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Whole Plate Camera & Equipment

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Whole Plate Camera & Equipment

Post  Whole Plate on 2009-07-23, 14:38

Whole Plate: Camera & Equipment Discussion & Questions


The user pool of the whole plate format size is relatively small in comparison to standard large formats such as 4x5", 8x10". If unclear about the format size please post a question on the General Discussions Page. Some of the general forums board such as the Large Format Photography forum provide an alternative resource for questions on non-whole plate formats.

Summary:


Vintage:

The traditional whole plate camera has its provenance from four major geographical areas: England, France, USA and Japan. Design variation in the absence of a maker's plaque is often a more useful clue for the age of a camera due to the high number of small manufacturers and unmarked cameras. There is little intercompatibility between different whole plate cameras prior to the 'double dark slide [DDS] era].


1. Tailboard Design



Penrose Type

Examples: Frank Shoulder Hunter Penrose Watsons & Sons Lancaster & Sons Sands Hunter, Gandolfi, George Hare, Lizars, Underwood [limited movements, tailboard, square bellows]

Numerous minor period manufacturers existed of differing quality and workmanship.






Many of these designs overlapped with the older Daguerreotype whose negative plates were distinctive.

The majority of the Daguerreotype manufacturers are now extant and have not been covered in the Whole Plate Column due to their intrinsic relationship with the historical collector which renders most unsuitable for photographers.







The Giroux Whole Plate Daguerreotype ~ traditional wet plate Daguerreotype







2. Folding Double/Triple Extension Field Cameras

Examples: Thornton Pickard Sanderson, Gandolfi, Charten*, Nagaoka [lightweight, field construction, tapered bellows]




The George Hare Whole Plate Camera





This 1882 design is notable for its early invention of a folding bed design, bringing an innovation to the traditional heavier tail board type towards the

field type camera. Heralded as the lightest and most compact camera of the era, it revolutionised the shape of whole plate cameras. Also called a flat

bed view camera and originally sold as the New Patent Field Camera, available in differing format sizes.








In Japan, Charten whole plate cameras paved a diferent kind of innovation a quarter of a century later.



*Charten, Asanuma Shokai, and other early Japanese camera manufacturers developed following the Meiji Restoration of 1868, to open up foreign influences in Japan and led to the assimilation and calquing of foreign design principles. By 1905, the blockade of foreign imported goods due to the Russo-Japanese War further developed the internal Japanese camera industry, spurring on a design philosophy, insular and separate from other major trends in whole plate design. Consequently Charten cameras are characterised by marked revisions over a relatively short time scale.







3.Studio type


Examples: Ansco, Century , Gundlach (Manhattan Optical Company), Kodak, Korona, Premo, Seneca







(may possess tail-board traits with proto-monorail type construction; greater range of movements and/or studio weight)






4. Modern/Contemporary


Examples: Ebony, Canham, Chamonix, Argentum






The current 'renaissance' of the modern whole plate camera manufacture can be traced back to the efforts and engineering skills of Sal Santamaura, leading to the custom made Ebony whole plate camera and extending further support to other manufacturers, including Chamonix and the current major two film suppliers for whole plate film, Ilford Harmon UK & Kodak Eastman USA.



Modern whole plate cameras are characterised by:



1. Technical Precision: a universal standardisation of the film "T" distance, thus matching film holders precisely with the ground glass.


2. Modern materials: the application of electic and novel materials e.g. titanium, carbon fibre parts, synthetics, velcro.


3. Extended application: extended range of movements and stability over vintage whole plate cameras.


4. Hybridisation of design: unlike vintage manufacturers who often rigorously protected their products with patents thus non-intercompatibility.


5. Cross-compatibility with current Large format & Ultra large format equipment (e.g. lensboards; interchangeable film backs).


6. Manufacturer philosophy is completely unlike vintage whole plate cameras, which although mass-produced, were often of a high standard of workmanship.

In contrast, the modern whole plate camera is built to order - on a custom basis or in small limited run batches.





Acknowledgements: http://www.photographica.nu, www.ingenious.org.uk[url=http://www.vintagephoto.tv/shoulder.shtml]Frank Shoulder[/url]
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Re: Whole Plate Camera & Equipment

Post  colrehogan on 2009-07-29, 06:40

If you have a lot of pictures, having them in one thread is going to take forever to load. I have only seen one show up here, but I imagine that there were others initially?

Diane
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Re: Whole Plate Camera & Equipment

Post  Whole Plate on 2009-08-01, 13:14

Hi Diane,

I'm still in a quandary trying to work out how to migrate data from the old site this one.

Maybe it's best to leave the old site, and use hyperlinks to the old pages, using this forum set up only for discussion.

The old site is easier for managing data (database); this one seems easier to read for posting or discussion.

I'm still not sure...
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Re: Whole Plate Camera & Equipment

Post  colrehogan on 2009-08-02, 14:34

Hi RJ,
I don't know much about that sort of thing. Is there a place to setup an articles section? Perhaps things could be re-created affraid there.
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Re: Whole Plate Camera & Equipment

Post  Whole Plate on 2009-08-02, 16:21

Search me..! Actually I should've considered writing the original whole plate articles as statis content on my own website and then linking it to the site.

It seems so clear - retrospectively...! I'll think about how to do this over the next few weeks.

Kind regards,

RJ
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