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Monday, 24 January 2011


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You pinned it. Like you most of my photography now is digital and for the same reasons you gave.
But I still pack an ancient Hasselblad on vacation and occasionally take it out for a drive in the country up here in the Loess Hills. There's no practical reason to do it, just a love of the process. That and the pictures are sharp and can be.
Anyway your new single use device is sure a looker. May I suggest trying some Ziatypes?
My son put me on to them last year and they are a lot of fun.
As a printing out process they seem to be a little easier to control than palladium and make lovely little objects to hand to your friends.

Hi Mike,
my idea for a kind of a resolution this year is building my own tailboard camera for wet plate collodion shooting.
how's that for Contrarianism?:)

She's a beauty!
I have been resisting the same temptation for several years...ever since there was a two page spread order form in View Camera where I saw I could order the film.
I got out the Deardorf last fall, just mounting the thing on a big tripod and shleping it outdoors was a lot like work.
I bought a Box Tengor and have been happy. Somebody else can smell like Hypo
Enjoy your new camera!

I also admire those who go against the grain -- excepting those who only do it for the sake of the "contrarian" label.


Good for you!! It sounds like a very interesting experiment, and I imagine that you'll enjoy it. I wouldn't be so sure of those contact prints being too small---I went to the Chicago Cultural Center this weekend to see the Vivian Maier exhibition, but also wandered in on this exhibition:


And most of those prints seemed to be smaller than what your contact print would be.

Have fun with it!!


Congratulations! Now the challenge is to find subject matter that suits both you and the camera- it's out there. I look forward to seeing the results!

Well Mike, I went through a similar, albeit not as intense, process last year when I decided to get a 4X5,I bought a Cambo SC Cheap and some instant film since I had never really played with anything other than 35mm(Aside from a brief foray into 6x7 30+ years ago)
I have found that a full year later, I still haven't spent as much time with it as I would like (its a lot like work)I have some sheet film that I have every intent to make contact sheets with the same purpose as you describe, they remain in the freezer for the moment.... I have this fear that the adapter plate I bought that will enable my DSLR to mount will turn this device and the wonderful Schneider lenses into a sophisticated "lens baby"...... We'll see what this winter looks like. Good luck with your project I sincerely wish you greater success than I have realized:-)

Nice photo of you Michael!

Great minds think alike. I've often said, if I go back to film, it would be 5 x 7 and contact printing.

But you left out the best part. summer afternoons drinking beer in the backyard and tending your contact frames...If you can still get POP.


6.5 x 8.5 inch negatives!

Perfect size for scanning on a flatbed scanner and making very large digital prints!

I think you've just introduced us to a new genre, Vicarious Photography. Now we can all enjoy the trials and tribulations of WP photography without actually enduring the pain.
It does look like a really nice camera, though. Good luck.

So while you are on a diet you've bought a camera that takes wholeplate film. : )

Hmm, that guy Mike Johnston is a handsome
gentleman. As for the camera, it is too!.
No doubt both perform their function equally well.
The niche is the image, something to
be held in the hand of the viewer, reverence for
photography perhaps?

Hi Mike, glad to see you back.

Speaking of contrariness, I can't help noticing that your new purchase is a thing of considerable beauty.

My contrarian streak expresses itself primarily in the opposite direction, though a taste for the intensely practical...my current car being a Skoda Roomster and my current camera being a D700, both workhorses of well rounded capabilities and complete lack of stylistic finesse.

Of course all this worthiness falls apart when it comes to designer furniture, italian light fittings and my girlfriend, all of which I chose for purely aesthetic reasons. This has led to chronic lower back pain and occasional electrocution but in one case worked out extremely well, thus proving that allowing your heart to take over can sometimes be exactly the right decision.

I'm sure the same will be true of your Chamonix, though possibly a bit of lower back pain may creep in as well ;)


I agree with you, except I'm too lazy.

Makes sense to me. My only contrarian view is that 6.5 x 8.5 prints would be perfect to mat, frame and hang. (Not to say that should matter a twit to you; just my taste.)

Many of my collectible prints are this size or smaller and they look wonderful hung together in a reading room that includes cases for my books. I enjoy being surrounded by the prints (rotated on occasion) while perusing the books.

Much of the work I enjoy at museum exhibitions and elsewhere are also similarly sized. And my own work is often not much bigger, depending on the image. I find appeal in taking in the entire geometry of a print, at a reasonably close viewing distance. Today's oversized prints often bore me, and I happily embrace 'properly' sized prints...perfect for framing.

I want one! I remember when I got my first 4" x 5" transparency back and put it on the lightbox. My immediate reaction was not that it was so much better than my MF efforts. It was "I wonder what a 10" x 8" looks like"

Yup, that's a pretty gorgeous lump right enough.

You could still do enlargements if you wanted: find a light-box big enough to take a neg and mount it on a glass plate as a replacement for the regular back - a heath-robinson Graflarger. "Light come in; light go back out". (Whether that fits with your philosophy on image-quality for the project of using this thing is a different matter.)

It is so unlikely as to be impossible that I will ever undertake something like this (never say never) but yet I find it so fascinating an impossibility.

I cannot imagine that there could possibly be a better way to take a photograph than with an instrument like this. Much more convenient methods exist, but the visceral thrill of knowing you have had a part in creating a photograph (as opposed to photocopying your surroundings) must be greatest with a view camera.

I am catching quite a lot of teasing from my photo group for my enthusiasm for a more involved experience with photography, thanks to this site. You really have to stop these posts :)

Mike, do Whole Plate and Wet Plate go together? Seems like a match to me but even more of a niche.

Just wondering: Is it possible to retrofit standard 4x5 or 5x7 film holders on your Chamonix or is it whole plate only? If the latter then I am deeply impressed and humbled by your devotion to principle. My only prayer is that if you ever decide to sell it you can find that one other person on earth who shares such single-minded sense of purpose.

You should get together with the rest of us in the Midwest Large Format Asylum and come out on an outing. There are several members in the Milwaukee area.


Mostly 4x5 folks, though there are a few with larger formats.

I've been lusting for that Chamonix Whole Plate camera for over a year now. I'm jealous.

>What's all the rage in photography today? Exaggerated, saturated color; image manipulation, such that the final picture doesn't always respect the lens image; and oversized prints.<
Well, just to be contrarian, large format & contact printing seems rather like a sidestep. For taking a position opposed to the scheme above you would have to shoot 35mm b/w film. So I think, you just didn't want to be so much contrarian, but rather 'different'.

Cool, looks great, now string it to a backpack and go hit the trails. : )

I have a mild urge (still resistible) to try large format. We have a guy in town, a friendly eccentric, who rebuilds and shoots all sorts of cameras like this, most antique, various weird processes (palladium, etc), who pays some bills using a very old panorama camera that swings on the tripod automatically while he yells to hold still. Need to get down to his messy shop and see if he has anything usable he'd sell or loan out (as he already offered to show me the developing).

Looking forward to some results. Of course we are still looking forward to some K5 results too...

If my memory is still efficient, I think I recall a funny article by MJ in Darkroom Photography. It was about an elusive horse in a field and an LF camera.

I'm sure it is in my bookself, somewhere.

Retour aux sources ?

I know it's not my camera, I know it's not my style of photography... but what a beautiful photographic device!!!

"Then why bother? Well, there's absolutely no practical reason—I just thought it might be fun, and a nice counterpart to a DSLR."

For that matter, why bother with photography at all, eh?

Fun, in all its variations, is what photography's all about for us amateurs. I've ceased thinking in a digital-vs-film structure. I can now freely be ignored in either medium without making legitimizing declarations.

I've long wanted to try my hand with such a camera, too. But I have to draw the line somewhere. I just don't have the space or the development resources to fool with such a contraption. So I'll have to live vicariously through you.

Have "fun" Mike. Let's at least see a few shots taken with this thing before you sell it.

I recently became the owner of a whole place camera also. Only mine is nowhere near as fancy as yours. The one I have is as best as I have been able to tell from the early 1900's. It is a wet plate camera. There were still 2 glass plates in the holders when I got it. It looks like a fun process, but with limited time one I feel I won’t be able to try, anytime soon. If it was film I might give it a shot. Have fun.


...and the lens ??

You do look like a contrarian sitting there beside that beauty.

"...and the lens ??"

The lens is a 210mm Rodenstock, very moderately wide angle on WP.


>> Just wondering: Is it possible to retrofit standard 4x5 or 5x7 film holders on your Chamonix or is it whole plate only? <<

Chamonix offers a WP --> 5x7 reducing back. Even if they didn't, a craftsman like Richard Ritter could easily build one or adapt one from another camera.

The WP Chamonix should make a fine 5x7 camera as well - it's light enough that the weight is still well within reason for the smaller format.

Of course, there are "probably" other ways to get hand holdable prints, but this aint about logic, so... enjoy!

You can have C41 colour negs processed any place they use a dip-and-dunk. The film is held by the awful metal claws with a spring attached to the development frame. Not a problem for that. Can you imagine a contact print from an Ektar 100 neg properly masked to white with rubylith on 11x14 C paper? Signed and perhaps numbered? I'll buy one.

I am ignorant when it comes to the sizes mentioned: the camera is an 8x10 inch view camera, the sheets are cut to the same size, but the prints you plan to make (contacts) are 6.5x8.5. Are the margins of the sheet film holder that wide? (I would say they needn't be, technically speaking, to keep them flat, but if I am wrong, is 8x10 the size of the glass plates of old?)

And before I forget, congratulations - what a beauty!

Hey, all you wet plates enthusers,

Don't forget the option of dry plate. Easier, cheaper, less dangerous, all the way around -- and you don't have to alter your cameras!

Whole(Glass,Dry)Plate Enthusiast

And, Mike, the biggest congratulations imaginable to you!

Good for you Mike! It looks like it could be a lot of fun. BTW, who's that handsome gentleman with the mischievious expression? :)

I'm looking to get back into B&W film photography (TX) with my "35mm view camera." I have a Nikon F2 with a meterless prism, grid viewfinder screen, and a never used Nikon 28/3.5 PC lens. I'll be using a bubble level in the hotshoe, a handheld meter, mechanical cable release, and a tripod.

I have a D700 and all that but I'm having a difficult time taking digital photography seriously, plus I've been inspired by all the superb B&W film photography featured on your site. I'm looking forward to getting back in my darkroom and firing up my Beseler 23CIII with a VC head. With my technique in place (it was a lightbulb moment for me reading your blog on technique) I'm exploring some themes that seem promising.

Mike, why are you leaning away from your camera? I wonder what body language "experts" have to say about that :)


To push your contrarianism to greater levels, how about using that photo on eHarmony.com? ;-))

Or even speeddating.com ;-))


Careful you're not part of a trend though, instead of being a contrarian. :)


Well done Mike. Now the pressure is on though, as your audience would like to see some of the work you do. But it's all about process, and I think your new endeavor will provide many happy hours of that.

Guess I'm a bit of a contrarian, too. My last two purchases were the 14-24 Nikkor for my D3S...and an aperture for a 4x5 pinhole camera I'm building out of black foamcore.

@Gordon Lewis
Yes they make the 4x5 and 5x7 backs. The only reason I know is I almost bought one last month. But I couldn't bear to sully the Chamonix with the silver nitrate used in the wet plate process. Instead I opted with a WP camera (from Ty Guillory)someone here mentioned during that last Chamonix discussion.

BTW Mike if you ever end up with that 5x7 back and want to try wet plate I have plate holders you are more than welcome to.

You've got my number if this doesn't work out. :-)

Have fun with the new toy!

And don't feel TOO bad if you think of a second use for it.

Hey, Mike, Printfile makes a 7x6 sheet, too. Great for the manual cameras that let you get 39 or 40 shots a roll. Looks like you've moved onto another Printfile product, however.

Beautiful camera, and definitely looks like a fun process (otherwise, why bother). I had the LF bug bite yesterday when I set up my '58 rolleicord on a tripod and shot some winter/architectural scenes. While the ground-glass viewing and deliberate focus/set exposure/cock shutter was quite enjoyable, on more than a few shots I started wishing for some perspective correction.

What holds me back is my lack of sheet-film developing capabilities and a scanner that can only do 120 (I'm pretty sure: Epson V500).

This kind of shooting has been an interesting counterpoint to my available light, handheld, small format shooting in the past as well.

I think it's a neat format but I'm not convinced. 8x10 isn't that much bigger, and those are great for contact printing, with less fuss if you have to cut something down. 4x5 is just barely contact printable, but enlarges well and is even easer to tray or dip/dunk process at home.

No offense but it sounds like you made things sort of difficult for yourself. I agree with your points about digital and film coexisting, and they do for me. I started with an 8x10 and settled on a 4x5 (after moving to NYC where I'm mostly on foot). Between the portable size, high resolution, ease of developing in my kitchen, scanning in my living room, and printing in my bathroom makes it the best all-rounder I can think of.

Still your circumstances are different. So god speed to you, Sir! And please, above all, post some of your work from this camera online. I'm still waiting for some nice K-5 photographs!

A few comments:

1) It's a lovely portrait of two productive anachronisms. :-)

2) I look forward to seeing some on-screen reproductions of your work with this thing. Some day perhaps I will be lucky enough to hold and examine the contact prints themselves.

3) As others have expressed — better you than me.

Congratulations!!! At $175 EACH, how many film holders did you get?
PS, when I hit the Lottery, I will have Gandolfi build me a Whole Plate camera and a dozen holders, and go off to photograph the wilds of Yorkshire (with some young buck to carry the thing).

Just think of the great portraits you can do of family and friends,I think that alone makes it a good purchase.

That's a beautiful-looking piece of kit and it makes me extremely nostalgic just to see a photograph of it.

"You can have C41 colour negs processed any place they use a dip-and-dunk."

I'm not positive, but I don't think this is true. The claw-clips are on frames that have to be sized to different film sizes; you can't put 8x10 negs in 4x5 frames or vice-versa. I assume there must be "odd format" frames but I don't recall.

It's been a long time since I've seen a dip-and-dunk line, though, so I could be wrong.


"how many film holders did you get?"

I got three, which I think is one more than I really need. However, it's an interesting issue. 4x5, 5x7 and 8x10 are all standardized, so holders and cameras are interchangeable. WP isn't, so the holders that come with the camera might one day be the only ones that would be easy to find that are guaranteed to work with that camera. For that reason I'm considering investing in 2-3 more holders, just to protect the value of the camera for the next owner(s). I'd hate to not be able to sell the thing because there are only 3 holders and the buyer wants 4. (This assumes that Chamonix won't be in business forever--for now, of course, a buyer of the camera could just order more holders from Chamonix. But these cameras last a long time, and continue to be useful as long as you have all the bits and pieces you need. Many an antique camera is unusable only because it doesn't have any holders--or it only has glass plate holders and none for film--etc.)


And what are you planning to take pictures of?

"Anyway, that's my New Year's resolution this year: 50 sheets of WP film in '11. It's either going to be fun, or not. And if it's not, then there is, indeed, no reason to bother. But it might be. I aim to see."

Many years ago, in one of the last 37th Frame, you wrote the most beautiful and adequate article I've ever seen on why buying one woodfield LF camera is the the best photographic investment one can make in his/her life.


With what camera did you take this portrait?

If you really want a retro experience with this camera, then buy my spare Nikkor 260mm/f10 APO process lens and forego using a shutter. I'll make you a great deal and we can thus enable each other, as I'll no doubt put the money from it toward something else related to my photography!


Ok, you're not that contrarian with that Apo-Sironar S lens choice, instead of, say, a Rapid Rectilinear! A bit overkill for contacts only, but certainly a sweet, sweet lens. Any other lenses planned to keep it company?
And, what film?

Someone might have mentioned it in one of the comments above but your remark about contact prints and "holding in the hand" reminded me that Brooks Jensen at Lenswork has a very nice DVD on the subject of making "Folios" that would probably suit your approach with this camera very well.


Across the globe there is an emerald glow of envy emanating from beneath the Southern Cross.

I know that you are going to be blown away by that glorious Sironar-S 210mm. I have the Sinaron SE version and I swear it is the sharpest lens I have ever had the joy to use.

I need my film fix available to me regularly. The motivations for film and digital capture are, for me, quite at odds with one and other. Digital is about efficiency and fiscal expediency whereas my film work is about passion, craft and enjoyment. And few things in life can match the sumptuous luxury of composing the world on inverted and reversed 'road-side television'. Welcome and enjoy.


"With what camera did you take this portrait?"

I didn't take it--Jack did. He used a Leica S2.


"Any other lenses planned to keep it company? And, what film?"

Nope, just the 210mm. The film I have is Ilford HP5+.



I had 4X10 regularly processed. This is not standard. Anyway, I'll buy B&W too...

It might be fun to try exposing some Cibachrome Ilfrachrome paper in it. OK, images would be left-right reversed, but you want "contrarian", and the results would definitely be "single use". The paper's a bit slow (ISO 5-ish?), but that could lead to some interesting images in their own right.

Beautiful piece of equipment; reminds my of my youthful love for black powder rifles and side by side shotguns, and makes me wonder why cameras aren't decorated more; though checkering is both decorative and functional.

Meanwhile, I'll suppress my inner tripod nerd, and make no comment on that walnut, alyoumineeumm, and carbon fiber, you say, wonderment on ... ?

Your not fooling anybody. You got it because it's a chick magnet.

Nice head! The one on the left I mean. Looks like the G2270M I've had on my wish list for years as a replacement for my battered and now less smooth G1270.

Have fun with the WP. Remember it's NOT about the resolution ... this is a given

A Printfile 35-7BXW holds 7 strips of 6, which lets me get the full 38-39 exposures out of a roll of 36! Hard finding a binder that fits, though.

Well that's a trendy brand for a contrarian project, almost a hipster's camera :o).

Anyway I wish I could use my Chamonix 4x5 more, it really is an excellent tool. Lately I've been shooting it with a no-brand 8 inch lens from the 80's (the 1880's that is), with no shutter attached.

I'll be really impressed if you start using one of these.

Good on you, Mike! Looking forward to seeing the first results. And how goes the darkroom construction?

Contrarian, but less than you may think. Just yesterday the Yomiuri Shinbun had a piece on a new Linhof Users Club in Japan and their passion for large-format photography.


Well, I applaud your decision with gusto.

Large format has always been the film I've wanted to shoot. I will go that route at some point for sure. In the name of full disclosure, my "Leica For Life" idea for my street photography has ended after 8 months. This Saturday I delivered (in a snowstorm) my Leica to a nice guy from Michigan. I even told him about TOP. Can't wait to see what if anything you make of that sucker Mike!

Que Sera Sera!

If you want to forego the whole film stage and just get prints try Ilford's new direct positive black and white paper.

Edgar Praus can do your color processing - E6 or C41 - http://www.4photolab.com.

I don't think the logic for shooting WP is odd at all. Shooting 35mm film is the most contrarian thing you can do, given that digital makes it redundant.

Oh! THAT'S what they look like when they grow up!

One day. One day.

I reckon, as you used to, that the need for a tripod is the biggest fun killer in using a view camera, whick is probably why I use my crown graphic ten times more than my sinar p. In fact these days I run around with the graphic with a grandagon 65mm like I was using an swc hasselblad, huge fun.
Like everyone else I want to know the subject matter for this beast. Good shooting!

Sometimes one of the best things about LF (5x7" in my case) is that you can leave it at home sometimes and grab that Leica or rangefinder of choice (or digital if you must) and savour the freedom of hand held and compact from time to time.

Mike, what's your intention re printing? Just contacts (great)? Gelatin silver paper or coat your own?

There's something about the Whole Plate format that just seems so right. I've made most of my living shooting primarily sheet film, until the digital "revolution". Always loved 8X10, it's a drag to shoot, and especially difficult for things like people portraits and any moving subject; but easy to tray process to perfection and contact print.

I hate the 5X7 format for the same reason I hate 35mm: say what you want about the "golden mean" or whatever excuse they've always been making, it's a format that always makes it seem like you're "forcing" a subject into it (except landscape), unlike the 4X5/8X10 format; BUT, it's probably the smallest format you can realistically contact print and show!

4X5 is great to shoot, process, and relatively easy to enlarge (or even scan). Not so bad to contact for a person used to looking at prints, but that's NOT what the art world wants... Sadly (since I have one I'm trying to sell) 4X5 enlargers seem to have no value, so it's fairly easy to set up a darkroom for far less than it was even ten years ago.

I still have an 8X10 Deardorff hanging around, the idea being when I don't have to rely on photography for a living (like if I can actually retire, HA), it would be great to dump everything and just shoot 8X10 and make contact prints. No darkroom equipment but trays, and contact frame, and a swinging overhead lightbulb. I still take it out a few times a year (needs new bellows, but don't they all!), and even after shooting 8X10 for years, earlier in my life, it's still sort of a drag, especially outside!

It's just tough to move back enough to see the whole frame, then check every corner, and work with a longer lens, and keep the wind vibration down, etc. etc. I remember shooting 5X7 outside and thinking: "Hey, this is nice.", and I think Whole Plate is only very marginally larger, and a better aspect ration for me. The more I think about it, the more I wonder how it fell out of favor at all!

My last trip to shoot in San Francisco made me completely worried about film processing, tho. I used to love to pick up a shooting gig there because it wasn't hard to sell them on shooting film, and the labs were plentiful and all pretty good. Now that's been amazingly cut down, even pretty close to what's available in my little mid-western town, and that makes me worried about the future of film more than ever before. It's not whether film and processing will be available, it's whether a person doing it as a "hobby" will be able to afford it!

Ilford and others might be making some Whole Plate film, but even if they quit, what happens if no one decides to admin the 8X10 market either so you can't cut it down to fit? This is the kind of stuff that keeps me up at night!

BTW, as a professional photographer, I have to say for years, I just don't get what all you amateurs are constantly blasting away at, now with digital (and before with film). More and more over the last 15 years, I rarely shoot on vacation, or for myself, especially if the results are just going to be a picture of average import. More and more, I'll be looking at a sunset or a beautiful scene, and I'll think that I don't want to ruin the experience of this by trying to take a picture of it. This idea was brought back to me recently by reading an article someone wrote on the "Slow Photography Movement", as a reaction to people constantly snapping away with cellphone cameras and all.

Guess what I'm trying to say, is if your actual living doesn't depend on selling images by the pound, why aren't you ALL shooting Whole Plate!

What a fantastic picture of a tool! The camera, I mean.

Have followed yours since a bit longer than this site. Hence, always remember your article on the cons of using large format. Mind to talk to Micheal to add a link to this page. I think there is some pros of using large format :-).

I use Jobo to develop my films. Whils the 5L is gone now, the E6 10L might be an option, it is possible to do your own 8x10 E6 and in fact the only process I used, as I cannot afford to use others to develop my 8x10.

Having said that, I think you might find the lab who do 8x10 might adjust their clip to get yours done I think. Base on what I saw their system is in a lab I used, it is doable. Cutting 8x10 to Full Plate is also doable.

Good luck!

Well, i'd go combi with a large format (and I want to, yes I want to). I would go for a 4x5 (semi-portable and relatively lightweight since essentially its a box with two sides, a lens and a plateholder). Then this baby:


will come into play. Develloping I could do at a freinds studio I guess. I would use about 20 negatives a year. Just for those shots that demand texture cause nothing beats the texture of a well scanned 4x5 exept a well scanned 8x10 or course (but then my computer would fluke out).

Greetings, Ed

Greetings, Ed.

Dear Mike,

One of the great things about photography is its fungibility.

Don't get me wrong-- I think the project you described is just perfect for you, and I wouldn't change a thing.

But, if *you*, down the line, decide you want to move it in a different direction, the whole-plate format gives you all sort of options. As several people have pointed out, it is definitely not too small to hang on a wall and/or exhibit. In fact, most of Laurie Edison's darkroom prints, while printed on 8x10 paper, are whole-plate or smaller size images. They look just fine on display.

Conversely, it's a great size to move to large digital prints from. It's big enough that a 1200 ppi flatbed scan will give you enough data to support essentially any size print, no matter how big. It's small enough that you won't be seriously vexed by the edge-to-edge nonuniformities that are common to affordable flatbeds.

All in all, a great choice for you, whether you stay true to the plan or have it evolve and mutate with time.

pax / Ctein

I am very late on my comment for this posting but I think a single-use camera with an old-fashioned film size demands a Tessar-type lens. If you ever want to go with a longer lens maybe look into Schneider Xenars. I know nothing about them other than Schneider-Kreuznach large format Xenars would come up in search results when I was looking for examples of medium format Xenar pics.

I hope you really enjoy the camera and get some great photos out of it. I like to think I'm a contrarian too so I really like your idea of single-use, B&W and hand holding the contact prints. Speaking of contact prints, we have a set of 4 watercolor paintings that are each about 2" square that my wife hung 2 by 2. My wife also took vacation photos and turned them B&W and cropped them to 2.75" squares which she framed and hung in a 3 by 3 square. The groupings look so good that it made me think I could even do contact prints from medium format film! Simplicity is good.

I too am a contrarian on whether you can hang WP prints for display. Try it, I think you will be surprised.

You are going to love that 210mm focal length on WP. It is really nice. I know you are aware of this already, the 210mm Rodenstock helps you make really beautiful photos.

I am sitting at my desk looking at two contact prints hanging on my wall that were made with my WP Improved Seneca. One is WP, the other was made with the 5x7 reducer back. I think you are going to have a good time with your new camera. Once your darkroom is finished!


Good going. I love this. Whole plate is a lovely format--just ask any daguerreotypist. I bought a 5x7 following more or less the same train of thought. I do like your camera.

I went contrarian just recently with an Ansco 5x7 (with 4x5 conversion back) and 210mm Schneider Symmar-S lens. Just got back my first B&W images (Ilford FP4) and I'm hooked. Looked all over the web and found some 4x5 and 5x7 transparency film and a local place that develops it so I'm hoping to really improve my landscape photography.

Please keep us appraised of your experiences and post some images.

I guess I've been an oddball for years, using WP, 7x11 and 10x12 formats. Contact printing on Azo or in Pt/Pd. Wouldn't have it any other way...oh and I have cut down 10 sheets of colour to WP size to take with me next week on my Death Valley trip...

Maybe the 11-12 winter print offer could be Mike J contact prints?


I keep getting this urge for a 5x7 camera - you're not helping!

My camera is a 12 x 15 Vageeswari dry plate. I've lately made some lens boards and mounted some lenses to look through it. Some day I'll learn how to coat plates for it.
Michael Carter

Seems to me it's more suited to the description as a 'Compact Camera'


More power to you in chasing this project, Mike. I waffled long enough on picking up a Fotoman 810PS that they went out of business. For some reason contact printing out of a 8x10 or 11x14 "point and shoot" has tremendous appeal for me and would make a great PAW project.

My local dip & dunk lab (Dorian Color Lab, uses Refrema equipment) has processed 3A (3-1/4" x 5-1/2") and 9x12cm size E-6 and C-41 sheet film for me with no problems. They only clip it on one side. However, they do put the clips rather aggressively far into the film -- they don't want it to fall off the rack into the dunk.


Just curious what paper you're planning to use for the contact prints? Are you going to be going the Lodima route, or will you be sticking to standard enlarging paper and if so which one?



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