View Full Version : Roll Film Backs (4x5)

22-Jul-2010, 13:33
Having never used one, I hope my silly question will be excused. :o Given these are smaller formats, image dimensions, how does one know what is in/out of the picture? Do you mark the image dimensions on the GG or something?

Robert Oliver
22-Jul-2010, 13:42
yep... mark the dimension and location of the smaller format opening on the back of your ground glass....

22-Jul-2010, 13:45
... or in a camera with a viewfinder, like "SpeedGraphics", with a viewfinder mask.

Oren Grad
22-Jul-2010, 13:45
Some rollholders come with a plastic mask that you can put over the GG. Otherwise, you can use a GG with a grid, or just mark it yourself.

Thom Bennett
22-Jul-2010, 14:07
I asked Richard Ritter to make a Graflok back for my Deardorff and he suggested he make it with a Sinar back. I'm so glad he did because I can use a lot of the Sinar accessories and Sinar makes a kit that has plastic inserts for all the smaller formats. They just pop in and out. So, with my Deardorff Special I can shoot 5x7, 4x5, 6x12, 6x9, & 6x7 (Horseman roll film backs). Thanks Richard!

22-Jul-2010, 14:24
Thanks all. Glad it wasn't too silly a question.

Oren Grad
22-Jul-2010, 15:04
One other thing to watch out for: one rollholder that I'm aware of, the Linhof 4x5/6x7 Rapid Rollex, places the film gate substantially off center relative to the 4x5 GG. Other holders may have some more modest variation in placement, depending on exactly how they sit in your camera. So if you need to mark your GG, don't assume that the area to be exposed will be exactly centered - be sure to check where the rollholder you'll be using actually puts the film.

22-Jul-2010, 15:50
Thanks for the tip.

Gordon Moat
31-Jul-2010, 14:16
I used a pencil to mark the ground glass on my 4x5 to match my Linhof Super Rollex 56x72 film holder. As mentioned by Oren, this is not exactly centred on the ground glass. What I like about using the rollfilm holder is that I can crop with the film frame, and gain a greater range of movement for a given 4x5 lens; it's almost like adding lens choices to your gear.


Gordon Moat Photography (http://www.gordonmoat.com)

31-Jul-2010, 14:25
I have used a Calumet 6x7 roll back. One thing to watch out with that style (slips in like a 4x5 film holder, which is handy) is that the film is run over rollers the opposite way the film is normally curled. If there is any significant time the film is left in, the film remembers that curve and I would have to unload the holder in the dark, as the film would not roll tightly on the take-up reel -- causing light leaks from the ends of the reel.


PS...some 4x5 GG come with markings for smaller formats -- sometimes they even line up correctly!LOL!

Dan Fromm
31-Jul-2010, 15:06
Um, Bob, all of the responses suppose that there are no 4x5 roll film backs. This ain't so.

This link:


is to a story about how the AP prepared to shoot the 1952 World Series. One of their cameras was a 5x7 Graflex-based Big Bertha (long lens camera) fitted with a film holder from, if I understand the piece correctly, a K-24 aerial camera. The K-24 shot, I believe (could be mistaken) 4.5" x 4x5" on 5" roll film and its film holder was motorized. So, in effect, AP had a 4x5 SLR with a great long lens and motor drive.

I suspect that a K-24 back could be fitted to a 4x5 camera. Now there's a project for you.

Go to it!

31-Jul-2010, 15:59
I have here a rollfilm back made by Folmer & Schwing div of EK
It fits the Graflex type back- also found on old speed graphics
Takes #53 Eastman Graflex film- oooooh where to get some.
The NET image 5x4 inches, film width 5 1/4 inches- or so.
That film was paperbacked. The spools have 1" diam metal ends 5 5/16 between inside faces on a just under 1/2 wood dowel. All these checked with a plastic ruler
And I'm pretty sure that 5 1/4 was also the width for film used in the K-20, albeit in longer rolls on larger steel spools.
And DANG if I had some film it would still be too narrow for the similar PostCard size roll holder- #52 I think, but I can't find mine just now. Jim Galli had a Compact Graflex for sale that included one a coupla weeks ago.