Getting started in tintype.
I'm really interested in beginning to make tintypes. For the past few days I've been reading a lot about it, here on the forum and on other sites. I think I have a pretty good idea of the book version of tintype, but I need to know what I should do to get started. What's a good camera? And what about supplies (chemistry, dark tent, plates, etc)? Let me amend this by saying that by "good camera" I mean a very affordable one that produces images (also one that isn't so difficult to manipulate that it drives me away from tintype altogether).
Rockland Colloid makes and sells tintype supplies. From what I've read, they can be directly exposed in a 4x5 camera. Just about any field or monorail view camera can be used. Check the classifieds here for 4x5 cameras, I know of a couple of them for sale.
If you are any where near Michigan , Bill Schwab and Joe S (sorry Joe , don't want to spell your last name wrong) have both taught beginner workshops and they are very patient and levelheaded in their approach.
I have seen them in action at photostock, as well Bill has taught at Steve Shermans and as well at Gallery 44 here in Toronto with nothing but praise of his teachings.
Originally Posted by Dshambli
I'm in Florida. I would love to attend some sort of workshop or receive some kind of instruction, but I can't find anything around here like that. So it looks like I'm now in the market for a 4x5 camera.
Originally Posted by Bob Carnie
You should look at a workshop somewhere. I know Quinn Jacobson has moved back to Denver and is getting ramped up with a new studio and starting classes in there. Like Bob mentioned, Bill Schwab's class is also a good one I hear.
It is possible to get started with a few good books. The ones most people will point you to are John Coffer's book/DVD seris, as well as Quinn Jacobson's book 'Chemical Pictures' Buying Quinn's book also gets you access to his video series as well...
I started down the workshop path initially, but it was canceled so I went on my own way. To get up and running fast, you can alway use Bostick and Sullivan's kits. They work okay to get you going until you are familiar enough with the process to start mixing your own chemistry. Not a slam against B&S, but once I made this leap to making my own chemistry, the improvement in image quality was significant. As for the Rockland tintype kits... these are in no shape or form, wet plate kits. It's a psuedo tintype and has it's own look, and they are not that great from what I understand.
You can use a 4x5 and a modified film holder to make quarter plates and will get you up and running with minimal fuss.
For details on equipment, take a look at www.lundphotographics.com they can supply you with a modified plate holder, silver bath, and many things to get you up and running.
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Florida is a bit of a road trip .
Well I am sure lots here will help you out , ask all the silly questions you want as there are no bad questions, I can't help you as I have never made a tintype, but lots here have and will jump on board if you ask the questions.
You should be able to find a 4x5 here in the classifieds or over on Large Format.
Originally Posted by Dshambli
You can do tintypes in a Kodak Brownie box camera with surprisingly good results. Maybe $5-$10 at a thrift shop. I'd go that route with a Bostick & Sullivan kit to see if you really like wetplate. That's probably the least expensive entry.
I know people who use Holgas, Hasselblads, Brownies and other cameras for wetplate. And of course, if you have a large format camera that opens up lots of possibilities with modifying film holders to wetplate, adapting dedicated wetplate backs, using wetplate era lenses and so on. But, to get started you just need the basic chemistry, some trays, a darkroom, and a cheapo camera that you don't mind getting some silver nitrate stains on.
One of the most popular cameras at the workshops I've held has been a Brownie 3B that I removed the aperture baffle from. Using the meniscus lens wide open produces soft, dreamy, diffused images. Stopping down to f/16 or so give very sharp results. Think of all those snapshots from the early 1900s for an idea of how good the image quality can be.
You can make a pretty cheap darkbox out of a large shipping box and old changing bag. An led flashlight (torch for those across the pond) is all you need for a safelight or a piece of red acrylic sheet or stained glass can be taped to a hole in the box.
Be sure to read through my online article (listed in my signature below) as an introduction. Nothing beats a workshop but if you really can't make one, get John Coffer's manual and DVD set. That'll tell you everything you need to know.
I'd avoid the Rockland dry tintype kit. Google it to see many discussions of problems with it.)
My avatar is a wet plate done with a Holga. One really doesn't need a special camera, but rather a holder for your plate or in the case of the Kodak 3b or Holga a camera that has been very slightly modified to accept the plate without a holder. Niles Lund, as previously mentioned can modify a standard filmholder to work with your large format camera. He has done both a 4X5 and an 8X10 holder for me. He also makes other bits of equipment that make wet plate easier to navigate. A great guy and valuable resource. www.lundphotographics.com. Bill Barber