View Full Version : What size plate is this?

Richard Rankin
24-Jun-2011, 13:32
I got a very nice camera with a plate back on it but the size has me curious. The OD of the holder is 22cm x 30cm

When you pull the wooden dark slide, there is a cavity in there to hold a plate. The dimensions of the cavity are: 243mm x 183mm

Inside the cavity (at least on one side of the holder), there is a black wooden insert, possibly home made, but pretty well made if it is. This insert reduces the cavity to 13cm x 18cm, which I believe is a standard European size.

So, what size is it *without* the insert? I saw one reference that maybe it is 'imperial print' size but I've never heard or seen the term elsewhere. Any ideas out there?

If it helps - the camera has a white ivory-looking label attached saying:
Soennecken & Co
Depot photogr. Artikel

It is a resiekamera style camera where you switch from portrait to landscape by rotating the entire bellows and back. 24" bellows, 6" x 9" lens board


24-Jun-2011, 14:04
http://www.edinphoto.org.uk/1_early/1_early_photography_-_sizes.htm that's a link that says Imp size. I guess that's where you read it too?

In inches 9 1/2 x 7 1/4 doesn't seem any closer to a recognisable format either.

Steven Tribe
24-Jun-2011, 14:11
I can't think any size other than 18x24cm. The next size up in Reisekamera is 24x30cm. Your outside dimensions are a 1cm more than my 18x24 holders.

Richard Rankin
24-Jun-2011, 14:13
Yep, that's where I saw it but it seems to differentiate between Imperial print and Imperial size, or maybe I'm reading too much into it.

The lens that came with it doesn't seem to me to cover even 13x18, but I haven't checked to see if it is assembled correctly yet.

Richard Rankin
24-Jun-2011, 14:19
I can't think any size other than 18x24cm. The next size up in Reisekamera is 24x30cm. Your outside dimensions are a 1cm more than my 18x24 holders.

Well, you have to allow for the fact I'm measuring with a 25 cent plastic ruler from Walmart that doesn't have '0' at the edge of the ruler...

Is there a regular size of 18x24? The cavity has little rotating tabs to hold the glass in place, and an 18x24cm would fit and be held perfectly.

24-Jun-2011, 15:07
Is there a regular size of 18x24?

18x24cm was the biggest of the 9x12/13x18/18x24cm triad most German makers standardized on early in the 20th century, and was the common "big" format hereabouts until Fuji and Kodak imports (which most stores stocked in 8x10 only) had replaced Agfa films.

Richard Rankin
24-Jun-2011, 15:18
An old ad for them I stumbled across....


Steven Tribe
25-Jun-2011, 04:46
Now you have to find some 18x24 film sheaths.
I was lucky as my 18x24cm reisekamera had been used a lot post ww 2!
18x24 film is still available-

Ole Tjugen
25-Jun-2011, 06:32
I use lots of 18x24 film, mostly Ilford FP4+. makes it easy to distinguish between holders loaded with different films, i use both 18x24 and 8x10" in the same camera.

I also had an 18x24cm Reisekamera, but sold it. Now I have a 24x30cm one with the same kind of format reducing inserts, to 18x24, 13x18, 10x15 and 9x12cm. Oh - and I was lucky enough to find film sheaths in all those sizes, too.

Steven Tribe
25-Jun-2011, 08:22
Ole, can you find 24x30cm film?

Richard Rankin
25-Jun-2011, 09:14
If I used the 13 x 18 insert mask thing, would 13 x 18 film sheaths hold 5x7 film?

Ole Tjugen
25-Jun-2011, 09:48
24x30cm film is difficult to find, but not impossible. Try in German webshops, or Foma.

Richard - no. 5x7" film is too small to stay in place in 13x18 sheaths. BUT I think you can use 5x7" sheaths in 13x18 plate reducer inserts!

Richard Rankin
25-Jun-2011, 10:01
Ok, so now I have to find 5x7 film sheaths somewhere... Thanks!

Richard Rankin
25-Jun-2011, 18:40
Another, possibly stupid, question. When I pull the dark slides, the slide itself seems to have some extended 'tabs' along the sides to prevent it from being completely removed from the holder. Is that normal with plate holders?

They aren't sliding smoothly along the track, so I suppose I need to get them out by hook or by crook and wax the edges or something. That's what I've done on some of my plastic holders but I'm not sure candle wax works on wooden ones. As they are now, it is much too difficult to actually pull them out if I were trying to take a shot.

Steven Tribe
26-Jun-2011, 00:59
Richard, this is the normal book plate dark slide mechanism. The film sheaths can be installed by opening up the "book" catches.

Richard Rankin
26-Jun-2011, 06:25
I don't think these open book-style. I'll try and post photos later. Maybe I'm missing something obvious on them. Thanks.

Richard Rankin
26-Jun-2011, 12:05
Here are photos of the holder from opposite angles. There are no metal bits on the side or hinges to open these like a book. The top has a latch that you press to pull the dark slide, but, as I said, the dark slide does not come completely out of the holder.

Ole Tjugen
26-Jun-2011, 12:11
That's one way of doing it, yes. I have some like that, too.

There should be some small tabs that are turned to keep the plate in place once loaded - you pull the dark slide to load and unload, too.

The dark slide is the light trap, there is no modern light trap in these. Mostly because the wood is too thick for one to work! So make sure you never ever pull the slide all the way out.

Steven Tribe
26-Jun-2011, 12:29
This is a good and solid plate holder system - but it is not the book type, as you guessed. But as the opening is larger than usual on an 18x24, you will ample space to front mount the film sheaves.

I enclose the book type on my 18x24. This has an extra light trap ridge/groove, which I havn't seen on others.

About loosening the dark slide? I would have thought that an evaporating quality teak oil in small quantities would allow you to reach the rubbing surfaces.

Richard Rankin
26-Jun-2011, 12:45
I can remove the slide by removing the tab as Ole mentioned. I just assumed that was something I had done accidentally and was not a 'feature'. Here's a shot of the slide, tab, and the little wooden piece that has to be removed.

There is a felt strip across the top, as can be seen, so there is a slight 'light trap' there.

26-Jun-2011, 13:41
That piece has come unglued and should be replaced lest you pull the darkslide all the way out and expose your film through the gap, but it gives you good access to apply some lubrication and replace the felt before it's repaired.

Ole Tjugen
26-Jun-2011, 14:26
No Richard, that was not the tab I mentioned. As has been said already, you are not supposed to remove the dark slides from these holders!

The tab I mentioned would be what was there to hole the photographic plate in place. It's usually two rotating tabs, or a ledge and one tab. Or more - one of my 24x30cm holders has six tabs per side.

Richard Rankin
26-Jun-2011, 14:51
Yep, Ole, I mis-read that when I posted but do see what you mean. This does have the tabs that hold the plate in place. Plus the insert mask has them as well.

I'm tempted to see if there is some way to get an 8x10 film spring back on this thing. Since the entire back and bellows rotate, it is large enough to fit one, I think, and doesn't require the normal 11.5 x 11.5" or 12" x 12" rear to work. Of course, there are no cheap backs on Ebay at the moment... Scott is doing a similar thing with a smaller reisekamera I had, but it will be 4x5.

Also couldn't find a 3/8" to 1/4" tripod reducer thing locally, so had to order one from B&H. Hopefully it will be here Thursday and I can get this on the tripod.

These are so light and easy to use, plus have huge sliding lens boards. Seems to me to be a totally usable camera.

Steven Tribe
26-Jun-2011, 15:54
I think they are great too! I am adjusting the position of the cross-bars on the front so that I can increase the width of the sliding lensboard up to about 8" to allow for a front mounted Sinar shutter.
I think I can see why you have problems with the dark slide/plate holder - it looks like red oak or similar. This is by no means as stable as mahogany or walnut.