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View Full Version : Whole Plate Film Holders... Hand Count



Paul Droluk
8-Mar-2007, 12:29
Some of you may be aware that I am soliciting marketing advise prior to making the decision to manufacture 5x7 film holders (http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=23901). Numerous responses to that thread, and to the thread regarding the Ebony FP camera, have ONCE AGIAN shown considerable interest in the Full Plate format. If in fact there is a reasonable demand, then for costing reasons, tooling for both Full Plate and 5x7's at the same time creates a much more viable manufacturing scenario from my perspective.

So the big question is, can I please have a hand count... I'm looking for hard numbers. How many people are wanting to purchase how many Full Plate Film holders, assuming a reasonable price and exceptional quality? These would be in every way comparable to Toyo film holders (quality wise) other than for three aspects...

1. They would carry the Fotoman brand name
2. The dark slide would be stainless steel (like in a Horseman RF holder)
3. The pricing would be more attractive

Ash
8-Mar-2007, 12:36
I must have missed the 5x7 thread - I'd be interested in 5x7, but not whole plate. Maybe half plate though :)

Oren Grad
8-Mar-2007, 12:41
Assuming price is proportionate within the range you've been discussing for the other formats, at least 6 and likely more.

Before you commit to tooling, do a bit of homework on the dimensions, including especially the rib lock position and the T-distance, since there's no ANSI standard.

Sal's been lobbying for specifications to match his Lotus holders for the new Ebony, and that may be a reasonable choice. If it would help, I'd be happy to measure different vintage and modern holders from my collection, compare notes with Sal, and share data with you.

Sal Santamaura
8-Mar-2007, 12:57
...So the big question is, can I please have a hand count... I'm looking for hard numbers. How many people are wanting to purchase how many Full Plate Film holders, assuming a reasonable price and exceptional quality? These would be in every way comparable to Toyo film holders (quality wise) other than for three aspects...

1. They would carry the Fotoman brand name
2. The dark slide would be stainless steel (like in a Horseman RF holder)
3. The pricing would be more attractiveAssuming they match the Lotus whole plate holder specifications I've described here http://www.apug.org/forums/440117-post16.html, don't STINK like recent production Toyo holders do and cost less than a Toyo 8x10 holder, I'll take a dozen.

Jim Galli
8-Mar-2007, 12:58
I would eventually want about 12 but I might have to do 6 at a time for cash flow considerations.

Gene McCluney
8-Mar-2007, 13:21
I would eventually want about 12 but I might have to do 6 at a time for cash flow considerations.


Yeah, since you are convalescing from a big bout of ULF Deardorfitus.

Christopher Perez
8-Mar-2007, 13:41
I would take 10 film holders to start and a Full Plate camera back to match.

My current rig takes the tabbed film holders and I assume you would offer more modern spring back style equipment.

Jason Greenberg Motamedi
8-Mar-2007, 16:03
Assuming price is reasonable I would buy between 6 and 10.

As Oren points out, the T-distance is a major consideration. My current back is scavenged off a Rochester and its T-distance matches (more or less) the 10 plate holders it came with, and I would be concerned that my back wouldn't match your holders.

Of course, to solve this problem (at least for me) you could also offer a ground glass back which could be adapted to fit most cameras.

Ted Harris
8-Mar-2007, 16:30
Paul,

I have all the holders I need right now but what about 13x18 as well? Any folks out there for 13x18? Again same tooling as for the full plate and 5x7.

Rob_5419
8-Mar-2007, 17:16
Hi Paul,

I thought you would never ask. I'm not interested in 13x18cm or modern later ULF formats - the thoughts on the full-plate 6 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch plate project are more than welcome.

I'd be happy with the metal construction, and knowing that your factory is based in the Far East, as long as the tolerances are guaranteed, I'd be happy to request an initial 10 plates, with a view to ordering 20 altogether.

I never want to go back to 8x10", so I guess I'm very much burning my bridge in ULF behind me as I move towards whole plate. If there was some way to improve film flatness in the plates that would be great too.

Best regards.

I hope it works out, although I guess you may have more support marketing the whole plate format in Japan, or even getting in touch with Ebony to produce them under licence with Ebony rather than the Fotoman name.

Oren Grad
8-Mar-2007, 17:56
Further re the T-dimension and other specifications, I ordered a depth micrometer this afternoon which I should have within a few days. I have an assortment of older 6.5x8.5 backs and both film and plate holders, and will take measurements and compare against Sal's specifications for the new Lotus holders made for the Ebony.

I suspect many buyers will take anything close, because for many typical view camera subjects and settings you can get away with some slop. However, with any luck, the Eastman and Lotus holders in particular will be close enough so that we can come up with a specification that will be acceptable even for critical use by owners of both types as well as at least some of the other vintage Western camera types. Better still would be if it's also close enough to Japanese yatsugiri to enable Fotoman to sell some into the Japanese market as well.

wfwhitaker
8-Mar-2007, 18:10
I'd be good for half a dozen; maybe more as funds allow.

I'd like to second the suggestion to do some research on dimensions before committing to tooling. There are a number of vintage 6 1/2 x 8 1/2 cameras around and it would be a shame to manufacture a new holder which didn't fit at least some of them. Of the cameras I have, there are two sizes of film holders. The critical dimensions, T-dimension and rib lock position seem to be the same. But the overall width of one is a bit wider than the other. The smaller holders will fit in the larger backs, but not vice versa. It would make more sense (of those two options) to make a holder which matches the narrower one and possibly to offer and accessory guide widget which would center the holder.

But this gets complicated. I'll be happy to send measurements, drawings, etc. if things progress to that point. I will say the possibility of having new full-plate holders is a real bright spot. It's such a beautiful format.

Oren Grad
8-Mar-2007, 18:29
The smaller holders will fit in the larger backs, but not vice versa. It would make more sense (of those two options) to make a holder which matches the narrower one and possibly to offer and accessory guide widget which would center the holder.

There's something similar with Eastman holders vs the Tachihara holders made for the Rittreck. The Eastman holders will fit the Rittreck, but not the other way around. That's one of the things I'm trying to nail down here.

Paul Droluk
8-Mar-2007, 20:04
Hi Paul,

I thought you would never ask. I'm not interested in 13x18cm or modern later ULF formats - the thoughts on the full-plate 6 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch plate project are more than welcome.

I'd be happy with the metal construction, and knowing that your factory is based in the Far East, as long as the tolerances are guaranteed, I'd be happy to request an initial 10 plates, with a view to ordering 20 altogether.

I never want to go back to 8x10", so I guess I'm very much burning my bridge in ULF behind me as I move towards whole plate. If there was some way to improve film flatness in the plates that would be great too.

Best regards.

I hope it works out, although I guess you may have more support marketing the whole plate format in Japan, or even getting in touch with Ebony to produce them under licence with Ebony rather than the Fotoman name.

Other than for the obvious metal components (divider, dark slide, screws etc.) the construction would be injection molded plastic.

Now to the question of film flatness... they will be exactly like Toyo's, so film flatness would be just as good... not better, not worse.

BTW, let me say right up front... we are not trying to build a better mouse trap here, just better value and availability. I have been shooting 4x5 since 1998. Started using Fidelity holders, but after buying my 1st Toyo's, I've never used any other. That is why, complimenting Toyo, we are COPYING their holder precisely (except for the darkslide). We have already dissected every component and detail of their holder and have prints made with all dimensions specified to +/- .0001 inch.

Sal Santamaura
8-Mar-2007, 20:14
...We have already dissected every component and detail of their holder and have prints made with all dimensions specified to +/- .0001 inch.Yet another compelling argument why your whole plate holder should take the same approach Lotus did, namely "shrink" the 8x10 design's length and width to accommodate smaller film, while maintaining T dimension and lock rib location unchanged.

wfwhitaker
9-Mar-2007, 09:24
...we are COPYING [the Toyo] holder precisely... We have already dissected every component and detail of their holder and have prints made with all dimensions specified to +/- .0001 inch.

That's all fine and good. But if the holders don't fit my camera, then I'm no better off than when I started and there's no incentive to buy.

Perhaps you'd be willing to share the critical dimensions with us (length, width, thickness, T-dimension, rib-lock dimension...) so I can determine ahead of time if they'll fit or not.

David Karp
9-Mar-2007, 12:22
This is all very interesting. Since we are probably a fairly small subset of the world wide LF market, I wonder how many people out there would really be interested in a whole plate camera? Maybe more than we would have thought.

I don't have a whole plate camera and I can't afford an Ebony, so I am not in the market now. However, if I end up some day with a whole plate camera (and hope to do so eventually) I will be in the market. This does not help you today, but if I end up with a camera, and the holders work with it, I would probably buy 5-6 at first, and eventually buy another 5-6, at the prices indicated.

Christopher Perez
9-Mar-2007, 12:34
One of the several challenges for Paul will be to sort out who responded where. Several of us are duplicated between this forum and APUG (where an earlier conversation took place). So one would have to be careful that "interest" in the topic wasn't somehow double counted to justify a business plan.

I stumbled across a very attractively priced whole plate camera with like new (really) tab-style film holders. As an experiment I will adapt 4x5 and 5x7 backs to this camera to see if I can efficiently cover three formats in one nice light portable system. So... keep your eyes open and you might find something you can't live without. :)


This is all very interesting. Since we are probably a fairly small subset of the world wide LF market, I wonder how many people out there would really be interested in a whole plate camera? Maybe more than we would have thought.

I don't have a whole plate camera and I can't afford an Ebony, so I am not in the market now. However, if I end up some day with a whole plate camera (and hope to do so eventually) I will be in the market. This does not help you today, but if I end up with a camera, and the holders work with it, I would probably buy 5-6 at first, and eventually buy another 5-6, at the prices indicated.

Paul Droluk
9-Mar-2007, 13:07
This is all very interesting. Since we are probably a fairly small subset of the world wide LF market, I wonder how many people out there would really be interested in a whole plate camera? Maybe more than we would have thought.

I don't have a whole plate camera and I can't afford an Ebony, so I am not in the market now. However, if I end up some day with a whole plate camera (and hope to do so eventually) I will be in the market. This does not help you today, but if I end up with a camera, and the holders work with it, I would probably buy 5-6 at first, and eventually buy another 5-6, at the prices indicated.

As some of you may be aware, we are already in the process of producing a 57PS Fotoman camera, which I hope to have ready in 90-120 days. If we do wind up manufacturing the WP film holders, it would only make sense to also produce a PS series camera for them. The camera would be considerably cheaper than the Ebony, but like all of our PS series cameras would not offer movements, until such time as we're finished developing our bellows adapters... even then, it would have front movement only.

Rob_5419
9-Mar-2007, 20:55
Thanks Paul.

It is reassuring to know that you wish to be in the whole plate market to improve availability of whole plate film holders. Like other comments elicited here, I do agree that such availability only makes sense if the new proposed plate holders are backward compatible with the larger number of vintage whole plate cameras than the future number of extremely minor number of Ebony Whole-Plate camera owner-wannabes.

The question of 'who would be interested in whole plate film holders' is also different from 'who is interested in a Fotoman whole-plate camera'. I kind of am interested in both, although I already have my mind set on a basic vintage whole plate camera which costs less than the probable cost of 10 film holders. The Ebony will be on the cards, although being open to swaying....

The lack of movements in any large format Fotoman camera would put me off seriously. I would rather shoot 5x4" with movements and use finer grain film than going for a whole plate with such a drastic restriction. More realistically, a cheaper vintage wooden wholeplate camera with movements would appeal to me more than a modern new wholeplate camera with no movements. I hope I am alone in that view, since I really want Fotoman to do well and to gain considerable stability in the LF market.

Btw - 5x7" film holders fit perfectly in my half-plate camera however do not adhere tight enough to form a light seal when the dark slide motion is in action. It is possible by clamping the frame of the ground glass against the film holder and the front of the camera - but the format issue of 5x7" may not gain any half-plate converts for such a venture, whereas the whole plate format is a distinction in itself.

All the best.

Paul Droluk
10-Mar-2007, 03:18
Rob... it obviously depends on what your needs are, and what you're shooting. For 4x5 I have been using a Toyo AII since 1998 which has served me well, with all of the movements I have ever required. It even got me through 2 years at Brooks Institute, where I only needed to rent a monorail once because the Toyo couldn't be turned into a pretzal for a truly tough assignment. I also just picked up a Carbon Infinity, which has movement capability out the yinyang, partly from curiousity and partly because I'm starting to shoot more architecture.

That being said, I have probably shot more 4x5 film in the last 10 months with the 45PS than I had in 9 years with the Toyo. It's so light, so quick, and so easy that I take it out far more often... simple as that. Obviously there are considerations you have to take into account... lean more towards WA lenses, change your position if perspective is an issue, use smaller apertures, etc., but in the end nothing beats a bigger piece of film. Every great shot ever taken with a Hassy, Fuji 6x9 or Mamiya 7 would have been even better had it been captured on a bigger film. Fortunately for us, quite a few other folks feel similarly.

Denis Pleic
10-Mar-2007, 03:59
I stumbled across a very attractively priced whole plate camera with like new (really) tab-style film holders. As an experiment I will adapt 4x5 and 5x7 backs to this camera to see if I can efficiently cover three formats in one nice light portable system. So... keep your eyes open and you might find something you can't live without. :)

Well, I never thought much of it, as "whole plate" format seemed non-existant material-wise, but I do have a Chinese Seagull whole-plate camera, plus three plate holders. The format and the holders (and the whole camera, to be honest) were just a curiousity, before I decided to try to adapt it to a 5x7 format, using a B&J back I already had from annother camera ("B&J Watson"). The adapter was easy to make, and camera turned out to be quite usable. I can also use another B&J back - 4x5 reducing back.
It's not a "pro" grade camera - lensboards are on the smallish side, and movement locks leave a lot to be desired, but it's light. And as Chris said, there's a lot to be said about a light camera that supports 3 formats. And now this possible source of whole plate holders...
Hmm.... I think I might be interested in a couple of those. I guess Fotokemika (Efke) might be persuaded to cut some whole plate format film :)

Denis

David Karp
10-Mar-2007, 09:57
If anyone is interested in seeing a photo of a Photoman film holder, here are a couple.

http://www.fotomancamera.com/accessories_list.asp#251

David Karp
10-Mar-2007, 10:51
If we do wind up manufacturing the WP film holders, it would only make sense to also produce a PS series camera for them. . . . . [L]ike all of our PS series cameras would not offer movements, until such time as we're finished developing our bellows adapters... even then, it would have front movement only.

Hi Paul,

Thanks for the note. Regarding your bellows adapters, will they enable use of multiple lenses without changing cones in addition to front movements?

Rafael Garcia
10-Mar-2007, 11:07
Definitely interested in 5x7. Half plate bookform would be something for me, but I doubt bookform hoders would be justified by the demand!

Rob_5419
10-Mar-2007, 13:29
Hi Paul,

I understand what you mean about a convenient 5x4.


That being said, I have probably shot more 4x5 film in the last 10 months with the 45PS than I had in 9 years with the Toyo. It's so light, so quick, and so easy that I take it out far more often... simple as that.

I probably am very old-fashioned and still see 5x4" format and larger formats as the format of the traditional view camera, so I've not been quick to come around to modern developments.

I do like the Silvestri T30 which is rapid and fast, and offers some shift movement for its 5x4" format and I agree it is far more usable in its' faster set-up.

Unfortunately since I upgraded my mobile phone, I have taken more pics than I have ever taken before, and I can honestly say they are at least twice as awful as anything I have ever shot in the past 20 years. Quantity of images shot has never been a great benchmark for me. I am happy to shoot 35mm as much as I am whole plate though (when I get around to it...).

It's a pleasure to discover there's someone as dedicated to LF stuff behind Fotoman too - thanks for the encouragement.

Paul Droluk
10-Mar-2007, 18:26
Hi Paul,

Thanks for the note. Regarding your bellows adapters, will they enable use of multiple lenses without changing cones in addition to front movements?

David, regarding the Bellows Adapters (BA)... these will be standard bellows units, using Linhof lensboards. The rear of the BA will affix to the camera exactly like our Cones do... with four knurled screws. So you can change lenses to your hearts content.

Scott Davis
15-Mar-2007, 07:29
Paul- any more thoughts on the Whole Plate holders?

Rob_5419
2-Apr-2007, 16:38
There's a manoeuvre which I've seen done before - I'm just about to perform:

*****
Bump.
*****

audioexcels
3-Apr-2007, 16:12
Full plate will be HUGE worldwide. It was the mathematically concise development for the 'perfect' image size...done in UK and used extensively for many years. The major benefits of it are 1) Having a contact that is a beautiful size fit between 5X7 and 8X10. Most that have shot with all formats prefer the full plate contact over any of these other now standardized formats. 2) Many have not been able to take full advantage of the full plate due to the lack of quality film holders available for them. 3) Because 4X5/5X7/8X10 have become "standards", most have likely put their full plates off to the side because of the lack of film, having to cut it, and having way more accessibility to parts/components for these other formats. 4) If people know about the ability to have modernized components for full plate cameras and even half plate cameras, and can get them at excellent pricing, I feel it would be a major resurgence in people wanting to get out the ole plate cams and start shooting with them again. 5) Lastly, full plate is more versatile to use than the 8X10 and weight wise, the older ones can be so light by comparison to an 8X10.

I am obvioiusly with great interest for the full plate holder.

Paul Droluk
4-Apr-2007, 06:19
It's been a little while since I revisited this posting, and want to thank everyone for their input... especially Oren, who took the time and effort to provide me lots of valuable information.

Net, net... we will be manufacturing WP Film Holders.

Don't look for them until late-summer at which time there will be additional, as yet unannounced, sizes forthcoming as well.

Rob_5419
4-Apr-2007, 08:48
Hooray Paul!

Thank you for supporting the elite minority of us who advocate whole plate film!

This is fabulous news. Thank you Oren too for contributing to Fotoman's decision to push ahead with this. Go plate film users go!

Scott Davis
4-Apr-2007, 09:42
It's been a little while since I revisited this posting, and want to thank everyone for their input... especially Oren, who took the time and effort to provide me lots of valuable information.

Net, net... we will be manufacturing WP Film Holders.

Don't look for them until late-summer at which time there will be additional, as yet unannounced, sizes forthcoming as well.

Paul- any chance you have a price per unit worked out on the WP holders yet?

Oren Grad
4-Apr-2007, 09:53
:) :) :)

Oren Grad
4-Apr-2007, 09:59
Kudos to Sal Santamaura too, for behind-the-scenes help in my research on holder specifications, for his work with Ebony and just generally for doing so much to get the word out.

David Karp
4-Apr-2007, 10:21
Don't tell my wife about this. :)

Paul Droluk
4-Apr-2007, 17:04
Scott... the exact price won't be known until we finish our analysis of tooling, material and packaging costs. We would like to price these in the 65-70 dollar range, but can't committ to it right now.

Scott Davis
4-Apr-2007, 18:36
Paul- that's fair. Wasn't expecting more than a ballpark price.

John Z.
4-Apr-2007, 19:39
I may be interested in 5x7 holders; forgive my lack of knowledge, but can you explain exactly what the term 'full plate' film holders means? Would this differ from my Fidelity holders? I get the impression the would be more precise, like Toyo holders are known to be--I have Toyo 8x10 holders currently too, and beleive they are the best quality holders currently made.

Sal Santamaura
4-Apr-2007, 19:40
...We would like to price these in the 65-70 dollar range...At the low end, yours would be exactly one seventh the price of Lotus holders, and that's compared to the volume discount for a dozen of their wooden version. Even at or slightly above your high estimate, the differential is still staggering. I wish you much success with this and hope it inspires others to move into the format.

David Karp
4-Apr-2007, 19:41
John Z,

Full plate is 6.5" x 8.5." It refers to the size of the film.

Sal Santamaura
4-Apr-2007, 19:52
...can you explain exactly what the term 'full plate' film holders means?...Full plate or whole plate refers to 6.5x8.5-inch film. Actual size of the film is slightly smaller. The format originated with glass plates; adapters were later made for those plate holders so sheets of film could be used in them, thus reducing length and width of the film slightly from the "named" size. A similar situation exists with 4x5, 5x7 and 8x10, where actual film dimensions are smaller too.

What Paul is describing in this thread will be holders designed to accept "6.5x8.5" sheet film of the actual dimensions that Ilford and Kodak provide. They will be usable in a variety of vintage and modern whole plate cameras. He states the Fotoman holders will be of Toyo quality. I'm looking forward to their availability!

Terence McDonagh
5-Apr-2007, 08:38
I'd be interested in 5 or 6.

Paul Droluk
5-Apr-2007, 17:05
At the low end, yours would be exactly one seventh the price of Lotus holders, and that's compared to the volume discount for a dozen of their wooden version. Even at or slightly above your high estimate, the differential is still staggering. I wish you much success with this and hope it inspires others to move into the format.

Damned... I didn't know we left THAT much on the table! Like many of the products Fotoman makes... we don't expect to get rich from this. Frankly, it is my previous business endeavours that pay my way today. Fotoman is as much a personal joy as a money making venture, though habit and common sense demand our activities not lose money. At the 65-70 dollar price, after we produce enough to get our tooling back (under 200 units), we'll actually make some money.

WP Film Holder: 65-70 dollars...
Satisfaction derived from Building and Supplying them: Priceless

Rob_5419
6-Apr-2007, 06:08
WP Film Holder: 65-70 dollars...
Satisfaction derived from Building and Supplying them: Priceless

Thanks Paul - that's the way I feel about working with whole plates ;)

I think someone mentioned in this thread about whether a whole-plate back modification service could be offered to adjust plate cameras to mate with these new
DDS holders. I think this sounds really attractive (although I'll keep a vintage camera to use bookform plate holders still). Would Fotoman have the tooling facilities to measure and tailor-adjust older plate backs to a spring-back type DDS holder back?

Just a thought (or am I pushing my luck).

Happy Easter.

Regards,

Rob

Paul Droluk
6-Apr-2007, 16:15
Thanks Paul - that's the way I feel about working with whole plates ;)

I think someone mentioned in this thread about whether a whole-plate back modification service could be offered to adjust plate cameras to mate with these new
DDS holders. I think this sounds really attractive (although I'll keep a vintage camera to use bookform plate holders still). Would Fotoman have the tooling facilities to measure and tailor-adjust older plate backs to a spring-back type DDS holder back?

Rob

It does sound like an interesting idea, but I'm afraid the answer has to be no. To be honest, I have already committed Fotoman to more projects than I should have. As I write this we have 8 major announced projects in the works, and one "secret" project. As a result, we are behind schedule on most of them. I need to stop saying yes for a while.

Kerry L. Thalmann
6-Apr-2007, 16:47
Would Fotoman have the tooling facilities to measure and tailor-adjust older plate backs to a spring-back type DDS holder back?

Rob,

This sounds like the sort of customization that Richard Ritter or Alan Brubaker would be able to perform. Since there are so many different old full plate camera models floating around, and there were no standards when they were originally made, every conversion is likely to be unique.

Kerry

clay harmon
6-Apr-2007, 17:32
Richard Ritter did exactly this job for me. He made an excellent whole plate conversion back for my 8x10 Phillips Compact II. Got me hooked on the format. Now I have a real whole plate camera too!

Rob_5419
6-Apr-2007, 18:56
Thanks Paul - it sounds like Fotoman are very busy! That's good news too. I'm still saving up for a whole-plate Ebony camera in any case....

Secret project? :)

Thanks for the pointer Kerry. I live in England and have never heard of these guys.

Realistically, I'll keep my cheap (flimsy) vintage wholeplate camera and try and save up for an Ebony which will mean I won't need to go this route. I do like the idea of adding a back for the vintage wholeplate camera to use the new Fotoman DDS's.


Clay - is it okay if I ask you for details of your mod (including cost?). If it's suitable for forum viewing rules that is. Would it mean I'd have to send a back to him and get one mocked up in size....?

David Karp
6-Apr-2007, 19:07
To be honest, I have already committed Fotoman to more projects than I should have. As I write this we have 8 major announced projects in the works, and one "secret" project. As a result, we are behind schedule on most of them. I need to stop saying yes for a while.

Paul,

I understand that completely. I used to work for a company that sold custom made-to-order products for select customers. Eventually, all of the custom products cut into our new product development time, and almost choked it off. It was awfully hard to say no. Actually, in some ways the company was probably similar to yours. Most of the products were made of 6061 T6 aluminum alloy, produced on CNC lathes and mills. Lots of interesting stuff and fun.

Nine projects at once are a tall order for a small company. At least some of them are related (film holders for example). Best of luck!

Love the "secret" project. Can't wait to hear what it is.

Oren Grad
6-Apr-2007, 19:42
Thanks for the pointer Kerry. I live in England and have never heard of these guys.

Both Alan Brubaker and Richard Ritter have done work for me, including some whole plate-related - Alan fixed up some vintage Eastman holders for me a few years back, and Richard Ritter just finished restoring a whole plate Century for me.

Alan's site is http://www.filmholders.com and Richard's is http://www.lg4mat.net.

David Karp
15-Apr-2007, 20:56
Well, I am in the Whole Plate game.

I purchased Jim Galli's 6.5 x 8.5 inch Improved Seneca. What a great size for a camera. It is not so big that I would hesitate to take it with me almost anywhere I might go. The contact print will be a very nice size. Now I'm on the lookout for some Eastman holders to tide me over until Paul's holders are available. Very exciting.

Songyun
15-Apr-2007, 23:10
where to get the whole plate size film then?

Rob_5419
16-Apr-2007, 00:29
where to get the whole plate size film then?

There are two film emulsions; an Eastern European whole plate film and two films from Ilford:

1. www.retrophotographic.com offer Wephota whole plate film (just over 1 per sheet)
2. Ilford ULF film project (annual run) - FP4+ & HP5+
3. Cut down from 8x10" emulsion or roll

Fuji no longer cut down to whole plate size (March 2007) although still offer half-plate film.

Whilst I'm waiting for Ilford to produce the whole plate film, I'm cutting down from sheet roll film. Not having any appropriate sized boxes, a darkroom paper storage box will have to do along with industrial standard bin liners. Acid-free tissue paper layering in between the cut sheets is great, however it doesn't cut well and needs to be cut separately from the film.

If you don't mind the limited film availability, then it's worth considering whole plate. A whole plate camera (some restoration needed) costs a fraction of that beautiful Kwok camera you had ;)

Songyun
16-Apr-2007, 00:37
There are two film emulsions; an Eastern European whole plate film and two films from Ilford:

1. www.retrophotographic.com offer Wephota whole plate film (just over 1 per sheet)
2. Ilford ULF film project (annual run) - FP4+ & HP5+
3. Cut down from 8x10" emulsion or roll

Fuji no longer cut down to whole plate size (March 2007) although still offer half-plate film.

Whilst I'm waiting for Ilford to produce the whole plate film, I'm cutting down from sheet roll film. Not having any appropriate sized boxes, a darkroom paper storage box will have to do along with industrial standard bin liners. Acid-free tissue paper layering in between the cut sheets is great, however it doesn't cut well and needs to be cut separately from the film.

If you don't mind the limited film availability, then it's worth considering whole plate. A whole plate camera (some restoration needed) costs a fraction of that beautiful Kwok camera you had ;)

Film availability is a big issue here, I don't like to cut film in dark room. So this size is not attractive to me.

Rob_5419
16-Apr-2007, 05:22
Film availability is a big issue here, I don't like to cut film in dark room. So this size is not attractive to me.

Oh dear - failed at the first hurdle?!

If it is availability which determines whether a size (format) is attractive to you, then clearly you don't love the whole plate format enough! :)

Joking aside, I can see that the film availability will deter a lot of potential future whole plate users. Still, three emulsions to shoot from isn't that terrible, is it?

Sal Santamaura
16-Apr-2007, 07:38
Film availability is a big issue here, I don't like to cut film in dark room. So this size is not attractive to me.I don't know where you're located but, if it's in the US, don't give up yet. It seems that some dealers in the special order program, not to mention Ilford's North American distributor, purchase more film than customers order each year. As a result, some sizes contiinue to be available throughout at least part of the year. Check with the dealers.

Ted R
7-May-2007, 20:46
Hi I see there is interest in whole plate again. I am a Brit living in the USA and I brought over my wholeplate camera type Kodak B with me from the UK. I have a set of Kodak whole plate black hardwood slides that probably represent the standard size used in the UK. I bought them used in the 1990s for very little, unfortunately the film size became obsolete shortly afterwards! I watch with interest to see if it comes back. If I can be of assistance, for example you want detailed dimensions I'd be glad to help out, just drop me a line, I'm monitoring posts here.
Ted

David Karp
7-May-2007, 21:07
UPDATE / FYI,

I asked a question on Fotoman's website, in the FAQ section, regarding a ballpark estimate of when their Whole Plate holders might be available. Here is their answer:


"We are hoping to have the WP film Holders available sometime around late July of this year... assuming all goes well."

Diane Maher
13-Jul-2007, 13:32
I know it's only mid-July and the holders aren't due until late July, but I wanted to bump this thread back up. I hope that the holders are available soon!

Rob_5419
13-Jul-2007, 14:34
Well done Diane - we haven't forgotten - we're still lurking in wait for the WP holders ;)

Nick_3536
13-Jul-2007, 15:47
Didn't Paul a few weeks back post an info note in one of the threads? Maybe the 5x7 thread?

Eric James
13-Jul-2007, 21:16
They aren't listed at Badger or MPEX yet - not sure what it will take to get them in stock once they are available. Jeff @ Badger is of the opinion that whole plate is dead, so we might have to convince him otherwise to get some flowing through the pipeline before our European and Asian friends buy them all.

Will these holders be compatible with the new Ebony offering?

Sal Santamaura
13-Jul-2007, 21:31
They aren't listed at Badger or MPEX yet - not sure what it will take to get them in stock once they are available. Jeff @ Badger is of the opinion that whole plate is dead, so we might have to convince him otherwise to get some flowing through the pipeline before our European and Asian friends buy them all.

Will these holders be compatible with the new Ebony offering?Paul has posted that the first batch will be sold direct, with subsequent runs offered through Fotoman's regular dealers.

Fotoman's 6.5 x 8.5 holders have been designed to be compatible with both the Ebony SV Wholeplate and some vintage cameras of the same format.

Oren Grad
14-Jul-2007, 07:52
Keep the faith, WP fans. In my last communication with Paul a couple of weeks ago he said that at this point it looks like August for both 5x7 and WP - they've just got a lot of balls in the air right now. Stay tuned...

Carsten Wolff
14-Jul-2007, 08:45
I'd be interested in 6-10 5x7 holders, full plate later perhaps.
thanx,
Carsten

ditkoofseppala
17-Jul-2007, 16:47
Talk about weird . . . some days ago for personal purposes I did a workup on film formats, "normal" lenses, aspect ratios, and negative areas. After mulling over the data for a week or so, this morning I sat down with a sheet of paper and began to outline the case for 6 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch "whole plate" as the IDEAL LARGE FORMAT!

It seems to me that 8 x 10 is just that little bit "over the top" in too many ways, most especially when it comes to enlargers and to camera size and weight. 5" x 7" has been stoutly defended by its users as a great compromise between 4" x 5" and 8" x 10" but it suffers from an aspect ratio that is yet more extreme than 24 x 36 mm. "35mm", exceeded only by 6 x 9 cm. Whole plate comes close to having an ideal aspect ratio for general use. The camera can be considerably lighter and handier than an 8 x 10. Enlargers -- theoretically, anyway -- wouldn't have to be as gargantuan as an Elwood 8 x 10 -- and what's the use of a big negative if it is just too darn much trouble and investment to make enlargements from it? Right now, finding a whole-plate enlarger might be a challenge, admittedly; but this isn't an insoluble problem, just a nuisance factor. There's no denying that the ~55 square inches of area implied by the nominal 6.5 x 8.5 inch size (sorry, I don't know the ACTUAL negative dimensions yet) gives you most of the advantage claimed by 8 x 10 and puts 4 x 5 negatives with their 17.8 square inch area to shame.

Lenses are another interesting area. A true 2x telephoto effect is virtually impossible with 8 x 10. In that format two different focal lengths are considered normal, 300 mm. and 360 mm. (12 and 14 inch originally); the true "normal" (equal to film diagonal) would be more like 325 mm. So how many 8 x 10 users own 650 mm. lenses? Very few, I'd guess. "Normal" for whole plate would be 270 mm, and a 530 mm long-focus is more within the practical realm; (I own one myself, in fact, an old TTH Cooke Process Anastigmat). For something only a bit shorter, just think how many surplus 480mm process lenses there are kicking around these days! There are probably very few wide-angle focal lengths designed for whole-plate, but think how many 8x10 lenses there are of shorter focal lengths, whose coverage seems to come just short of being all it should be, usually in the range of 190 to 210mm. All of THOSE lenses would be ideally suited to use on a whole-plate view camera, giving a wide field of view with adequate surplus coverage for movements.

Personally, I find the notion of a major revival of this format to be a highly seductive proposition. I suspect many others would, too, once such a revival was under way, with cutfilm and film holders readily available. I'm just blown away after having worked this out for myself, that lo and behold, serious discussion of the prospect is already underway here on the LF forum. I would agree with those who content that this could be BIG if a few kindly manufacturers would make available the essential gear to facilitate a revival. I breathlessly await further developments! :)

Are vintage whole-plate cameras easy to come by in the United Kingdom?

Don Hutton
17-Jul-2007, 16:58
5" x 7" has been stoutly defended by its users as a great compromise between 4" x 5" and 8" x 10" but it suffers from an aspect ratio that is yet more extreme than 24 x 36 mm. "35mm", exceeded only by 6 x 9 cm.

I'm no math guru but... 24mmx36mm and 6x9cm are exactly the same aspect ratio and 5x7 is less extreme, not more...

Rob_5419
17-Jul-2007, 17:41
Talk about weird . . . some days ago for personal purposes I did a workup on film formats, "normal" lenses, aspect ratios, and negative areas. After mulling over the data for a week or so, this morning I sat down with a sheet of paper and began to outline the case for 6 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch "whole plate" as the IDEAL LARGE FORMAT!

Hi there,

It's sweet hearing your thoughts about whole plate and the ideal large format and welcome aboard ;)

Being in England, I might offer that it is an anachronism to interpret the whole plate format as a design for the ideal format - looking back at the history of ferrotypes - the development of the tin plate process, which precede photographic plate popularity in England, whole plate photography draws its format from less theoretical sources. The only evidence I've ever seen of whole plate photography being expressed as an ideal format pertains to the availability of glass plate dimensions (6 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches) prior to being adopted for use by photographers in the 19th century on a wider scale. It was a practical format, easy to cut glass plates to this universally available size in the 19th century, in addition to being portable. Victorians knew less about 'ideal formats' than mathematicians, and mathematicians who knew anything about abstraction of rectangular aesthetics would probably argue that the whole plate format is less elegant than the 5:8th ratio that antiquity suggests it should worship as any rule.

In any case, whole plate photography never really went away - it's been used consistently throughout the 20th century, albeit in obscurantist elitist small niche volumes by a few practitioners. Film has previously been available (more options than now in the digital age!) I picked up my 6 boxes of Ilford whole plate film which was a delight - we're just fortunate to have Paul Droluk's company plan to issue whole plate holders this coming summer ;)

With regards to whole plate vintage cameras - it's not an easy step. Sanderson, Thornton Pickard, Lancaster, Butcher, Gandolfi were some of the British manufacturers who made classy examples of whole plate cameras. We're lucky that whole plate cameras took off early due to the English Ferrotype legacy - that's why you're more likely to find a working whole plate camera in England, than say, Australia. There were pockets of whole-plate photography interest - particularly in some countries like Japan and then the American camera representatives too. Others will mention the plate film holder and film holder variations which exist. This is one major reason why whole plate photography has not taken off with more widespread acceptance. The absence of a standardised holder has really curtailed its revival. This is why the new Fotoman whole plate holder looks to be a real contribution to photographic history - producing holders which will render a whole generation of spent whole plate cameras re-usable.

Sal and Oren have posted on their fantastic blog about the Ebony whole plate camera which you might wish to ask them to supply the link again ;)

The half-plate cameras are interesting too btw.

Good luck!

Nick_3536
17-Jul-2007, 17:49
Bring back 5x8!

Rob_5419
17-Jul-2007, 17:54
5:8 does at least rhyme with whole-plate....

Btw - Audioexcels has a whole-plate camera on offer today in the classifieds. It looks like a vintage Japanese whole-plate camera too....

Oren Grad
17-Jul-2007, 18:35
WP is Four Thirds for grown-ups. ;)

John Schneider
18-Jul-2007, 23:27
Paul,

I assume you have finalized the dimensions for the whole plate film holders. I have a couple Rittreck whole plate holders and I'd like to find out if the new Fotoman versions will be compatible with the Rittreck back (so I can set aside funds for a few of your holders).

Paul Droluk
19-Jul-2007, 04:43
Hello everybody,

I've been extremely busy as of late, so haven't checked in for a while... my apologies. Thanks to the in depth analysis provided by Oren and Sal, the preliminary dimensions for the WP Holder follows...

(1) Depth from bearing surface to septum (holders) and ground glass (backs): 0.260"

(2) Distance from taped end to beginning of locking rib: 232mm

(3) Width of holder: 196mm

(4) Film size that can be accommodated
Minimum 162.7 mm (6.41")
Maximum 165.7 mm (6.52")

These recommendations should result in a holder that will fit:

* The new Ebony wholeplate camera
* Many (but not all) antique American cameras, including many Eastman, Century
and Gundlach cameras
* The Musashino Rittreck yatsugiri adapter back (though the image area would be
displaced very slightly along the vertical dimension relative to the ground glass)


We are close to being on schedule... looks like August barring unforseen circumstances.

Oren Grad
19-Jul-2007, 06:46
Paul,

I assume you have finalized the dimensions for the whole plate film holders. I have a couple Rittreck whole plate holders and I'd like to find out if the new Fotoman versions will be compatible with the Rittreck back (so I can set aside funds for a few of your holders).

John - The holder specification to which Paul is working should fit the Rittreck back, although the opening when you pull the dark slide may be very slightly off-center on the long dimension, relative to the ground glass.

In case you find yourself adding additional pieces of equipment to your kit, keep in mind that the Rittreck holders may not fit in Eastman-style backs. The Rittreck holders are longer than vintage American holders, and in particular the distance from taped end to rib lock is about a millimeter too long for them to seat properly in the Eastman-type backs that I have on hand.

So the rule seems to be, Eastman-type holders fit in Rittreck backs, but Rittreck holders don't fit in Eastman-type backs.

Jim Galli
2-Aug-2007, 11:56
Just wanted to get this back to the top :D

Add Seneca to the list of antique American cameras. One of the backs I measured for Oren was the Seneca that Dave Karp bought from me. It was the same as the Eastman.

Hope things are still on track.

David Karp
2-Aug-2007, 12:01
Jim,

I have been in touch with Paul recently. He said they should be ready in late August.

Jim Galli
2-Aug-2007, 13:02
Excellent news. Now what can I sell so I can afford to buy some :D:D

Scott Davis
2-Aug-2007, 13:55
It now says on the Fotoman website that they'll be out late September. This is getting a bit frustrating that the production date is a continuously moving target.

Rob_5419
2-Aug-2007, 14:08
:(


:o

Diane Maher
3-Aug-2007, 04:46
Bummer. The only other source I know of for wp holders is AWB.

Scott Davis
3-Aug-2007, 07:11
Same here- and I'm not paying $300 apiece for AWB holders... It's bad enough that 5x12's are that expensive.

David Karp
3-Aug-2007, 10:03
I'd rather they be right and well made. It really is hard to get a new product to market. This is especially true if you are working with outside suppliers. Many, many new products get to market later than scheduled. The problem in this case is that we all knew about the product before it was introduced. Let's give Paul a break. Who else is out there developing new film holders in a variety of off-sizes?

Scott Davis
3-Aug-2007, 10:14
David-
you're right, of course, it's just frustrating. I'm still willing to wait, and I'll buy when they get here, but at the same time, if it turns into the wait for the Olympus E-2, I'll be sorely disappointed.

Sal Santamaura
3-Aug-2007, 10:17
...Who else is out there developing new film holders in a variety of off-sizes?Even more specific to this thread, who else is developing new 6.5 x 8.5 holders? If one thinks the AWB holders are costly in US dollars, try pricing those from Lotus! Patience is a virtue...

Diane Maher
3-Aug-2007, 10:32
I don't know of anyone else, Sal. I was just bummed out, but will continue to await the Fotoman holders patiently.

Jim Galli
3-Aug-2007, 11:19
I'd rather they be right and well made. It really is hard to get a new product to market. This is especially true if you are working with outside suppliers. Many, many new products get to market later than scheduled. The problem in this case is that we all knew about the product before it was introduced. Let's give Paul a break. Who else is out there developing new film holders in a variety of off-sizes?

Here here! I've waited this long, I'll wait some more. Did Paul say 7X11? ;)

John Schneider
3-Aug-2007, 16:10
Yes Paul DID say 7x11. See http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=26798 and tell him how many dozen you want.

Oren Grad
3-Aug-2007, 16:25
Yes Paul DID say 7x11. See http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=26798 and tell him how many dozen you want.

Sorry folks, but evidently 7x11 is off the table for now. See the following just posted on the Fotoman question board:

Question: 7x11 Holders
I understand there is a possibility that you may be manufacturing 7x11 molded film holders. I am curious if these would be made to fit the Kodak 2D and the amount of holders that would be required to make the production run possible...any idea on price point would also be helpful. Cheers & Thanks

Answer 8/1/2007 9:06:50 PM
Sorry to say, there was not enough response to justify production... so no 7x11 film holders.

But setup for whole plate is proceeding.

Rob_5419
10-Aug-2007, 16:23
Even more specific to this thread, who else is developing new 6.5 x 8.5 holders? If one thinks the AWB holders are costly in US dollars, try pricing those from Lotus! Patience is a virtue...


I've just been reading in the news about the state of the world's stock market.

Kind of pleased that Fotoman are prepared to put in the time and effort to machine and produce a ..would you believe it.... a whole plate DDS film holder. Amidst all that goes on in the world, who would have thought the humble whole plate, first manufactured in England, carried to America, and France, and is now reincarnating in China in the 21st century...hopefully the world's stock markets won't impact for long..

Sal - the Lotus AWB are out of our price league. We're humble members of the working class (Trust fund kids run their own websites :cool: )

Although browsing the Lotus site - look what's in the Special Offers section:

http://www.lotusviewcamera.at/used/film.html

Do we all realise....that 7x17 inch film for 80 Euros (25 sheets) = 50 sheets of whole plate 6 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch film for around $120US. That's quite neat...

Sal Santamaura
10-Aug-2007, 18:36
...Sal - the Lotus AWB are out of our price league. We're humble members of the working class...I'm a member of the same class, but have been working for quite a few decades and rather conservative with money. The Lotus holders (and Ebony camera) were only purchased after much internal debate and grinding of teeth, but I eventually decided to go for this once-in-a-lifetime extravagance.

Mike Castles
8-Sep-2007, 21:40
So as a later comer to the whole plate party, would be interested in a few holders.

Anyone know if they would work on a Universal, Rochester Optical Co. Whole Plate camera? (and yes some 7x11 holders would have been really great, but there seem to be just a handfull of us using that format).

Rob_5419
9-Sep-2007, 02:14
From Sal's description, the Kodak older plates are very similar in dimensions to the current Fotoman whole plate holder due out in 3 weeks time. Not long now!

Paul - any update?

Rob_5419
15-Sep-2007, 14:59
2 weeks?

Rob_5419
29-Sep-2007, 05:57
It now says on the Fotoman website that they'll be out late September. This is getting a bit frustrating that the production date is a continuously moving target.

;(


It's a deflating target. When they come I wonder if I'll have any energy left.

I'll return to relying on bookform plate holders in the meantime.

Regular Rod
2-Feb-2014, 17:54
Did these ever materialise? Anyone got any new whole plate film holders for sale?

RR

RJ-
2-Feb-2014, 18:25
The Fotoman ones never did materialise.

Many of us use these:

http://www.chamonixviewcamera.com/

which are made from maple with carbon fibre darkslides.

After a few years, the maple looks worse for wear; a few light leaks develop too, and need resealing. It can be frustrating trying to work out which holder is leaking, and acquiring a used one can be rather frustrating since these issues develop over time.


Istvan of Argentum also makes custom ordered whole plate holders:

http://www.argentumcamera.com/eng/pages/other/home.htm

His are especially beautiful, machined from European walnut with brushed metal finitions, and use the identical sizings as the Chamonix and Kodak whole plate holders. The darkslide is a polymerised synthetic. They are perhaps easier to obtain for Europeans and are extremely hardwearing.

I used to think that Rob_5419's suggestions were rather peculiar and vintage: since the film market has become decimated with fewer and fewer options in the past 6 1/2 years, I think I've realised too late, that it would have made more sense to revert back to making hand-made dry glass plate negatives for use with bookform holders.

Roger Thoms
2-Feb-2014, 19:03
Did these ever materialise? Anyone got any new whole plate film holders for sale?

RR

Contact Sandy King here on the LFPF, he may have some. I recently purchased 8 from Sandy, very nice holders and the price was very reasonable. Plus Sandy was a pleasure to deal with.

Chamonix also sells WP holders but they weren't the right dimensions for my Eastman Kodak 2D.

What ever you do check the dimensions and make sure the holders you are buying will fit your camera. I have about a dozen vintage WP film and plate hiders and the dimensions are all over the map. Even the Eastman holders that seemed to fit the camera nicely had a focus problems because the T dimension on the holders didn't match the camera. The holders I bought from Sandy had a greater T dim. which required shimming the ground glass on my2D. If I had stuck with the Eastman holders I was going to have deepen the ground glass rabbet which I was not looking forward to doing.

Roger