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Thread: education for building a ULF wet plate camera

  1. #1

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    education for building a ULF wet plate camera

    Hi,
    I am wanting to build an ULF camera for wet plate and have no experience with both. I like a challenge but I also want good correct info to go off.
    Can anyone recommend good books or online tutorials to cover -
    1. Choosing a lens even lenses that are used for a different purpose like a projector lens to save on cost. Also covering the type of use the lens would be best used for.
    2. Collodion and alternative developing.
    3. Building an ULF camera.
    4. Covering portraits using an ULF camera.

    Any other info I may need will be great.

    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by Sm:)er; 31-Oct-2017 at 04:08.

  2. #2

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    Re: education for building a ULF wet plate camera

    Now, I don't know where you live so this suggestion may not make any sense at all.

    I know someone in Southern Sweden who wanted to build a ULF camera and who took part in a wood-working evening class through a whole winter. The focus of the class was finer work working and constriction, not specifically cameras. This meant that he had the opportunity of getting hold of the appropriate timber, access to work working machines and techniques, as well as an experienced work worker to advise him. At the end of the winter, he had a completed walnut 30x40cm camera and a lot of skills needed for his next projects. The problem is that he now has an additional competing hobby, general woodworking.

    I realise that available course will be rariety in the world, but latching on to someone who has woodworking skills and machines/tools may be a good second way of entry.

  3. #3

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    Re: education for building a ULF wet plate camera

    Thanks for your reply steven,
    I'm not the greatest at explaining but I have the woodwork skills. I meant I have no experience with using an ULF camera and never done any plate photography. I have a few ideas of what I may end up with and just wanted some good sources to make sure my efforts don't end up with flaws due to not reading up on things like the lenses. I don't want to end up building a camera and never being able to afford a lens due to the size or even buying a lens that no use and won't cover the area I need.

    Are there any books or links to sites that will give me some idea of what lens does what and what coverage they will do.

  4. #4

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    Re: education for building a ULF wet plate camera

    I would have thought that the best way is to build a non-ULF, perhaps like a sliding box camera from 1855-1865 which were usually quite small. Wet plate is not for everyone and I, personally, can't stand the ether fumes ( and I have a degree in Chemistry ). If you decide to procede with a bigger camera, then your design will be either for wet plate, x-ray film etc.

    The cost involved with a ULF project is not just the camera, but, as you say, the optics, material (silver nitrate, prepared glass) and the quite large number of accessories. Unless you are mostly intrested in still life, you should use a fast lens. And a F3-f4 lens covering ULF is a very rare item. Splendid lenses for CdeV cameras are very easy to get hold of and cost from around 100.

  5. #5

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    Re: education for building a ULF wet plate camera

    There is a very good book available for people new to wet plate image making by Mark Osterman, titled simply "Basic Collodion Technique: Ambrotype and Tintype". You can buy it directly from Mark Osterman if you wish, or find a supplier more suitable for your needs.

  6. #6

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    Re: education for building a ULF wet plate camera

    If you can find a used copy there was a book published by Focal Press in 2002 that gives very specific directions for making cameras and lenses for primitive photography.

    Alan Greene, Primitive Photography: A Guide to Making Cameras, Lenses and Calotypes. Focal Press, 2002

    Sandy
    http://www.sandykingphotography.com/
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  7. #7
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    Re: education for building a ULF wet plate camera

    The Primitive Photography book mentioned above is available as an e-book. Otherwise abebooks.com might be a good start if you want a hard copy.

  8. #8

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    Re: education for building a ULF wet plate camera

    There are 31 available at Abe - one of them is cheap!

  9. #9
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    Re: education for building a ULF wet plate camera

    http://www.wetplatecameraplans.com/

    Ty's plans are also available at the auction site. Plans are from 5x7 to 8x10 but can be scaled up I'm sure.
    "Sex is like maths, add the bed, subtract the clothes, divide the whoo hoo and hope you don't multiply." - Leather jacket guy

  10. #10
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    Re: education for building a ULF wet plate camera

    "Sex is like maths, add the bed, subtract the clothes, divide the whoo hoo and hope you don't multiply." - Leather jacket guy

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