View Full Version : Bail Backs??

11-Jun-2008, 13:17
What is the significance of such a back: also what are their limitations when using accessories with such a back. I tanks you very much; :)

Alan Rabe
11-Jun-2008, 13:43
They make it easy to lift the back away from the camera so you can slide in the film holder. If you have a camera with stiff springs or is prone to movement when the back is moved then they are a help. They shouldn't interfere with other special backs as the bail is outside of the boundries of the back.

David A. Goldfarb
11-Jun-2008, 13:43
The attraction of a bail is that it gently holds open the back while you insert the filmholder, so that you don't otherwise change the settings on the camera. There is nothing about a bail back that inherently limits their use with accessories. A Graflok/International type back can also have a bail. A bail back can open wide for thick rollfilm backs or Grafmatics or might not open wide enough, just as any other back may or may not work with a particular kind of filmholder.

John Powers
11-Jun-2008, 14:02
My 7x17 RH Phillips came with a bail. I liked it so much that I had Dick Phillips add a bail to my older (1993) 8x10 Advantage series. The bail smoothly opens and locks the back just the right amount of space to easily slide in the film holder. Without the bail I was never sure if I was putting too much pressure on the back springs. I was always worried that I might knock some aspect of the focus out and not realize it until I developed the film. Both are very rigid and precise cameras. The bail in my opinion made the older camera as precise as the newer one.

The only dislike about it is that on occasion I have opened the bail to remove a film holder and then forgotten to close the bail. The first time that happened I did not realize how much pressure was on the bail and I held it loosely. Watching that bail slam back against the camera by accident is something I doubt that I will do again.


11-Jun-2008, 14:26
Thanks for the information on this subject matter:

John Kasaian
11-Jun-2008, 14:27
I've got one on the Gowland Aerial. Took it up to 14.800' and the air pressure locked the back down so tight I couldn't change film holders (the whole camera acted like an 8x10 one way relief valve) Me and two of the ground crew guys nearly broke our fingernails off trying to extract the film holder and the bail is still bent (which serves as a reminder to only use grooved plastic film holders at altitude, since they'll leak air and won't seal like the flat wooden ones)

Neal Shields
11-Jun-2008, 14:48
My Sinar has a bail and before I ever took the first picture, I accidently let it slip and broke the 4x5 ground glass. Thank goodness it wasn't the 8x10

11-Jun-2008, 14:53
Richard Ritter installed one on my Wisner. Best 100.00 I ever spent. Makes inserting the holder no fuss or muss.

John Bowen
12-Jun-2008, 04:37
Richard has also installed them on a few of my cameras. I love them...

A bail back is a godsend on a 7x17 camera...

12-Jun-2008, 04:47
John Powers: Sounds like a good mouse trap [LOL] (Watching that bail slam back against the camera by accident is something I doubt that I will do again :)

John Powers
12-Jun-2008, 12:30
John Powers: Sounds like a good mouse trap [LOL] (Watching that bail slam back against the camera by accident is something I doubt that I will do again :)

Not a pleasant experience, but fortunately no damage. I tipped over the 8x10 by accident in my own back yard a few years back and decided to have a spare of both sizes. A 7x17 ground glass with grid was $109 when I decided to buy a spare.

What size LF camera(s) do you use or are you considering for a bail? My guess is, based on my experience, the larger the camera the more justified the bail.


Mark Sawyer
12-Jun-2008, 14:14
My B&J 11x14 has a fairly stiff set of springs, making it a bit of a trick to get the holders in. I've found it's sometimes best to remove the back, put the holder in, and replace the back on the camera. That's my standard procedure if the camera is at eye-level and the orientation is vertical. It takes a little longer, but if you're careful not to move the camera, it's a very workable alternative to the bail back.

17-Jun-2008, 19:32
Thank you very much Folks: NOw that I have seen one in person , I have a better understanding of it and its use: