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Thread: Focusing cloth question

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Foster City, CA
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    47

    Focusing cloth question

    I was stanging on the south rim of Grand Canyon and focusing my old Toyo45F monorail camera when strong canyon wind nearly blew my focusing cloth away from me. I had my wife with me so I politely asked her to hold the cloth for me while I'm focusing and framing - but, unfortunately, having my wife with me every time I take pictures is not an option - she's too bulky, requires an additional power supply, won't fit standard baggage compartments on most aircraft and is only good for digital and 35mm
    So my question is simple - how do you guys hold focusing cloth in place? Or are there any inexpensive hoods that can be easily attached and then detached and folded?

  2. #2
    alec4444's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    New York City
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    652

    Re: Focusing cloth question

    I agonized for a while over this and ended up with the BTZS cloth for my 11x14. Couldn't be happier. It has elastic that keeps it fitted to the camera and it's as dark as a cave inside. Was hoping to get one that I could throw over the whole camera to keep it dry (this was rubberized, but not big enough) but I decided to let that requirement go.

    Others have been pleased with the Blackjacket.

    --A

  3. #3
    Eric Woodbury
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    936

    Re: Focusing cloth question

    Mine is velcro'd to the camera. Unfortunately, what this means is that the darkcloth and the camera blow away together. In high wind, I hang the camera bag on the tripod. When I used a loose cloth, I carried it on my shoulders, but others cover the camera and wrap a bungee around it at the neck.

  4. #4
    Louie Powell's Avatar
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    Sep 2003
    Location
    Saratoga Springs, NY
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    780

    Re: Focusing cloth question

    I share the spousal limitation, so I definitely understand your concern. And I don't think I would want to try to explain why she is coded as 'excess baggage'.

    My practice generally is to use the darkcloth only for focusing, and once that step is done, I fold it up and put it back in my backpack. One of my concerns is that if you attach the darkcloth to the camera, it acts like a big sail. At best, it can introduce vibrations during long exposures, and it the worst case it can blow over the camera.

    There are times, however, when photographing in bright sun, when I want to shade the back of the camera during the exposure. In those instances, I wrap the cloth around the rear standard of the camera, and then clip the two tails together under the camera using an "A clamp" that ordinarily hangs from the side of my backpack.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Westminster, MD
    Posts
    1,656

    Re: Focusing cloth question

    Small spring clamps bought in any hardware store.

    I also have a BTZS for my 8x10 and 4x5 when I need more than a darkcloth.

    My wife is never 'excess baggage' 'cause she refuses the hang around when I'm photographing. It's me carrying the 'excess baggage' after she done shopping. Grin.
    When I grow up, I want to be a photographer.

    http://www.walterpcalahan.com/Photography/index.html

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Foster City, CA
    Posts
    47

    Re: Focusing cloth question

    Hmm, I'm wondering if small spring clamps are strong enough to hold my wife
    I think I will get the Blackjacket.
    Thanks a lot to all who responded!

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    2,602

    Re: Focusing cloth question

    I use bulldog clips. It's held around the rear standard and clipped underneath. Can't go anywhere and it's non permanent

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    California
    Posts
    1,682

    Re: Focusing cloth question

    Use a nice Black T-Shirt.
    It works better than a dark cloth, covers tops, sides and bottom, is light in weight, folds up small, doesn't act like a sail in a strong wind.
    A size "L" will fit well on most 4x5's. XXXL's fit 5x7.

    My students have been advised in this direction for years.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    459

    Re: Focusing cloth question

    I had my wife with me so I politely asked her to hold the cloth for me while I'm focusing and framing - but, unfortunately, having my wife with me every time I take pictures is not an option - she's too bulky, requires an additional power supply, won't fit standard baggage compartments on most aircraft and is only good for digital and 35mm
    Leave the wife at home and rent two scantily clad super models. Barring that (bar not bare) try a Blackjacket. The 8x10 model also fits 4x5 nicely.

    Cheers,
    Mark

  10. #10
    multi format
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Posts
    2,849

    Re: Focusing cloth question

    i use my hands to hold it on the back of the camera.
    no clips, or springs, or elastics ( just fingers ).
    nothing fancy for the cloth, just a piece of black felt ...

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