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Robert A. Zeichner
4-Jan-2009, 15:20
I'm intrigued with the idea of a lightweight, compact focusing cloth. I've read about the Blackjacket on their site and had a couple of questions for any users out there.

1. Is the standard 4x5 model truly uncomfortable in hot weather? What about hot, dry weather?

2. How compact is the 4x5 hybrid model? There seems to be quite a difference in weight between the two, but what about volume? Anyone measured the actual folded size of this thing?

Lachlan 717
4-Jan-2009, 15:34
1. Is the standard 4x5 model truly uncomfortable in hot weather? What about hot, dry weather?

Robert,

I have the 5x7 Hybrid model. Just recently, I was in the Central Australian desert, with temps above 40 degrees (i.e. over 100).

Whilst this made for unplesant focusing etc, I doubt that there is a better product out there for hot conditions. When you consider the way this thing breathes AND provides a very dark work environment, I wouldn't use anything else.

Yes, it is a bit bulkier; however, I would recommend getting a bigger size (i.e. at least the 5x7) as it is possible to use it as a waterproof jacket if caught short (either for yopu or your camera)...

Lachlan

Wally
4-Jan-2009, 23:34
1. Is the standard 4x5 model truly uncomfortable in hot weather? What about hot, dry weather?

Any dark cloth that keeps the light out and is black inside is gonna be good at keeping the heat in. I've even considered getting one of those little battery-powered handheld fans and velcroing it to the inside with me. Ah, but then my glasses start to fog up and I have to duck out anyway. But the blackjacket keeps me cooler than the old Harrison dark cloth and it's easier to work in there with the sleeves. I think that's the main thing to me- I'm gonna get hot in there on warm days but I'm less frustrated about keeping the cloth out of my view while still being able to hold the loupe in one hand and focus with the other.


2. How compact is the 4x5 hybrid model? There seems to be quite a difference in weight between the two, but what about volume? Anyone measured the actual folded size of this thing? I like the hybrid model, and think it's worth the extra ounces. But then I pack a grandagon 90mm f4.5 with my because I like to see clearly what I'm trying to focus.

David A. Goldfarb
4-Jan-2009, 23:58
I have the 8x10" standard model, which is impressively light and compact and keeps the dark in. With a larger darkcloth, the difference in weight between the standard and the hybrid is more significant, and I wanted to shave as many ounces as possible.

I wanted to test it out in different conditions before ordering a ULF model. I haven't had any trouble with the standard version in the New York summer heat and humidity, but I'm the sort of person who works quickly, setting up the shot in my head pretty much before setting up the tripod, at least when I'm shooting landscapes or architectural subjects outdoors, and heat is more of an issue.

Len Eselson
5-Jan-2009, 18:59
I too am a satisfied user of the Hybrid. I would suggest that you contact Keith Walklet to make sure you end up with the right size cloth. Some 4X5 cameras need a bigger size than the standard.

Len Eselson

anchored
5-Jan-2009, 21:55
I have a BlackJacket 4x5 (standard, not a Hybrid) and own a handful of other focus clothes including Delta, BTZS, an unknown brand similar to Delta's, and doubled black T-Shirts.

Specifically concerning the BlackJacket: Relating to use in hot weather, it's the best of all (but all clothes are hot and steamy). It also takes very little room in the carrying system... about the size of a baseball. It's also is better at light sealing than the competing brands due to the cinch cords. However, at least in my opinion, the downside of the BlackJacket is that it is miserable to use in breezy conditions... I find myself fighting to keep the jacket sides from bowing in blocking the ground glass if used with any side breeze.

I personally prefer the BTZS over the BlackJacket in a shooting situation with a breeze although light sealing isn't as good... at least as when used with my Linhof Master Technika. If the shooting conditions are calm, then my preference lies with the BlackJacket.

But then again, the best focus cloth to use is a highly subjective thing... my brother favors the Delta over BlackJacket and BTZS, while I'm not happy with the Delta.

Peter Collins
5-Jan-2009, 22:24
I am a very satisfied user of the Hybrid 4x5. It is lightweight. I never use the armholes.

If I had to do it again, I would get the 5x7 model for my 4x5 Wisner Technical. The Wisner is just large enough that I had to mod the 4x5 Hybrid to make the opening at the camera end a little larger. Actually, a seamstress, 'Minsky the Tailor' did the job for $25. I had the opening for the camera enlarged by having a wedge-shaped insert of a double-layered thick black cloth placed in a 12-inch long cut to make the opening larger.

I didn't have the time before departing on a trip to order the 5x7 Hybrid, and besides, I had scuffed up the 4x5 beyond "exchange condition"--not fair to Blackjacket folks.

The mod Blackjacket Hybrid goes on the camera in a couple of seconds. The elastic cords tension up in a flash, and I'm ready to get inside and look. What??? Everything's upside down! Still takes me by surprise most times.

Robert A. Zeichner
6-Jan-2009, 04:18
I am a very satisfied user of the Hybrid 4x5. It is lightweight. I never use the armholes..

So, if you folded this up for packing in a case, what dimensions does it compact to? I'm really looking for this specific info as it needs to fit in an existing compartment for it to work for me.

Paul O
6-Jan-2009, 04:50
I'm really pleased with the Blackjacket - I've used both the traditional and hybrid designs and both are very effective. One piece of advice - get a size larger than you think you'll need - the additional material gives you extra room and the increase in size/weight is insignificant!

Keith S. Walklet
6-Jan-2009, 14:02
Rob,

Specs:

ORIGINAL (All Silver, Non-Breatheable):

8 oz., loosely rolls to 1" x 4.5" x 9", or about the size of a large hot dog/bun. The fabric is more easily compacted, and can be compressed further to about the size of a softball.

HYBRID (1/2 Silver, 1/2 two layers breatheable [black inside /white outside])
17 oz., loosely rolls to 1.5" x 6.5" x 9.5" or about the volume of a 6" sub sandwich. With additional layers of thicker fabric, it is not as easily compressed, but still easily fits into a compartment that would house a 70-300 telephoto zoom lens.

The storage sack for each is roughly 7" x 10", which makes, folding in thirds lengthwise and rolling them up before dropping them in the sack for storage the simplest approach.

Peter, may I suggest that in windy conditions that you use the sleeves to keep the wind at bay? By placing your arm in the sleeve on the windward side of the cloth, you can use your hand to keep the fabric from obscurring the ground glass. The concept was one of the main reasons I included the sleeves. If it is REALLY windy, you'll probably find it easier to "wear" the cloth. That is, put your arm/s through the trunk and the sleeves from the inside and use your shoulders to keep the fabric taught. Not as comfortable, but it makes for a really rigid environment that makes it possible to keep working.

Thanks everyone for the additional feedback. The product keeps improving as a result of your input.

Keith

Robert A. Zeichner
6-Jan-2009, 16:10
Rob,
HYBRID (1/2 Silver, 1/2 two layers breatheable [black inside /white outside])
17 oz., loosely rolls to 1.5" x 6.5" x 9.5" or about the volume of a 6" sub sandwich. With additional layers of thicker fabric, it is not as easily compressed, but still easily fits into a compartment that would house a 70-300 telephoto zoom lens.

The storage sack for each is roughly 7" x 10", which makes, folding in thirds lengthwise and rolling them up before dropping them in the sack for storage the simplest approach
Keith

Thanks Keith. This is exactly the info I was looking for. I'll stop at Subway tomorrow and eyeball a 6" Turkey and Cheese on a Honey Oat to get a visual reference (and lunch, maybe). ;)

Keith S. Walklet
6-Jan-2009, 22:01
Thanks Keith. This is exactly the info I was looking for. I'll stop at Subway tomorrow and eyeball a 6" Turkey and Cheese on a Honey Oat to get a visual reference (and lunch, maybe). ;)

Always good when you want to watch your weight, too.... ;-)


Those who know me might have been surprised I didn't compare the sacks to the size of a Peppridge Farm Mint Milano bag. I always seen to have just enough room for one of those in my pack.

Keith

Blueberrydesk
6-Jan-2009, 23:31
I love my 8x10 hybrid. Small enough to fit into my (admittedly large) backpack, and roomy enough to use as a rain cover if the need arises. I've used it in Central CA valley summers (temps in the 110's) and while you don't want to spend all day under it, it definitely breathes well.

GeorgesGiralt
7-Jan-2009, 09:19
Hi Lads !
I own a 5x7 size. When not in use, I roll it into it's pouch and it serve to block the lenses in their box ! (the lenses are in a wooden box custom made with plywood machined with a router to handle the lenses when mounted on their panels. As the box is U shaped, it has no cover. The BlackJacket serve that purpose when not in use.)