View Full Version : New Bellows

Robert McClure
15-Aug-2005, 12:16
I am in the market for a new (primary) bellows for my 7x17 Folmer Schwing. Keith at Camera Bellows of UK had quoted me 375.00 USD. Just got off the phone with Joe Merry of Turner Bellows in Rochester who quoted the same price. Joe's price included return shipping (probably 10 bucks). UK will be, I'm sure, $100.00 round trip shipping. Joe Merry said his bellows were three ply with card stock and glue sandwiched in-between two layers of cloth fabric. He said they were around 25/1000" thickness. Sounds like what the UK guy's most certainly were, also. No big deal on construction I would assume. I'm going to email Keith at UK again and ask about his construction.

I know Michael Kadillak in Colorado just bought himself a bellows from UK and was very pleased.

What about this Turner Bellows in Rochester? Anyone familiar with this outfit and its bellows? Joe Merry said Turner Bellows had the Beseler Enlarger contract and are manufacturing their bellows for enlargers. He was very informative, helpful, professional. (He is not my brother-in-law! Ha, ha!)

Jorge Gasteazoro
15-Aug-2005, 12:37
Sorry to be off topic but do you have the number for both? I am looking for someone to make me an 8x10 bellows.

Steve Hamley
15-Aug-2005, 13:03

Here's half the answer.


I had them make one for a past Deardorff - it was a really nice bellows.


Jorge Gasteazoro
15-Aug-2005, 13:08
Thanks Steve! google gave me the answer for both.

David A. Goldfarb
15-Aug-2005, 13:16
My 11x14" bellows from Camera Bellows just arrived a couple days ago--about 3 weeks total including shipping both ways from New York. Based on when they charged my credit card, I'm guessing it was in the shop for about two days. I'm on the road, though, so I won't get to see how it came out for another couple of weeks yet!

peter schrager
15-Aug-2005, 15:15
I can't speak about the people in Rochester but the bellows on my 5x7 Deardorf were replaced with the Camera Bellows from England and it makes all the difference.
Peter Schrager

15-Aug-2005, 15:43
Don't sell Western Bellows, in CA short. When I needed a bellows their price beat both the others. And the workmanship was top rate.




(909) 980-0606

Gregory Owens
15-Aug-2005, 18:38
I second Mark's opinion of Western Bellows. Jim made me a new bellows for one of my 8x10 Deardorff's earlier this year. He had mine done in two weeks, his pricing is fair and his workmanship is top notch. Give him a call at 909-980-0606.


15-Aug-2005, 19:04
I ordered a bellows from Western Bellows last November and it was three months of enduring excuses and delays and long distance phone calls to see where my order was. I finally received the bellows only when I demanded my money and my bellows frames be returned to me immediately. Until that time the order wasn't even started. While the end product is satisfactory, there is simply no excuse for this kind of business practice. God knows, we have enough of it already in the large format world. I won't be doing any more business with them. Period.

Camera Bellows on the other hand was communicative, cheerful and fast. From the time I sent them the frames until I had the new bellows in hand was two weeks to the day. When you consider shipping from California to the UK and back, that's not half bad, mate.

Conrad Hoffman
15-Aug-2005, 20:36
I just had Turner Bellows make up a new one for my Omega/Toyo 4x5. Their materials are good, much better than the factory stuff, and I don't expect any pinholes for a long time to come. Their turn-a-round is about 4 weeks, as they fit these jobs in when they have time. It's a hand made product- I don't know how the original factory bellows were made, but it probably involved some type of folding machine or something, as the uniformity is perfect. OTOH, it didn't hold up very well. The Turner bellows has some slight variation fold to fold, but nothing bothersome. You'll need to send them the old bellows or at least the metal end pieces (if present), to use as a guide.

Frank Petronio
16-Aug-2005, 00:44
Turner Bellows is an old Rochester company that made bellows for Kodak and Graflex back in the day, and they are still a small, craft based business. Since the Rochester economy sucks, I'd personally appreciate you sending some business to Upstate Hillaryville (and no, I don't know a soul at the company.)

Sanders McNew
16-Aug-2005, 01:04
Chiming in for Camera Bellows in the UK. I needed a 5x7 Sinar Norma bellows made. They had the pattern on hand and I had the bellows in NYC 10 days later. I checked with the other suppliers mentioned above, but none could match the price or the delivery time. The transaction was fast and smooth and the bellows are perfect. Thumbs up.

Sanders McNew


David A. Goldfarb
1-Sep-2005, 13:59
Well I got home yesterday and found the new 11x14" bellows from Camera Bellows waiting for me. As expected, they did a fine job, lined the frames up just like I'd indicated, and it was a breeze to re-install it. I'd asked for three D-rings on the side, and instead they put three tabs on the top, each with a small ring, which in fact will work better than my original plan. Now I just need to put a small screw or hook on top of the front standard to hook the tabs onto it. With the longer bellows, I can use the full extension of the camera with movements, and the camera closes, but the front standard doesn't quite close in the same place it did with the shorter bellows, which means I'll have to put some new recesses in the front rail for the thumbscrew knobs on the front standard, so that it closes with the rail inside the camera. I can close the camera with the rail extended a couple of inches, but it would be neater to keep it all inside.

David A. Goldfarb
1-Sep-2005, 17:57
Here's the new bellows installed on the camera--


A big improvement over the old one--


Robert McClure
2-Sep-2005, 07:20

Your new bellows look wonderful. (First change since circa 1920?) Nothing like having top notch, completely functional tools/equipment to make photographs. Bellows are such a simple thing, relatively speaking. Yet, if they don't work properly, you are up a creek, eh?

Good luck, David!

Robert McClure
2-Sep-2005, 07:24

BTW, did you deal with Keith (at Camera Bellows in Birmingham, England)?

2-Sep-2005, 07:54
Beautiful bellows David. They do very nice work and I bet it's comforting to know that when you go to deal with them. What type of material did they use? Do they offer different types of material when you order?

tim atherton
2-Sep-2005, 07:58
I'm pretty sure these are the same type of bellows Phillps, Canham and a number of others use.

David A. Goldfarb
2-Sep-2005, 11:17
The new bellows is a synthetic material, which they recommended for a bellows of this size, but they can also do leather. I didn't deal with Keith, but filled out the form on the website and dealt with Veronica Haynes by e-mail.

The old bellows wasn't original, but was someone's failed experiment in bellowsmaking. It was relatively new when I bought the camera a couple of years ago, so I thought I was getting a really good deal, but the bellows started coming unglued internally shortly thereafter. Given what I paid, I did get a good deal even having to replace the bellows, but not as good as I had thought.

I also realized this morning that my problem with closing the camera with the rail in the right place comes from my having installed the lensboard frame upside down, not from having a longer bellows!