Note: The dimensions that follow are for an MPP holder. Others may differ slightly.
Originally Posted by lostin_ostin
Overall maximum size of the plate is 4.045"x5.052" - As the plates are only retained at opposing ends, the width is not critical, so anything under 4" will fit. The length should not be less than 4.900", so this needs to be cut fairly accurately or the plate(s) may not be retained securely.
While I have the vernier out, a standard plastic Fidelity DDS is 11mm thick. The wooden MPP holder, 15.75mm - Well within the capabilities of a spring back on modern 5x4 cameras.
I had to make a basic modification to make the Linhof fit my B&J Press camera; but I suspect it's spring holder is thinner than most cameras. Any monorail would easily accommodate it. That mod here.
Every town will have a glass cutter than can supply you with the necessary glass at a very low price. Any window/door kind of place will have multiple sizes and the ability to cut to any dimension.
Welcome to APUG! Thanks for the kind words. Warms a girl's heart :). You've gotten a lot of good advice already here. I'll add a couple of thoughts.
Inexpensive, good quality film cameras and accessories are not as cheap as they were just a while back. Never let it be said that film is dead. Its role in photography is simply changing. I see it coming roaring back in the art sector, but also high-end portraits and wedding albums. Those observations are my own crystal ball, of course. Time will tell the tale. Anyway, point being, I think you're making a good decision to learn this stuff now.
Also, the 'cart' and the 'horse' are a little different than they have been historically. It's harder (or at least, more expensive) to decide on your format and kit ahead of time. But, there is a serious upside to diy. You can go shopping for an orphan format camera and then fit your plates to its holders. You can even start with one really cheap camera with a p.o.s. lens and one holder. Then, while you slowly assemble your dream kit (and learn to make emulsions), you can shoot out your darkroom door and come back to develop a plate at a time, and/or learn how to use a changing bag.
There is three gotchas to watch out for. 1) Cameras that take book style holders. Make sure you never buy one without getting at least one holder that fits. They are very hard to mix and match, and they do not accept (without modification) regular film/plate holders.
2) Most post-1940s cameras are pretty standard for format size, but not necessarily for glass thickness. My advice is to buy your camera and plate holder(s) first and then take it to a good glass shop and have them professionally measure for fit. If you start to collect misc holders, especially 4x5, quarter-plate and some half-plate book styles, you'll find about half of them take what we consider 'regular' framing glass, and half take thinner. You may have to special order the thinner glass, but you should consider having all your plates made from it. You can always add a sheet of construction paper behind a plate in a holder that takes thicker glass, but you won't be able to squeeze too-fat glass into a too-small space.
3) When you have the glass folks measuring your holders, take along a piece of thick construction paper and add that to the total thickness. You'll eventually have emulsion in addition to the glass. Don't forget the emulsion that will be on the edges.
One last recommendation: Check out the for sale items here and on Large Format Photography Forum (registration is free there.) You are more likely to get good equipment from "the community." I hope all this doesn't sound daunting. It's pretty straight forward and can be very inexpensive. Basically, your coin of the realm is time and attention, rather than money. That's a bit backward from what most of us have become accustomed to in photography, but it can be enormously liberating.
All my best wishes for your fun and success,
The International standard for film/plate holders is post WWII 194/7 I think, and some new cameras still took non standard book form holders well into the late 1950's. Watson and Gandofi were two companies still making book form holders :D
I must have at least 15 or 16 MPP holders now, 6 are plate holders 2 with the same film inserts, others are identical except MPP riveted the inserts in place from new. Some MPP holders have a different register as did some very early MPP cameras. I have checked mine and they are all standard. MPP holders do have slightly wider edges holding the film so the film area is a touch smaller. They are very well made and despite high prices on Ebay from certain sellers can be picked up quite cheaply. (£2/$3.15 is about the average I've paid for them).
Originally Posted by paul_c5x4