The Online Darkroom Store

Wednesday, August 10

Build That Wall!

It's been a funny old world at the home of The Online Darkroom this year. You'll obviously have noticed the dearth of posts. Well, it's been matched by a similar dearth in picture taking. I blame it all on our house move in November last year.

For several months before the move I'd been doing less photography and blog posting than normal, mainly because of the work involved in getting our old house looking its best before putting it on sale. The actual move was a lot more disruptive than I'd anticipated. My get-up-and-go, marginal at the best of times, went walkabout, got lost and apparently couldn't find its way back to our new home.

I sort of lost all interest in photography preferring instead to sit around on my fat arse reading political stuff on the iPad. "Creative work" was limited to DIY and painting and decorating. It didn't help that I had no darkroom up and running nor even a computer for scanning purposes. I think I managed to expose two 35mm rolls over about seven months - which I've yet to develop. There were a few false dawns when I thought I was getting the old image-making urge back again but to no avail.

This has, more or less, been the situation for me throughout 2016. Slowly it dawned on me that there was little point in waiting for something to happen: in the words of Captain Kirk's somewhat dodgy successor, I'd have to make it so. That's why I went online on Monday and ordered the timber and plasterboard for the partition wall I need to build to create a darkroom. The supplies should arrive tomorrow and I'll get cracking as soon as possible. Once the wall has been built I'm hoping my enthusiasm will start to return.

For some strange reason, Wickes couldn't deliver the two 3m lengths I need until next week (no problem delivering the 2.4m lengths or plasterboard this week) so I picked them up in the old Saab this morning instead. I was able to select good straight lengths which was just as well as most of the others could have been used to make hockey sticks with very little work. Many were twisted in three dimensions. Does the amount of time I had to spend sorting through them count as a fourth dimensional twist? Choice Canadian kiln-dried lumber my bottom: they were like off-cuts from the Corkscrew Hazel section of the local tree nursery.

I also bought some 35mm and 120 Tmax 400, the film I've decided to use to the exclusion of everything else apart from large format materials, to gee myself up a bit. I even sent the Rolleiflex SL66E off to have the tiny piece of metal lodged by the shutter curtains and rendering it useless removed so it's functional now. The Leica and associated lenses remain in need of a good service, though. With the intention of flogging off my two Billingham bags and a couple of other makes I no longer use, I picked up a Domke F-802 on Ebay only to find it has no inserts but it should be easy enough to sort something out there. The Billinghams are lovely but a pain in the neck to use.

So that's where I'm at. Hopefully, I'll start building the wall this week and begin the process of fitting it out next week. I've decided to add a sink - a first for a Robbins darkroom - so the services of a plumber will be required. It's not going to be the largest darkroom ever at about 9x5.5 feet but I'm hoping it will be very usable. I wouldn't say having the use of a darkroom is imminent but it's at least in the foreseeable future.

Oh, and I almost forgot. TRUMP 2016!

Wednesday, April 20

World Pinhole Photography Day



By David M.



World Pinhole Photography Day is almost here. It’s always held on the last Sunday in April and in 2016, that’s the 24th. A little bit of pinhole photography should be part of every serious photographer’s experience and WPPD is a little nudge in the right direction.

Almost all photographers have a comfort zone and tend to stay comfortably inside it. As we’ve mentioned zones, lets start with the LF brigade, perpetually agonising over highlight and shadow detail, the rendering of texture and the smoothness of tones. Fair enough, you may think, but they do bang on about the lovely wood grain and shiny brass work on their cameras, or the provenance of some ancient shutter or lens. You may well ask how all this gets onto the print.

Let’s look at other film-consuming photographers. Do we sometimes wonder if a little less reverence for the Leica might be healthy? Or less fiddling with miracle developers? How can it be that they seem to have unlimited stocks of outdated film? Why didn’t they shoot it when it was young?

What are we to say of DSLR users? We’ve all thought it. So much is done for them by the camera that soon, a drone-mounted DSLR will be programmable for say, Cartier-Bresson, Cindy Sherman or Martin Parr and sent out to do all the work by itself.

Finally, in this round-up, we must not forget the most popular camera of all – the all-conquering iPhone. But who, except the FBI, knows what goes on inside an iPhone?

Wouldn’t it be nice to do something simple for a change and to do it all for ourselves. Why not try doing it on April 24th and then send the results to the website. (http://pinholeday.orgThere are no prizes and no fees. You might find a group of photographers or an event near you. Perhaps you might like to look at http://pinholeday.org/gallery/2015/index.php?page=1 to see the 3450 entries in 2015. It’s the most international thing that most of us will ever do.

Wednesday, March 9

Not another one...



I'm still lacking motivation, inspiration, imagination and probably many more words ending in "shun" when it comes to taking photographs - but I've still managed to buy another camera. Just now, I honestly feel more like a home for strays and waifs than a photographer. I can't seem to see an old film camera in a vulnerable position without wanting to give it shelter and some TLC.

This Minolta SRT101 and 58mm f1.4 MC Rokkor-PF cost me the grand total of £15 in a local charity shop. The previous owner had glued a hot shoe on top of the camera's cold shoe but I managed to remove it by squirting some solvent between the two using a syringe. The camera and lens were fairly grubby but have cleaned up nicely. The lens is in very good condition and the body works perfectly from what I can tell apart from the usual rotten seals. I've cleaned them up and will put new ones in as soon as I locate them - they're still in one of many boxes we've yet to unpack since moving.


I don't have a clue what I'm going to use the Minolta for but It's a good camera with a fine lens that deserves to be appreciated. It might make a good "night photography in dodgy areas of the city" camera. I could use it to beat off would-be attackers or, if they're bigger than me, let them run off with it. It came with a Hoya HMC skylight filter, lens hood, half case and a Super Paragon 28mm lens.

I can remember when the SRT101 with f1.4 lens would have cost around £200 - quite a substantial price for a very substantial camera. The 58mm lens is the least sharp of the fast Rokkor standards but it's still an excellent piece of glass. If I remember correctly, it has about the same depth of field wide open as a 50mm f1.2 lens so can be useful for throwing backgrounds out of focus. The bokeh is reputed to be nice as well.

Once the seals are good, I'll run a film through it and even if it doesn't see much use at least it won't take up much space sitting on a shelf in my camera cupboard.

Tuesday, January 26

Time to stock up on film


I fought hard against buying this OM2 but I eventually caved in :)

I shot my last roll of 35mm TMax 400 before Christmas and a roll of Eastman Double-X 5222 just a week or so ago. I'm about halfway through a roll of Adox CHS 100 II and when that's gone, I'm all out of 35mm stock. So it's time to raid the children's piggy bank and buy a roll or ten.

The Eastman film was given to me to test by www.ntphotoworks.com but there's no development time available for the Firstcall Superfine brew I've been using for a while now. It's similar to AM74 or Rollei RHS but there's no time anywhere on the internet as far as I can see for 5222 in those developers either. I'll just have to extrapolate by comparing various developers with, say, Tri X, against the same with 5222. A pattern usually emerges and it becomes possible to make an educated guess based on how the development times change with each film.

Eastman 5222 seems very popular with some photographers. I was trying to explain its qualities to Cath but was getting nowhere. Then I remembered and told her that the black and white sequence at the start of Casino Royale, our favourite Bond film, was shot on the Eastman film. "There's a black and white sequence at the start of Casino Royale?" she asked in a mystified way. I gave up at that point. The film seems to me to be a little like Tri X with strong tonality, a bit of grain and quite "pushable" - all the way to 6400 ISO - if that's your thing.

When it comes to restocking I think I'll just stick with Tmax 400 and the Firstcall developer - although that might change depending on the results from the 5222 roll. Tmax/Firstcall is a very nice and relatively cheap combination. Chopping and changing films and developers is fun and can be interesting but there's nothing like sticking to the same materials for consistent results. One or two films and one developer is definitely the way to go if you want to able to predict the kind of output you'll get from your camera. Mind you, it gives me less to write about on the blog.

At our latitude up here in Scotland, a 400ISO film isn't just preferable but well nigh indispensable when it comes to hand-held photography. There are times during the winter when I point my exposure meter out of the living room window at noon and think it must be broken, so low are the light readings. With the Rollei TLR I think it would make sense to uprate Tmax 400 a stop for handheld shooting. The contrast ratio during our dreich days can be so low that I doubt I'd even need to give the film any extra development.

When my film order arrives, I'll be able to try out my latest acquisition - another Olympus OM2. I saw it in a charity shop along with a 50mm f1.8 and T20 flash for £35 before Christmas. I have my my main OM2 and two back-up bodies so resisted the temptation to buy it. However, when I looked in at the shop last week, it was still there with the price reduced to £20. You struggle to get three fish suppers for £20 these days. Well, what's an Olympus user to do? Especially when the sales assistant said I could bring it back if it wasn't working.

It turned out that it just needed fresh batteries and new seals. Otherwise, it seems fine with a clear viewfinder and largely blemish-free glass on the standard lens. In fact, it seems smoother in operation than either of my back-up bodies, one of which is decidedly rough feeling. With my main OM2 giving me some concerns, the new camera might be pressed into service earlier than I'd imagined.

Wednesday, January 20

New sheet film dev. tank



The SP-445 sheet film developing tank.

David M sent me a Kickstarter link which is all about a fund raising campaign for a "new" way of developing 5x4 film without resorting to open trays in the darkroom. The inverted commas around new are necessary because there have been a few tanks like this over the years all purporting to do the same thing: develop sheet film in much the same way that we develop 35mm or 120 in a Paterson tank.

Getting your hands on one of these old tanks is difficult, though. Even if you find one you have to keep your fingers crossed that it's light and developer proof to avoid the twin evils of fogged film and stained worktops and/or clothing. This new affair should take care of these potential problems nicely providing it does exactly what it says on the tin.

The people behind it were looking for $27,700 but I see they've already attracted pledges of almost $70,000 - possibly above that figure by the time you read this. I think that shows that there's still quite an interest in large format in general and that, in particular, people really don't like standing over trays in the dark for an hour at a time! Count me amongst them.

Rather than explain what it's all about, here's the video accompanying the project although I should point out that the "plunger" agitation system has been ditched in favour of the good old inversion method.



The tank seems a well-thought-out device and already has more than 200 backers. Four sheets of film can be developed at a time using just 500ml of chemicals. The retail cost is likely to be in the $80-90 range. It's scheduled to ship in April so we'll know soon enough whether or not it's the answer to some large format users' prayers.

Monday, December 28

Carse of Gowrie - a "new" stomping ground

Nikon D700, 28-105 Nikkor. Digital? Calm down and read on!

It seems ages since I was last updating the blog regularly so I thought it was about time I got the finger out and started writing again. We've settled well into our new home in Dundee but, to be honest, I haven't exactly been a human dynamo when it comes to the decorating and DIY side of things.

The spare room that Cath and I are using as a bedroom just now will eventually become a sort of office with, amongst some other things, my computer and scanner in it. Before that happens, I have to redecorate what will be our bedroom and revamp an en-suite bathroom. I'm not even half-way through that job so I've nowhere to set up the computer.

I'm writing this on a laptop in the dining room which is fine as far as it goes but it isn't hooked up to a scanner and I've no photo tools on it beyond some toy-like Apple system software. Plus, I haven't worked out a film developing regime yet - and I've got a couple of films to develop. The old house had a stainless steel sink in the kitchen that was fine for developing but the new house has an oddly-shaped ceramic thing that offers no advantages whatsoever over a square or rectangular sink beyond the fact that, presumably, it must have looked "cool" to some equally odd designer years ago.

So, I'm not as ready to get stuck into the blog and photography as I would have liked by now. Still, I have to make a start sometime so this is it.

After ten years of exploring the countryside to the east of Dundee - an area I really didn't know at all before we moved to Carnoustie in 2005 - I'm now turning my gaze in the direction of what's likely to be my new photographic hunting ground - the Carse of Gowrie.

This is an area I know very well but not really as a photographer. When my older brother and I were kids, my dad would drive us out to the countryside west of Dundee - often as not the Carse - on a Sunday when my mum was cooking the dinner. My dad would park somewhere, open up his Sunday Express and read the John Junor column whilst we youngsters would run about fields, climb trees, fall into burns, molest sheep, etc. (That was a wee joke about the sheep. Only my brother did that. Ha ha.)

The Carse is a fertile plain sandwiched between the River Tay (which, in case you didn't know it, has the largest flow of water of any UK river) to the south and the Sidlaw hills to the north. On its eastern flank is Dundee whilst Perth guards the western approach. Overall, it measures around 20 miles by two. The Tay was once much wider than it is now and much of the Carse is reclaimed land. There are walls, where the plain meets the Sidlaws, said to have some rings set in which were once used as boat moorings. These walls are now about a mile from the river's edge.

Nestling in the hills is the lost village of Pitmiddle which can trace its history back to the 12th century. Up to the middle of the 19th century it was a wee hamlet where farmers and later weavers would produce their goods and trundle down the hills to load them onto the boats. The draining of the plain robbed them of their easy access to local markets. At least, that's the version of events that I prefer. Some say it was mechanisation that rendered their craft obsolete. That has an "all-too-true" ring about it but I prefer the more romantic explanation.

Either way,  the village steadily withered and died, the last resident leaving in the late 1930s. All that's left are a few crumbling walls and the odd flag stone which once marked the entrance to the cottages.

Much of the Carse is commuter territory now although it's visited by tourists in the summer who journey there to shop at a large garden centre and several antiques outlets set up in the hills. There are also at least five castles, a monastery, a winery, a handful of little villages, and an airfield which hosts a huge, weekly car boot sale and a regular car auction. You can also go sky-diving there for charity or just bragging rights.

Orchards, some dating back 200 years, were once a feature of The Carse but well over half of these have disappeared, largely through lack of management. There are 20-30 still in existence although some are now no more than a tree or two. One claims to be visited by the ghost of a monk - many were started by monks - and I'm looking forward to dropping by that particular orchard. Could there be a wee project there, cataloguing what's left?

My first photograph for a number of weeks is at the top of the post. It was taken on my Nikon D700. Fear not, however, as I've not gone over to the dark side. I was on a drive through The Carse with my mother and daughter and decided to take the Nikon along with my Olympus OM2 so I would have something to illustrate this post with. 

I took the same shot on the OM2 and 50mm f2 macro Zuiko but the film is far from finished so it will be a little while before I'm in a position to post the results. We were driving along a straight stretch of road when I glanced to my left and saw the scene. It has some of the elements I like such as the reflections in the water and a moody sky.

I braked to a gentle halt, grabbed my camera bag and told my mum and Freya to wait there as I'd only be a few minutes. "Where do you think we'd be going?" was my mum's retort as she looked out at the rain and windswept plain. Very funny, mother, and quite sharp for an 85-year-old. See how you like the bus next time. :}

The digital file was breathed on a little in the toy software but just by doing the things I can do in the darkroom. It will be interesting seeing what the film shot is like by comparison. My OM2 is still playing up, by the way, even with it's winder strapped to it. The wind on mechanism is slipping, a fault that an internet writer claimed could be by-passed by the winder. Well, it mostly works with the winder but I've lost a few frames where the shutter won't release because it's not fully wound on. I might have to retire it to my camera cupboard and get the OM1 out instead.

So that's a wee introduction to the Carse, a stretch of land that we'll get to know better in the months ahead.

Thursday, December 10

How not to celebrate milestones



I've just realised that I missed the one millionth "hit" on The Online Darkroom. Somewhere between packing up the old house and moving to the new house the landmark passed without me noticing. I remember a while back thinking I'd need to make sure to at least mention it in the passing but life, as always, got in the way.

Anyway, we're now around 40,000 hits past the million. It's a fair old number when you think about it although there are some blogs that get that number of visits each month rather than every few years so I'm not getting carried away. Many thanks to all of you who have stuck by me over the four-and-a-bit years that I've been publishing TOD. I suppose just writing the same blog for that length of time is a bit of an achievement as the vast majority flare up and die off in much shorter periods.

I've no plans to stop publishing the blog and will basically carry on in one form or another as long as I have something to say. Someone once asked me why I do it but I can't think of a good explanation beyond "force of habit". I wrote every working day of my life from the age of 18 to 49 so I think it must just be ingrained in me.

Saturday, December 5

A few landscapes from my files


Forneth House, Loch Clunie

Whilst packing everything up in the darkroom in preparation for moving to our new house I came across a bundle of old prints that I thought might give you something to look at as I work towards getting up to speed with the blog.

We moved on Friday - I now understand for the first time why moving house is considered so stressful - but I've got lots of work to do so I won't have much time for anything else for a while. Plus, we won't have any broadband for another week so I'll be enjoying a welcome break from the internet. This post is coming courtesy of McDonalds wifi.

Most of the photographs I've posted here were taken about 20 years ago mainly on a Mamiya Press 6x9 or a Mamiya C330 with the exception of the first image which was taken on a Nikon EL2 sporting a 105mm Nikkor and loaded with Agfa APX 100. 

At that time I was into toning which is why they're various shades of sepia/brown. Nowadays, I don't think I'd bother too much with toning unless it's for archival purposes. However, as I'm now in my 50s, the need for archival processing seems less pressing and, for some reason, becomes less important with each passing year...

When I eventually get my darkroom up and running again I'll be sticking mainly to just plain old black and white. I might experiment a little with very light sepia toning of the highlights to warm them up just a little - which is what I often do to scanned images in Lightroom.

And speaking of darkrooms, it looks as if I'll have my work cut out for me when it comes to building one in the garage. I'd figured out the construction side of things in my head but now that I've been able to have a good look, there seems to be a bit more dampness on one wall than I'd thought.

There's a system involving a waterproof membrane that cleverly attaches to the wall and makes it easy to nail wooden batons on top of this but it's not particularly cheap. It does seem like a good solution, though, so I might save some pennies for it. If anyone is facing a similar problem you can read about it here.

Right now the garage is filled with boxes and I won't be making a start on a darkroom any time soon. One of the first things I had to do after moving was to remove the lenses from the enlargers before any moisture in the air started to cause problems.

The garage. This has to be emptied before I can get started
on a new darkroom.

The enlargers. Oh, the ignominy!

The four machines are sitting underneath some shelving looking a bit sorry for themselves. I'm going to carry the Leitz 1C into the house and put it in a cupboard. The other three will have to take their chances with the damp atmosphere but I'm not risking anything happening to the Leitz.

Fishing posts, St Cyrus

Rannoch Moor

Rooftops, St Cyrus

Two Trees, Clushmill

Hadrian's Wall

Waterfall, Glen Esk

Tuesday, November 17

Requiem for my Darkroom


It doesn't seem so long ago that I was celebrating its
completion and now it's gone.

Well, that's my darkroom ripped apart and ready for removal to our new home at the end of the month. The cupboards and shelves have been dismantled and most of my darkroom and camera gear transferred to my mum's spare room for the time-being. It was the fourth I'd built and somewhat sad to have to remove it, especially since I hadn't used it nearly as much as I'd have liked. 

There's little doubt that writing three times a week for a photography blog has the effect of limiting how much time I can spend printing. Since I can't write about what I had for breakfast and illustrate that post with a pic of my cornflakes a consistent supply of source material relating to our art/craft/hobby has to be found. That usually takes the form of fresh photographs.


As it was just after I'd completed it in the summer of 2013 and
before the Leitz 1C made an appearance.

There just aren't enough hours in the day to go out taking pictures, develop the film, print the results in the darkroom, scan the prints and then put it all together in a post three times a week. Something has to give. In my case, it was the printing side since it's quicker to scan a roll of negs to illustrate a post than print from them and then scan the prints.

Digital photography blogs - as with most things digital - are much easier in that regard and make fewer demands on the photographer's time removing, as they do, three of the most time-consuming steps in that publication chain. So, against my best intentions and as I've noted before, The Online Darkroom morphed into The Online Scanner, not at all what I'd intended when I set out. Thank God for Omar and his series of darkroom posts - they at least kept the blog honest.

At this point I'd love to be able to say that things will be different in 2016 but I don't know if they will. The decor in our new house is lovely - provided you really like that 1980s look. So I'll be decorating more or less the entire house. Then there's wardrobes to build in, a kitchen to rejuvenate, a wood-burning stove to install, possibly an internal wall to be removed and made good, new doors to hang, a summerhouse to construct (that was a rash promise to Cath that I'm regretting), an en suite bathroom to enlarge and two new bathroom suites to install. And I'll be doing almost everything myself - apart from the wood burning stove. Get that wrong and I'd gas the lot of us.

The Leitz 1C with its newer sibling in
the background

After that, I might then get the chance to consider building darkroom number five in one half of the garage. When will that be? I honestly haven't a clue. It involves constructing two plasterboard walls in a corner of the garage and then installing the units and worktops from the darkroom I've just taken apart.

There's one issue that needs to be sorted involving a patch of dampness on the rear garage wall. If I can get that fixed then I might get away with just painting the brick on the inside white but if it looks as though it might be a persistent thing then I might have to strap the wall and fit a damp-proof barrier. Nothing good can come of leaving fine enlargers and lenses in a less than dry atmosphere for any length of time.

Once the darkroom is finally up and running I'm determined to do more printing even if that means posting just once or twice a week instead of thrice. What effect might that reduced output have on reader numbers? It's difficult to say. On the one hand, more darkroom articles might attract new readers but, on the other, readership is strongly linked to frequency of posting. My viewing figures have halved over the last month during which I've hardly posted.

So there's lots to think about over the coming months and I hope you'll all hang in there until normal service is resumed. Just don't hold me to a date!

Thursday, October 22

Darkroom Ponderings



I've been messing about with an iPhone app that makes it easy to plan room layouts. The house it looks like we'll be moving to has a tightish double garage that I'll have to convert into a darkroom. One half will house the Saab and I'll have a space about 9ftx7ft for a darkroom adjacent to it.

It involves building a couple of walls, hanging a door and fitting the worktops and cupboards for storing all those darkroomy bits and pieces. At the moment, I have four enlargers - the Leitz 1C and V35, a Durst L1200 and a Paterson PCS150 - and I don't think I can justify taking them all with me even though it looks as if I might be able to make them fit with a little room to spare.

So, after a bit of faffing around, here's what I've come up with (see above). It's by no means cast in stone and I've already noticed one flaw - there's no space between the enlargers for timers, transformers, etc. Forgot about that! It could easily be cured by removing the 10x8 trays from the bench and putting the 1C there. It's quite a compact enlarger with a small footprint.

Although I've named the enlargers in the graphic above I've yet to decide which ones to keep and which to sell on. I've written about the dilemma here. One thing that is becoming increasingly clear, though, is that I don't think I'm going to make a large format photographer so the Durst could be on borrowed time. LF is just not clicking. There seems something virtuous in using 5x4 or larger - in some respects, it's "real" photography in a way 35mm isn't - but I'm not taking to it too well.


It's not the process of using a large format camera, although it takes a little getting used to, nor the issue of composing upside down under a dark cloth. I haven't found either to be much of an impediment to be honest. Finding the love for the whole big neg thing is what's missing.

I haven't really warmed to the idea of setting up and taking down the camera without exposing any film just because the scene didn't look the way I imagined it might on the ground glass. This happens not infrequently and uses up a lot of time. Some days I'll see the best shot quite quickly in which case large format is fine. But on others it might take me a few frames to work out the most pleasing composition or viewpoint - not a problem with 35mm or 6x6 but a bit expensive and time-consuming with sheet film.

It happens too often that I'll be passing a scene and wonder if there might be a photograph there only to keep moving because the thought of stopping, setting up the camera, etc and then realising there isn't puts me off.

The weight is an issue as well. I gave up using the old Mamiya Press outfit I had because I got fed up lugging it around and the Speed Graphic or Kodak Specialist II is the same thing but on steroids. I appreciate that if you want a big neg then it comes with the territory but that doesn't make it any less of a burden.

Then there's developing a single sheet - or maybe a few - at a time. The Mod 54 gadget for using with Paterson developing tanks can enable the photographer to develop six sheets in one go but, failing that, you're really back to tray developing - and what a pain that is! I've got a few sheets of 5x4 that have been sitting in their dark slides for several months awaiting development. I just can't be bothered! (note to self: get the bloody finger out!)

All these complaints are familiar territory for me. I've been here before on a few occasions which is why I've bought, then sold, then bought, sold and bought again the same or similar large format cameras. When I don't have one I think how nice it would be producing big negatives and making technically lovely prints. When I buy one I can never seem to fire up the necessary enthusiasm for some extended use. I normal shoot a few sheets then sort of fall away from it.

I'm tempted to off-load the Speed Graphic and Kodak Specialist, especially with the house move just over five weeks away, but I'm concerned that I'll miss them again and then the search will start to find a replacement.

I've reached a bit of a compromise with myself: I'm going to shoot some 5x7 negatives in the big Kodak and contact print them. If they don't blow my socks off in some way then that'll be it. Sadly, that would mean off-loading the big Durst. Since it's not something that's easy to wrap up and post, I'd probably find it easier to strip it of everything marketable and then ditch the chassis. What a waste - but what's the alternative? If I broke it up it would also fetch around twice what I'd be likely to get if I managed to find a local buyer for it.

There is an answer to all of this and it comes in the shape of the 35mm to 6x9 Leitz IIC. That would comfortably handle both my 35mm and 6x6 negs. I keep searching locally but to no avail so far. What are the chances?