neg. carriers/glass or not : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Can anybody offer an opinion on glass or glassless neg. carriers for 4x5? Thanks.

-- Raven (, February 29, 2000


I prefer glassless for 4 X 5. There's that many less surfaces to remove dust from. Besseler makes an expensive carrier that clamps the negative in place called the Neg-a-flat if that's an issue for you. Zone VI has it's "Out Straight" carrier for 8 X 10 and I think the smaller foramts. Elwood made something very similar.

-- Sean yates (, March 01, 2000.

Go glassless every time! Dust and Newton's rings are more of a nuisance than a slightly bowed negative, and anyway there's no reason why a relatively stiff piece of acetate like a sheet of 5 x 4 film shouldn't lie as flat in the neg carrier as it does in the dark-slide.

-- Pete Andrews (, March 01, 2000.

I agree with Sean. My glass carrier sits in a drawer unused. I've never had a problem with negative "droop", even with flimsy type 55 negs.

-- David Brown (, March 01, 2000.

I would agree with you all that a glassless carrier would SEEM to be a lot better than adding four extra surfaces to the film, but after three decades using a Durst L1000, the glassless carrier inserts I have, have rarely ever been used. Having access to 100% of the negative is great with a glass carrier, and film is SO much easier to handle with the glass than not. The glass is also exceptionally easy to keep clean. I've never had any dust or print-spotting problems at all with the glass.

Maybe it's the Durst carriers, which are pretty deluxe, but going glass has always been the easiest and cleanest way for me.

-- Anthony Sanna (, March 01, 2000.

The requirement for optimal performance from an enlarging lens requires 2 things:

1: The film be as flat as possible during the exposure 2: The film be as flat at the beginning of the exposure as at the end of the exposure and did not move during the exposure.

This can only be accomplished with a glass carrier. Enlarging lens manufacturers do not make curved field enlarging lenses so only glass will allow you to meet this requirement.

However as to dust. If you are in a dusty environment the dust will fall on the film just as it will on glass. The trade off in cleaning a film off to attain optimal print performance is a very small price to pay for less than optimal performance.

-- Bob Salomon (, March 01, 2000.

Glass or not, depends a lot on what you exactly are doing. If you make big enlargements with long exposure times, glasses is a must. If you make small pictures with relative short exposures, it sure is easier without glasses.

I myself have used for years in pro printing carriers with sizes from 24x36 to 4x5 that have only one antinewton glass. It is positioned on the upper side of the carrier. This prevents heat from reaching the film and will mostly keep it flat for even longer times. For films bigger than 4x5 I use AN glasses on both sides. I know that it is not recommended to use AN glass between the film and lens, but I can't find any degradation of picture resolution using it.

-- Jan Eerala (, March 01, 2000.

As my darkroom/closet is somewhat dusty, I figured my life would get a lot harder when I got a glass negative carrier. But I haven't had a problem with dust. I sit down with the negative and a brush and the carrier and spend a few minutes dealing with the dust and it is not a problem. My images are definitely better. No question about it. It may well be that I was using a cheapo enlarger before, or perhaps there was some other problem, but I think the glass carrier really helps. If you aren't using one and you aren't having a problem, don't change. But if you are disappointed with your image focus and your film seems to be sagging a little in the holder, give glass a try.

-- Erik Ryberg (, March 01, 2000.

Hi Raven, I've got a Bessler and with the condensor or the cold light I haven't been able to notice any heat on the neg. Glassless seems to be working just fine. What kind of enlarger have you got? When you turn it on and leave it on does the neg stage get hot? Can you make a neg "pop"? David

-- david clark (, March 01, 2000.

Thanks for the responses. Opinions seem to be split 50/50. Like I said, photo equipment is such a personal thing. I will be purchasing a Saunders VCCE DM4500. Its a new enlarger, but being sold as used because its a discontinued model. If anybody has anything bad to say about this enlarger, speak now, or forever hold your peace. I will be purchasing it in a few days. I worked with glassless carriers only, and when I ordered a carrier for this enlarger, I went glassless. I guess I could always purchase a glass one and try it out, and return one of them. Getting closer to my dream. Enlarging lens, camera lens, tripod/ head, and I'm there!!!!!!

-- Raven (, March 01, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ