View Full Version : Interesting item: A reducing film holder

David R Munson
17-Mar-2005, 09:28
I found something in cleaning today that I forgot I had. It's the only one I've ever seen, and I thought I'd see if anyone else here knew anything about it. It is an 8x10 film holder, or so it looks from the outside. Pull the slide, though, and you see more wood and a couple smaller frames, the smallest having a metal septum to hold a sheet of 4x5 film. It looks like it could be configured to hold a sheet of 5x7 film as well. It's like this on both sides. It is marked "EASTMAN KODAK CO. F.&S. DEPT" on one side and "8X10 EASTMAN PLATE PAT. OCT. 9. 1923" on the other. Does anyone have any info on these? It's interesting, though I'm not sure I'd ever actually use it. An alternative of sorts to a reducing back, I suppose, though less practical I would say. Thoughts?

Chauncey Walden
17-Mar-2005, 09:59
For my first 8x10 (actually a 7x11 Kodak 2D) I took the metal septum out of an old 5x7 holder and glued it into the center of an 8x10 holder and penciled in framing lines on the ground glass. After focusing I would just change the extension by the thickness of the septum. Worked great and I only had to carry around a film holder instead of a reducing back to get the option. By the way, to use the 8x10 holders in the 7x11 I had to find old wooden holders and cut a quarter inch off each side. The difference in length was made up for by a wood strip taped into the back at the far end. To use a famous quote " it ain't brain surgery".

David A. Goldfarb
17-Mar-2005, 10:04
Toho Shimo makes modern reducing holders. You can find them on their website, and perhaps can order them through Badger Graphic.

I have a set of plate holder reducers, which reduce 5x7" plate holders to 4x5", and then I have 4x5" film sheaths for them. These are from the same era as the one you have. I can use them in my 5x7" plate mag and shoot 4x5" on my 5x7" Press Graflex, when 4x5" would be more convenient.

Oren Grad
17-Mar-2005, 10:14
These turn up occasionally, in various sizes, on the Famous Auction Site. I have a set of wooden plate holder reducers that allow use of 3.25x4.25 plates in 5x7 holders.

A possible modern counterpart: Jim Chinn has been talking about some sort of new system of adapter inserts to allow use of different sizes of film in the holders he's building for his new ULF cameras now in the works - see various threads over at APUG. Not sure what these will look like - I don't know whether anyone other than Jim has seen actual product yet.

Steve Hamley
17-Mar-2005, 10:56

Yep, they turn up occasionally although they seem relatively rare.


17-Mar-2005, 14:44
I have a couple of 5x7 holders that have the reducing frames inside to hold 4x5. I removed them since I bought the holders for 5x7.

Donald Qualls
19-Mar-2005, 08:43
I also have four reducers for 9x12 cm plate holders, to hold 3 1/4 x 4 1/4 plates, and have just acquired film sheaths for them -- now I have more emulsion choices for my plate cameras, at the cost of around an eighth inch all around the border. These were fairly common for plate cameras, since travelers couldn't count on finding 9x12 cm (or 10x15, etc.) film everywhere, but could pretty much count on being able to get 3x4 where 9x12 wasn't available.

21-Mar-2005, 02:04

Just curious... why would these reducing filmholders be less practical than a reducing back? Of course, I'm assuming it would be easy to mark the location of the 4x5 holder onto the back of the 8x10 groundglass.

The reason I'm asking is that I've been on the hunt for an 8x10 Deardorff (to start experimenting with shooting 8x10 paper negatives.) Since I shoot mostly 4x5 these days, I was thinking that a reducing back has always been the way to go for those times that I'd like to shoot with a combination of 8x10 and 4x5 in the field... only to learn of these reducing filmholders. And, now, it has the old brain whirling away. :)

They look like the cat's meow to me! :)


David A. Goldfarb
21-Mar-2005, 06:40
4x5" holders are cheaper, smaller, and lighter than 8x10" holders in general, so those are all reasons to use a reducing back rather than reducing frames with a conventional 8x10" view camera.

On my 5x7" Press Graflex, a reducing back isn't an option, unless it could be designed in such a was as to keep the film plane in the same place as it normally is for reflex focusing and not interfere with the focal plane shutter, so in that application, the 5x7" to 4x5" reducing frames are a better option.

Oren Grad
21-Mar-2005, 07:59
The Toho is really a reducing adapter, not a reducing holder. That is, you only need one of them - it's just a frame to hold a regular 4x5 (or 5x7, depending on the model) holder in the film plane of an 8x10 camera.

The real issue with the Toho gadget is that in order to allow access to the darkslide, the film holder needs to be positioned at the edge of the 8x10 frame, so it's way off center. So you either have to do awkward stuff with movements just to center the lens - assuming your camera offers enough shift or rise - or you get a big dose of shift or rise in every picture.

22-Mar-2005, 14:17

Thanks for the info... it sounds like a lot of effort in comparison to removing and replacing an 8x10 back with the 4x5 version.


Oren Grad
22-Mar-2005, 14:45
Henry -

Agreed. For those who are curious, here's the Toho web page for this product:

www.toho-machine.co.jp/Reducing.htm (http://www.toho-machine.co.jp/Reducing.htm)

There's enough English on the page, as well as lots of graphics, so you can get a sense of what it looks like and how it works without having to read the Japanese.