Photography, Fine Art, Wet Plate Collodion, Alternative photography

My “new” camera for Wet Plate Collodion photography

with 14 comments

An abandon trailer in front of our house, taken with my "new" camera Plaubel 5x7" with a Wet Plate Collodion process.

Today started the first European Collodion Weekend at Fotoacademie Eindhoven in Holland, organized by Alex Timmermans. I signed in and even payed a fee for a masterclass so today I should be in this room with Luther Gerlach. But then I got this two great (commercial) projects for two annual reports and I couldn’t afford to take time off. Nevertheless I worked on my own at home, tapping on the energy and inspiration from these masters of Wet Plate Collodion process.

Today I finally finished with modification of my camera for Wet Plate Collodion process. I bought this camera on Ebay for 220 EUR, without a lens, without a lens board and without a focusing ground glass. Plaubel camera is known for it’s German precision craft and relative light-weight. The back for film holder was super tight, so the ordinary 5×7″ film holder could not fit in. I was banging my head how to readjust camera back and then I found a back from Linhof 5×7″ camera in very bad shape. This Linhof camera used to be a Panzer tank comparing to light Plaubel. I draw a plan and a craftsman weld an adapter so I could fit a Linhof back to Plaubel camera. Then I transformed a film holder so it could fit a glass plate. Here is a video how to do it, although I’ve done it a bit better, so the glass plate is better aligned with focusing level.

Today I’ve done first tests. I photographed a trailer that is parked in a vicinity of my house. It was a dim and cloudy day so exposure was 44 seconds at f/4,5. The rest info is in captions. Don’t forget to comment, rate, like and Rock&Roll!


Danes se je zgodil prvi vikend evropske kolodijske fotografije v Eindhovnu, na Nizozemskem, pod vodstvom Alexa Timmermansa. Takoj, ko sem za to izvedel, sem se prijavil in plačal udeležnino za demonstracijo in danes bi moral biti pri TEM dogodku z Luther Gerlach-om. A na žalost (ali na srečo) sem dobil dva velika komercialna angažmaja za dva letna poročila, tako si nisem mogel privoščiti potovanja. Kljub temu, sem delal sam zase, doma, priključen na energijo in inspiracijo teh velikih mojstrov fotografije.

Danes sem končno zaključil modifikacijo kamere za proces mokrega kolodija. To kamero sem kupil na Ebayu za 220 EUR, a je bila brez objektiva, brez plošče za objektiv in brez fukusnega stekla. Plaubel znamka je znana po svoji nemški natančnosti in relativno majhni teži, tako je bil hrbet kamere narejen za posebno, res tanko kaseto za plan filme. Običajna kaseta ni niti približno sedla. Kak mesec sem si razbijal glavo kako bi priredil hrbet, a potem sem našel star, odtrgan hrbet Linhof 5×7″ kamere. Samo predstavljam si lahko, da je cela Linhofca bila pravi panzer tank proti moji Plaubelki. Natuhtal sem načrt za adapter in orodjar mi je iz kovine privaril primeren adapter, da sem lahko spravil Lihnof hrbet na Plaubelco. Potem sem še običajno kaseto za film prikrojil, da vanjo lahko vložil stekleno ploščo. TUKAJ je video celega postopka, a jaz sem naredil bolje, da se fokusna ravnina bolje ujema, kot se na dotičnem filmu. No, nisem jaz kaseto postružil, ampak jo je sosed majster Jože (HVALA!!!)

Danes sem naredil prvi test. Fotografiral sem prikolco, ki zapuščena leži v gozdu blizu moje hiše. Danes je bilo temno in oblačno, tako je bila ekspozicija 44 sekund pri 4,5 blendi. Ne pozabite lajkat, komentirat in Rock & Roll!

This is how I got it from Ebay for 220 EUR.

This is with a Plaubel original back, appropriate for a sheet film holder, but with a new ground glass.

This is after I finished with my work on the camera.

The back of Linhof 5x7" camera.

Voigtlander Heliar lens 300mm, f/4,5

A normal film holder modified for a glass plates.

This is a digital photo 🙂

Which one is better: The digital or the collodion one? 🙂


14 Responses

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  1. Looks like you solved your “back” problem. Really nice clarity with the Voigtlander. I bet the European Collodion Weekend will be a smashingly fun time. Soak it up and enjoy!


    15 April, 2012 at 00:03

  2. Borut, pitty you couldn’t join us today !
    BTW i prefer the digital version for sure………. Just kidding
    The collodion version for sure !

    see you next time


    Alex Timmermans

    15 April, 2012 at 01:16

  3. Such an amazing process with such great results. What a great medium to use in today’s modern world when old processes are being past by and forgotten. Such things will take on great value in the future I’m sure as people decide to look backwards and try to understand the past. I love the pictures!

    BoJo Photo

    15 April, 2012 at 03:29

  4. Thx for the comments guys! Alex I am there on your festival, but not in person and thankfully not in a way as Frederick Scott Archer is present with us 🙂

    Borut Peterlin

    15 April, 2012 at 09:16

  5. Hey, Did you drive to Holland? Want to make a pit-stop in Brussels? Enjoy the workshop and I’m guessing you have something for Fotopub this year! Old school workshop!


    16 April, 2012 at 09:36

  6. Ciao JC. You know me, if I can, I spare some CO2 by traveling by train, so I was planning to come by train, but as you have read it, it didn’t work out. Nevertheless I’m super happy and in super working mood! In few weeks I’ll have a darkroom again! Famu times revival. I guess it’s middle age crisis…

    Borut Peterlin

    16 April, 2012 at 16:28

  7. ah the middle age crisis…i’ve seen worse man. i’ve seen middle aged men grow their hair long, speak about they wish they were an athlete, buy frivolous things…oh…errrr….yeah…you’re old man, but you’re also WILD MAN, WILD. look forward to see your darkroom.


    16 April, 2012 at 17:34

  8. Lol, i am middle aged but my hair doesn’t grow anymore….. ( on my head)
    BUT, i have a darkroom !!!!!

    Alex Timmermans

    16 April, 2012 at 21:31

  9. I could give you the contact to Borut’s hairguy…the best wigs from India. Borut’s hair, much like his work, is a piece of art and it took many years to come to blossom. When he had a darkroom he had short hair and now he has both. That is dedication.


    17 April, 2012 at 11:23

  10. Very much true. I don’t have a darkroom yet and today I’m super bad mood! I ruined my silvernitrate bath, contaminated it with dirt … I want to pull my hair out!

    Borut Peterlin

    17 April, 2012 at 19:35

  11. Don’t panic. Good chance ypu can recover it. Store it in a transparent glass bottle, sun it for several hours and start filtering it.
    Do this several times. If there is no sun you can use a sunbank.

    Alex timmermans

    17 April, 2012 at 19:43

  12. Thx Alex. I’m pretty much sure I will recover it. I filter it through cotton ball for about 10 times and it’s much better and today I’ll buy proper lab filter pads and I’ll finnish the job. I’ll also need to buy hydrometer since I broke it yesterday. Yes, yesterday was not my day, but today’s another day!

    Borut Peterlin

    18 April, 2012 at 06:49

  13. I did it! I did recover silver bath, but it took me 2 days and about 20 filtering, but now it’s good. PH is 4, which is OK I guess.

    Borut Peterlin

    19 April, 2012 at 07:05

  14. I’m very happy to see this blog come alive again…it has been hybernating for some months but thanks to your new found passion in this photography I’m happy to say that Borut “two scars” Peterlin is back! *applause*


    19 April, 2012 at 10:37

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