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Thread: Questions regarding a sealed box of glass plate negatives

  1. #1
    Cameron Cornell
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Washington State

    Questions regarding a sealed box of glass plate negatives

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    May 7, 2018

    A friend just gave me this sealed box of 5x7 glass plate negatives. Is there any chance that I could capture an image on these?

    I have a 5x7 ROC Cycle Poco No. 5 with the original glass plate holders. The camera is effectively new old stock. It has no signs of wear whatsoever, not a single scuff on the leather case, and the shutter is accurate at all settings. Anyway, I've always shot film with it and it's cousin, a 5x7 ROC Pony Premo No. 6. The original holders have just sat in the case.

    Could I load the holders with these plates and have any hope of capturing images? If so, does anyone have any advice on exposure and processing? I have absolutely no experience shooting or processing glass plates. I've made prints from hundreds of glass plates, but I've always only shot film in my own work.

    I would appreciate any thoughts or advice.

    Cameron Cornell
    Washington State

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jul 2016

    Re: Questions regarding a sealed box of glass plate negatives

    Just spend a plate making a calibration, this is quite easy, no luxometer needed, take a relatively long exposure (metered 2s) but pull the dark slide only (say) 1/5 of the legnth, during the exposure pull the dark slide to obtain say 5 strips with different exposures, in a way that the first one will have some +2 overexposue.

    Use a low fog developer, HC-110 is recommended for old stuff, also Benzotriazole can be added to control fog.

    If emulsion separates from glass you may want to develop at low temperature with accordingly extended times.

    hmmm, sure that those plates are in better shape than the DIY dry plates I make

  3. #3
    Nodda Duma's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Brookline, NH

    Questions regarding a sealed box of glass plate negatives

    Pere has a good suggestion. I would add that you should set your aperture to f/16 to make the test strips he suggests.

    Dev temps at 65-68 should be ok. Try dilution B if you use HC-110.
    Newly made large format dry plates available! Look:
    .. because my wife is happy when I can cover my photography expenses!

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Arlington, Mass.

    Re: Questions regarding a sealed box of glass plate negatives

    Echoing the above, plus: I recently bought about 5 boxes of the same plates (except mine were Tri-X -- pretty much the same vintage and boxes, though). I have found that a) you certainly can get an image, and b) some of them have a fair bit of mold growing on them, presumably from how they were stored. Not all of them, and the ones that are clean do OK. A little loss in sensitivity, but not a lot. Try them and see!


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