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Thread: Which camera for collodion wet plate photography

  1. #1

    Question Which camera for collodion wet plate photography

    Hello all
    This is my first post about LF camera

    I would like to work with collodion wet plate photography.
    I am new in this technique and would like to ask you, which camera should I buy.
    I consider for the start the camera with size at least in size 8x10" for my portraiture photography.

    It will be for me priceless help to recommend me an appropriate camera and lens for my portraiture photography on collodion wet plates.

    Thank you in advance and wish you all the best not only in you photographic life.

  2. #2
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Stuck inside of Tucson with the Neverland Blues again...

    Re: Which camera for collodion wet plate photography

    If you're going to build a wet plate back for it, get one that's easy to build a back for, (pretty much anything wooden).

    If you're going to convert film holders to plate holders, it doesn't matter which camera. But keep in mind you will lose a bit of size as you need at least a half-inch around the sides of the plate, so an 8x19 film holder will be at most around a 7x9 plate holder. So you might want an 11x14 camera.

    For lenses, the brighter the better, (I'd say f/4.5 or better), and a long enough focal length to be appropriate to the format, at least if you want conveentional portraits.

    Beyond that, it's all personal preference.
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

  3. #3

    Re: Which camera for collodion wet plate photography

    Thank you Mark
    I consider to make portrait like this

    and this
    Here I can see, he used the aprox 350 mm 5.6.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    May 2010
    NW England

    Re: Which camera for collodion wet plate photography

    I'd agree with Mark that the faster the lens the better.

    Alex, the photographer you have linked to users artificial lighting successfully, will you be doing so?

    If you buy a wooden dry plate camera you can seal the inside of its holders with varnish to protect the wood from the silver nitrate, so you dont lose any size on the plate as mentioned by Mark when you use a film holder.

    There are plenty to choose from depends on your budget I suppose.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Oct 2010

    Re: Which camera for collodion wet plate photography

    You might want to ask around over here:


  6. #6

    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Re: Which camera for collodion wet plate photography

    you can use any view camera for wet plate. you just need the right kind of holder.
    sorry for the shameless self promotion but the easiest way is to buy one of my new wet plate holders

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Washington, D.C.

    Re: Which camera for collodion wet plate photography

    For portraits? Ideally an old 8x10 or 11x14 studio camera and stand. Something like a Century, Ansco, or Deardorff Studio camera. If you're outside of the US, there are other makers. The camera you choose will need a strong front standard that accepts a large lens board--so you can mount large heavy portrait lenses. A 14"-16" f/4 Petzval lens would be a good start for 8x10 wet plate.

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