Some very basic questions

moggi1964

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So I am working on bringing my half plate camera back to functionality (bellows repair and a new GG) and want to ask some questions about using it.

It has three DDS backs which appear suited to glass slides. See the photo's.

What do I need to do to adapt them to film?

Secondly, the camera came with a lens but not of a type that uses a shutter. I would like to get a lens with a shutter without spending the proverbial A&L. Can you make any recommendations and more importantly explain how I would need to adapt the camera to accept such an item? I appreciate that it would be pure luck to find a shuttered lens that fit the same 'hole' that the current lens inhabits.

Thanks.
 

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David M

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I adapted some plate holders by getting black aluminium sheets of the right size and very, very, very lightly and evenly spraying them with Spray-Mount, then allowing them to dry thoroughly. There was just enough residual tack to hold the film in place. Happily, none of the adhesive transferred to the neg.
Alternatively, there are already holders to convert the plate-holder for film – flat sheets with three turned-over edges, rather like the septum in a Grafmatic back. They appear on eBay from time to time and can probably be found at Camera Fairs if you can get to one.
Although I haven't tried it, they don't look too difficult to make for someone with a workshop and the inclination.
 

moggi1964

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I adapted some plate holders by getting black aluminium sheets of the right size and very, very, very lightly and evenly spraying them with Spray-Mount, then allowing them to dry thoroughly. There was just enough residual tack to hold the film in place. Happily, none of the adhesive transferred to the neg.
Alternatively, there are already holders to convert the plate-holder for film – flat sheets with three turned-over edges, rather like the septum in a Grafmatic back. They appear on eBay from time to time and can probably be found at Camera Fairs if you can get to one.
Although I haven't tried it, they don't look too difficult to make for someone with a workshop and the inclination.
Okay, so if we completely discount workshop and add about 25% inclination it would appear I am limited to eBay and fairs.

I guess the aim is to achieve a flat image at the point where the front of the glass plate would normally rest; is that right?
 

David M

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Yes. The leaf spring pushes the plate against the inside of the opening. Obviously not possible with flexible film.
I got my aluminium plates from:
Other forum members may have better advice.
 

moggi1964

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Yes. The leaf spring pushes the plate against the inside of the opening. Obviously not possible with flexible film.
I got my aluminium plates from:
Other forum members may have better advice.
Thank you David. Your advice has given me plenty to think about.
 

Ian Grant

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I've made adapters to allow the use of regular 5x4 DDS with older half plate cameras. If you can find them there were film inserts made for half plate glass holders, however I've never come across any, but they are in catalogues and adverts pre WWII.

The ideal solution is a spring back, U did pick up three half plate backs at a camera fair a few years ago, two spring and one book-form. One spring back has been adapted to fit a 7x5 Seneca City View, the second is a Gandolfi and I'll adapt it to fit a very early Gandolfi camera.

The ideal shutter would be a front mounted Thornton Pickard, that gives you 1/10 to 1/20 as well as T.it's just getting one of the right size. The next camera fair at Coven just north of Wolverhampton is the last Sunday of this month.

Ian
 

moggi1964

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I've made adapters to allow the use of regular 5x4 DDS with older half plate cameras. If you can find them there were film inserts made for half plate glass holders, however I've never come across any, but they are in catalogues and adverts pre WWII.

The ideal solution is a spring back, U did pick up three half plate backs at a camera fair a few years ago, two spring and one book-form. One spring back has been adapted to fit a 7x5 Seneca City View, the second is a Gandolfi and I'll adapt it to fit a very early Gandolfi camera.

The ideal shutter would be a front mounted Thornton Pickard, that gives you 1/10 to 1/20 as well as T.it's just getting one of the right size. The next camera fair at Coven just north of Wolverhampton is the last Sunday of this month.

Ian
Thanks Ian, my search for the almost mythical film holders has not led to any finds but some references like you say.

I was thinking about the 'adherence' method and it occurred to me that I often get items delivered (like my replacement debit card) that use a gum to attach the item to the card/paper. It adheres well but does not leave any residue in most circumstances. I wonder if this type of thing would work if I could source some very thin sheets of it, It would be reusable too. A little research I think.

Coven is about 95 miles from me in the car or 125 on the motorbike so it's definitely an option. Thanks for bringing that to my attention as I wasn't expecting there would be any on at the moment.

I did a quick search on the shutter referred to and the first half a dozen were all about repair! Not surprising I suppose given how old these mechanisms are. I'll measure up the lens and then start looking around.

As always, thank you Ian. I'll be continuing my work on the bellows this weekend and should complete it.
 

Peter B

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Morris, there's a pair of Fidelity half-plate film holders on the auction site at the moment. The seller was originally saying they were 5x7, but I pointed out that they wouldn't take 5x7 film and he changed the listing. My half-plate back will take 5x7 and 13x18 film holders, so you're not restricted to half-plate and its limited availabliity. The ebay listing has been there for a while, so maybe the seller might be open to an offer as he's a business seller?
 

Ian Grant

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Peter, unfortunately Morris has a Book form style back so can't use modern DDS holders with it, only modern by British standards the US have been making them since around 1900. The other issue is the register is quite different.

I have some wooden Kodak half plate film holders, including a broken one, there's an outside chance that they could be modified to fit.

Ian
 

moggi1964

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Morris, there's a pair of Fidelity half-plate film holders on the auction site at the moment. The seller was originally saying they were 5x7, but I pointed out that they wouldn't take 5x7 film and he changed the listing. My half-plate back will take 5x7 and 13x18 film holders, so you're not restricted to half-plate and its limited availabliity. The ebay listing has been there for a while, so maybe the seller might be open to an offer as he's a business seller?
Thank you for thinking of me Peter, that is very kind.
 

Peter B

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Peter, unfortunately Morris has a Book form style back so can't use modern DDS holders with it, only modern by British standards the US have been making them since around 1900. The other issue is the register is quite different.
Ah, I didn't realise that there was that difference, thanks.
 

Ian Grant

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They work like this:

1642103429200.png
1642103486278.png
Usually new cameras were supplied with three double sided book form holders, they were often matched to the back, so if you wanted more you'd return the back to ensure they were a perfect fit. There were no standards.

In practice modern DDS are usually wider than the gap between those two black edges, but there are odd exceptions.

1642104190967.png

This is an adapter to allow the use of 5x4 DDS holders.

Ian
 

moggi1964

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Morris, there's a pair of Fidelity half-plate film holders on the auction site at the moment. The seller was originally saying they were 5x7, but I pointed out that they wouldn't take 5x7 film and he changed the listing. My half-plate back will take 5x7 and 13x18 film holders, so you're not restricted to half-plate and its limited availabliity. The ebay listing has been there for a while, so maybe the seller might be open to an offer as he's a business seller?
Ian, thank you for your input as I would not have known the difference. And the diagrams and example are fascinating and adding to my education.

I do have some 'adhesive' on the way to me that apparently acts like the adhesive on a post-it note. I'm getting a sample and will test it out and see if it fulfills the same roll as James' spray mount. This one looks like it would brush on and then once dry it has the tackiness of a post-it.

I'll need to check if it has any effect on the negative as well as if it leaves any residue when removed.

I will let you know.
 

moggi1964

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Another basic question.

Does anyone make film in half plate size or do you have to trim 5x7?

I thought Ilford would but can't see any.
 

Peter B

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Another basic question.

Does anyone make film in half plate size or do you have to trim 5x7?

I thought Ilford would but can't see any.
Ilford make it to order in their annual ULF (ultra LF) round, but Fomapan is currently available from the eBay seller at the link, and possibly others?
 

moggi1964

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Thank you Peter.

I'll keep an eye open for the ULF round and check out eBay.
 

Peter B

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You'll have to wait until autumn for delivery of the Ilford, and here's the listing of it from last year (2020 price?) on the Ag Photographic site. I think everyone charges the same price.
 
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David M

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Film adapters.
These located in the land that believes everybody is equal, even those who take a private chef and a team of lawyers along with them, but it does show they exist.

Half plate film
 
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Ian Grant

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I did buy some Aluminium sheet to make my own film sheaths, not half plate, but then found a lot of Eastman Kodak sheaths really cheap in the two sizes I needed at the time.

Realistically, those half plate inserts are grossly over priced.

Ian
 

David M

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Yes, very expensive. I didn’t realise the price was for one.
It does show that they do exist.
 
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