View Full Version : Non-Reflective Black Paint for Inside Bellows?

10-Apr-2009, 07:08
Hi, LFP Folks,

Does anyone know an exact brand name for some type of non-reflective black-out paint that could be used inside bellows and stuff?

For example, I got that Shen-Hao 617 bellows pano, and there are some reported concerns about light-bounce in the edge of images.

(I searched the LFP forum for "paint", but not sure I'm finding results.)


Thank you in advance!


10-Apr-2009, 07:17
Black matt acrylic paint will do. (Liquitex - good for canvas, wood, paper etc.)

Gem Singer
10-Apr-2009, 07:34
Rust-Oleum makes a specialty line of spray paint called Camouflage.

It is totally non-reflective, when dry. Dries quickly. Flattest paint I have ever used.

I purchased mine at Home Depot. I believe that Lowe's also handles it.

10-Apr-2009, 10:17
Good to know - the Rust Oleum paint in question contains powerful solvents and is not recommended for fabrics. Bellows is often made of plastic materials...

Drew Wiley
10-Apr-2009, 11:06
Painting the inside of a bellows would seem to be a very bad idea. Very few paints are
going to have the long-term flexibility for this, and are either going to affect bellows
compressibility or run the risk of flaking off and getting bits of dust on your film. Some
artists acrylics might work but you won't find them sufficiently flat, plus at elevated
temperatures these run the risk of sticking to themselves = potentially glued together bellows if you work in hot climates. Would make a lot more sense to order a replacement bellows.

Glenn Thoreson
10-Apr-2009, 11:14
Krylon Rust Tough Ultra Flat black spray paint has no reflective qualities. I share the concern about spraying the inside of the bellows. Mostly because it can make them stiff as a board. Have you actually used your bellows? Or, are you going by someone else's inuendo and speculation? You should go by your own experience and not what you hear.

Eric Woodbury
10-Apr-2009, 11:32
Krylon UFB is the blackest paint I've found and I have tested many. I'm not sure about painting a bellows with it, however. Telescopes are often lined with flocked paper. That might be a better choice. It is available through Edmunds Sci. Depending on why you are doing this, consider adding an internal 'stop' or hard baffle. These are generally more efficient as anything at a low angle will reflect light, no matter how 'black'.

Peter De Smidt
10-Apr-2009, 11:35
Yeah, I agree with the others. Painting the inside of a bellows sounds like a really bad idea. I also second the Krylon Ultra Flat Black for when a really black, non-reflective paint is needed.

Drew Wiley
10-Apr-2009, 12:34
There's nothing like studio ultra-suede if you want something really black. It's easy to
glue to things using silicone or Lexel adhesives. I've lined a couple of lenscones and enlarger cones with it. But it tends to hold lint, and if you had a bellows full of it, the bellows probably wouldn't compress properly. Ultra-flat Krylon, like similar products, chalks badly (scuffs and potentially sheds pigment). This is because the pigment load is a little too heavy for the binder. Big risk of black pigment particles getting on film. When I need to retouch the inside components of the view camera (not the bellows), I simply use a black Sharpie pen or old-time Magic Marker (shellac-based black ink).
But otherwise, the biggest culprit I tend to find regarding flare is at the lens end of
things - you need a proper shade, especially if the lens has a huge image circle relative
to the film size.

10-Apr-2009, 13:10
On the inside of my home made bellows I used that flexible flat black spray paint intended for plastics.

Jim Rice
10-Apr-2009, 14:54
I just re-blackened Margret's (the magnesium C-1) bellows using Rit liquid dye. It worked well undiluted and applied with a foam brush.

Gene McCluney
10-Apr-2009, 15:50
The product I would recommend is PlastiDip "Multi-purpose Rubber Coating" in Black. This is a liquid rubber product marketed for "dipping" tool handles in to give them a flexible rubber coating. It dries very thin and flexible. It can be diluted (for brushing) with Naptha (lighter fluid). I have extensively brushed this onto the outside of older bellows and it does not impede their flexibility. It should work fine on the inside also, but I wouldn't use it where it is not needed, just sealing up light leaks is the idea. On the can it says: "Coats, seals, protects metal, wood, glass, rubber, concrete, fabric, fiberglass, rope." It also says: "Flexible-Won't Crack, Chip or Become Brittle"

You can get this product in the Paint section of large hardware stores such as Ace Hardware. It is available in colors, but black is the only one that would seal light leaks.

Gordon Moat
10-Apr-2009, 16:08
Jacquard Textile Paint, like their 122 Black. I used this on an ancient leather bellows on my 1937 AGFA Jsolette about five years ago, and it is still light tight. Another similar choice is screen printing ink, like you might use for printing on T-Shirts. It remains flexible for a very very long time.


Gordon Moat Photography (http://www.gordonmoat.com)

10-Apr-2009, 17:18
Black tempera paint (the kind you mix from powder) is as non-reflective a coating as I've ever seen in my life, but it flakes if you bend it. We've tried mixing it with other compounds such as Sticky Glue or PVA, etc and that helps, but additives usually increase the gloss.
Commonly available high-grade fabric paint (SoSoft, TulipSoft) is really good, and someone mentioned Jacquard, which should be very good, also. As for a spray product, there is a flat black paint made for auto bumpers (which are plastic), and it is not bad stuff. I want to say it is under the Krylon brand.

el french
10-Apr-2009, 19:09
http://www.fpi-protostar.com/tubeliner.htm is a good source for flocking liner material.

10-Apr-2009, 21:03
Thanks all! ....so many great replies.

Actually, I'm not certain I will even have a problem, I saw the 617 issue and example images in another forum and like to be prepared (OCD).

Plus, I thought it would be good to have this thread as a record for others.


Michael Carter
21-May-2009, 13:21
I just tried out some spray flat paint and found out my darkroom fan does not really work well at all:(
Next time I'll dilute some India Ink.