Luminous Landscape Forum

Equipment & Techniques => The Wet Darkroom => Topic started by: JB Rasor on March 19, 2015, 02:27:05 am

Title: Antique plate cameras
Post by: JB Rasor on March 19, 2015, 02:27:05 am
Hello everyone. I hope the pictures attached come through (I'm posting from the phone).

I've been seeing these old bellows style cameras in antique shops for years but I've never purchased one. Are they designed strictly for tin type or plate photography, or can they be used with sheet film as well? I was curious because I'd love to test some out if sheet film would work.

Does anyone know a little history about these particular style cameras?

Thanks all!
JB Rasor
Title: Re: Antique plate cameras
Post by: xocet on March 19, 2015, 05:10:59 am
Head on over to the APUG Plate Camera ( forum for loads of useful info.

The type you've shown can shoot glass plates, or sheet film.  The plates go directly in the holders, whereas film goes in a sheath that goes in the holder.  If you can't find the sheaths, you can use some low tack adhesive on the glass plate and stick the sheet of film to the glass.  They typically just have front rise and fall. A few may have a coupled rangefinder, but most don't, and there are a couple with interchangeable lenses.

There are various sizes of holders, and various mount types (there was no standardised system), so if you do get one, make sure it comes with some holders.  The most common sizes are 6.5x9cm, half plate, 9x12cm and 10x15cm.  9x12cm is probably the easiest to get hold of, and just a wee bit smaller than 4x5".

I've got a ZEH Zeca from the 1930's that I use occasionally.  It's good fun to use, and a fairly light weight "small" large format. I've shot mine handheld as well, using scale focusing and the small finder for rough framing.

Here's one shot I took with mine a while ago:
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Title: Re: Antique plate cameras
Post by: JB Rasor on March 20, 2015, 05:12:28 am
Thanks for the follow up. It could be a fun little investment. I think I'll track a good model down and give it a try.