View Full Version : Making a half darkslide?

23-Aug-2007, 13:30
Anyone have any tips for making one of my 11x14 filmholders have two 5.5" x 14" darkslides? I can't imagine it's as easy as cutting one in half....I'm not sure how they would be made to slide in perfectly straight.....would I need to add a groove of some sort the the tab at the end?

If I didn't want to ruin one of my darkslides, where might I find plastic sheets for this?


23-Aug-2007, 13:45

Thats a thread on smaller formats. I bet 11x14 is more demanding.

Some body I remember mentioning making a sliding back. So the back masked off the unexposed area. Like the old ones for putting two portraits on a 5x7 sheet.

David A. Goldfarb
23-Aug-2007, 14:38
You only need one of them. You flip it for the other half of the sheet.

It's best to make one out of a spare darkslide. Instructions are covered in the other thread. Bender used to have 4x5" and 8x10" ones on their website so you could see what it should look like, but they don't seem to have them any more. It should be L-shaped. If I get a chance I'll post a photo of my 4x10" half-darkslide mask.

23-Aug-2007, 14:42
Instead of making a half-darkslide, why not make a mask for the camera back? I imagine that should be far easier.

23-Aug-2007, 14:43
You only need one of them. You flip it for the other half of the sheet.

Sure, but you're assuming the person slides it in perfectly straight and knows, somehow, that it's perfectly straight.... Maybe that's easy?

Edit: Hold on a sec, I do only need a half, but I need a whole one to remove the filmholder....so it must be done with a spare....

This is something I'd definitely do only with a spare darkslide (let's face it....not many to spare in 11x14 :)) or a handmade equivalent (more likely).


David A. Goldfarb
23-Aug-2007, 15:36
Yes, you need a spare. The half-darkslide mask is L-shaped and leaves the whole handle intact, along with about an inch or so of darkslide along the handle to prevent light from entering in the light trap. One darkslide will make one mask, not two. You push it in flush, like a normal darkslide, so it will go in straight. You still need a normal darkslide to cover the film and remove the holder when not using the half-darkslide mask mask.

If you want to come up to Washington Heights sometime before you try this yourself, I can show you how it works with 8x10".

Brian Vuillemenot
23-Aug-2007, 15:37

You need to cut the darkslide into an "L" shape, leaving about an inch or so near the pull tab that will fit into the baffling of the film holder to keep it light tight. Also, the area you cut out will be slightly less than half, so as to leave a quarter inch border between the two images. I wrote an article in the latest issue of MAGNAChrom on 4X10 photography, including a detailed description of how to cut an 8X10 darkslide to expose 4X10s. If you got to the MAGNAChrom website, you can download it for free, and just scale it up to the 11X14 darkslide. Good luck!

23-Aug-2007, 16:27
Ok, thanks, guys, I've got the concept now. Sooo, any idea where I can get truly lightproof plastic sheets?

David, might take you up on the offer after I snag the materials... :)


Dave Wooten
23-Aug-2007, 20:38
Check with Sandy King, I was able to purchase an extra 14 x 17 dark slide from him a while back for just that purpose.

23-Aug-2007, 20:58
There's a recent thread on the material: http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=22693.

I made a couple of 4x5 half dark slides using a 1/32"-thick Grade XX phenolic sheet from www.mcmaster.com. I've been on the road too much since and haven't tried them yet, but they work decently well with the holders. Not sure how the material and thickness work for 11x14. If you try, you'd want to use proper tools for that size because phenolic is quite hard.

Another idea is to get a 7x17 or 8x20 camera...