BEST sheet film holders ? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I've just bought a camera and a lot of film holders, i'm going to sell a part of it. I want to keep the best ones, but they look similar!!! three types. all 4x5 : fidelity Elite lisco Regal 2 riteway graphic film holder is there any difference, film flatness...? thanks

-- dg (, December 06, 2001


They are all the same, except for 2 things: The lock mechanism on some of the newer Riteway models. (Am i correct on the manufacturer?) I saw them recently at Calumet.

Numbering of holders. Some have the ability to record a number on the image itself.

If I remember correctly, all holders are made in the same factory, so I would doubt if film flatness we be an issue between them.

-- Andy Biggs (, December 06, 2001.

Film holders are not very precise and they may vary within the brand just as between brands. Keep them all because in the long run you have never got too many holders.

-- Gudmundur Ingˇlfsson (, December 06, 2001.

For the past 20 or more years Fidelity, Lisco and the current version of Riteway are made by the same compnay. The manufacturer is a subsidiary of the company in th UK that owns Calumet.

-- Bob Salomon (, December 06, 2001.

I agree with Gudmundur- you can never have too many operable film holders. I'm slowly but surely replacing my original holders with Toyo holders, but I'm haning on to the original ones because I've already run into circumstances where I need all of them (I think the count is around 26 now).

-- David Munson (, December 06, 2001.

Keep the holders. If you don't, you will be buying more later at probably more than you sell yours for. There is no such thing as too many holders.


-- Doug Paramore (, December 06, 2001.

i personally like the new kodak readyload single sheet holder :-)

-- jnorman (, December 06, 2001.

The Fidelity and Lisco holders are pretty much alike. There are some Rightway holders that have a safety button to prevent accidentally pulling the dark slide when out of the camera. They also feature a rotating pair of wheels that place a small letter/number over the edge of the film for positive ID. These holders do not work in some Linhof type backs. Apparently the button doesn't get contacted by something to push it in and permit removal of the dark slide. I'm sure Bob S. could elaborate on that.

The point I'd like to make again, is that holders of this type are cheap pieces of plastic and aluminum. There is no way they can be manufactured to the same tolerances as a precision camera, such as a Linhof. It's a miracle they are as good as they are, but they are not perfect. What does need to be perfect is the position of your ground glass. If it's in the right plane, the variation in depth from holder to holder will be well within the +/- .007" ANSI spec for 4x5 film holders. Once in awhile, a holder may be warped or so far out of spec that it should be discarded. I've got a large collection of all kinds of holders in various conditions and of different ages and I've never had a problem with any of them. I test them once in awhile (with film and in a camera) and confirm they are within spec.

-- Robert A. Zeichner (, December 06, 2001.

To reiterate earlier posts - don't dispose of any holders unless they prove themselves damaged beyond function.

Use different brands to hold different emulsions. As an example I use Toyo holders for Black & White, Lisco Regals for Daylight E-6 and the auto-locking Lisco Regal IIs for Tungsten. In all I have about 60 plus 5 Grafmatics and I never have enough.


-- Walter Glover (, December 07, 2001.

After seeing several of my Fidelity 'Elite' (hah!) holders become unusable from warping, and finding that my very first 30 year old Toyos are almost as good as new, I wouldn't give a 'thank you' for Fidelity holders anymore.
I'd only recommend Toyos from now on.

-- Pete Andrews (, December 07, 2001.

I'll second Peter's choice of the Toyo!

-- paul owen (, December 07, 2001.

the TOYO-holders are far better than all the others (Fidelity/Lisco/Riteway).

-- Urs Bernhard (, December 07, 2001.

I love the older riteways (the ones without the wierd darkslide lock) the fingers to hold the darkslie usually work and they seem to hold the film in place better.-J

-- Josh (, December 07, 2001.

dg: I have measured the film flatness of several brands of holders using a depth micrometer and flat plate and statistics and here is a summary of the results. 1) Lisco holders barely met the +/- 0.007" Ansi Standard, -which judging by Sinar and Linhof's standards, is as wide as the Bay Bridge, and two of 20 did not. 2) Fidelity seemed similar to Lisco but all met the Ansi Standard. 3) Toyo all surpassed the Ansi Standard, with deviations from flatness being about 0.002- 0.004. 3) Linhof: unfortunately I have only one holder. One side was within +/- 0.001 from the Ansi Standard, the other 0.003" but both sides were flat within the measuring capabilities of my method which I estimate at +/-0.0005-0.001". The above results are from memory as the statistical data lies buried somewhere in a backup tape or lost after a virus did my computer in. Sinar holders are guaranteed to +/- 0.001 also, Linhof's has as far as I know discontinued making them. No wonder, they were very expensive. The sum total of all of this is that Toyo holders though not perfect, are probably the best currently available at a reasonable price. It is amusing that LF photographers fret endlessly about which lenses are sharpest and spend lots to get them, yet when it comes to film holders they save a few bucks and buy the cheapest. Beyond holders, make sure that your camera GG is properly calibrated. You might be surprised!

-- Julio Fernandez (, December 08, 2001.

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