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View Full Version : Film Holder Weight per Sheet Data - DDS, Grafmatic, Kinematic, others



Corran
13-Nov-2018, 14:54
I bought a Kinematic from the classifieds as I really like my Grafmatics. I noticed it seemed relatively lighter than I expected, which made me think about the weight per film carried - so I decided to weigh the various holders and compare per number of films loaded in each. All weights are in grams and weighed with no films loaded. I also added some data for my QuickLoad / ReadyLoad holders and a comparison if carrying 6 or 10 sheets of film, to make a comparison to one Grafmatic or Kinematic:

http://www.garrisaudiovisual.com/photosharing/FilmHolderWeightComparisons3.jpg

These are just some of the DDS holders I have around here, since I almost exclusively shoot Lisco holders. If anyone has other film holders they would weigh for me, I can add them to the chart.

Tin Can
13-Nov-2018, 15:14
4X5 sheet film Fidelity plastic light trap, wood body with metal septems. Phenolic dark slides with metal handles. 164 grams

Light trap maybe zinc not plastic. Scratches easily.

Corran
13-Nov-2018, 15:16
Thanks Randy - is there a specific "model" that corresponds to that? Is it the precursor to the Fidelity "Elite" holder I have here?

Tin Can
13-Nov-2018, 15:30
Thanks Randy - is there a specific "model" that corresponds to that? Is it the precursor to the Fidelity "Elite" holder I have here?

No idea, no part # https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1949/31996274318_4126c618c2.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/QKpgC3)film holder (https://flic.kr/p/QKpgC3) by TIN CAN COLLEGE (https://www.flickr.com/photos/tincancollege/), on Flickr

Corran
13-Nov-2018, 15:37
Thanks for the picture. Doesn't look anything like the Fidelity "Elite" holder here. In fact, my Fidelity "Elite" holder looks identical to the Lisco Regal II holder (while the Lisco Regal holder looks kinda like that pic). Perhaps I should take a group picture. I assume there was some connection between Lisco/Fidelity.

Tin Can
13-Nov-2018, 15:44
Thanks for the picture. Doesn't look anything like the Fidelity "Elite" holder here. In fact, my Fidelity "Elite" holder looks identical to the Lisco Regal II holder (while the Lisco Regal holder looks kinda like that pic). Perhaps I should take a group picture. I assume there was some connection between Lisco/Fidelity.

I probably have all wood 4X5 DDS sheet film and glass plate holders. somewhere...

I know I have both in 8X10.

2-1/4x3-1/4 has some interesting variations that were cheap to acquire. As do 1/4 plate both glass and film.

GG12
13-Nov-2018, 17:20
This is quite interesting. Can't get under 50gm per sheet, and 70-90gm seems to cover most of the field.

Mark Sampson
13-Nov-2018, 18:46
Someone (me) will bring up the super-lightweight Mido holders that were sold in the mid-1990s. The trouble is that they didn't work well for most people (or me) and quickly disappeared from the market. (Although someone will no doubt chime in about great they were.)
Another long-gone alternative was Kodak Tri-X Pan 320 in 4x5 film pack. Sadly that expensive but ultra-light and ultra-compact option has been gone since 1991 or so. When the last person at Kodak who assembled them retired, EK discontinued what must have been a real money-losing product.
Oh well! Carrying weight is part of the LF shooter's burden anyway. Corran, thanks for putting up your comparison. Good to know.

Mark Darragh
13-Nov-2018, 18:47
Current design Toyo DDS - 170 grams


Just to add something even more obscure

1 Mido II 4x5 DDS with adapter - 183.5 grams (91.75 grams per sheet)

5 Mido II 4x5 DDS with adapter - 670.5 grams (67.05 grams per sheet)

Corran
13-Nov-2018, 20:25
Thanks for the info about the Toyo holder.

I was aware of the Mido things that I thought were supposed to emulate the QL / RL system, but I don't quite understand what the Mido DDS is? Did I just misunderstand the Mido system?

Corran
13-Nov-2018, 20:28
Oh well! Carrying weight is part of the LF shooter's burden anyway.

True. Of course outside of weight, bulk is also something to consider. 5 standard DDS holders would take up a lot more space than 1 Kinematic, along with the ~3/4 pound difference. Err, ~300g. Sorry to mix units...I only used grams here for more precision without decimals.

Drew Bedo
14-Nov-2018, 05:30
Re: Weight and volume.

I have not done the serious testing that the Op did, but did look at weight and volume superficially one day while planning for an up coming vacation. Looked at Grafmatic vs DDS holders. The Grafmatic was maybe 2/3 the thickness of 3 DDS holders, but seemed much heavier just holding them in my hands. I decided that the lighter weight and operation simplicity of the DDS holders overcame the volume issue.

I have long thought that there is a niche in our LF world for a Grafmartic style film magazine made from modern light weight matwerials. In this age of CAD/CAM and 3-D printing something effective should be possible. Maybe a redesigned MIDO style system. Maybe something derived from a playing card shuffling machineThe guys from WanderLust had the right idea with the TravelWide project. They stumbled over design detailes and production delays they could not control.

Cor
14-Nov-2018, 07:05
On thing I do not like in the use of Grafmatics (apart from user errors in the operation) is inserting the thicker cassette behind the groundglass, and exposing. All these steps require more force than standard holders with the possible moving of the camera, which is most likely on the light side as is the tripod, since the idea is to travel light, right ?

Best,

Cor

Corran
14-Nov-2018, 07:46
The Grafmatic is certainly heavier and slighter thicker than one standard DDS holder. Personally, I have never had any issue sliding the Grafmatics behind the GG on my Chamonix, Linhof Technika, or Speed Graphic. Other cameras may vary.

Drew, the Grafmatic really does feel heavy in the hand, but currently I don't know of any film holders that are lighter in groups of 3? Perhaps old wood holders? I used to have some, but I gave them all away. I am not a fan of wooden holders.

Tin Can
14-Nov-2018, 08:47
I think wood holders are better for wood cameras. Less wear.

I use plastic or metal holders with metal cameras. Yes I have a couple all metal 2x3 DDS film holders. Mostly aluminum which corrodes..

The name and where they are currently eludes me. Alton perhaps?

http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/archive/index.php/t-111840.html

Corran
14-Nov-2018, 09:17
http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/archive/index.php/t-111840.html

The Linhof holders shown there, with the pressure plate, are indeed amazing holders - with the caveat of an extreme size and weight penalty (they are thicker than normal DDS holders).

I have 10 of them I picked up here and there. I use them primarily for single-sheet shooting still-life images, to be assured of perfect film spacing and flatness, usually on my Technika. They are also good for short DOF handheld work, though I think the Grafmatics work just fine for that and of course benefit from carrying less per sheet. Also the Linhof holders work with plates which is nice. I could shoot 20 dry plates in a day ;).

Overall I like having a variety of film holders. Sometimes I will have 2 Grafmatics loaded with T-Max 100, a couple of Fidelity holders with 400-speed film, and maybe some of the Linhof holders with color film. No need to have a complex system to remember what is in what holder this way. I also use rubber bands to both assure the DDS slides stay put as well as mark what holders are what sometimes - normal flesh-colored rubber bands are always b&w film, blue rubber bands are always color negative, and pink or purple rubber bands are always positive film.

Drew Bedo
14-Nov-2018, 14:07
Well I did just hold a Grafmatic in one hand and 3 DDs holders in the other, so. . . .maybe its me.

Bob Salomon
14-Nov-2018, 14:49
Thanks for the picture. Doesn't look anything like the Fidelity "Elite" holder here. In fact, my Fidelity "Elite" holder looks identical to the Lisco Regal II holder (while the Lisco Regal holder looks kinda like that pic). Perhaps I should take a group picture. I assume there was some connection between Lisco/Fidelity.

At the end, Lisco, Fidelity and Riteway were one and the same company, made in the same CA factory all owned by Calumet.

Bob Salomon
14-Nov-2018, 14:51
The Linhof holders shown there, with the pressure plate, are indeed amazing holders - with the caveat of an extreme size and weight penalty (they are thicker than normal DDS holders).

I have 10 of them I picked up here and there. I use them primarily for single-sheet shooting still-life images, to be assured of perfect film spacing and flatness, usually on my Technika. They are also good for short DOF handheld work, though I think the Grafmatics work just fine for that and of course benefit from carrying less per sheet. Also the Linhof holders work with plates which is nice. I could shoot 20 dry plates in a day ;).

Overall I like having a variety of film holders. Sometimes I will have 2 Grafmatics loaded with T-Max 100, a couple of Fidelity holders with 400-speed film, and maybe some of the Linhof holders with color film. No need to have a complex system to remember what is in what holder this way. I also use rubber bands to both assure the DDS slides stay put as well as mark what holders are what sometimes - normal flesh-colored rubber bands are always b&w film, blue rubber bands are always color negative, and pink or purple rubber bands are always positive film.

That isnít a pressure plate, it is a spacer that automatically compensates for the different thickness between glass plates and sheet films.

And exactly what would it push sheet film against in a view camera back?

Corran
14-Nov-2018, 14:58
It pushes the film against the rails. I mean, when the film is in, it is tight up against the rails from the "pressure" applied by the plate. It's not just adjusted to the right depth, which would then allow the film to move freely like a normal holder. What did Linhof call it?

Corran
14-Nov-2018, 15:08
PS: In researching this, I note that the vast majority of people refer to these holders as having pressure plates, including you on this forum per this post from 2000 (http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?7397-Linhof-holders-and-precision&p=16753&viewfull=1#post16753). The point is, they have a plate that applies force or "pressure" to correctly place either film or plates against the rails. Let's not get hung up on semantics.

Bob Salomon
14-Nov-2018, 15:22
It pushes the film against the rails. I mean, when the film is in, it is tight up against the rails from the "pressure" applied by the plate. It's not just adjusted to the right depth, which would then allow the film to move freely like a normal holder. What did Linhof call it?

A spacer, if it was a pressure plate you would scratch the film! That is also why the ejector lever is there, to eject glass plates since they would be easily scratched trying to remove glass plates.

Bob Salomon
14-Nov-2018, 15:24
PS: In researching this, I note that the vast majority of people refer to these holders as having pressure plates, including you on this forum per this post from 2000 (http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?7397-Linhof-holders-and-precision&p=16753&viewfull=1#post16753). The point is, they have a plate that applies force or "pressure" to correctly place either film or plates against the rails. Let's not get hung up on semantics.
The vast majority of people are wrong, and, if I said that almost two decades ago, I misspoke, it adjusts the spacing for film and plates!

Corran
14-Nov-2018, 15:28
Who cares? Semantics.

Tin Can
14-Nov-2018, 15:47
I still don't understand why 1/4 plate aka 3-1/4 X 4-1/4 was not the prefered film and camera size over 4X5. The camera body is significantly lighter.

A NOS all wood DDS 1/4 sheet film holder with phenolic DS and metal handles weighs 102 grams.

Very light feeling when compared to the modern 4X5 plastic crap. Less static, better heat/cold adaptation.

I bought NOS in OE box 2X3 and 3X4 each paycheck for a while.

My mistake was not buying enough 3x4 film...2x3 I have!

Corran
14-Nov-2018, 15:53
Randy - I have one oddball 2x3 sheet film holder here that is wooden and I think phenolic DS etc. I measured it out of curiosity - 67g! It looks new. All of the wooden 4x5 holders I had were beaters found at the bottom of old Graflex cases. I gave most of them away to my good friend and mentor who took them on a photographic research trip where he didn't want to load film holders so he brought hundreds of holders.

Tin Can
14-Nov-2018, 16:10
The lightest DDS holders were made for glass plate in many sizes. Often delicate.

The glass became structural and the septum was thin wafer board with maybe a dimble.

Since Jason Lane Glass Plate Negatives, plate holders have become very scarce.

Drew Wiley
14-Nov-2018, 16:40
Mido II double-sheet 4X5 holder 124g. Clamshell adapter 58g (for use with multiple holders).

Mark Darragh
14-Nov-2018, 23:18
Thanks for the info about the Toyo holder.

I was aware of the Mido things that I thought were supposed to emulate the QL / RL system, but I don't quite understand what the Mido DDS is? Did I just misunderstand the Mido system?

The second version of the Mido holders are more like a conventional DDS but with a spacer because they are thinner. More compact but not really much lighter the a typical DDS. They seem to receive quite a lot of flack from some quarters but I find them quite usable for backpacking.

I believe the first version was more like a QL/RL type system.

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4878/45887794321_9135d69a7f_b.jpg

ottluuk
15-Nov-2018, 02:06
It would be nice if someone could weigh a modern wood & carbon fiber holder from Chamonix. Quoting their website: "All of our holder are lighter and more rigid than commonly available plastic holders."

Personally, instead of an attempt to recreate the Grafmatic with lightweight materials, I would like to see thin single-sheet holders with simple, no-nonsense design that could be scaled to any format. A Mido-like spacer would probably be needed but so what.
Loading the holder could be simplified: make a removable end cap instead of the two taped flaps. Remove cap, push film straight into a slot in the end of the holder, replace cap, done. Make them foolproof to produce and use, sell in packs of ten.

EdSawyer
15-Nov-2018, 14:21
I have a chamonix wood/carbon holder, I will weigh it. I'd love 10-sheet modern grafmatics made of carbon fiber. Those would be the ideal solution I think.

Corran
15-Nov-2018, 17:53
Thanks Ed. I asked for the weight from someone who was selling some of them but they didn't get back to me. I'll add it and fit the Mido holders in there in the QL / RL category - thanks Mark for the details.

Drew Wiley
15-Nov-2018, 19:25
The Mido II system comes out about 30% lighter for, say, six holders and one clamshell, versus the same number of common plastic Lisco or Fidelity holders. But they're about half the bulk. I can't weigh the previous Mido I system because I never got along with it, and sold my set a long time ago. It was analogous to a Readyload sleeve except vinyl, along with an insert holder. Now that was really light. There were also aluminum typical double sheet filmholders made by Hoffman, which were light but expensive - and no fun to handle in freezing weather! I only ever bought one, but can't give the weight because I modified it for vacuum draw.

aly324
10-Jul-2019, 05:14
So what is the weight of a Chamonix wood/carbon fiber 4x5 film holder with film loaded?

EdSawyer
10-Jul-2019, 07:49
5.5oz (157 grams) for the Chamonix holder. Note this is one from a Saber - it has a few brass inserts in it - I am not sure how much those weigh (not much) and/or if their regular holders have those too. It's the most beautiful holder I have ever seen... I feel slightly ashamed at never having used it yet.

But they are right, it is lighter than the other DDS holders listed in the Original post.

Corran
10-Jul-2019, 08:08
Thanks Ed. I will get around to updating the comparison tonight.

PRJ
10-Jul-2019, 11:58
Studio Pros are 187g empty.

Corran
13-Jul-2019, 19:08
Updated with a lot of additional data.

I might do this with 5x7 holders at some point. I just got some Fidelity holders, and have some older wooden / phenolic holders here.

The Chamonix holders are indeed the lightest "standard" DDS holder. A Grafmatic is still slightly lighter per sheet, and the Kinematic blows everything away except the QL/RL systems if you bring a lot of film.