Identifying film holders : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I'm new at this game so this may be shallow question. Suppose I expose 3 film holders (6 sheets of film) in my used MPP field camera. I keep careful notes of each exposure. However, if I remove all 6 sheets of film for development, how do I keep track of the film to compare with my notes? I've tried to develop all 6 with one sheet turned 180 degrees, but this method seems risky. Can you help?

Thanks, Bob Passsage

-- Bob Passage (, June 03, 2000


Unless you use Rightway holders which have a numbering system, you can't know which sheet is which. I don't like Rightway holders, by the way.

-- William Marderness (, June 03, 2000.

When your holders are empty, take a small file, saw or dikes to the lip of the folding flap on the bottom. File in a series of square and V-shaped grooves in whatever pattern you want & then number the holders accordingly. Some do this in roman numerals, others just do a series of patterns, say one V on the lower left as it faces you(flap folded as if holder is closed) and one to four V's in the middle. A bit of thinking will get you where you have holders that work OK. Then when you process the film you will have a unique pattern right on the film, a lot like the V grooves in a Hasselblad film back.

-- Dan Smith (, June 03, 2000.

I solved this problem a while back by using my computer to print a small identification code onto a piece of overhead transparancy film and taped it into the flap. The film extends into the image area about 3 mm, which will imprint the code onto the picture. I still use this technique because it works pretty well for me. I'm hesitant to file my holders because it is permanent. I can change the little flap whenever I want to record different things. With a font of about 5 point, you can get a lot of info imprinted.

-- Ray Dunn (, June 03, 2000.

I number each exposure of each holder (Toyo holders have a spot to write the number, or use a piece of tape). I then record what typeof film is in each holder (always the same type for both shots) on a separate sheet of paper, and place the holders w/ the same type of film in labelled ziplock bags. For each composition, I'll shoot two shots at identical exposures(or always in pairs), the first shot being the odd number and the second the even. Since I usually have the first shot processed normal and the second pushed/pulled accordingly, after exposure, I only unload the odd sided shot for all the holders (ie, the first shot). After viewing the results, I submit the second exposure. This method gives you one optimal shot at the worst. If you happen to also carry a camera w/ cheap film (35mm or MF), you can always shoot a shot at the same exposure and have that film processed before the 4x5.

-- James Chow (, June 05, 2000.


There are some interesting ideas in the previous posts, but I've been using a different method. I use a small pair od scissors and cut a tiny notch out of different corners to identify the sheets. This notch does not extend into the image area and can uniquely identify 16 sheets.

To do this, place your index finger (of the hand holding the sheet) on the point of one corner. Slide the open blaces of the scissors up the sheet until the flat part of the blade touches your index finger and snip. This sounds much more dangerous and complicated than it is. If you use care and a small pair of scissors you should have no problem. I've never scratched a sheet doing this.

To number 16 sheets uniquely, you will have to snip one, two, or three corners in different configurations and the first or last sheet will have no snips.


-- Pete Caluori (, June 05, 2000.

"Graphmatic" backs have a little rotating stencil wheel that automatically numbers the sheets of film.

-- Pete Andrews (, June 08, 2000.

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