View Full Version : Converting to wet plate question...

14-Aug-2008, 11:35
Hi all...

I'm curious about what I would need to do to convert a normal 5x7 view camera for use with wet-plate collodion. Do I need a different back to accomodate plate holders?


Monty McCutchen
14-Aug-2008, 11:54
A different back to accomodate plate holders is one option but there are less expensive options;

Cut out the septum of a currently owned 5 x 7 holder and place either;
1) wire corners
2) the more preferred by me, epoxy in plexi corners on one side so that your plate sits in all four corners of your cut out septum. Instant ready for your camera and wet plate.

You will have to accept that your final wet plate image will be slightly smaller than 5 x7 with this method which may not be acceptable to you but it is the quickest, cheapest way to get started. You mark on one side "BACK" so that you are not confused which side to put in the camera facing the lens (don't ask me why I know this). One other thing as you put your plate face down into your plexi corners you will need a home made spring back--plastic milk cartons cut out with a inch by three inch width then SLIGHTLY creased ridge will do the trick. Put that in on the back of your plate and then slide in your darkslide and you should have enough pressure on that sized plate to hold it tight. All of this is explained much better by the Ostermans in one of their Collodion Journals. You might be able to find it on the internet.

I hope that has helped in some small way.


ps if you want a true 5 x 7 and you have an old beater 8 x 10 around the same method can be used with the bigger camera cut down to the 5 x 7 size. All of my 5 x
7 tintypes and ambrotypes are done this way with a conventional 8 x 10 view camera and quite frankly an old Calumet and one holder would probably be cheaper to buy than having a back made for your 5 x 7 camera. Just a thought if the size is important to you.

Kerik Kouklis
14-Aug-2008, 14:43
To illustrate Monty's description, here is an 8x10 holder modified to hold 6.5x8.5 plates. I used triangles cut out of thin aluminum sheet to support the plate rather than wire of plexi.