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Thread: "NEW" darkcloth

  1. #21
    tim atherton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 1998

    "NEW" darkcloth

    Keith is sending me some material samples to test - it was -20c for the Santa Parade tonight... :-(
    You'd be amazed how small the demand is for pictures of trees... - Fred Astaire to Audrey Hepburn blog

  2. #22

    "NEW" darkcloth

    I've been testing the BLACKJACKET(TM) for three years in conditions that most people encounter. That is from temps in the single digits Farenheit to over 100 with no problems. As I wrote to Tim, I have not had the pleasure of routine sub-zero temps to work in. So I have asked if he would be willing to test the behavior of some fabric samples for me in the more demanding environment of Yellowknife where Christmas parades are held in minus 20c temps.

    The BLACKJACKET(TM) is constructed of a tight weave black nylon tafetta with an Alumnized polyester coating that as far as I can tell is akin to Latex paint. This appears to be the same stuff that film changing tents are made of. It is very flexible, though I imagine like most things (myself included), it would lose some of its flexibility in extreme sub-zero temps.

    I own an early BTZS hood, and a friend who stopped by today has a newer model of that product. Comparatively speaking, the orignal BTZS (I am guessing it was purchased in the early 1990s) was constructed of a lighter weight, but similar fabric, that is slightly stiffer than the tafetta I use. The coating on the original BTZS is gray and does not appear to be as densely applied as the Aluminized polyester of the BLACKJACKET(TM) tafetta.

    The newer BTZS hood that my friend brought by was made of a much heavier nylon with a more densely applied gray coating. This fabric had a much stiffer feel and seemed to weigh double the earlier BTZS hood. I would compare that fabric to what is called "blackout" fabric, commonly available in fabric stores which is used in constructing drapes.

    There is no comparison with regard to ease of use in super cold conditions. The BLACKJACKET(TM) is easily attached and removed from the camera and it has no Velcro seams to snag my wool Fingermitts, nor is it necessary to open and close any seams to use your focusing loupe.

    You still have to hold your breath when focusing (though you can try exhaling out a sleeve) to prevent the ground glass from frosting. I've been pondering this issue as well. I have some ideas, but don't know how practical they are.

    In summary, I feel the Standard BLACKJACKET(TM) will meet the needs of 99% of photographers and I am working on a solution that will take care of even that last 1%.

    I hope this information helps.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Minneapolis, Minnesota

    "NEW" darkcloth

    Thanks a million, Keith, for that detailed info. I'll be looking forward to hearing Tim's impressions after he's tried the fabric. Your description sounds very encouraging, though.

  4. #24

    Join Date
    Sep 2003

    "NEW" darkcloth

    Regarding holding your breath under the darkcloth in cold temps; I have often wondered how a short breathing tube sewn into the bottom of the darkcloth would work. Something you could use to breathe in and our of your mouth with. It would have to be short as not to get in the way when not using it.

  5. #25

    "NEW" darkcloth

    My pleasure Tom. I know few folks who wouldn't jump at the opportunity to wax on about their progeny! And Matt, there is an answer there waiting for us to figure it out. You are headed in the right direction. Onward!

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