View Full Version : Plate sizes to standard sizes

23-Apr-2009, 05:58
Dear Members,

Can anyone give me a translation of the old plate sizes to the sizes we use nowaday's ?
At time's you read about full plate and so on, but what should I think about in inches (or cm ) ???


Oren Grad
23-Apr-2009, 06:48

19th-Century Image Plate Sizes:
Whole Plate: 6.5 x 8.5 inches (16.5 x 21.5 cm)
Half Plate: 4.25 x 5.5 inches (11 x 14 cm)
Quarter Plate: 3.25 x 4.25 inches (8 x 11 cm)
Sixth Plate: 2.75 x 3.25 inches (7 x 8 cm)
Ninth Plate: 2 x 2.5 inches (5 x 6 cm)
Sixteenth Plate: 1.375 x 1.625 inches (3.5 x 4 cm)

Of those, the only one that doesn't look right to me is the half plate specification, which I recall as being something more like 4.75" x 6.5" for most cameras/holders I've seen identified as "half plate". I hope one of our resident half-platers will check me on that.

Joe Smigiel
23-Apr-2009, 06:59
Standard US plate sizes:

1 3/8" x 1 5/8" = Sixteenth-plate
2 " x 2 1/2" = Ninth-plate
2 3/4" x 3 1/4" = Sixth-plate
3 1/4" x 4 1/4" = Quarter-plate
4 1/4" x 5 1/2" = Half-plate
6 1/2" x 8 1/2" = Full-plate
18" x 22" = Mammoth-plate

Ernest Purdum
23-Apr-2009, 09:55
Per the British Journal Photographic Almanac for 1910, a very reliable source, the dimensions of the 1/2-plate are 6 1/2" X 4 3/4". Onboard a steamer to the United States it would somehow be turned sideways and become 4 3/4" X 6 1/2". Referring to the smaller size listed in Oren Grad's and Joe Smigiel's responses above as "1/2-plate" may very well reflect some 19th Century usage, but I think it rather early in that Century, although 4 1/4" X 5 12" plates were still available as late as 1896., and perhaps later.

You will note that if you take a glass cutter to the middile of a whole-plate (8 1/2" X 6 1/2") you won't have two 6 1/2" X 4 3/4" pieces of glass. If I recall correctly, Newman & Guardia took notice of this problem in nomenclature. They designated cameras using 6 1/2" X 4 1/4" as "Double 1/4-plate". This makes as much sense as the other, I suppose.

Portrait photographers used to have all kinds of fancy names for the sizes of their plates.

23-Apr-2009, 09:57
If your camera is English or Japanese, the sizes could be different. Take a look at the old thread at http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/archive/index.php/t-14666.html and at http://www.apug.org/forums/archive/index.php/t-35829.html.

23-Apr-2009, 10:09
Thank you, thank you !

That means that the old wooden camera I have in Holland with a Cook series III f=215,7mm is a full plate !

Needs some work though, someting to do when I am back in Holland in July or so.

One step futher for this camera.....


Jim Graves
23-Apr-2009, 10:17
Peter ... another reference for you on Whole Plate cameras, lenses, etc. is the following site:


Ole Tjugen
23-Apr-2009, 14:06
German sizes were less "inventive", and didn't have "names", only measurements (in cm):


Print sizes, on the other hand, had names. Only the height of each format is listed, since I found it in a section concerning focal lengths for portraits:

Visit: 9.5cm
Kabinett: 13.5cm
Boudoir und Promenade: 19.5cm
Imperial: 21.7cm
Royal: 23.5cm
Paneel: 30cm

It seems that cropping the print was not optional, but required to be able to provide "standard" print sizes.