Replacing the Ground Glass on a View Camera

Repairing a view camera

My goal is to get my non-functioning FKD 18x24cm view camera back up and running. The lens wasn’t fitting into the lens board but I repair this with  some Sugru putty to keep the lens tight in the board. Not ideal but I have no other way since the lens tightening ring is missing from this really old lens. It was used in a projector some time ago.

I have two tasks to complete before the view camera can be ready for showtime. Firstly the ground glass needs to replacing since I broken the glass. Secondly the film holders needs to be converted. Both these tasks I’ll document to help others out there who need some help.


Replacing the Ground Glass

  • A picture frame
  • Glass cutter
  • Small block of wood
  • Coarse sandpaper
  • Metal ruler
  • Pencil
  • Valve ground paste

As I prepare to take my 18x24cm FKD View Camera to the cabin in the mountains. It’s important to look over what would be required for a complete darkroom and a successful image making weekend. So hence, I’m putting a check list together.

Modifying film holders

My “Holzkassette” as it’s known in German. You wouldn’t believe how important to know the components that make up a view camera in the German language when searching locally or asking in a camera shop here in Austria, Graz.  Recently I learn the word for view camera in Italian too – Banco Ottico. Back to the ‘Holzkassette’ which is actually a wooden film holder.

My Holzkassette had taken the toll from the corrosiveness of wet plate chemicals. The holder is basically in no fit state to be used for film or paper negatives. Apart from it being too dirty, rusty and corroded in places it just does fit well any more. Therefore I purchased a set of small ones because it’s too difficult and costly to find a original ones.

My plan is to make a convertor so they fit into the back of the FKD Camera. Bare in mind all this is to keep costs of large format to a minimum. While learn to maintain and repair a view camera.

The Checklist

  • Heavy metal sturdy tripod suitable to carry the weight of a view camera
  • Brass lens suitable for portrait photography
  • Dark cover
  • Film holders
  • Photographic papers – Ilford / FOMA
  • Chemicals – Roba Apposta
  • Trays and tongs
  • Light meter
  • LED red light
  • Ruler and cutting knife for photographic paper


Soon I should be able to shoot some Reversal Process Images


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