View Full Version : hinged back cameras

9-Apr-2013, 00:35
I've been looking around for an old camera to restore (5x7 or 10x8) and ultimately want to use it.

My problem is that i'm only familiar with cameras that take DDs, and a lot of the cameras that i'm seeing appear to have the ground glass on a hinged panel. My question is, how do these hinged backs work? what fastens onto them, and is it possible to get something that converts whatever fastens on, to take film?


Steven Tribe
9-Apr-2013, 04:59
The older system of swing up/out GG works well if you have a matching set of plate holders which fit. Most of these are double sided and usually of superb mahogany with brass fitments. There was very little standardisation about precise external dimensions and fitting/locking systems. The proper plate holders are easily converted to use modern film if you get metal sheaths of the necessary size. And, for instance, continental 13x18cm cameras and holders can be fitted with 5x7" sheaths.

Making a new back with spring held GG would give you a lot of headaches and the result would be less than pleasing to the eye.

9-Apr-2013, 06:25
Are the metal sheaths for converting plate holders to film available commercially, or is it something I would have to make, and are all the old plate holders suitable for use withese metal sheaths? I see reference to some called "book" style, is this a different type, but still suitable for a metal sheath?

Excuse all the questions but I know nobody with anything older than a modern wista 5x4 so I have nothing to physically look at to see how it all works.

9-Apr-2013, 11:59
There's three or four options with these older cameras taking book-form holders.

First option is get book-form holders that fit and also film adaptors, a pain finding the right bits and piecs quickly.

Simplest is make an adapter to use a modern DDS (film holder) the T register - distance from the edge of a book-form holder, is much deeper, I;ve done this to use a Graflex RH10 back on a Quarter plate Houghton Victo and a 5x4 modern DDS with a Half plate Hopughton Duchess.

It's not very difficult to make a conversion back using a Pakemaker Graflex back - I'm about to make one, or make a new back incorporating the Graflok focus panel (from a Pacemaker again).

Hardest is make a completely new spring or reflex back, that's my ultimate aim, some here (on this Forum) have done this very successfully.


Steven Tribe
9-Apr-2013, 12:10
Metal film sheaths (Kodak/Agfa made them, amongst others) might be around as NOS, but mostly as little used sets on e**y and elsewhere.
With "book" type holders, you can use a plain stiff plate rather than commerical sheath, as these are loaded from the rear and all 4 edges are under pressure.
In my opinion/experience book holders are very suitable for sheet film.
I have made sheaths and bought plate holders with home-made sheaths. The commercial article is much easier to work with!