4x5 Glass plate holder question

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Frederick Avery
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4x5 Glass plate holder question

Post by Frederick Avery » Thu Feb 02, 2012 5:25 pm Etc/GMT-1+01:00

Hi guys.
I have just bid on some glass plate holders which I assume will be for 4x5 view cameras, but as I haven't done wet plate photography before I'm confused with the dimensions. One set is 9x12 cm and one set is 10x15 cm. I'm assuming (hoping) that it deals with the internal size of the glass, and that overall the holders will fit a 4x5 camera. Any comments?

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Re: 4x5 Glass plate holder question

Post by Fourtoes » Fri Feb 03, 2012 10:55 am Etc/GMT-1+01:00

Not sure, were they advertised as 5x4 holders?

My MPP glass plate holders fit the usual MPP camera but take a 5x4 plate exactly.
There were many many variety of plate holders of loads of unusual sizes, hopefully the ones you've bought are of use.

Emmanuel Bigler
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Re: 4x5 Glass plate holder question

Post by Emmanuel Bigler » Mon Feb 13, 2012 8:21 pm Etc/GMT-1+01:00

One set is 9x12 cm and one set is 10x15 cm. I'm assuming (hoping) that it deals with the internal size of the glass, and that overall the holders will fit a 4x5 camera. Any comments?

Hello from France

9x12 and 10x15 cm were common glass plate and cut film sizes in Continental Europe before the Second Word War.
At the time, I doubt that any 5x4" plate holder was used in France or Germany. 10x15 cm was the "postcard" size, Postcards of the good old days were printed by contact on silver-gelatin paper and are usually incredibly sharp.
To the best of my knowledge, it is only after WW-II that "International" 9x12cm-5x4" camera backs were introduced, probably modelled from American Press camera backs (springback/graflok).

Hence for your glass plate holders, if they were fabricated before WW-II, it would be surprising if they actually directly fit a modern, post-WW-II, International 5x4" back. But it is difficult to say anything without looking at them.

There were many different glass plate holders in the French and German industry, and few of them from different manufacturers will actually be interchangeable. One kind in Germany is the "Normalfalz" ; another type is the 'MIllionenenfalz" but the rule before WW-II was : no common standard shape, those holders which can "cross-fit" between different brands are the exceptions, like the Normalfalz.

I have manipulated Voigtländer 9x12 glass plate holders, of the German type "Normalfalz", made of thin folded metal foils, fitting the Avus 9x12 camera but probably many other 9x12 European cameras of the 1920's-1930s. They definitely do not fit any modern 5x4" camera. And 10x15 cm holders are too big to fit a 5x4" back.

However you could imagine to make an adaptor, at least to fit the 9x12 cm holders; the technical problem is only to find the proper location for the ground glass. On the Avus, one of the cassettes was actually a glas holder with a ground glass inside. You an modifiy an existing glass plate holder to load a ground glass inside. After cutting the back of the holder, you can see the ground glass and you know thar the image will focus exactly where you'll put your sensitive glass plate in another idenical holder.
For 10x15 cm holders, it is not impossible to imagine an adaptor that would support the plate holder behind the actual film plane position at the back of a modern 5x4" camera. There exist 6x17 cm panoramic rollfilm holders that you fit behind a 5x4" graflok back, with a kind of tapered extender shaped like a chimney hood. If your lens has a focal length long enough you'll be able to focus on infinity, even if the glass plate holder is, say, one or two centimeters behind the graflok's positions.

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