View Full Version : Glass plate film still around?

Carolyn Schimandle
20-Mar-2006, 17:21
I'm trying to find glass plate film. Found a forum answer from '01 that listed two sources--B&H, and a German company. Couldn't find any on either. Is it still available? If so, where from?

Jason Greenberg Motamedi
20-Mar-2006, 17:46
Other than making your own, Slavich (Russian made) glass plates are available from:

www.retrophotographic.com/shop/41/index.htm (http://www.retrophotographic.com/shop/41/index.htm)

Kodak stopped making them a few years ago.

Donald Brewster
20-Mar-2006, 18:04
Well, not sure exactly what you are looking for as there really isn't any film with glass plate photography. There was the earlier Collodion wet plate process, and the later gelatin dry plate process for making glass plate negatives. The dry plates were at one time commercially produced, but I don't think you can find them anymore. The wet plate chemicals are still sold by Photographers Formulary and Freestyle Photo. You can also get TinType plates at Freestyle. Hope this helps.



Bruce Watson
20-Mar-2006, 18:19
IIRC, Kodak made Tmax in 4x5 glass plates up until a few years ago. I doubt that many people know what they are or what they are for, but some might make it to the auction sites. And some photo stores undoubtedly still have some in stock if anyone left in the store knows where it's hiding. Couldn't hurt to call Kodak and ask.

David A. Goldfarb
20-Mar-2006, 18:24
Slavich still makes glass plates (dry plates). You can get them from holography suppliers. They make a panchromatic emulsion and an ortho emulsion that could be used for pictorial photography.

Donald Qualls
20-Mar-2006, 19:05
Be prepared for sticker shock -- the Slavich plates (which, BTW, are also available from Retro Photo in UK) cost around $8 *per plate* in a box of 6.

There are a bunch of workers doing wet collodion -- it never completely disappeared, but is starting to return to the First World and make a statement as an art form, as well as appealing to American Civil War reenactors and Wild West roleplayers. It's seen as glass plate negatives, ambrotypes (glass negative on a black background, so the scatter light from the silver image shows as a positive) and tintype, aka ferrotype, similar to ambrotype but coated directly on a black enameled metal plate. The process is a bit hazardous (it inevitably involves ether as a solvent for the collodion, and ether is incredibly flammable; some workers also use potassium cyanide as a fixer), but some find it attractive in spite of that (or because of it, perhaps).

Doug Dolde
20-Mar-2006, 19:46
History will show that film never disappeared either.

In 2025 when the great oil crisis stopped the petrolium based economy dead in it's tracks, the more energy conservative use of film in fact dominated the energy hungry digital imaging processes.

Ellis Vener
20-Mar-2006, 21:19
I interviewed large format editorial and advertising portrait photographer Dan Winters last year. At some point in the recent past he did a project using 4x5 Tmax 100 glass plates, so you might try contacting Kodak through http://www.kodak.com

Jason Greenberg Motamedi
20-Mar-2006, 21:27
For what it is worth, the TMax plates were primarily intended for scientific use; I picked up a few boxes a couple years ago from an electron microscopy lab at my university.

I also saw these: www.surplusshed.com/pages/item/m2149c.html (http://www.surplusshed.com/pages/item/m2149c.html), what ever they were intended for (perhaps aerial photography?)

Matt Carey
20-Mar-2006, 21:50
20 years ago, when I was learning electron microscopy (TEM), I was using a glass-plate microscope. Even at that time, glass plates were pretty rare.

Nowadays, TEM's typically don't even have a film cassette. They are all digital. I checked a couple of the electron microscopy supply houses and couldn't find any glass plates.


David R Munson
20-Mar-2006, 22:15
I believe one of the primary uses for the TMax 100 glass plates was astronomical photography.

Oren Grad
20-Mar-2006, 22:33
Ilford still offers glass plates coated with specialized emulsions for scientific applications, with a brief nod to unspecified "creative applications":

www.ilfordphoto.com/products/page.asp?n=136 (http://www.ilfordphoto.com/products/page.asp?n=136)

21-Mar-2006, 05:50
The Agfa and some of the kodak plates are used for aerial camera calibrations:

"These measurements were made on Agfa glass plates, 0.19 inch thick, with spectroscopic emulsion type APX Panchromatic, developed in D-19 at 68 F for 3 minutes with continuous agitation. These photographic plates were exposed on a multicollimator camera calibrator using a white light source rated at approximately 5300K."

This is from a calibration report from Sept. 2005 for a Jena LM2015 camera with a 153mm Lamegon lens.

Robert McClure
21-Mar-2006, 06:59
I have curiosity about the connection between "scientific" application and "glass plates."

I would assume that very early on in the history of photography, glass was the logical substrate because of its rigidity, and transparency for printing.

I also assume that an inherent problem with a flexible substrate is that in very exacting photographic applications (say, "scientific") it cannot be counted upon to be exactly flat.

Also, for Carolyn, aren't there paintable/applyable photographic emulsions available? I have seen this kind of applied photographic emulsion applied to small flat pieces of stone with an image having been exposed and developed.

21-Mar-2006, 08:29
" ... when the great oil crisis stopped the petrolium based economy dead in it's tracks, the more energy conservative use of film in fact dominated the energy hungry digital imaging processes."

of course the bigger issue will be avoiding gangs of urban canibals while you're hunched unsuspectingly under your dark cloth, taking pictures of post-apocolyptic america.

Robert McClure
21-Mar-2006, 08:53

Just out of curiosity, what is your interest in glass plate photography?


Did you write that quote, yourself? Your second comment sounds strangely "Escape from New York"-esque.

Carolyn Schimandle
21-Mar-2006, 10:19
I had a question re. what my interest is in glass-plate photography. I told this to at least one person off-list, but am replying to the group in case anybody else wondered.

I work at Wilder Ranch State Park in California. I'm currently doing planning for a school living history program, which will be either an extended day or an overnight (depending on whether we can get our historic septic system fixed!!) experience. The children will be doing activities c. 1912 on the ranch. Melvin Wilder, who lived on the ranch from 1885-1945, was a hobby photographer. We have many wonderful images printed off of glass plates that were found in the attic of one of the houses, which the children will be using as part of their research of what life was like in 1912. (The prints, not the plates. The negatives are stored away now in a state archive.)

I'm thinking, if we can get the equipment and figure out the workings, that taking a photograph of the class using a glass-plate, then giving them prints of the photo and the glass plate negative as a class souvenir, would be a great memento of their time spent in 1912.

My photography experience is pretty limited: one class years ago in high school with 1974 black & white photography and dark room technique (guess that's antique now), and a little fooling around with cameras but no developing and printing since then. I did buy an Agfa box camera, c. 1930s, at a garage sale last year and have taken some photos with that, but had them commercially processed. That's my antique camera experience.

Thanks so much for all the information the members of this group have provided.

Carolyn Schimandle
Park Interpreter I
Wilder Ranch State Park
Santa Cruz, CA

P.S. Love the image of post-apocalyptic thugs sneaking up on unsuspecting photographers...

Glenn Thoreson
21-Mar-2006, 11:50
You can make your own, using Liquid Light or a number of other readily obtainable liquid emusions. All you ned is that and thin glass cut to size from a glass shop. The prep work you need to do before coationg the glass is the only fiddly part. The rest is easy. These emulsions are very slow. Just like the plates of the time. Exposure would be in seconds.

21-Mar-2006, 15:02
I made my first ever dry glass plate just yesterday.


Even though it blows, I'm extremely proud of it, like the father of a newborn but very ugly baby. A cigar for everyone!

16-May-2006, 08:31
Here's of my early plate images made on Old Ilford HP3.

Eduardo Aigner
16-May-2006, 17:40
Can't see the APUG images... Not a subscriber.

16-May-2006, 18:43
Can't see the APUG images... Not a subscriber.

So subscribe. :)

I cant even see my own images on APUG right now bnecause my subscription has lapsed. Hopefully that will be rectified soon