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Thread: Whole Plate, 8x10

  1. #1
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    Whole Plate, 8x10

    Since mid August I've been shooting wet plate (tin) with my Chamonix 4x5 and 19th. C. lenses. I made a portable dark box and only work out in the field, usually from the back of my Subaru Forester. After making 40-50 4x5 tins I began to do a decent job of it. Last week I began using my Korona 5x7 and pre-Civil War lenses and did quite well. I had no trouble pouring the 5x7 plate or developing it. So far, so good. My goal is to begin making glass negs that I can contact print. The 5x7 is right at the edge of big enough for that but I'm having so much fun I'm now thinking of something bigger. I do have a few early lenses and one or two modern lenses that will cover up to 8x10. I think I want to stay away from 11x14 as costs really pile up. I'm looking at whole plate and 8x10. I think either is a manageable size and will contact print nicely (or even just shoot positives.) I intend to shoot, in order: wet plate, dry plate, maybe b&w film.

    WHOLE PLATE
    I like it because it's historically correct to 1850-1880. It's big enough to hold my big early lenses and has the "look" I'm after. I have some 19th C. contact prints and like them. I think it would be more manageable in the field too. Downsides are I would have to buy an 8x10 silver tank, accessories are hard to find, film is rare and expensive, and I'm not sure wet plate holders even exist for it. (Not even Chamonix seems to have them.) Instead of buying a Korona, 2D, or Seneca with whole plate back I could have a historical reproduction made which would include a plate holder, but I'm not sure I want to do that right now. They look cool but are less flexible and don't seem to have any movements at all. Right now Jason Lane will make whole plates for me but I'm not sure about the future. It's an odd size and I doubt he has much demand for it. The film holders are all really old and likely not standardized? So while I like the size and historical accuracy, not sure how viable it would be for me.

    8x10
    Makes a big neg or tin, plentiful cameras out there, plentiful holders, plentiful accessories & film. I'd be looking for something in nice shape like a Korona, 2D, Seneca. The lens boards on these would be big enough to mount my biggest brass lenses and the cameras are sturdy. Could pick one up that also has either 5x7 or 4x5 back so I could save money taking test shots, but i guess I could do that anyway with an insert. They are impressive looking. Downsides. Larger & heavier, everything costs more money, might need a heavier duty tripod, uses more chemicals, expensive film & dry plates. Resale should be easier than selling a full plate camera though. And if I want full plate I could use an insert.


    SO, a few questions:
    1) How hard is it to pour an 8x10 plate?
    2) How easy is it to make decent contact prints from glass neg? (No interest in getting an enlarger.)
    3) How much more hassle are these bigger camera in the field for wet plate?
    4) When did 8x10 come about? I've not found any reference about them before the 1880s, so not sure they're correct to wet plate era. Seem to be an American invention coinciding with the rise of dry plate.


    I do think I'm experienced enough now to try it. I'm in no particular hurry as winter has now set in and my opportunities to do wet plate will be severely curtailed. I have no studio, wife banned it from the house, and soon it will be below zero F outside. The real severe part of winter (below zero cold) only lasts about three months though, so I may have some warm days in the +40s F between now and April. Any thought and comments appreciated.


    Kent in SD
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  2. #2

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    Re: Whole Plate, 8x10

    Quote Originally Posted by Two23 View Post
    Since mid August I've been shooting wet plate (tin) with my Chamonix 4x5 and 19th. C. lenses. I made a portable dark box and only work out in the field, usually from the back of my Subaru Forester. After making 40-50 4x5 tins I began to do a decent job of it. Last week I began using my Korona 5x7 and pre-Civil War lenses and did quite well. I had no trouble pouring the 5x7 plate or developing it. So far, so good. My goal is to begin making glass negs that I can contact print. The 5x7 is right at the edge of big enough for that but I'm having so much fun I'm now thinking of something bigger. I do have a few early lenses and one or two modern lenses that will cover up to 8x10. I think I want to stay away from 11x14 as costs really pile up. I'm looking at whole plate and 8x10. I think either is a manageable size and will contact print nicely (or even just shoot positives.) I intend to shoot, in order: wet plate, dry plate, maybe b&w film.

    WHOLE PLATE
    I like it because it's historically correct to 1850-1880. It's big enough to hold my big early lenses and has the "look" I'm after. I have some 19th C. contact prints and like them. I think it would be more manageable in the field too. Downsides are I would have to buy an 8x10 silver tank, accessories are hard to find, film is rare and expensive, and I'm not sure wet plate holders even exist for it. (Not even Chamonix seems to have them.) Instead of buying a Korona, 2D, or Seneca with whole plate back I could have a historical reproduction made which would include a plate holder, but I'm not sure I want to do that right now. They look cool but are less flexible and don't seem to have any movements at all. Right now Jason Lane will make whole plates for me but I'm not sure about the future. It's an odd size and I doubt he has much demand for it. The film holders are all really old and likely not standardized? So while I like the size and historical accuracy, not sure how viable it would be for me.

    8x10
    Makes a big neg or tin, plentiful cameras out there, plentiful holders, plentiful accessories & film. I'd be looking for something in nice shape like a Korona, 2D, Seneca. The lens boards on these would be big enough to mount my biggest brass lenses and the cameras are sturdy. Could pick one up that also has either 5x7 or 4x5 back so I could save money taking test shots, but i guess I could do that anyway with an insert. They are impressive looking. Downsides. Larger & heavier, everything costs more money, might need a heavier duty tripod, uses more chemicals, expensive film & dry plates. Resale should be easier than selling a full plate camera though. And if I want full plate I could use an insert.


    SO, a few questions:
    1) How hard is it to pour an 8x10 plate?
    2) How easy is it to make decent contact prints from glass neg? (No interest in getting an enlarger.)
    3) How much more hassle are these bigger camera in the field for wet plate?
    4) When did 8x10 come about? I've not found any reference about them before the 1880s, so not sure they're correct to wet plate era. Seem to be an American invention coinciding with the rise of dry plate.


    Kent in SD
    1) If you are pouring 5x7 then 8x10 is not much different, something you'd pick up after a couple of plates.
    2) I've made some nice contact prints from glass negatives, it's easy if you have the right density on the glass negative. So in short you need to pay attention to lighting, exposure and development.
    3) I have a friend I helped make a wet plate camera that will work for 20x20 plates. It can be used in the field but it's a lot of work.
    4) I don't know.
    I personally use/made my whole plate camera and film holders. I like the format better than 8x10 but that is my preference. I don't use wet plate with this rig.

  3. #3

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    Re: Whole Plate, 8x10

    Quote Originally Posted by Two23 View Post
    SO, a few questions:
    1) How hard is it to pour an 8x10 plate?
    2) How easy is it to make decent contact prints from glass neg? (No interest in getting an enlarger.)
    3) How much more hassle are these bigger camera in the field for wet plate?
    4) When did 8x10 come about? I've not found any reference about them before the 1880s, so not sure they're correct to wet plate era. Seem to be an American invention coinciding with the rise of dry plate.
    Kent in SD
    1. Every time you go up in size things get a little more complicated and there is a slight change in technique required. The big change between 5x7 and 8x10 is you can't hold an 8x10 by the edges with one hand like 5x7 and smaller. As you have probably experienced, consistent results come from setting up a repeatable technique so there will be a period of discomfort until you sort it out.

    2. VERY EASY.. They look amazing.
    3. Size is relative. When I first got my 8x10, it felt huge. Now that I shoot 11x14, it feels like a perfect size.
    4. I'll let the more scholarly members answer this one.

    As far as which camera to buy:
    Chamonix does make whole plate film holders and plate holders. Ask Hugo for confirmation.
    I would get an 8x10 because you can shoot both formats with an 8x10. Chamonix makes an insert to reduce the holder size to WP from 8x10. You would just need to mark the dimensions on your ground glass for composition. (I shoot 5x7 in my 8x10 all the time.)

  4. #4
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    Re: Whole Plate, 8x10

    When I used to see 8x10 cameras with an additional 4x5 back I wondered why would anyone drag out a heavy camera to shoot 4x5? Now I see the value as you can make test plates more cheaply before doing an 8x10.
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  5. #5

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    Re: Whole Plate, 8x10

    Quote Originally Posted by Two23 View Post
    When I used to see 8x10 cameras with an additional 4x5 back I wondered why would anyone drag out a heavy camera to shoot 4x5? Now I see the value as you can make test plates more cheaply before doing an 8x10.
    Kent

    I think that you'll find that this also enabled the Polaroid instant 4 x 5 film to be used (as well)

    regards

    Andrew

  6. #6
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    Re: Whole Plate, 8x10

    So when did 8x10 come about? I haven't seen any prints or cameras that date earlier than the 1880s.


    Kent in SD
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    Re: Whole Plate, 8x10

    Quote Originally Posted by Two23 View Post
    When I used to see 8x10 cameras with an additional 4x5 back I wondered why would anyone drag out a heavy camera to shoot 4x5? Now I see the value as you can make test plates more cheaply before doing an 8x10.
    If you are not set on getting an old camera, my Chamonix 8x10 only weighs 7.5 lbs. I think the new ones weigh a little more but very light and rigid for 8x10.

  8. #8
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    Re: Whole Plate, 8x10

    I have a 4x5 Chamonix and love it. My plan is to use period correct lenses for wet plate. The RR lenses are about the limit for the Chamonix though. My heavy pre-Civil War lenses would crush a lightweight camera. My 12 in. Voightlander Petzval weighs 5 pounds.


    Kent in SD
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  9. #9
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    Re: Whole Plate, 8x10

    Quote Originally Posted by Two23 View Post
    So when did 8x10 come about? I haven't seen any prints or cameras that date earlier than the 1880s.


    Kent in SD
    The albumen prints pasted into Alexander Gardner's famous Photographic Sketch Book of the (Civil) War, 1866, were 8x10.

  10. #10

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    Re: Whole Plate, 8x10

    Kent,

    We do make whole plate wet plate holders and we currently have a waiting list for them. Another option is to use an 8x10 camera with an 8x10 wet plate holder. We can make a whole plate insert to be used within the 8x10 wet plate holder. You can shoot WP and 8x10 plates this way.

    Hugo

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