View Full Version : Wetplater moves to film - oh no! What film?

21-May-2009, 09:14
After a year of shooting wetplate, I'm ready to try film. Yes, I'm following a somewhat historically chronological order, but skipping dryplate for a while (noodles?! Strainers? hours long temperature control?!).

I did buy some Tri-x 400 that was expired, now I wonder if it will be too fast. What I want to do is shoot some portraits and perhaps landscapes with ambient light (a la wetplate). I will be shooting some fast petzvals and veritos. Unfortunately, most are in barrel, though I do have a packard shutter rig and some of the lenses have studio shutters.

The question is, will 400 be too fast for me to shoot with a packard or studio shutter? Will I be better suited with some other, slower film? Total film novice here, though I have tested myself by shooting some paper negatives (about ASA 3 right?). What to do with the coming Tri-x 400?

Thanks for the help.

Gene McCluney
21-May-2009, 09:21
Tri-X will probably be too fast for your Petzvals and Veritos if you are using a Packard or Studio shutter, as you will be limiting yourself to a 1/25th of a second shutter speed. The way around this is to use neutral density filters on the lens to reduce the light. But, filters for those ultra-big lenses are expensive. It all depends on how determined you are to do this. Freestyle sells Efke black and white film in ISO 25, which is a much more appropriate speed for what you want to do. It is available in a wide range of sizes.

21-May-2009, 09:30
Thanks, that's what I was afraid of. I do have one verito with a Betax 4, so that will be my lens for the Tri-x I suppose. I'll look for the ISO 25 after I shoot some of this. Perhaps a trade will be in order....

Jason Greenberg Motamedi
21-May-2009, 10:08
Garrett, I have used a 4x4" .9 ND gel filter in the past with film. These are not cheap, but do make life a bit easier.

Another option is to use a graphic arts film, like Freestyles's Arista Ortho Litho. This is, as I recall, about 3 ASA. It takes a bit of work to tame the contrast, but once you have that down the advantage is that it is quite cheap...

Another thought is that there must be some way of chemically "pulling" the film down a few stops. I am not exactly sure how to do this, but perhaps someone here has a recipe for a super-slow developer...

21-May-2009, 10:25
Freestyle photo sells Efke and Adox 25 iso film. I use it for barrel lenses and slow shutters. It is cheap and very good film, though it has to be treated more delicately than tri-x.

21-May-2009, 11:21
Thanks Jason and Toyon. I wonder how all these fast lenses were used with studio shutters in the day? I suppose with glass plates, which are pretty slow.

Hey, maybe that Arista Ortho will be something to start with, "cheap" being the operative word. I know I tried some old Kodabrome II RC paper negatives last week, to prep, which everyone says is too contrasty. I liked the contrast. Because often with wetplate I've struggled to get more contrast.


Brian Bullen
21-May-2009, 11:43
Garrett, I have used hard dot graphic arts film with some success. Here is a test using a coffee based developer. The contrast of this neg worked out well for a straight palladium print. If I recall the exposure was 8 secs under cloudy conditions. The lens was a Steinheil 24" f/18 so a verito or petzval will bring the exposure time quite a bit.
18"x24" neg cropped to 11x14.
EDIT: Forgot to mention this is a digi-pic of the print.

21-May-2009, 12:48
i use and love foma 100. i shoot it at 100 and find it too fast for just what you are describing.

i use my hat most of the time. i under develop to save myself.

they did it back in the day with much slower film.

try and shoot at 1:1 and tis will help slow your times down. basically if your meter says 1/500 you should still be able to manage once you add reciprocity and under development.

i also use a "FP shutter" i cut a slit into a black matte board. i pull this across the lens to make my exposure. i try and maintain the same pull speed and vary the slit size to change my exposure. this works for very fast speeds. you should be fine with an 1/8, 1/4 and 1/2 inch sliut.

have fun


21-May-2009, 13:21
These sound like more good options. Different films, and a shutter method. Plus, I think I can get 1/25 with a studio shutter, right? Maybe indoors and stopped down to f8, the bigger verito will work. The little one in the Betax goes to 1/50. Open Petzval work will have to stay with wetplate until I get some slow film.

21-May-2009, 13:43
you can easily use your petzval lenses with the "FP shutter" i described above. you could easily do 1/1000 of a second or faster.