View Full Version : 5 x 7 Deardorff Bellows velcro solution

Chester McCheeserton
15-Oct-2017, 12:26
I'm wondering if someone would be willing to post a picture of how they dealt with this. I think I've read read the older posts but continue to lose negs like the attached below when I'm using a 150 lens on my 5x7 and forget to wedge the bellows pleats forward with either a folded 4x5 cardboard from empty film box or a binder clip as mentioned by John Bowen.

I'm thinking of super gluing some sort of small piece of velcro but I'm hesitant to deface the camera structurally by drilling in a new hook or clasp to the top of the front standard to attach it to.

It's only an issue when I use close to the max of front rise but I do this frequently and I much prefer the wide bite I get with this 150 lens vs a 180.

Thanks very much for any thoughts or experience you all could share.


Chester McCheeserton
15-Oct-2017, 12:27

16-Oct-2017, 05:21
OK, but it is a way, but not the only way... The paper clamp method can be reversed or re-adjusted, but you are stuck if glued down if your priorities change... (And the re-sale value thingy...)

Linhof Technika's had lugs with little round clips on the side of the bellows, where they would be hooked on spring loaded hooks on the FS, and just pull the larger rear section of the bellows out until the bellows were half extended, when the spring hooks would release and allow the rest of the bellows to extend... Helped prevent internal sag...

On (I think) was a Plaubel LF camera was a mushroom headed shaft that extended from the rail or bed (about the size of a engine valve from a car) that could be raised up and locked in place to provide lift to the bottom of the bellows... Or throw a small block of thick foam in your kit to wedge under the bels if you observe sagging...

If you have to attach something to the outside bellows, don't use superglue as it can attack the bellows as it dries, but contact cement is safer, more flexible, and can be carefully removed with some care...

Steve K

Chester McCheeserton
19-Jun-2019, 20:14
Thanks Steve – much belated.

I'm still just using a piece of white folded cardboard from an empty film box to wedge in there.

19-Jun-2019, 20:28
Yea, just stick something from in your bag or somewhere, under your bellows to jack them up slightly under that sag...

Do they make athletic supporters or bras for bellows, but maybe an opportunity for someone to invent?!?!! ;-)

Steve K

Chester McCheeserton
19-Jun-2019, 20:56
Haha yeah maybe Daniel Stone should get on this

Tracy Storer
19-Jun-2019, 21:00
If it's a later 4x5 Special or 5x7, you're on 4x4 boards, which is a bit limiting, probably not enough room for a recessed board, but you could try a board with an offset hole to give you some rise (or fall) without distorting the bellows as much. As much as I love Deardorffs (quite a bit) they may not be the best if you do a lot of wide angle work...
a binder clip on each side, near the top, pulling the rear pleats forward may help, I had terrible problems like this with the Wisner ULF cameras I used back in the day (14x17 and 20x24) and always traveled with lots of clamps for bellows "fitting"(like clothespins on a fashion shoot, but for the bellows instead of the clothes !).

Chester McCheeserton
19-Jun-2019, 21:18
Ahhh interesting idea about the offset board, I will investigate that, Thanks...Yeah I love my camera but don't need that much bellows 98 percent of the time. Always did drool over those ebony wide angle non-folding designs, but I guess they wouldn't be as convenient to travel with.

20-Jun-2019, 04:01

You may use this kind of setup for wide angle lens.

Jim Noel
20-Jun-2019, 09:35
My pre 1957 5x7 with original bellows never has this problem. If the bellows has been cranked out for a long lens,and I need to use something short.I simply rack the bellows all the way in and then back out to the appropriate length and the folds take care of the problem.

Chester McCheeserton
20-Jun-2019, 09:54
I'm not sure if my bellows is original, I think they may not be. It's never a problem when using my 180 lens or when I'm not using a lot of front rise on the 150. But I frequently am, at least when photographing buildings.

and diversey, Yes, that's the more standard set-up of the standards, that I do often use, but I still get the issue,