View Full Version : How did book back work?

27-Mar-2010, 18:47
I see lots of really neat looking old LF cameras listed, but many of them don't seem to have spring backs. Apparently it is something called a book back -- which was before my time -- how do they work? What film holders work with them?

Ernest Purdum
27-Mar-2010, 20:30
These are mostly found on British and Japanese cameras. The British discontinued most production in 1939, the major exception being Gandolfi. The Japanese kept it up much longer.

After composing, you flip the groundglass up over the bellows. This done, you will see that there are grooves in the back to hold the "book-form double dark slides". They usually don't slide the whole length of the grooves, there are cutaway sections to speed up the operation.

Regrettably, there is a lack of standardization of these items, so one maker's holders probably won't fit another's back.

The plate holders are called "book-form" because they open like a book. They can hold film by means of adapters called "sheaths". If missing, thse are not too hard for a sheet-metal shop to make up.

Since the entire back is easily removable, the easiest way of dealing with a camera lacking holders may be to make an adapter to take a back from a Graphic or similar camera. Unfortunately, this usually results in a reduction of format size since both British and Japanese cameras were made mostly in 1/4, 1/2, and Whole -plate sizes.