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Thread: New article by Paul Owen: Black Jacket focus cloth

  1. #21

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    New article by Paul Owen: Black Jacket focus cloth

    I've used the BTZS dark cloth for years and like it o.k. but I was open to something better so I tried a friend's Black Jacket. The Black Jacket kept the ground glass a little darker inside because it doesn't have the opening slit that BTZS has. The downside was that to avoid the slit Black Jacket has two sleeves through which your arms are inserted much like a changing tent. Each time you get in and out from under the Black Jacket you have to get these sleeves on and off your arms, which I thought was a major PITA. So it was very easy for me to see why I ever did without it and will continue to do without it.
    Brian Ellis
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  2. #22

    Join Date
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    New article by Paul Owen: Black Jacket focus cloth

    Brian, That is my take on just seeing this design. I would be fumbling around trying to get my arms in and out of the sleeves. If I wanted to see the GG better I think I would opt for a higher resolution GG. There are some on the market that claim to be 2 stops brighter but then again I've never had any problem with my stock GG. My only problem is finding a cloth big enough for the ULF sizes. This is being taken care of as we speak with a little help from the Mother-in-law and her sewing machine.

  3. #23

    New article by Paul Owen: Black Jacket focus cloth

    For those of you who have the 'breathable' version... how well does it breathe?
    I rarely use a thick dark cloth, mainly due to problems with overheating, but I've also shot in the snow before and had a terrible time keeping the gg from getting fogged.

  4. #24

    New article by Paul Owen: Black Jacket focus cloth

    Robert: I made my own dark cloth similar to what you have said. Though I used an iron-on adhesive called 'stichery'. Advantage is that I made it fit perfectly around the Busch Pressman I owned at the time. Disadvantage is that it was a pain in the a to make. The velcro strips kept coming off. And the wind blows it off my hjead sometimes.

    I had the chance to try out the blackjaket at the view camera conference a couple years ago. Outstanding product. A little thick for my taste (I am just using a black t-shirt right now).
    But then most of my lenses are pretty bright right now. (xenar f4.5, etc) The blackjaket really sealed out the light well. For slower lenses it is great. And I dont know why people complain about the price.. I think it took me about 3 hours to make a darkcloth, including planning, trip to the fabric store, cutting and hemming, adding the velcro tabs.

  5. #25

    Join Date
    Sep 2001
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    40

    New article by Paul Owen: Black Jacket focus cloth

    I bought the original blackjacket and like it very much, but for me it had two problems: My view camera is the Canham DLC45. Because of the design of the rear standard, even with the blackjacket, stray ligth cannot be blocked off entirely. Let me add, though, that in this respect the blackjacket was still better than what I had been using. Also -- and this was a more serious problem for me -- I found that under the nonbreathable fabric of the original blackjacket I got very hot very quickly in any kind of warm weather.

    The breathable version of the blackjacket probably fixes this problem; but instead of buying a second blackjacket, I got the GnassGear dark cloth, and this had become my favorite. It is light; breathable, sturdy, and by means of snaps, velcro, and elastic edging, can be made about as light-tight on my Canham as the blackjacket. I would recommend the GnassGear dark cloth to anyone who wants a well-designed darkcloth, but would prefer to do without the sleeves of the blackjacket.

  6. #26

    Join Date
    Dec 2004
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    143

    New article by Paul Owen: Black Jacket focus cloth

    I have never found a dark cloth I have liked; they slip off, leak light, don't fit properly, etc. If the black jacket is made in 11x14 size, I will definitely try one.

  7. #27

    Join Date
    Jul 2000
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    New article by Paul Owen: Black Jacket focus cloth

    Darin, That's why I would stick with good old fashion needle and thread. That iron on stuff may be ok for a quick fix but if I was going to make one I'd sew it. That includes sewing the velcro strips on. If it blows off of your head you made it to small and that is why I suggested sewing two flat lead sinkers or something similar in the two corners opposite of the velcro strips this is weight that will hold it down on your back in breezy situations. Also if anyone needs total light tightness while focusing I would suggest ( like I said before) buy a higher resolution ground glass. But if you like the blackjacket then by all means buy it. I just don't think I would like fumbling with the sleeves. Also if it rains I don't need a rain coat for myself as much as I would need to cover my camera.

  8. #28

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    Jul 2000
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    New article by Paul Owen: Black Jacket focus cloth

    Gortex may be something to consider for one side of the cloth. I know the gortex rain suits that most pro shops sell are lightweight and that type of material might work well against a black silk material for the inside.

  9. #29
    Whatever David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    New article by Paul Owen: Black Jacket focus cloth

    John Zdral--I asked precisely about an 11x14" version, and he says it's coming.

  10. #30

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    Sep 2003
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    New article by Paul Owen: Black Jacket focus cloth

    There is no dark cloth that can satisfy every requirement so we must compromise, based on format and camera controls.

    My own favorites at this moment are, for the reasons cited and not in priority order, as follows.

    1. Magic Steve’s big horse blanket type dark cloth distributed by Photographer’s Formulary. Black cloth on inside, white outside. Yes, you can sew your own but this one can be ordered with either Velcro or magnets to hold it in place fore and aft. A bit on the heavy side so works best with sturdy cameras like Deardorff, Ebony, Shen-Hao, etc. And you can have your name embroidered!

    The advantage of the blanket type cloth is that you have free access to all camera controls. The disadvantage is that it not easy to block all extraneous light.

    2. BTZS cloth. Silver metallic on outside, black on inside. Recent models are lighter than the one I purchased several years, a definite + with big cameras that do not lock down tight. (Sorry, we folks who use 12X20 know which ones apply without mentioning brand!). Depending on design of camera most extraneous light is excluded, but there is very limited access to controls on rear of camera.

    3. The Black Jacket. Several materials available. Silver metallic on outside, black inside. Great advantage over BTZS is access through hand pockets to controls on rear of camera. Hand controls also allow use of loupe to inspect image on GG in almost complete darkness.

    To this point my favorite for 5X7 is the Black Jacket. For ULF I like about equally well the Formulary blanket and the BTZS hood. Looking forward to testing the Black Jacket in ULF size.
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