Got (old) plates. Now what?
Fairly longtime reader, delurking with a rather vague question.
I have my great-grandfather's 9x12 Bergheil; it was his "quick grab" camera that rode around in the trunk of the car---as far as he was concerned *real* work was 8x10 and contact prints, full stop, but like anybody else he needed a snapshot camera. I've been shooting 9x12 film and occasionally rollfilm with it, but just took the plunge to buy an old box of plates from a large, well-known auction site. They're Eisenberger Flavirid plates, about which I can find no information anywhere; the box says they're orthochromatic, 26 degrees, which I assume is the same old DIN scale as for film, hence ASA 320 (I think).
That seems pretty fast for plates, so I'm hoping they're relatively recent and haven't had too many years of cosmic rays to fog them. (On the other hand, if they were *that* recent, wouldn't they be panchromatic?) The box has been partially opened at one end, but the black paper wrapping inside seems never to have been broken, so I'm hoping for the best, but I won't be heartbroken if they turn out to be exposed.
So, first off, does anyone know how old these plates are, who this hitherto unknown manufacturer was, and so on? Any idea how protective I should expect the black wrapper to be? Any guesses about which side the emulsion will be on?
My vague plan is to develop a first trial plate by inspection in HC-110. What have other people shooting old plates used as a development protocol?
Thanks in advance (for this and for all the useful information I've leeched off this site over the last couple of years).
That film speed would be in Scheiner, which is often said to be DIN+10. So 26 degrees Scheiner = approximately 16 degrees DIN, or ISO 32.
That makes a lot more sense.
Age? Probably late 1920's.
-- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
I shot some 1930s Agfa plates in a 6.5x9cm camera with good results. There was a fair bit of mottling on the image that was caused by mould or some kind of deterioration of the emulsion, but I expected something like that. I think it would be disappointing to shoot old plates & have them come out looking like brand new stock.
Originally Posted by ntenny
In my experience all old plates were packed in pairs, emulsion to emulsion.
I would assume several stops of speed loss. From memory the Agfa plates were nominally iso 50 approx & I ended up rating them at iso 6.
I used HC-110 with the standard time for APX 100 plus about 10% & that worked well for most of them. I tried one plate in Diafine & that also worked well.
I recently bought some old stock of 9x12 Ferrania Infra Red plates & that is something I will be testing once I have thought about it a bit.
Well, I finally got around to trying one out. They are packed emulsion to emulsion, as goldie suggests, and it turns out to be pretty easy to determine under a safelight which side is the emulsion.
My first "smoke test" shot is attached. It's badly underdeveloped, because I spooked myself into thinking it was getting too dark and I was going to lose the image in base fog---in fact nothing of the kind was happening and I should have left it in for another three or four minutes. I think the exposure was 1 second at f/11.
On the whole, I think this is a much better result than I had any right to expect. Thanks for the assistance! Now I just need to figure out what subjects merit the use of the other 11.