View Full Version : Dark cloth; why other side is red?

7-Jul-2008, 22:07
this is really dumb question :o
It has been in my mind for a long, long time, but I haven't dare to ask about it.

But now I am too curious.

Many times the focusing cloth is black from other side and red from the other side. What is decided function for red color?
I have used such focusing cloth, and found that red side just is not dark enough, so I have to use black side and turn red side to outside.

Is the red side only for protecting photographer from heat of the sun? :confused:

Ole Tjugen
7-Jul-2008, 22:19
Or from hunters...

7-Jul-2008, 22:20
When Ron Wisner was selling this type, his thought was as protection from cars and trucks on the side of the road.

John Kasaian
7-Jul-2008, 22:21
In case photography dosen't pan out you can try your hand at bull fighting? :D

The opposite side off a focusing cloth is a contrasting color (I've been told) so that :
1. It will reflect heat better on warm days, making it a touch cooler under the cloth.
2. Provide some conspicuity in case you're photography in night or heavily overcast conditions so no one will mistakenly run over you.

as for me, I think the whirl at bullfighting would be a possibity except my focusing cloth is white on the 'other' side ;)


Turner Reich
7-Jul-2008, 22:42
Better Red than dead?

Pete Watkins
7-Jul-2008, 22:45
Red would go with the bellows on my B&J. I'm gonna get one!

7-Jul-2008, 22:47
I don't know about red, but white does seem to help in the heat. I suppose Red could have been used to try and be a bit more classy looking, or just different?

7-Jul-2008, 22:52
I would imagine it has something to do with not producing a strong after-image,
in the case of light leaks-


7-Jul-2008, 22:56
I know that in wet plate and ortho film, the film is only blue light sensitive (therefore not red). it could be something like that. A lot of wet plate shooters line the inside of their portable dark room tents with either yellow or red so as to block exposing light in addition to the black.

7-Jul-2008, 23:07
Purely "style" I would think... they come in all colors. Wista is green, Wisner is red, Delta black on both sides, Harrison is silver, Blackjacket is silver, other brands I've seen are white. Methinks most of the colors are covered, or have been covered in the past. But then again, I haven't seen pink or yellow..... yet.

robert fallis
7-Jul-2008, 23:51
why a cloth?? costs money.. I use my jacket.


8-Jul-2008, 03:01
Definetly hunters is best reason :D
Especially when the moose hunting season will begin...

Yes, I must admit that I like the 'old style' of black/red focusing cloth. But black and waterproof is better..

John Powers
8-Jul-2008, 03:45
The Harrison Silver Classic Dark Cloth is black on one side, silver on the other to reflect heat. It is also water proof as I found in a sudden rain storm. The camera was still in the car. The dark cloth fastened with velco around my neck acting like a rain cape. http://www.cameraessentials.com/cameracovers.asp


Walter Calahan
8-Jul-2008, 05:55
That the 'Little Red Riding Hood' dark cloth. Grin.

I like white to reflect the sunshine to keep the temperatures about 1F less under the dark cloth.

8-Jul-2008, 06:16
So Dick Cheney can find you more easily while you'e both after the same buck. You get the shot, twice.

Ron McElroy
8-Jul-2008, 06:34
Down here in the hinterlands of the south, I've never seen a darkcloth with a red exterior. Mine used to be white on the outside, but now is sort of brown.

Jim Noel
8-Jul-2008, 07:29
Today the only reason I can think of is for use in a hunting area during season.

In the days of the Portrait Studios when ultra large format cameras were used, 11x14 or 16x20, and daylight through a skylight more common than strobes, one side was often red, or purple, often velvet. I suppose this was just to add more class to the operation. I still have one which is black satin on one side and maroon velvet on the other. I like to use it when making portraits with the 8x10.

Daniel Grenier
8-Jul-2008, 08:44
The red side is for your basic Communist LFer. Especially popular during the "red scare" era.

Turner Reich
8-Jul-2008, 09:19
Definetly hunters is best reason
Especially when the moose hunting season will begin...

Hear that Frank?