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View Full Version : What is about the right size for a dark cloth for a 4x5" camera?



AtlantaTerry
26-May-2016, 02:14
Over the past 100+ years of photographers using ground glass cameras, surely the "right size" for a dark cloth has been determined.

It should not be too small, otherwise too much light will creep in making it difficult to see the ground glass.
And it should not be too large otherwise you are carrying around excess weight in the form of fabric.

Yesterday at Home Depot, I bought an 84 x 42 inch microfiber blackout curtain. One side is white and the other Navy blue. I put the store sample over my head and could not see the store lighting. The package says it blocks 100% of the light.

So, my good friends, what do YOU think is an ideal size for a dark cloth that will be used with a 4x5" camera?

My 4x5" cameras:
Chamonix F1
Cambo Legend
Graflex Crown Graphic

Once I get some feedback as to a decent size, I will have the lady at my dry cleaners cut and hem it for me.

Thank you.
Terry

A crappy Android cell phone photo of the curtain at Home Depot:
151220

Jim Noel
26-May-2016, 07:48
You will get dozens of answers. The dark cloth I most often use for 4x5 is 4'x5'. I also use this for 5x7. The one for 8x10 and 7x17 is 5'x8'.

gnuyork
27-May-2016, 19:36
I'm not sure the dimensions of mine. My mother made mine for me, so it's ideal.

jp
28-May-2016, 02:32
I just use my jacket or shirt. It is convenient. Too much area and the wind could knock down the camera. Needs will vary.

Vaughn
28-May-2016, 08:16
I spend far too much time under the darkcloth to go with the t-shirt/jacket idea. It is just not ideal for me. A lot of my photography is in the winter, too -- my shirt and jacket have other duties!

I have a Calumet white/black darkcloth that is 3'x4'. Perfect for up to 8x10...only marginally useful (if that) on the 11x14. I carry a couple of plastic Aussie clothes pegs (finest kind!) to attach to cloth to the camera if it gets windy. But I try not to attach the cloth to the camera if not needed. I am more likely to accidentally pull the camera over rather than the wind!

I was photographing Bridal Vail Falls from near its base one February (not much water) when the wind shifted and the Falls disappeared from my GG. I pulled my head from under the darkcloth to look for the waterfall, only to look straight up to see it coming straight down at me. I had time to close my pack flap and cover the camera well with the darkcloth as the water drenched me. I had a rain jacket on (cold mid-morning and I was in the shade), but I spent my lunch in the sun drying equipment out.

So a water-proof cloth is nice for unexpected downpours.

Randy Moe
28-May-2016, 09:11
I have a Calumet black cotton both sides, 32 X 48". I think 36 X 48" would be better.

It's thin, light. single piece hemmed. Also old and came with a camera.

I think we had this discussion before and I would 'make' it waterproof, per Vaughn, silver one side, black the other and add some velcro to help close it up if wanted.

I just described a Harrison Darkcloth. I bought their largest and have no regret. It could double as a shelter in pinch.

dpn
28-May-2016, 09:34
1 XXL black cotton t-shirt inside 1 XXL white cotton t-shirt. Necks and sleeve edges glued together with fabric adhesive. Light, cheap, breathes, and works great.

jon.oman
28-May-2016, 10:05
Mine in 42x48 inches. Works great for 4x5. A little small for 8x10.

Alan Gales
28-May-2016, 21:49
I don't know. How big is yo head?

I don't like traditional dark cloths. They are open at the bottom so they let in lots of light. I prefer a BTZS or Blackjacket where you look through a dark tunnel.

AtlantaTerry
29-May-2016, 01:06
I don't know. How big is yo head?

I don't like traditional dark cloths. They are open at the bottom so they let in lots of light. I prefer a BTZS or Blackjacket where you look through a dark tunnel.

I bought two BTZS units. One for my Cambo kit and one for my Crown Graphic kit. (The whole Crown kit was stolen.:mad:)

The concept of the BTZS focusing hood is good. But the only thing I did not like about it was that I had to disturb the camera to open the BTZS in order to insert or remove my sheet film holders. That's why I'm going to have the seamstress at my dry cleaners sew up a more "classic" design for me.

Yesterday, I bought four rare earth magnets to sew into the corners when she makes my dark cloth. I will experiment to see if I like them sticking to my Gitzo or Manfrotto tripods. Being that I'm a "belt and suspenders" kind of guy, I might also have her sew in some Velcro pads, too. :)

jnanian
29-May-2016, 06:14
hi atlanta terry

i have a couple of drk cloths
they are all from jo ann fabric, and were cheap as dirt
made of felt. i think one is about IDK 4' wide (whatever the roll is )
and maybe 4-5" long.
been using these things for almost 30 years never gave me trouble
and if they get trashed or lost or used for something else .
they cost about $2 or did the last time i bought one.

sounds like youir design will be a good one !

giorgiospugnesi
30-May-2016, 00:54
1 XXL black cotton t-shirt inside 1 XXL white cotton t-shirt. Necks and sleeve edges glued together with fabric adhesive. Light, cheap, breathes, and works great.

Me too! I put the neck around camera's back (is a V type neck so larger than usual) and go inside the "tube". Short sleeves are leave open or closed with a knot. It's lightweight and not too warm to use.

Jac@stafford.net
30-May-2016, 12:48
Reminds me of Abe Lincoln's answer when asked how long a man's legs should be. "Just long enough to reach the ground." Aristotle answered the same when asked how long a man's penis should be.

jnanian
30-May-2016, 19:30
Reminds me of Abe Lincoln's answer when asked how long a man's legs should be. "Just long enough to reach the ground." Aristotle answered the same when asked how long a man's penis should be.

i've heard russian friends say the same for water in tea: you know how to make perfect tea - just enough water...