Knob could refer to someone that collects equipment but never uses
Knob could , like in Monty's case , be just quirkyness in behavior,
Or a Knob could be someone who measures everything in
linnnnnesss peeerrr mmmillllimmmetterr
Back to the Newb (as apposed to Knob), I agree with what Joe says, smaller is often better with wetplate. By smaller I mean about half or whole plate. Keep in mind there is a lot of learning in this process, it's cheaper to shoot 50 half or quarter plates to learn your chemicals and lens, and then shoot some large ones. But if money is no object do any size you want. Keep in mind the aluminum or glass costs too, as do the chemicals, lenses, everything is more when you get above 8x10. If you want a halfplate petzval figure on $200. For a 11x14 petzval, figure on $500-$1500.
I've been shooting halfplate for two years, with inserts in my 5x7 and 8x10 cameras. For learning you may shoot at least once a week, 4-6 plates a session. If you have different size inserts for your wetplate back you have flexibility. When everything is going right, put in a large insert and shoot that 8x10! When you have an off day, save your chemicals by shooting small stuff.
I am getting into wet plate myself and although my ultimate goal is to be able to shoot 11x14, I agree with the idea of starting small. I am building a custom holder to work with an 8x10 camera that will allow me to shoot 4x5, 1/2 plate and whole plate. I have a couple of more modern lenses that are fast enough to shoot with and for the time being I will make ambro negatives in 4x5 that will allow me to do enlargements up to 11x14. With whole plate images I will experiment printing with plt/pld, albumen and Azo.
Eventually I hope to fnd an appropriate lens to cover 11x14, then I will build a camera around that. I have a 355 G Claron but it is probably a little slow for portraits.
And as others have pointed out if you plan on shooting in the field you need a darkbox. I figure that once I get a workflow established working with smaller plates I can scale up a darkbox and silver bath for 11x14.
But initially I will stick with 4x5 plates as I learn more about exposure, and the in and outs of the chemistry. Much less expensive making mistakes with smaller plates unitll I get the feel for everything.
Although I am not a re-enactor I had to come up with a period correct setup for a couple of shoots I was commissioned to do. Here is a picture of my field studio with darkbox. This darkbox is designed to do up to a 12x20 plate. A little heavy but still workable. As most ULF shooters know, weight issues can be handled with a little ingenuity.I also have a ford cargo van ( the type with no rear windows) that I work out of most of the time. I built a bulkhead with a red plexi sliding door and an overhead vent with a sliding red plexi cover. Works like a charm and there is no set up time in the field. http://www.apug.org/forums/attachmen...1&d=1258726546
But to get started in wet plate you don't need any of the stuff that I posted about above. You can go down to your local appliance store and get a dishwasher box or similar, a piece of red plexi or stained glass and a cloth shroud and some gaffers tape and you can make a darkbox that works as well as anything I have shown or mentioned.
I built my 11x14 a year ago, with 10 film holders. I carry it a 4x5 and 2- 35mm cameras with me in the field in 4 hard cases on a cart. I had shot, 5x7 and 8x10 and wasn’t sure how I would like the 11x14.
It is heavy, it is big, it draws a crowd (which for me is a pain) but with all this I love it, for me I just love the contact size of the 11x14.
BTW, I bought Sandy’s book of carbon it’s great. Even if I don’t ever print in carbon, it’s just cool.
i shoot 11x14 plates.....seldom......i have a dark box and all for up t 11x14. when i try and move the stuff my back hurts. it fills my car. so even shooting 8x10 with the box is not so much fun.
i have actually just ordered a 1/2 plate camera. i am going that size and smaller so i can move all over the place and shoot everywhere with "ease"
if you plan to use 11x14 for plates you most likely will not be going far from the studio. so be sure to get a camera that has a BIG lens board to hold the monster fast lenses you will need. my 8x8 DD board is "almost" too small for the 25 inch f5 petzval. i made threaded aluminum lens board.
i find that i am shooting 5x7 the most (no new camera yet).
Yep Eddie, "Halfplate is Great!®"