View Full Version : Any experiences using dry plates?

Stephan Krutak
7-Nov-2007, 05:51

I intend to use an old 8x10 dry plate camera, because of this fantastic Vogtländer Heliar lens, do someone have experiences in dry plate photography, self coating of glass plates, info on emulsions and so one? Is there a possibility to buy precoated plates commercially?

Kind regards,

Peter K
7-Nov-2007, 06:38
Hi Stephan

years ago I've used dry plates with photographic cameras and scientific instruments. But glass is heavy and breakable! So it's much more easier (and cheaper) to look for flat-film-adapters for your plate-holders. In this way you can use the high quality of modern films with your Heliar.

Coating isn't so easy, also with commercialy aviable emulsion.

Peter K

Ron Mowrey
7-Nov-2007, 07:45
I make my own emulsion (ISO 40 ortho sensitive) and coat it myself using a special type of doctor blade designed for glass.

It is fun to do and yields some nice material. But, I only do 4x5. I have posted a sample on APUG in the "Emulsion making and coating" forum.

Ron Mowrey

7-Nov-2007, 08:01
hi stephan

i have experience with dry plates. i have never bought them, but made them myself.
liquid light was the emulsion i coated them with. the hardest part was
cleaning the glass and putting a subbing layer ( binding agent ) on the glass
so the emulsion didn't fall off and slide down the drain. it wasn't / isn't too hard
and it a lot of fun once you get the hang of it.

i eventually stopped putting the glass in the camera, and used big dry plates
to print as glass inter-negatives(interpositive). the glass i used was scavenged from
a green house that was being demolished, and was anywhere from 8x10" to around 11x14 .

good luck!


7-Nov-2007, 17:50
I've coated dry plates a couple times. Its a time intensive process cleaning the glass, letting it dry, subbing (some do, some do not bother,) dry again, coat with emulsion, dry, and shooting.

But it is a lot of fun, and the results definately have a certain feel.


Stephan Krutak
9-Nov-2007, 03:06
Thank you all, for your suggestions and tips. I will give it a try. Yes I know, glass is breakable, but you don't have alignment/sharpness issues because it is still a plate. If self coating is fun, I don't know, so I will see. :)


9-Nov-2007, 06:56
Its a blast. It isnt hard, just takes some time, labor and practice. I wish I could say I got good at it, but I lack the time to labor and practice. But its very, very fun.


Glenn Thoreson
10-Nov-2007, 13:01
You can also coat plates with albumen emulsion. Easy to make, and rather inexpensive, too. It's the same emulsion used for prints, so maybe you could get two for one. :D