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Thread: Plate sizes to standard sizes

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Holland + Brazil

    Plate sizes to standard sizes

    Dear Members,

    Can anyone give me a translation of the old plate sizes to the sizes we use nowaday's ?
    At time's you read about full plate and so on, but what should I think about in inches (or cm ) ???


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2001

    Re: Plate sizes to standard sizes

    19th-Century Image Plate Sizes:
    Whole Plate: 6.5 x 8.5 inches (16.5 x 21.5 cm)
    Half Plate: 4.25 x 5.5 inches (11 x 14 cm)
    Quarter Plate: 3.25 x 4.25 inches (8 x 11 cm)
    Sixth Plate: 2.75 x 3.25 inches (7 x 8 cm)
    Ninth Plate: 2 x 2.5 inches (5 x 6 cm)
    Sixteenth Plate: 1.375 x 1.625 inches (3.5 x 4 cm)

    Of those, the only one that doesn't look right to me is the half plate specification, which I recall as being something more like 4.75" x 6.5" for most cameras/holders I've seen identified as "half plate". I hope one of our resident half-platers will check me on that.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Sep 2003

    Re: Plate sizes to standard sizes

    Standard US plate sizes:

    1 3/8" x 1 5/8" = Sixteenth-plate
    2 " x 2 1/2" = Ninth-plate
    2 3/4" x 3 1/4" = Sixth-plate
    3 1/4" x 4 1/4" = Quarter-plate
    4 1/4" x 5 1/2" = Half-plate
    6 1/2" x 8 1/2" = Full-plate
    18" x 22" = Mammoth-plate

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Harbor City, California

    Re: Plate sizes to standard sizes

    Per the British Journal Photographic Almanac for 1910, a very reliable source, the dimensions of the 1/2-plate are 6 1/2" X 4 3/4". Onboard a steamer to the United States it would somehow be turned sideways and become 4 3/4" X 6 1/2". Referring to the smaller size listed in Oren Grad's and Joe Smigiel's responses above as "1/2-plate" may very well reflect some 19th Century usage, but I think it rather early in that Century, although 4 1/4" X 5 12" plates were still available as late as 1896., and perhaps later.

    You will note that if you take a glass cutter to the middile of a whole-plate (8 1/2" X 6 1/2") you won't have two 6 1/2" X 4 3/4" pieces of glass. If I recall correctly, Newman & Guardia took notice of this problem in nomenclature. They designated cameras using 6 1/2" X 4 1/4" as "Double 1/4-plate". This makes as much sense as the other, I suppose.

    Portrait photographers used to have all kinds of fancy names for the sizes of their plates.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Chicago, IL

    Re: Plate sizes to standard sizes

    If your camera is English or Japanese, the sizes could be different. Take a look at the old thread at and at

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Holland + Brazil

    Re: Plate sizes to standard sizes

    Thank you, thank you !

    That means that the old wooden camera I have in Holland with a Cook series III f=215,7mm is a full plate !

    Needs some work though, someting to do when I am back in Holland in July or so.

    One step futher for this camera.....


  7. #7
    Jim Graves Jim Graves's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Sacramento, Calif., USA

    Re: Plate sizes to standard sizes

    Peter ... another reference for you on Whole Plate cameras, lenses, etc. is the following site:

  8. #8
    All metric sizes to 24x30 Ole Tjugen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002

    Re: Plate sizes to standard sizes

    German sizes were less "inventive", and didn't have "names", only measurements (in cm):


    Print sizes, on the other hand, had names. Only the height of each format is listed, since I found it in a section concerning focal lengths for portraits:

    Visit: 9.5cm
    Kabinett: 13.5cm
    Boudoir und Promenade: 19.5cm
    Imperial: 21.7cm
    Royal: 23.5cm
    Paneel: 30cm

    It seems that cropping the print was not optional, but required to be able to provide "standard" print sizes.

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