View Full Version : Plate Sizes

6-Sep-2005, 17:56
Does anyone know the inch equivalents for the old plate sizes?

I would really appreciate a list, but specifically I'm talking about sheets which are approx. 2 3/4" x 4 1/2".


Jason Greenberg Motamedi
6-Sep-2005, 18:26
American plates from the 19th Century were usually (but not always) as follows

1/9 Plate: 2" x 2 1/2"

1/8 Plate: 2 1/8" x 3 1/4"

1/6 Plate: 2 3/4" x 3 1/4"

1/4 Plate: 3 1/4" x 4 1/4"

1/2 Plate: 4 1/2" x 5 1/2"

4/4 (Whole) Plate: 6 1/2" x 8 1/2"

Note that an English Half Plate measures 4 3/4" x 6 1/2"

Jason Greenberg Motamedi
6-Sep-2005, 18:32
19th and early 20th Century print sizes:

Carte de Visite: 3 1/2" x 2 5/16"

Cabinet: 5 5/8" x 4 1/16"

Boudoir: 8" x 5.25"

Panel: 11.5" x 7"

Mark Sawyer
6-Sep-2005, 18:33
Odd. I thought the half-plate was 6 1/2" x 4 1/4", derived from cutting daguerrean whole plates in half with tin snips...

Jason Greenberg Motamedi
6-Sep-2005, 18:36
Yes, you would think that there would be a logic to the sizes, but there isn't...

Jason Greenberg Motamedi
6-Sep-2005, 18:38
I should point out that the logic of the sizes is that the plates all keep a ratio of 1:1.3, more or less.

Ernest Purdum
6-Sep-2005, 20:11
Mark, some British cmera makers, Newman & Guardia being one,, I think, made reference to the also illogical term "Double 1/4 Plate". This was indeed 6 1/2" X 4 1/4".

Your 2 3/4" X 4 1/2" isn't very far from 7 X 11cm. This leads me to suspect that it might be one of the several non-standard sizes offered by Continental makers..

Ole Tjugen
6-Sep-2005, 20:51
Standard metric sizes, both film and plates (but the films are a fraction smaller), in cm:







Oren Grad
6-Sep-2005, 21:22
If you'd like to see a surviving relic of old times, look at the lens specification table on the Congo web site:

Note the column for maximum film size. In addition to the familiar 4x5, 5x7 and 8x10, there are lenses specified for maximum 3x4, 6x8, 10x12, and the curious "Cabinet". The Japanese versioon of the page...


...actually uses traditional size names for all the obsolete formats. For those who have a browser set to display Japanese text, and who can read Japanese characters, the corresponding entries in that column are as follows:

"tefuda" = quarter-plate (3x4, our 3.25x4.25)
"yatsugiri" = eighth(-cut) or octavo (6x8, our 6.5x8.5)
"yotsugiri" = quarter(-cut) (10x12)
"kabine" = "cabinet" (12x1.5 cm, which is very close to the English half-plate 4.75"x6.5")

I don't know how it was that English half-plate came to be called "cabinet" in Japan. There's probably an interesting story behind it.

Oren Grad
6-Sep-2005, 21:24
Oops, typo: "kabine" = 12x16.5 cm, which maps to the English half-plate as stated.

Donald Qualls
6-Sep-2005, 22:30
FWIW, it seems to me that Contessa-Nettel made a stereo camera that used 7x11 cm, and that size was a sort-of standard for glass plate stereo cameras in the years when glass plate was still competing with roll film. I see plate holders and film sheaths in that size from time to time on eBay, as well and Polliskop (if I've remembered that model name correctly) cameras, which were later sold for a while under the Ziess-Ikon name as well (I think); there were a couple other models that used that size plates as well.

Mark Sawyer
7-Sep-2005, 00:16
"I don't know how it was that English half-plate came to be called "cabinet" in Japan. There's probably an interesting story behind it."

Very likely related to the "Cabinet Card" size of the later 19th century, 4 1/4" x 6 1/2" card size (exactly half the whole plate size) with a slightly smaller albumen print wet-mounted. Basically a big Carte de Visite, and still very common in antique shops everywhere.

Oren Grad
7-Sep-2005, 08:15
Mark - thanks, that makes sense. I guess I was in a fog last night, because I completely missed Jason's reference to "cabinet"-size prints. Anyway, I think the old names are extremely cool.

Mark Sawyer
7-Sep-2005, 08:28
Oren- if you think these sizes are cool, check out: