Looking For Advice About 4x5 Film Holders

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I am relatively new to 4x5 photography. I presently own a couple of Riteway film holders and some Lisco Regal II film holders. I like the fact that the Riteway holders don't have the small steel hooks to lock the slide in place. They seem easier to use. There is also a caution that the holders can't be used with Linhoff cameras. Does anyone have any advice that they might share about any advantages or disadvantages of one over the other. Are there any other options / makers that I don't know about? Any adivice is welcome.

Bill Lester

-- William D. Lester (wlester@lesterconstruction.com), May 17, 1999


I use both Riteway and Toyo holders.

I have had a rare Riteway holder that had light leak problems but for the most part they are very adequate. One nice feature is the ability to imprint a number on the sheet. I, too, like the fact that you don't have to deal with the hooks found on other holders.

The Toyos are probably the best made holders I have seen. Very solid construction and I have never had a light leak problem. They are about twice as expensive as the Riteways so cost becomes a factor.

I can't comment on the Lisco Regal's.

Bottom line, stick with the Riteways.

-- Mark Windom (mwphoto@nwlink.com), May 17, 1999.


I use a bunch of Lisco Regal II's when I work indoors. I like the hooks, they are one step safer if I manage to grab the holder at the darkslice. When working behind the camera, I haven't noticed any slowdowns because of the hooks. Sure, they are always in the way when I unload the holders in the dark... I like the finishing of the Liscos, the rounded corners, and the recessed part inside to help me locate the edge of film. At closer inspection I notice that there are two kinds of darkslices, ones made sort of anodized aluminum and ones made of plastic-like alloy. Aluminum curves and bends easily (if I keep them in back pockets of my pants) and it is a drag to reshape them. The plastic-sorta thing has a "memory", stays better in shape. Maybe it cracks if I go too far... Outdoors I use Kodak Readyloads. They take less space, they weigh less, they are convenient, but they also cost almost two times more than the film you load in dark, and there are dramatically less choices of film type. There's also an alternative to Kodak: Fuji Quickload. Fuji works well in the Readyload back, once you find out how far you must retract the protecting sleeve... Whatever your choice, I advice you stay with well established brands because holders have differences with their thicknesses, and some may cause out of focus exposures. Maybe someone reading this could quote a holder test from a magazine?



-- Timo Ripatti (timo.ripatti@helsinkimedia.fi), May 18, 1999.

Is the statement about Riteway holders and Linhof cameras correct? If so, why is that? I planned to try the Riteways with my Technika V camera the next time I bought holders and don't remember hearing about this incompatability before (though I learn something new all the time so the fact that I haven't heard of it certainly doesn't mean it's wrong). Is there any problem using the Toyo holders with non-Toyo cameras (i.e. with a Technika V)?

-- Brian Ellis (beellis@gte.net), May 25, 1999.

Fidelity/Lisco/Riteway are all made in Hollywood by the same company. This company is part of the same group that owns, among other companies, Calumet and Cambo.

While all of these holders work in any 45, including Linhof, the new Riteway holders have a latch that the Linhof backs do not depress so the slides do not come out of the holder properly. Of course, since the parent owns Cambo, the Cambo type back seems to operate the holder differently than the Linhof back.

With Linhof we have found that the Fidelity Elite holders can also be a problem when brand new with Linhof as they don't always set fully into the back and you can lose 1/2" of film area until the rough, sharp edge on the bottom of these holders wears down slightly so they then fit properly. This does not happen with the Lisco holders.

When we brought this up to the factory in Hollywood they claimed that the Fidelity and the Lisco holders were made in the smae mold which seems unlikely as the feel of the bottom edge is different on these models.

Since Linhof discontinued their holder series they have been selling the Lisco holders in G

-- bob salomon (bobsalomon@mindspring.com), May 25, 1999.

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