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Thread: Glas plate negatives

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    Member mickello's Avatar
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    Glas plate negatives

    Hi, I have come across some glass plate negatives, well they're not mine, but I would like to photograph them as they are historically valuable to our local area. I'm not sure how to set this up, whether I would need to rig up some sort of light box? Leaning them up against a window seems a bit dodgy, plus the light would be hard to control. Does anyone know the best way to go about this?

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    I assume they're monochrome, and no bigger than 10 x 8 inches. My opinions follow:
    1. Ideally, scan them with a flatbed transparency scanner.
    2. Use a nicely illuminated lightbox and a pretty good rectilinear lens.
    3. Get some local photographer to do them if you can't. (A civic-minded one might do them for free.)
    Am.
    CC, Image editing OK.

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    G'day Mick

    I have a small collection of glass plate negs which I copied using a light box, 24mm lens and close up filter on a 10mp digital camera then inverted and adjusted in PS.

    Unfortunately I don't how old the plates are or who, what, why, where or when.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Ray Heath; 23-05-2012 at 8:26pm. Reason: added note
    Ray

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    Saw this the other day, perhaps it will give you an idea.

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    Perpetually Bewildered fillum's Avatar
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    Over the last few years the State Library has been converting a large collection of glass plates. In order to get all the detail they have been using a 50Mp Hasselblad and 120mm lens. Larger plates require multiple shots which are later stitched in software (eg 10" x 12" are shot in two parts). I'm not suggesting that you need to go to this level , just pointing out what might be required to pull all the detail from the plates. (I don't know if all plates have the same resolution as the one's the Library is converting). If your plates are historically significant it might be worth contacting the Library to see if they can offer any assistance.

    A few links (quite an interesting read - check out the detail in some of the 'zoom' examples)...
    http://blog.sl.nsw.gov.au/holtermann...able-in-action
    http://blog.sl.nsw.gov.au/holtermann...lass-negatives
    http://blog.sl.nsw.gov.au/holtermann...2/the-last-box


    Cheers.
    Phil.

    Some Nikon stuff. I shoot Mirrorless and Mirrorlessless.


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    A local photographer who knows something about darkroom work should be able to make contact prints for you.
    Alive and still clicking - apologies to PSQ.
    Living and working in the Roaring Forties
    Assorted cameras of all sizes and shapes including Pentax K (the original), MX, Z1,K20D; 50mm 1.2, 35mm 2.0, 85mm 1.8

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    If you're handy with building simple things, I reckon a light box would be an ideal way to get them into a digital format.

    I wouldn't fuss too much about ultimate resolution either.. just whatever is required to get a print at the required size.

    If you want more resolution, in the future you could revisit the job with a new higher resolution camera, but all you may end up doing is highlighting the imperfections in the plates.
    Nikon D800E, D300, D70s
    {Nikon} -> 50/1.2 : 500/8(CPU'd) : 105/2.8VR Micro : 180/2.8ais : 105mm f/1.8ais : 24mm/2ais
    {Sigma}; ->10-20/4-5.6 : 50/1.4 : 12-24/4.5-5.6II : 150-600mm|S
    {Tamron}; -> 17-50/2.8 : 28-75/2.8 : 70-200/2.8 : 300/2.8 SP MF : 24-70/2.8VC


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    mickello's Avatar
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    Hi, Thanks for all the info. I'm going to "construct" a light box, could be handy for other stuff too. I've got a reasonable camera..Canon 550D...which lens do you think would be best ?
    1. Canon 24-105L
    2.Canon 10-22
    3.Canon 50mm 1.8
    The plates are only 4x6, but the guy who owns them had one processed by a studio in Brisbane and the resolution is stunning, enlarged to about 10x12.
    I don't think they are all that quality, but I'll post some when I get it together.
    Thanks for your help!

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    I'd suggest using the 50mm lens at f8 - DoF won't be a problem. A 2.5 enlargement to make the print is minimal. With a half-plate negative, you're working with equivalent of untold megapixels.

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