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Thread: Which 4x5 darkcloth to avoid fogging?

  1. #1
    Confidently Agnostic!
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    Which 4x5 darkcloth to avoid fogging?

    My biggest issue right now with my T-shirt tube darkcloth solutions is fogging of the ground glass. I live in a cold climate, and I also seem to exhale a lot of H2O, so what commercially available darkcloth would be best? I don't want it to be too heavy.

    I envision something made out of breathable but not too dusty/fibrous fabric, with a bungee or whatever cord to cinch it up around the back of the camera, and velcro to open / close it on the bottom. What dark cloth would this be?

    I've only read about these things online. There aren't really any stores around me that cater to LF weirdos, so I must order blind.

    Breathable is top priority, above darkness or anything else.

  2. #2

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    Re: Which 4x5 darkcloth to avoid fogging?

    When you say "breathable," do you mean something that will allow you to continue looking at the ground glass while you breathe and not fog up the ground glass in cold or humid weather? I'm not sure there is such a thing made, maybe others know more than I do though.

    With that possible exception you've otherwise described the BTZS hood - light and small, cinches around the camera back with elastic, velcro to open and close it. I've used them for years and like them a lot. In cold or humid weather I stay under the hood but when I need to exhale I look down through the opening at the bottom, then inhale and look back up at the screen while holding my breath. Much better than having to get in and out from inside a tee shirt to breathe but maybe not what you have in mind with "breathable."
    Brian Ellis
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  3. #3

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    Re: Which 4x5 darkcloth to avoid fogging?

    Hi Walter,

    I heard the weather in Calgary isn't all that cold these days! ONLY -7 degrees???

    I use one of the lightweight Calumet dark cloths and it has a velcro stripping around one end of the cloth. This goes around the camera and I gather it in such a way that I can hold the cloth closed at the bottom AND this leaves my nose and mouth on the outside. This way, I can breathe comfortably and not worry about the fogging...

    Of course, we get more rain out here than anything else. Mind you... we did get a pile of "the white stuff" back a few weeks ago! The above method also worked for me while shooting in Banff a few years ago.

    Secondly, there's a glass coating material that helps prevent fogging... accessible from a place like Speedy Auto Glass or Home Hardware.

    Cheers
    Life in the fast lane!

  4. #4
    Confidently Agnostic!
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    Re: Which 4x5 darkcloth to avoid fogging?

    Capocheny: At least in Calgary's snow you can lay down your pack and setup without getting muddy. Out here in Victoria (I'm on vacation / family visit) I've been shooting my digital SLR mainly because I can pull it out quickly in between rain bursts, and everywhere I want to set up my 4x5 is too muddy! I can't imagine how any of you in Vancouver survive the rainy months.

    Anyway I guess I'll order a BTZS. The blackjackets look slick but I'm not sure you can open them up and I think opening the bottom is what I need, which my T-shirts don't do.

  5. #5

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    Re: Which 4x5 darkcloth to avoid fogging?

    As has been mentioned many times before---try a snorkel.
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
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  6. #6

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    Lightbulb Re: Which 4x5 darkcloth to avoid fogging?

    Put an anti-fogging agent on your groundglass. No amount of "breathable" fabric will help when you exhale directly onto a cold groundglass.

    Exhaling through one's nose helps since the air is directed down. But I find working quickly with a loupe while holding my breath is the best solution. When composing, I keep my face as far back from the groundglass as possible.

    I tend NOT to use my BTZS in the cold because the elastic closes one end too tightly around the groundglass so the air I exhale is trapped. In the winter, I use a more traditional darkcloth because it is looser letting the air escape more easily.

    If you're really into having lots of stuff, skip the snorkel and go directly to SCUBA gear. HA!

  7. #7

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    Re: Which 4x5 darkcloth to avoid fogging?

    You might try "rainX" on the ground glass to prevent fogging. I haven'y used it but I don't have this problem.

  8. #8

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    Re: Which 4x5 darkcloth to avoid fogging?

    I have one of those Calumet cloths with the velcro closure at one end and it works good. Otherwise, if you know someone that sews, buy some Gortex type cloth and sew a velcro strip along one edge. Not sure if this would solve your trouble however.

    My solution is to hold my breath when using a lupe for focusing and when I need to take a breath I look down and away from the ground glass. Not sure if RainX would work, it never did on my windsheild.

  9. #9

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    Re: Which 4x5 darkcloth to avoid fogging?

    Have you tried working without a dark cloth? I find that, even at F8, I can easily see where the edges of the image should be. And then the loupe blocks out light wherever I'm fine focusing. Plus, a dark cloth is one more thing to carry, set up, etc.

    Mark

  10. #10

    Re: Which 4x5 darkcloth to avoid fogging?

    I Velcro a clear sheet onto the ground glass frame and let that take all the fogging from my breathing. Being clear I can focus and compose the image. When I am done and ready to take the photo I remove the clear plastic sheet and do a final check of the focus. The clear sheet has rain x on it and the frost just whips off.

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