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  1. #1
    holmburgers's Avatar
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    Seeking Expertise on Glass Plate Formats

    I need your help.

    I don't have a great grasp on what sizes/formats have existed out there, since the inception of photography, in the glass plate arena. For all my interest in photography, this is one area of minutiae I haven't really sunk my teeth into yet.

    I'm curious to know historically, geographically and chronologically how different sizes came into popularity, use and demise. What type of cameras survive today, what plate holders are common, which cameras have gone the longest without having something to shoot...?

    Furthermore, what resources can you recommend? Which books or websites address this? Teach me to fish...

    I'd like to be able to list ALL the sizes from most commonly to most esoteric.

    Thanks in advance for your input!

  2. #2
    holmburgers's Avatar
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  3. #3

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    I have a Voigtlander Avus that was made for 6.5x9 cm glass plates. Vintage plates are reasonably easy to find so I think that was a common format. 9x12 cm was also popular and I have a Voigtlander Bergheil that takes that size. European cameras & sizes of course.

  4. #4

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    The plate sizes that I currently use are 5x4, Half-Plate, 5x7, and 8x10. These holders handle plates 1.2mm to approx. 1.5mm in thickness without difficulty. I don't like making plates for the 5x7 because it needs to be precise, else the plates cannot be removed with ease. I've had a number of 9x12 cameras in the past, which used metal plate holders. If I recall, the glass thickness for those holders would need to be somewhat thinner in order to fit properly. 6.5" x 8.5" (Full-Plate) was a popular format. I've been tempted to invest in that line of cameras.

    PS: It's generally not a good idea to jump head-first into a pond without knowing how deep the water is.
    Last edited by DannL.; 08-06-2014 at 02:23 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    6X4.5cm, 6x6cm/6x9cm, 6x7cm, 5x4, 4x5, Half-Plate, 5x7, Full-Plate, 8x10, 12x10

  5. #5

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    It's probably a size you're not interested in but I have a 7X17 plate holder. Glass size appears same. It does have springs that enable use of glass of varying thickness.
    van Huyck Photo
    "Progress is only a direction, and it's often the wrong direction"

  6. #6

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    There were some 5x8 cameras out there, too. I think that was the standard size for a stereo camera, some of which could be used with a single lens for non-stereo use.

  7. #7
    Simon Howers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by holmburgers View Post
    I'd like to be able to list ALL the sizes from most commonly to most esoteric.

    Thanks in advance for your input!
    You may have some difficulty. Early camera manufacturers, rather like early vehicle manufacturers worked substantially alone and made almost everything themselves. The size of any part was what they made it at the time. Standardisation came with the establishment of bulk manufacture of glass plates.

    Good luck!

    Simon

  8. #8

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    If I were to attempt to supply plates, I'd be inclined to make the most popular sizes. 4x5, 5x7, 8x10, Quarter/Half/Full plate, etc. Custom plates, Dry Collodion plates, Autochrome plates, etc by special request, of course.
    6X4.5cm, 6x6cm/6x9cm, 6x7cm, 5x4, 4x5, Half-Plate, 5x7, Full-Plate, 8x10, 12x10

  9. #9
    Stephen Frizza's Avatar
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    Click image for larger version. 

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    I would really recommend getting a sample box like this. It has a data sheet for the different sizes made and a sample of the glass thinkness that was optimum for each size along with other info about the types of glass for the size of the plates.
    "Its my profession to hijack time" ~ Stephen Frizza.

  10. #10
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    I'm sure that they have one at GEH.

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