros is a great deal. Think of this as Ilford's special order process but much much cheaper. Along the same lines, it will probably take about 2-3 months for the orders to be filled, so do not expect the boxes to be in your hands until around Christmas time...a good present in my book!
Also, if still interested in whole plate here is a great site by RJ:
I ordered about 8 boxes and will wait patiently for their arrival.
BTW just read in here somewhere that using film in a plate holder has some unique challenges...meaning how do you keep the film still in a slot made for thicker glass. 1) cut a metal (aluminum most likely) the same size as the glass, used to fill the space. 2) Use honey/jam as a "glue" to bind the film to the metal sheet. MAKE sure non-emulsion side is stuck to metal.
On the above honey/jam glue never tried it but seems to be a common practice, ymmv.
Have 9x12, 4x5, and most odd plate sizes under 'Antik', which are cut by wephoto.
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