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Thread started 14 Aug 2010 (Saturday) 18:47
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100 year old camera:) Want to start using it

2,227 posts
Joined Dec 2005
Location: UK, Portsmouth Uni / HW Bucks
Aug 14, 2010 18:47 |  #1

Hi all,

Despite this being a canon forum I felt this was a good a place as any to ask about large format kit, I'm sure some of you have a lot of experience with things like this.

This was my 21st birthday present, it's a 1903 Thornton Pickard, Triple extension, Mahogany & Brass Plate camera taking 3.25" x 4.25" glass plates (so my bit of paper tells me!)


I'd like to have a go at using this and developing at home, so I guess I need to source some sheet film, which I have found...
http://www.freestyleph​ …ches-50-sheets?cat_id=404 (external link)

However I can't find any that size in the UK. I take it I could buy 5x4 film and cut it down? Also, are there any places that sell smaller packs? i.e. sample packs? I only want 5-10 sheets at the mo until I get the knack of things but they seem to be sold as 25 sheets minimum at £30 or so which is a lot to spend (plus chemicals) if I don't even know I'll get the results I'm looking for.

This is the film back that came with it. Is it a case of loading a single sheet at home, taking it out in the cartridge and exposing, then bringing it back to be developed, or can I take out a changing bag with me and take multiple shots on location (I can see this causing problems with film storage etc..! In which case should I try and source some additional film backs so that each shot can be secured and light proof?

As you can see it shoots on glass plates so I guess I'll have to bodge something in order to use film.

Any advice on setting up, technique and developing would be appreciated! Is sheet film developed in normal developing trays (as you would paper) or do I need an additional gadget?

Some more pics:


sorry, bit dusty!

shutter speed control

minimum extension

maximum extension!

focus screen works!

Thanks for looking,


Canon EOS 350D, Sigma 10-20 f4-5.6, 24-105 f4L IS, 70-200 f4L, 300 f4L IS, Kenko 1.4x pro300, 430EX, Apple Powerbook G4
Free filters for your flashgun!

Miss Film 2015
1,925 posts
Likes: 1
Joined Nov 2009
Location: NYC
Aug 14, 2010 19:51 |  #2

Wow, it looks like it's in great condition. They are fetching $600 and upwards. I wish I had some advice on film and usage but just wanted to comment on such a great gift.

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As one of the gluttons for punishment, I'm glad to see Chet's back
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Joined Nov 2009
Location: Colorado
Aug 14, 2010 19:53 |  #3

That piece is beautiful!

The crux of the biscuit is the apostrophe.
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Senior Member
588 posts
Joined Mar 2009
Location: Sydney, Au.
Aug 14, 2010 19:56 |  #4

A potentially good piece of! Check it for light leaks, even by cutting and mounting up some 120 film. Also check the dark slides actually work and do not leak light. Am.

2,724 posts
Likes: 10
Joined Aug 2006
Aug 14, 2010 22:27 |  #5

Very nice! There are people over at APUG still using those cameras, some are coating their own glass plates. They might be able to give advice on finding film holders, film, and some good tips on using it. A bunch of very nice people who you can make jealous. :lol:​rums/home.php (external link)

"Try to go out empty and let your images fill you up." Jay Maisel

57 posts
Joined Jul 2009
Aug 17, 2010 01:07 |  #6

dang im so jealous!

ian flanigan.
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100 year old camera:) Want to start using it
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