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Greg
9-Aug-2017, 16:36
I've used a lot of different film holders over the years, but only the following I have used extensively:

Fidelity & Lisco Regal II: For me the standard for production work. Use them several hundred times, and yes some of them will break or fail. For me the metal tops to the dark slides outlasted the plastic tops. Replacement OEM tape, to me, always outlasted other substitutes.

Toyo: A little grade better than Fidelity & Lisco Regal II.

Linhof: High quality German precision made. Could never afford new ones.... The ones I could afford, bought, and used were in rather (actually really) beat up condition but they never failed me.

Chamonix: My favorite. Dark slides in the ones that I have and use have always seemed to be a bit stiff to remove, but less so to put back.

Was wondering how others rated same and other film holders....

Michael Kadillak
9-Aug-2017, 18:00
Toyo are unquestionably the best holder as long as they are not abused. Engineered to perfect form and function.

Fidelity and Lisco are perfectly acceptable. Linhof are rather rare and as a result are not sufficient in quantity to include in the data set.

From my perspective wooden holders are only used when there is not another alternative made out of molded plastic.

AtlantaTerry
9-Aug-2017, 20:42
Brand new Toyo holders had a reputation for stinking something awful a year or two ago.

Do new ones still stink? (I assume not since no one has complained about it here for quite a while now.)

Did anyone ever figure out what happened to make them stink and why the problem was not discovered until end users opened the packaging?

Leigh
9-Aug-2017, 21:15
Brand new Toyo holders had a reputation for stinking something awful a year or two ago.
Do new ones still stink? (I assume not since no one has complained about it here for quite a while now.)
Did anyone ever figure out what happened to make them stink and why the problem was not discovered until end users opened the packaging?Hi Terry,

I have well over 100 Toyo holders, most purchased new.
That's because I think they're the best available.
I've also used Fidelity Elite. They're OK.

They all stink, to a greater or lesser extent.

The last batch of 48 are quite recent, with aluminum dark slides (little Al label on the box).
These stink just like the others, but not as strong.

The stench dissipates after a few months.
I'm guessing it's from the plastic bags surrounding the holders inside the box when shipped.

- Leigh

AtlantaTerry
9-Aug-2017, 21:56
Hi Terry,

I have well over 100 Toyo holders, most purchased new.
That's because I think they're the best available.
I've also used Fidelity Elite. They're OK.

They all stink, to a greater or lesser extent.

The last batch of 48 are quite recent, with aluminum dark slides (little Al label on the box).
These stink just like the others, but not as strong.

The stench dissipates after a few months.
I'm guessing it's from the plastic bags surrounding the holders inside the box when shipped.

- Leigh

OK, Leigh, thank you for the information.

It kinda makes one think why the Quality Control folks at Toyo didn't catch the problem when it first occured and why it seems to continue. My first 4x5" view camera was a Toyo and I was always impressed by the quality.

Terry

Leigh
9-Aug-2017, 22:11
Hi Terry,

I've never owned a Toyo camera, but I think their film holders are excellent.

Good shooting.

- Leigh

RichardRitter
10-Aug-2017, 04:09
On the Chamonix holders never remove all the dark slides and then try to put then in a holder they did not come out of. The holders are custom sized to fit the dark slide they hold.

Also under the right conditions out doors they will leak light in the camera body. Most of the time the photographer does not know it is happening. Best thing to do is keep the back of the camera covered with a dark cloth when a holder is in the camera and the dark slide pulled.

The best film holder are the ones you have that work.

Drew Bedo
10-Aug-2017, 05:55
Wow . . .I guess that I have never actually had "new" film holders. My 8x10 Fidelity Elite holders were rescued/salvaged from a medical imaging department that was converting to digital. My current batch of 12 4x5 holders were bought as "New-Old-Stock" from a used camera shop. They were in the original unopedned boxes with old price tags from a different store.

So I have never had the experience of the New-Car-Smell on film holders.

Gudmundur Ingolfsson
10-Aug-2017, 06:31
There are also the Hoffman Metalmaster with no end flap and a system to hold the film flat. I have 14 of those if anyone knows those and appreciates!

EdSawyer
10-Aug-2017, 06:32
I have used the typical Lisco/Fidelity ones, I do like the Chamonix ones better. But most of the time I use Grafmatics.

Michael Kadillak
10-Aug-2017, 07:32
To Richards point, molded plastic holders have a light tight lap over at the flap end where wood holders just do not have that option. As a result a piece of black tape over both seems of the flap end are advised as is the dark cloth over the rear end of the camera. On my 8x10, 5x7 and 4x5 cameras with plastic holders the dark cloth is not necessary. With 8x20 and 11x14 and wooden holders the black tape and dark cloth is standard operating procedure.

Bill_1856
10-Aug-2017, 08:27
I have used the typical Lisco/Fidgrafmaticselity ones. But most of the time I use Grafmatics.
Me, too. I have many 9x12 Linhof holders, but also use the 4x5 Grafmatics.

mdarnton
10-Aug-2017, 08:54
I find the prejudice against wood holders confusing. I've never had a problem with one, and they're light. I have many, and I don't think any are warped a bit (where did that idea come from?) If one was, I could definitely afford to throw it out, too. Often I have bought ones that are nearly new. They're incredibly cheap. And they're wood, not plastic. They are my preferred holder, by far.

alexmuir
10-Aug-2017, 09:33
This is interesting to me as I recently bought some of the modern 4x5 holders which I think are Riteway? They have large handles on the slides, and a button operated locking mechanism. I find them quite difficult to load, and I was about to post asking if others find the same, when this thread appeared. I also have Fidelity Elite, and Toyo, both of which are easy to load.
Alex


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Tobias Key
10-Aug-2017, 10:22
This is interesting to me as I recently bought some of the modern 4x5 holders which I think are Riteway? They have large handles on the slides, and a button operated locking mechanism. I find them quite difficult to load, and I was about to post asking if others find the same, when this thread appeared. I also have Fidelity Elite, and Toyo, both of which are easy to load.
Alex


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

I have those Riteway holders - what I found was that there a sticky patch in the hinge where the tape held it together and the film could snag on it. Just rubbing the join with my thumb got rid of the excess adhesive and cured the problem. I find then just as easy to load as my Fidelity and Toyo holders now.

Alan Gales
10-Aug-2017, 10:34
Brand new Toyo holders had a reputation for stinking something awful a year or two ago.

I like my Toyo 4x5 holders. I wish I could afford Toyo 8x10 holders. I bought my Toyo's slightly used off 'Ebay and they don't stink. Well, at least to my nose. I admit that I don't have a very good smeller. Now if I could just get the stink out of my photography! ;)

alexmuir
10-Aug-2017, 11:21
I have those Riteway holders - what I found was that there a sticky patch in the hinge where the tape held it together and the film could snag on it. Just rubbing the join with my thumb got rid of the excess adhesive and cured the problem. I find then just as easy to load as my Fidelity and Toyo holders now.

Thanks for the info. Mine are loaded just now (after a struggle), but I will follow your tip once empty. I thought it was just me [emoji846]
Alex.


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Greg
10-Aug-2017, 11:42
To Richards point, molded plastic holders have a light tight lap over at the flap end where wood holders just do not have that option. As a result a piece of black tape over both seems of the flap end are advised as is the dark cloth over the rear end of the camera. On my 8x10, 5x7 and 4x5 cameras with plastic holders the dark cloth is not necessary. With 8x20 and 11x14 and wooden holders the black tape and dark cloth is standard operating procedure.

Could you describe the "light tight lap" in a little more detail? I have a wooden holder and a plastic holder next to each other and not sure where to look for that "light tight lap" on the plastic holder.

thanks,
Greg

Taija71A
10-Aug-2017, 12:17
Although, I am 'by no means' a Film Holder snob...

I recently found some really, nice NIB GRAFLEX 4x5 Cut Film Holders by...
Riteway GRAPHIC (A subsidiary of General Precision Equipment Corporation -- GPE).

They are Three (3) to the Box and they were Manufactured in Rochester, N.Y.
Most definitely, they are the 'Heaviest and most Solid' 4x5 Film Holders in my inventory.
--
It would be interesting to know... If anyone else is perhaps familiar with these 'respective' Film Holders?
*They were originally, sold to me and advertised as being 'Military Surplus' Film Holders (The box itself is labelled/dated 7/68)?
--
Thank-you!

-Tim.
________

xkaes
10-Aug-2017, 12:34
If size and weight are an issue, you can't beat MIDO film holders. About five of them are about the size and weight of ONE "typical" holder. In some ways they are similar to the "QUICK PAK" films -- or whatever they are called.

As far as I know, the MIDOs were only made in 4x5. There were at least two models. The first is not designated, but came in two almost identical versions -- difficult to describe the difference here. The second model was larger and heavier and more like a "typical" holder, and called the MIDO II.

Bob Salomon
10-Aug-2017, 13:21
Although, I am 'by no means' a Film Holder snob...

I recently found some really, nice NIB GRAFLEX 4x5 Cut Film Holders by...
Riteway GRAPHIC (A subsidiary of General Precision Equipment Corporation -- GPE).

They are Three (3) to the Box and they were Manufactured in Rochester, N.Y.
Most definitely, they are the 'Heaviest and most Solid' 4x5 Film Holders in my inventory.
--
It would be interesting to know... If anyone else is perhaps familiar with these 'respective' Film Holders?
*They were originally, sold to me and advertised as being 'Military Surplus' Film Holders (The box itself is labelled/dated 7/68)?
--
Thank-you!

-Tim.
________

Riteway ended up being owned by Calumet and was folded into their Fidelity/Lisco business in IL.

Taija71A
10-Aug-2017, 13:28
Thank-you, for 'Chiming-in' with that update Bob. :)
Greatly appreciated! Best Regards,

-Tim.
________

Greg
10-Aug-2017, 16:40
On the Chamonix holders never remove all the dark slides and then try to put then in a holder they did not come out of. The holders are custom sized to fit the dark slide they hold.

Also under the right conditions out doors they will leak light in the camera body. Most of the time the photographer does not know it is happening. Best thing to do is keep the back of the camera covered with a dark cloth when a holder is in the camera and the dark slide pulled.

The best film holder are the ones you have that work.

Based on this post, I measured the dark slides on my WP and 11x14 Chamonix holders. Each format's dark slides measured pretty much the same using a borrowed precision ruler. My holders are relatively new, so maybe Chamonix has standardized their manufacturing?

Comments welcome.

Hugo?

AtlantaTerry
10-Aug-2017, 21:25
Quite a LONG time ago I bought four NIB 4x5" sheet film holders from an eBay seller in Los Angeles. When the package arrived, I looked at the film holders and noticed that they were rivited together - something I had not seen at any time before - I own over 100 sheet film holders. The boxes clearly said the holders were made in China.

Since I was not actively shooting any large format work at the time, I set the boxes aside.

A couple years went by and I started to work with large format cameras again. So I loaded up the aforementioned sheet film holders and went out to expose some film.

What TOTAL PIECES OF JUNK! :mad: The film was quite difficult to remove from the holders prior to developing and when dried, the images were CROOKED! :mad:

After some thinking and poking around I figured out what was wrong: those damn aluminum rivets! They were not holding the two halves tight together so in traveling around, the sheets of film shifted and drifted into the gaps between the halves then got trapped there which caused both broblems: difficulty of removal and tilted images.

Some wet afternoon when I don't have anything else to do, I am going to have to drill out the rivets and reattach the halves. I am thinking the best way to do it would be to drill out the rivets on one side then pry the halves apart just a tiny bit and gently inject some glue between the halves. Then I will clamp the halves together for a couple days until I am sure the glue has set. Rinse and repeat on the rivets on the other half. After all the glue has dried, fill in the rivet holes with something opaque like black silicone.

My only question is what glue should I use? Right now I am thinking about an epoxy such as JB Weld. Would a glue made for building plastic models work better?
The glue can not be too thick because that would cause the film to move out of the image plane.

Thanks,
Terry

PS
If you are ever thinking about buying some no name Chinese 4x5" sheet film holders that are riveted together, I suggest you don't. Stick with brands you know.

Don Dudenbostel
14-Aug-2017, 03:43
I've used Riteways for fifty years in my commercial studio. I bought some new and some used and had around 75 of them. I've loaded them many hundreds of times and never had any issues. Some of the tape is getting ragged now but they're still light tight. I also had a mix of various Fidelity and Lisco up to 8x10 and can honestly say the ones with plastic slides aren't even close in quality to the Riteway. I think I had fifty 8x10 Lisco and Fdelity and many that had plastic slides cracked or chipped under commercial use.

In 8x10 I personally like the older Graflex and Eastman wooden ones if you can find ones in good condition.

I bought some new all wood holders a few years ago. I don't remember the brand but they were like ones made today. I think I bought 20 and all were warped when I received them. They were returned promptly.

John Kasaian
14-Aug-2017, 05:42
IMHO, the best don't leak light, aren't warped, register the film in focus with the ground glass, have locking ridges that jive with your camera and are easy to load. If they can be easily repaired when necessary, don't stink, and found at affordable prices, so much the better.:cool:

LabRat
14-Aug-2017, 05:53
Quite a LONG time ago I bought four NIB 4x5" sheet film holders from an eBay seller in Los Angeles. When the package arrived, I looked at the film holders and noticed that they were rivited together - something I had not seen at any time before - I own over 100 sheet film holders. The boxes clearly said the holders were made in China.

Since I was not actively shooting any large format work at the time, I set the boxes aside.

A couple years went by and I started to work with large format cameras again. So I loaded up the aforementioned sheet film holders and went out to expose some film.

What TOTAL PIECES OF JUNK! :mad: The film was quite difficult to remove from the holders prior to developing and when dried, the images were CROOKED! :mad:

After some thinking and poking around I figured out what was wrong: those damn aluminum rivets! They were not holding the two halves tight together so in traveling around, the sheets of film shifted and drifted into the gaps between the halves then got trapped there which caused both broblems: difficulty of removal and tilted images.

Some wet afternoon when I don't have anything else to do, I am going to have to drill out the rivets and reattach the halves. I am thinking the best way to do it would be to drill out the rivets on one side then pry the halves apart just a tiny bit and gently inject some glue between the halves. Then I will clamp the halves together for a couple days until I am sure the glue has set. Rinse and repeat on the rivets on the other half. After all the glue has dried, fill in the rivet holes with something opaque like black silicone.

My only question is what glue should I use? Right now I am thinking about an epoxy such as JB Weld. Would a glue made for building plastic models work better?
The glue can not be too thick because that would cause the film to move out of the image plane.

Thanks,
Terry

PS
If you are ever thinking about buying some no name Chinese 4x5" sheet film holders that are riveted together, I suggest you don't. Stick with brands you know.

Hi Terry, see you were gone for awhile, but nice to see you back!!!

As for glues, what would penetrate best and hold well would be the watery superglue (non gel)... It would penetrate the seam (without separating), wipe off the excess, and clamp overnight... Apply with a hypodermic syringe, and if it clogs, dip/wipe tip with acetone... Apply as little as possible 'cuz a little goes a long way... Remove slides first, and avoid moving part areas... Also might swell softer woods slightly... This will flow into the seam well, and harden the surrounding wood or areas well... As it dries, it can leave a haze around the areas as it outgasses, but can usually be removed with a pencil eraser or very mild abrasives...

If you have to drill out the rivets, you can insert some fine wood rods (like non tapered toothpicks) into the holes, superglue them in flush, and get some #1 tiny woodscrews from the hobby shop and screw them instead... The superglue will harden the dowels well enough to screw into them... But start a small hole in them so the screw knows where to go...

Good Luck!!!

Steve K

Steve Sherman
14-Aug-2017, 08:11
When speaking about ULF holders as in my 7x17 camera, Lotus holders makes the finest I've ever seen out of the 5-6 brands I've seen but there not cheap !!

AtlantaTerry
14-Aug-2017, 09:20
Hi Terry, see you were gone for awhile, but nice to see you back!!!

As for glues, what would penetrate best and hold well would be the watery superglue (non gel)... It would penetrate the seam (without separating), wipe off the excess, and clamp overnight... Apply with a hypodermic syringe, and if it clogs, dip/wipe tip with acetone... Apply as little as possible 'cuz a little goes a long way... Remove slides first, and avoid moving part areas... Also might swell softer woods slightly... This will flow into the seam well, and harden the surrounding wood or areas well... As it dries, it can leave a haze around the areas as it outgasses, but can usually be removed with a pencil eraser or very mild abrasives...

If you have to drill out the rivets, you can insert some fine wood rods (like non tapered toothpicks) into the holes, superglue them in flush, and get some #1 tiny woodscrews from the hobby shop and screw them instead... The superglue will harden the dowels well enough to screw into them... But start a small hole in them so the screw knows where to go...

Good Luck!!!

Steve K

Steve,

Thank you for your tips and advice.

Terry

Greg Davis
14-Aug-2017, 11:20
I bought a bunch of brand new Fidelity holders from Calumet when they put them on clearance because I could also use the educator discount. Got the 8x10 size for $40 each, and 4x5 for $15. I think new from Freestyle right now is $45 each in 4x5. They work great.

carylee2002
15-Aug-2017, 03:01
I use grafmatics for 4x5 and a couple of wooden kodak 8x10's on my 2D.

Corran
15-Aug-2017, 05:56
I have about a dozen Linhof film or plate holders - the ones with a spring back than can hold either/or. They are a pain to load but they have clearly shown superiority in film flatness and precision when shooting faster lenses at wider stops.

But a lot of times I use Grafmatics, especially hiking and shooting landscapes where that doesn't matter as much since I'm at f/22 and beyond usually. The Grafmatics are really nice for size/weight savings, at the cost of occasionally having a black speck in the print due to dust on the negative which I usually never get with traditional film holders.

Ben Horne
17-Aug-2017, 05:44
I have worked with Fidelity, Toyo, and Chamonix 8x10 holders. The Fidelity holders are light which is nice but I'm not a big fan of them. I have had some of them develop light leaks over the years, and the fidelity holders are more likely to have an uneven exposure near the edge where light gets reflected back into the film surface from the edge of the film holder. I've also found that I'm more likely to experience film pop with the Fidelity holders. For those reasons, I've retired my Fidelity holders, and now I have mostly Toyo Holders. I really like the Toyo holders. They are easy to load, and very sturdy, I don't get the bright spots along the edges, and I don't seem to experience film pop very much. Earlier this year, I ordered 4 of the Chamonix holders for backpacking. I enjoy working with them, but they are more difficult to load than the Toyo Holders. I turn the Toyo holders sidways in my film changing tent and can easily load the film. When I load the Chamonix holders, I need to have the holder facing away from me, which is more difficult because in that orientation, there isn't a lot of extra space in my film changing tent.

Ari
20-Aug-2017, 14:22
I've bought and used all of the commercially available holders around today, and the Toyos are the best for 4x5 and 8x10.
They don't warp, and they are remarkably consistent from one holder to the next.

Kirk Gittings
20-Aug-2017, 14:36
"The best film holder are the ones you have that work." RR

I have a mixed bunch of 4x5 holders (maybe 50 MoL), many of which I bought new in 1978 (which still work fine after nearly 40 years). They are all Fidelity and Lisco. The only problem I have ever had with them is dropping them and busting the side seam. Gluing those seems to work fine. None of any these even leak light if the slot is aligned with the sun with the dark slide out.

Merg Ross
20-Aug-2017, 20:26
My holders range in age from forty-five to seventy years of age. The last that I bought new were Fidelity and Riteway holders in 1972. I have never had a failure attributable to the holder itself. However, I always use the darkcloth to cover the holder in all steps of the exposure process. I can't stress this practice enough when discussing "best film holders".