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Thread: What can I use to soften the bellows of an Eastman 2D?

  1. #1

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    What can I use to soften the bellows of an Eastman 2D?

    I just received an Eastman 2D 8x10 and the bellow make alarming cracking noises when pulled out to portrait distances. I"m assuming this is the leather being old and dry. What can I put on the bellows to soften them back up so they don't crack enough to cause light leaks?

  2. #2
    Randy Moe's Avatar
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    Re: What can I use to soften the bellows of an Eastman 2D?

    This will be interesting.

    Give 1/2 to Drew and 1/2 to Mdarnton.

    I never had any luck with softening old bellows.

  3. #3

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    Re: What can I use to soften the bellows of an Eastman 2D?

    There is no cure!

    Treatments are for leather that have not yet reached this terminal stage.

    http://www.largeformatphotography.in...ht=dry+bellows

  4. #4

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    Re: What can I use to soften the bellows of an Eastman 2D?

    Sounds like the best thing will be a new bellows. I don't recommend the 8x10 2D bellows from the Japanese seller on eBay - specially if you want to use the extension rail.
    Peter

  5. #5
    Foamer
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    Re: What can I use to soften the bellows of an Eastman 2D?

    In the end, a new bellows isn't that much and it will prevent a lot of frustration.


    Kent in SD
    In contento ed allegria
    Notte e di vogliam passar!

  6. #6

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    Re: What can I use to soften the bellows of an Eastman 2D?

    Quote Originally Posted by pjd View Post
    Sounds like the best thing will be a new bellows. I don't recommend the 8x10 2D bellows from the Japanese seller on eBay - specially if you want to use the extension rail.
    Why not? Everyone seems like like him and he offers bellows expressly listed as for the 2D 8x10 with the extension rail. That was my backup plan, so I'm curious why you advise against it.

  7. #7
    (Shrek)
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    Re: What can I use to soften the bellows of an Eastman 2D?

    About half a can of lemon pledge, liberally applied inside and out, make sure you get it into all the crevasses with a q-tip or something, then let it sit before wiping off. Repeat as necessary. But there's little chance this will work if the leather is dried out to the point it's developing visible cracks when you open it.

  8. #8

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    Re: What can I use to soften the bellows of an Eastman 2D?

    Quote Originally Posted by williaty View Post
    Why not? Everyone seems like like him and he offers bellows expressly listed as for the 2D 8x10 with the extension rail. That was my backup plan, so I'm curious why you advise against it.
    I bought a pair of 2D bellows from the Japanese seller - which turned out to be 2" shy full extension with the extra rail. It turned out they had tested their bellows on a 2D, but didn't have the rail. When I mentioned this they were surprised and asked for evidence, so I sent some photos of the bellows at which point they apologised and said they'd have to develop a longer bellows, which would take some time - they'd contact me when the new design is ready.

    A couple of months later I got an email saying the new bellows were ready, could I send the old ones back. I did that, losing out on another $25 or so shipping. The new bellows turned up and were longer, but the largest folds (right inside the rear standard) looked a bit odd. I accepted it as I wanted an end to it. I sent some more photos showing that the new bellows installed at full extension, I was happy enough at first. The longer bellows are made from a different material to the first, which had some sort of pattern weaved into it. After a few months the first few folds went to mush to an extent that just looking at the camera bugs me a bit. I tried closing the camera carefully, but it wasn't possible to do much about the folds losing shape, I think their jig was just set up wrong. I don't think the bellows cause vignetting, but they look crappy.

    I emailed them about it sending more photos, they said if I sent the bellows back I could have a refund of the purchase price. However I'd have paid for 3 lots of shipping and would still not have a bellows.

    The original bellows were really well made, with the exception that they were a bit too short. The frames are fitted well and they even pre-drilled holes for the mounting screws. They just let me down with the replacement bellows and didn't seem to care that I'd effectively been a beta tester for them - and paid double shipping for that dubious privilege. I think it's bad that they hadn't fully tested the original bellows with an extension frame. My faith in Japanese manufacturing excellence took a knock!

    I hope they've now fixed their design, but will leave it to someone else to test it. If I could turn back the clock I'd spend the extra money for custom bellows in the UK.
    Peter

  9. #9

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    Re: What can I use to soften the bellows of an Eastman 2D?

    Try Lexol leather conditioner. Don't extend the bellows far, and put your darkcloth over the bellows when shooting. If you are worried about any large holes in the corners use some black fabric paint to touch them up. Don't worry about pinholes in the folds (you are not extending the bellows all the way, and are using your dark cloth, remember?)

    I used a 1920s Seneca with it's original bellows for years. When I sold it (and explained it had holes), the buyer (newbie) got it and freaked out because of all the holes, checking it cranked out to the stretching point, and using a flashlight in a dark room. Excessive worry.

  10. #10

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    Re: What can I use to soften the bellows of an Eastman 2D?

    Quote Originally Posted by goamules View Post
    Try Lexol leather conditioner. Don't extend the bellows far, and put your darkcloth over the bellows when shooting. If you are worried about any large holes in the corners use some black fabric paint to touch them up. Don't worry about pinholes in the folds (you are not extending the bellows all the way, and are using your dark cloth, remember?)

    I used a 1920s Seneca with it's original bellows for years. When I sold it (and explained it had holes), the buyer (newbie) got it and freaked out because of all the holes, checking it cranked out to the stretching point, and using a flashlight in a dark room. Excessive worry.
    Extend bellows on your camera as far as you need - good bellows will not crack when stretched to its max and you need to have your freedom when taking pics.
    Never use black paint to cover pinholes, thinking you have solved the problem. The paint itself will crack and cause you troubles that you won't know ahead - only ruined pictures will tell you you have a problem.
    Do not use your black cloth to cover pinholes in your bellows - you never know if the black cloth is sufficient to cover them on all sides. Black cloths are not supposed to cure pinholed bellows.
    When buying an old view camera, always check its bellows. When showing pinholes count on the need to replace it. Never trust a seller telling you that you don't need to stretch the bellows on your camera and you will be fine.
    Ultimately, beware so called internet experts who take pictures with faulty bellows.

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