View Full Version : Seagull "full-plate"

Janko Belaj
18-May-2005, 13:31
Hello all.
Well, I have got this "brand new camera"... O.K., it is old, but is my last "acquisition" - an "older" friend of mine have give me what he have been using few decades ago, he thought that it was 8x10 but it isn't - it is "full plate" sized camera (holders are for glass plates).

What I would like to ask is: what to use to adopt those holders for film (I can get some cut film from efke), and does anyone know how to look for tripod attachment plate? I'm looking for real name, not that my "tripod attachment plate" phrase ... is there any other name for that part? Or, what do you think what to use to place camera on tripod?

oh yes, pictures are on http://www.belaj.com/unsorted/seagull/ (http://www.belaj.com/unsorted/seagull/" target="blank) (sorry on my clumsy english)


Paul Ewins
18-May-2005, 16:27
I can think of two ways of using your existing film holders. Firstly you could try and get a piece of glass to put on top of the film to hold it in place and keep it flat. I don't expect that you will be able to get glass that is exactly the right thickness, but if you get glass that is thinner then you could make some shims to fit on top of the glass around the edges. You would have to be very careful about cleaning the glass before loading the film and very gentle when unloading to avoid scratching the emulsion.

Secondly, you could try finding a low powered adhesive that you could use on the back of the sheet of film to temporarily glue it flat to the back of the film holder. Sort of like turning your sheet of film into a large "post-it note" .

Another possibility is to get some modern 5x7" film holders and then build a sheath for the holder to clip into that makes it the same width as the original holder, sort of like mounting a photograph into a matte so that it fits the frame. Another way to think of it is like a smaller format back that slips into the larger one, rather than removing the large back and replacing it with a smaller one.

It may take a bit of adjustment to get the plane of focus in the correct spot but it is otherwise a fairly simple piece of construction. You can then have as many 5x7 film holders as you like and use any commercially available film. I've used this method to adapt an old (1894) half-plate camera to 4x5 and it works well.

Paul Fitzgerald
18-May-2005, 19:33
Hi there,

You have the tripod plate in your pictures, you need the tripod legs. They will need to be built if you cannot buy them from Seagull.

Good luck with it.

Janko Belaj
19-May-2005, 01:59
Tnx Pauls ;-))
Thickness of those wood adapters (and obviously glass plates used long time ago) is from 1.87 to 1.94 mm (we can talk about 1,9mm), so my idea was to find some black plastic material of those dimensions, to "polish" one side until it will be 1.85 mm thick so with film that might be about 1.9x. Btw, that camera is so "unprecise" that I don't expect I will be able to get plane of focus in the right spot on whole plate...
And I have (in my "rubbish" collection which I like to call "future photo-packaging museum") some still unexposed glass plates, so I can take one and measured it to get needed dimension (minus thickness of film) for my adapter.
Anyway, I will first manually cut some 18x24cm film to my "new" dimension to see how it works and what can I get from it (from camera and it's dimension).
About tripod plate: I have been told that there was "something" (probably some adapter) what had to placed between camera and "normal" tripod... So, tripod legs have to be found. Are those like the old movie tripod legs? (I have seen some similar on one large 70mm camera some 15 years ago).


Ole Tjugen
19-May-2005, 10:36

There should be no need to adjust anything for the thickness of the glass - or whatever. The film goes on the lens side, a (glass) plate behind. So the film is pushed in place in the holder by the spring pushing the glass plate. I have used this method with success with my own 18x24cm plate camera (which is easier to get film for, too).

The strange round opening with openings in in the bottom of your camera is the tripod adapter. The problem is that they don't make tripods like that anymore! The original would be three legs with something on the top which fitted into the slots under the camera. So in a way the camera becomes the tripod head, and top join too...

Paul Fitzgerald
20-May-2005, 00:18
Hi Janko,

"So, tripod legs have to be found. Are those like the old movie tripod legs? (I have seen some similar on one large 70mm camera some 15 years ago)."

The legs would look very much like that. On your camera the plate looks to unscrew, it may be easiest to remove the plate and replace it with a solid circle, then use a standard tripod socket.

For film, it may be faster to find an 8x10 to 5x7 / 4X5 reducer back and trim to fit your camera and use modern holders.

Have fun with it.

Janko Belaj
20-May-2005, 05:19
Tnx Paul, yes there are 8 screws on the external ring and changing bottom plate will be the best solution.

For film, it may be faster to find an 8x10 to 5x7 / 4X5 reducer back and trim to fit your camera and use modern holders.
That may be faster solution, but not what I want, well to be honest, that Seagull isn't camera I wanted: I was showing my Tachihara to the "newcomers" on our weekly "photo-beer-meeting", when one of my friend have told that he have "same but larger" camera. Tachihara or something. He didn't use it since end of '70. 8 by 10? I asked. No, but 18x24cm. "You have teach me to use those new digitals and I will give you this camera. for free. Better than to trow it away". Sure, but now I'm still searching for 8x10 and dreaming larger Tachihara. And drawing wired 12x20 which will never be build. or?