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Thread: Film Holders

  1. #1
    Krzys's Avatar
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    Film Holders

    Can anyone please educate a newbie 4x5 shooter on film holders? I have bought a Wista Field and would like to know which of the three it is compatible with and how the brands differ.

  2. #2
    largeformat pat's Avatar
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    Hi,
    I use the Fidelity, plastic all round, well made suits Graflok back. Any camera fitted with such a back will be fine. Some companies use a slide in back with a slot for the dark slide to seat into. Hope this helps
    Pat
    What grain............................................. ...............
    Oh sorry, I forgot you don't shoot Large Format
    Large format Pat.

    http://www.largeformatpat.com

  3. #3
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Any of the modern film holders will work fine -- no problems. There might be some old holders floating around that are not the standard size, but you probably will not come across them.

    Vaughn
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

  4. #4

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    Vaughn,

    Do you have any preference for Fidelity or Toyo?

    Tom

  5. #5
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Paul Butzi used to have a great article about all the different types of filmholders for 4x5" on his site, www.butzi.net, but it seems to have been lost in the reformat of his site. If you go to the archive page at www.butzi.net, he says he'll reformat old articles for the new site based on interest in return for a donation to one of the charities that he lists on his site. You might take him up on it.

    All of the standard double sided filmholders work on pretty much any 4x5" camera.

    The only significant exception would be the Graflex-type filmholders that are wider than a standard holder, have grooves on the side, and instead of a lock rib on each face, they have a groove that meshes with a rib on the camera back. These fit mainly Graflex SLRs. Note that most filmholders made by the Graflex company are not Graflex-type holders, but are standard or "Graphic type" filmholders, just like Fidelity, Riteway, and Toyo, as are most old Kodak and other wooden filmholders.

    Of the standard filmholders, I like Toyo, which seem to be made to tighter tolerances than the other plastic holders.

    There are also some filmholders marketed under the Tiltall brand that don't have a lock rib and that are sold on eBay. Many people have speculated that these may have been for some special equipment, but that equipment has never been identified, and it's looking more like a manufacturing error to me.

    Personally, I like Grafmatic filmholders for 4x5", because they hold 6 sheets more compactly than three standard filmholders, and one published test (I think it was in Popular or Modern Photography back in the 1970s) suggested that they have better film flatness than traditional filmholders. Kinematic filmholders take 10 sheets but are a bit less reliable than Grafmatics and are harder to find.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  6. #6
    Jesper's Avatar
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    Like the others have said. Most holders will fit, and you can also use 9x12cm holders (if you get 9x12cm film).
    Just wanted to congratulate you on your choice of camera. I have a Wista Field 4x5 (and a Wista Field 8x10) and they are very nice cameras. The 4x5 comes in one version with exchangable bellows so that you can get bag bellows for it. Very nice feature.

  7. #7

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    If you are just starting out with 4 x 5, I would pick up a few used fidelity holders on E--y or somewhere like that. They are pretty inexpensive for 4 x 5 cameras because there are a lot out there. For new holders, I would also recommend the TOYO. As David said, they seem to be made to very tight tollerances and are very easy to use.
    Dan's website: www.dandozer.com

  8. #8

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    How many do you need? I must have 100+ of them. If you buy enough I'll sell them dirt cheap because I need the money.

  9. #9
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    I'm partial to the Riteways, only because they made them with these nifty little locking buttons that keep you from accidentally pulling the darkslide when it's not inserted in the camera, facing the lens. Not all Riteways had these buttons, so you'll have to double-check before you buy. Another nice holder, if you can find them, are Alkon. The Alkon holders are all aluminum, so they're a little heavier, but the upside is the film loading door hinge is a solid piece of machined aluminum, rather than a piece of plastic held on with cloth tape. They don't wear out and they don't leak light.

  10. #10

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    I must have 80-100 nice Riteways to sell... dirt cheap to volume buyers. I'm in a deep financial hurt right now.

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