View Full Version : Focusing cloth

23-Aug-2005, 09:12
Could you suggest a suitable size of the focusing cloth for 12x20" camera?

Thanks a lot.

Donald Hutton
23-Aug-2005, 09:27
A dark cloth for a 12xz0 can be really cumbersome - it's a long way around! After trying a few options, I recently bought a BTZS focussing hood from the Viewcamerastore (www.viewcamerastore.com) - it's light, very compact and works perfectly. I'd highly recommend it as a solution for 12x20.

paul owen
23-Aug-2005, 09:40
Take a look at Quietworks "Black Jacket" focus cloth - there is an ULF version under development as we speak!

Robert C. McColloch
23-Aug-2005, 09:44
BTZS focussing hood cracks on cold winter days; Blackjacket will avoid this problem.

Christopher Perez
23-Aug-2005, 09:55
I went to a local fabric store and purchased some very nice burgandy red microfiber faux-suede cloth. Then I sewed a couple velcro tabs to the cloth to help hold it in place as it wrapped around the camera back. For the free edges (non-selvage) I used pinking shears and have had no problems with tearing or fraying.

Anything else just slips off and doesn't fit as nicely.

The micro-fiber cloth cost me less than $9/yard and can be used to wrap the camera when the system is stored or for traveling. There is some thicker microfiber materials that cost upwards of $70/yard. But check with the sales people for the less expensive but perfectly suitable materials. The microfiber I picked up was near the upholstery section.

Donald Hutton
23-Aug-2005, 10:03
"BTZS focussing hood cracks on cold winter days; Blackjacket will avoid this problem."

I also have a BTZS 4X5 and 8X10 hood - I have used both in weather between 0 and ten degrees and neither have any cracks - is that not cold enough?

I have heard good things about the black jacket too - but there was no 12x20 model available when I bough the BTZS 12x20 hood. I also have had no quality issues with any of the three BTZS hoods I own.

Joe Smigiel
23-Aug-2005, 10:53
I recently made a darkcloth for my 11x14 with an aluminized nylon material I purchased from Outdoor Wilderness Fabrics. Lightproof, silver on one side and black on the other, I essentially made a large tube with drawstrings at both ends. The tube fits around the perimeter of the camera back (about 72" IIRC) and is about 58" long (the width of the fabric bolt). I secure one end over the camera back with the drawstring and slip the other end of the tube over my head, shoulders, and upper torso. I can easily reach around the tube with an arm if I need to focus and the extra material folds to keeps the light out. It is very lightweight despite its size, collapses down to a compact size, and it is the best darkcloth I've ever used. Material cost was $9.70/yd for the black/aluminum lightproof nylon and a couple bucks for the drawstrings and locks...roughly $24 total cost. It is also large enough to easily double as a reflector/subtractor.

John Cook
23-Aug-2005, 12:18
Peony, I recently have replaced my old, fragrant dark cloths with new ones I "fashioned" from black ultrasuede from the local fabric store.

Ultrasuede isn't woven, so it requires no hem, nor sewing of any kind. It is heavy enough to resist flapping in a light breeze. And the rough texture helps keep it from slipping and sliding around.

Made from some type of polyester, it washes easily without shrinking. But don't put it in the clothes dryer, as it will melt.

Only downside I can figure would be discomfort under the desert sun. But then, I'm in New England and winter is coming.

As for size: a couple of yards (normal 54" or 60" bolt width) should do the trick.

For a dark cloth that size, you might also consider mattador cape-handling lessons...

Herb Cunningham
23-Aug-2005, 13:54
while this is not exactly on topic, can any of you guys recommend the material for a cooler dark cloth? I have had BTZ, way too hot, now have Blackjacket, plenty hot, and used a heavy cloth which was white/black, and it was too small and also heavy, I like the design of the blackjacket, but the tail is short- they will special design, but they are still hot.

Is the answer to avoid shooting in hot weather?

Donald Hutton
23-Aug-2005, 14:24
Beer Herb...

John Cook
23-Aug-2005, 14:59
Herb, I can't think of anything Spaten won't cure:


However, what about one of those mylar space blanket thingies for working under the sun?


23-Aug-2005, 15:07
When I described my ideal dark cloth to my wife, she almost laughed. One day she came home with the solution: an XXXL black T-Shirt she got at a garage sale. I just wish it didn't say Harley-Davidson all over it.

Scott Rosenberg
23-Aug-2005, 15:42
check with photographers formulary... they have excellent dark cloths for large cameras. they have one as large as 5' x 7'... not cheap, but VERY good. have them add velcro fastners.


good luck,

23-Aug-2005, 16:32
"check with photographers formulary... they have excellent dark cloths for large cameras. they have one as large as 5' x 7'... not cheap, but VERY good. have them add velcro fastners.

The big Formulary dark cloths are very well made. You can even have them made with magnetic ties instead of velcro if you like. The big 5X7' one works very nicely with ULF cameras. I havce one of these and use it a lot instead of the lighter clothes and there are definitely many situations where they are more useful.

Steven Barall
23-Aug-2005, 16:57
If fabricating one completely out of duct tape doesn't work, try grabbing whatever is covering your sofa.

In the olden days a photographer would use the hide of a buffalo for a dark cloth which also had the added benefit of allowing the photographer to sneak up on a herd without spooking them. There were occasional reports of problems during mating season though. Talk about over exposure.

Michael A.Smith
23-Aug-2005, 17:48
The dark cloth measures 96" (wide) x 60" (front to back) hemmed. Two layers of black, one of white. Makes a great pad for carrying a 35-pound 12x20. (My camera is a 12x20 with an 8x20 back.)

23-Aug-2005, 21:34
I'm currently working on a new dark cloth. ( well the wife is actually) I found a real nice lightweight, two -ply Gortex material that is white on one side and black on the other. I'm lining it with a very opaque black china silk . This will be to fit my 8x20. Last thing I need is a jacket to keep me dry in case it rains. I want something to keep the camera dry. Lightweight, breathable, and waterproof ( and of course dark) just about covers the criteria I set when I started.

Christian Olivet
24-Aug-2005, 00:39
I got Photographers Formulary's largest dark cloth about a month ago. The size is right on, and somewhat hefty which I like. It is not 100% light proof, maybe 95%-98% opaque and that seems fine too. Like Michael said, it makes a great shoulder pad to carry the camera with the tripod still attached!

Christian Olivet
24-Aug-2005, 00:41
Forgot ta say it is two sheets of cotton fabric, one white and other side black. Nothing Sci-Fi about it.

John Berry ( Roadkill )
24-Aug-2005, 01:31
Having looked thru Sandy Kings 12X20 with the 5X7 Photographers Formulary's darkcloth. I found it to be just about the right size. Also after using it I got one just like it 5'X5' for my 8X10. I got the one with magnets instead of velcro. Works good for me.

29-Aug-2006, 12:54
Hi - continuing on an old thread:

I've looked at the BTZS focusing cloth, and I like it. But is it waterproof? There's another focusing cloth out there that IS waterproof, but doesn't cinch around the camera. The nice thing about the waterproof fieature is that if caught in rain you can use it to cover and protect the whole camera.....