Roll Film Back Follow-Up : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Following up on Roger's earlier questions about roll film backs for 4x5 cameras, who's using what, and how do you like what you're using? I plan to get a 6x7 and 6x9 back (and maybe a 6x12?!) for my Wisner Expedition, so I'd like to know which one to chose. I'd prefer one that slides in like a sheet film holder rather than one that requires me to remove the ground glass. Are these practical, or are there hazards that I need to know about? (As for the wide-angle dilemma, the third lens I bought was a Schneider SA 47mm, in anticipation of using roll film with the camera.) Thanks in advance for any input!

-- Todd Caudle (, November 27, 1999


I have heard that the roll film holders that slip beneath the GG are quite a bit thicker than the standard sheet film holder and are therefore more likely to damage the spring back mechanism with prolonged use. This is especially true with wooden cameras. I have never used a slip-in type so cannot comment from experience ! I use an Ebony field camera and plan to buy a 6x12 roll film back soon, I will buy a Horseman as I have used their 6x9 backs with great results! Best of Luck Paul

-- Paul Owen (, November 27, 1999.

I have used the Sinar 6x7 120/220 roll film holder, which can be inteserted like a film holder. I used with a Sinar C and with an Arca Swiss F-Line with no problems. This holder was replaced by a Horseman 6x9 roll film holder, which requires removing the ground glass, again no problems. I tended use the Grafloks with both backs (a necessity with the Horseman back.

-- Ellis Vener (, November 28, 1999.

I use the Toyo slide in roll film back, and as the thread above mentioned, yes, it does stress the springs out quite a bit, so try one before you buy it, or buy it somewhere that offers a return policy. If you use it a lot, I would prefer one of the sliding backs which has the gg to the left and the film holder on the right, so after you compose, you slide the back to the right and the film is in place and ready to shoot. These are more expensive and also much larger to carry if you work in the field. Good luck...

-- Bill Glickman (, November 29, 1999.

I use a Calumet 6x7 rollfilm holder in both my Arca Swiss & Sinar P 5x4 cameras. No real problems but a couple of points. 1. The rollfilm holder displaces the back by about 9mm so there is bound to be some stress on the springs, over a period of time 2. It is fairly hard to mark out the exact location of the image on the screen. 3. There is a very long film travel so the back must be loaded in subdued light - not a problem for me because I am studio based, but maybee a problem for some

-- Garry Edwards (, December 02, 1999.

A couple of comments from experience. The Calumet back is tough to load in the field because so much leader has to be pulled off the roll. I also had trouble with film flatness in the Calumet so I can't really recommend it. The Sinar is clearly the class act, but for the price of a good used car it should be. Toyo is very thick. It's not a problem for backs that a sprung on hinged levers, but if the back is sprung on leaf springs, they really get a workout. Finally, I have tried sliding backs on Toyo and Wista. They look nice in the catalog, but have two real world problems. First they are big and heavy which negates on of the nice things about roll film. Second, and most important, they displace the focal plane back by a good deal (well over a cm) making it even harder than normal to use wide angle lenses less than 90mm. If you can't justify the Sinar, try the Toyo. Otherwise, get a Horseman and remove the gg.

-- Glenn C. Kroeger (, December 03, 1999.

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