View Full Version : Cloth, Bag and Lupe

18-Jun-2009, 12:58
I have recently made the step up to large format photography and purchased an Arca F-Compact Metric 6x9 Camera with M/Orbix. For now I am using it in conjunction with a Leaf Aptus II 7 digital back which will enable me to get to grips with the camera and make mistakes without wasting valuable film

I'd like the benefit of your collective experience with the following; Focusing Cloth, Bag and Lupe.

1. Focusing Cloth: I am using a large piece of black velvet which is ok but I understand that there are cloths made specially for this purpose. So far my research has yielded only 2, the Blackjacket and the Linhof.




Your experience and opinions please.

2. Bag: I'd like to get out and about with the camera on my own so want a good bag that will take the camera and two lenses without taking it apart. So far my research has yielded the Rolling CompuTrekker Plus AW from Lowpro which will just fit the camera but has both wheel and backpack option.


Once again your experience and opinions please.

3. Lupe: I have purchased a Silvestri 8x lupe which is great in most circumstances. Where it lacks is when I am making full length portraits on the street using available light. The sitters image on the ground glass screen is quite small (because of sensor size) and therefore quite difficult to focus on the eyes. What are my options. A 10x lupe or ??.

For the last time this post your experience and opinions please.

For what its worth I am loving this camera and the whole new shooting experience.

Thank you, Wibbles.

Ron Marshall
18-Jun-2009, 14:09
I use the hood, but the cloth is also a good option:


18-Jun-2009, 14:19
Hood: any type will do, I got one 30 years ago, black with lead stitched into the edges and still like it.

Bag: I have the Lowe Pro without the weels: it will protect your camera well and is quite comfortable.

Loupe: 8x is about as far as you will get, otherwise you see the structure of the GG only, a disadvantage of the small GG.


John Kasaian
18-Jun-2009, 14:22
1. Whatever works. If your velvet works for you, there you go!
2. An Igloo cooler (sans ice!) Hard sided protection plus it dosen't look like a camera bag. A double tasker! Thermonuclear protection as well as outfoxing the bad guys. Gotta love that!
3. Look at the clip on loupes such as the ones at www.behrloupes.com either that of move up to 4x5 & film :D

18-Jun-2009, 15:10
The Black Jackets are excellent. The service is great also. I bought one for my 8x10 camera and 4x5.

A basic Toyo loupe with the padded edges works fine.

A case is more difficult because one case won't fit all options. I have a 4x5 Arca F-Line Metric which I store in either a Pelican hard case or a Photobackpacker backpack which are both excellent. The 6x9 is smaller and might even fit in a large shoulder bag.

Frank Petronio
18-Jun-2009, 18:24
The Black Jackets are sweaty humid torture devices

Just use a black t-shirt.

If you spent the $ on a Leaf back, splurge for a Think Tank backpack, they are built and designed better than any Lowe.

Actually a 4x loupe should be fine. But the best way to check focus with a tiny digi sensor is to use your tethered laptop. While I haven't tried it, it seems like folly to be trying to use precise movements with a view camera using a tiny >645 sensor and trying to see what you're doing on the ground glass.

Half the reason people use 8x10 is because you can SEE the image on the ground glass.

kev curry
18-Jun-2009, 23:13
Sorry...Is there room for a small hijacker?
Frank what Think Tank would you recommend to carry a 5x4/3lens kit. Do your back and shoulders have any experience carrying one any distance? The lowe pack I have must have been designed to inflict maximum pain over the shortest distance!

Louie Powell
19-Jun-2009, 04:59
1. Cloth - I started out with a piece of black denim from a discount fabric store. That worked just fine. Later I bought a fancy Zone VI/Calumet dark cloth - white on the outside, black on the inside. Looks sexy. Not actually any better than the $5 black denim.

A suggestion that Paula Chamlee offered in a discussion at the Large Format Conference a few years ago is to wrap a small piece of red ribbon around the edge of the cloth in the exact center of the sides. The ribbon then serves as a guide to fold the cloth - seems like a trivial thing, but if it saves 10 seconds every time you fold the cloth, over the course of a lifetime it will result in several days of 'found time' for more photography.

2. Bag - I use a LowePro Nature Trekker backpack. It holds my camera (Zone VI lighiweight), two lenses on their boards, dark cloth, loupe, 6 holders, a CD case with filters, filter holder, a meter, and a few ends and odds. With my Tiltall tripod strapped on the outside, it weighs in at about 28 pounds. Without the tripod it will easily fit in the overhead compartment of standard commercial aircraft.

3. Loupe - The gurus say that anything stronger than about 6x is too strong. I use a generic 10X magnifier - the kind with the clear plastic apron that I have wrapped in black making tape. Works for me.

There is one other accessory that I find valuable - an inexpensive folding canvas table, the kind they sell for $6 at Target. One of the unwritten laws of nature is that when you see a scene you want to photograph, the only available place to lay down your bag will be covered in mud/grime/pig shit/etc. Having your own portable landing space for you bag really makes the photo expedition more fun.

Frank Petronio
19-Jun-2009, 06:04
I'm not a nature backpacker guy so I can't speak about the Think Tanks "in the wild" but I like backpacks because they provide the most storage space in a carry-on - the rolling packs use a lot of weight and space for their wheels. FWIW, carrying the Think Tank backpack around airports and shoots, for an hour at a time, I think the harness and balance is as good as it is going to get given the fact that you're lugging heavy cameras instead of lighter camping gear.

I bought the smallest Think Tank backpack that could also take a 15" laptop -- forgot which model but the smallest one that is promised to fit in the overhead compartments of small commuter planes. I knew that was my practical maximum and I worked backwards to tailor my kit to fit the pack, not the other way around.

The Think Tank gear just appeals to me most because to my sense, it is the best designed and constructed.

Oh and I often will toss in a garbage bag or something for outdoor work, it is nice to set the pack down on something clean/dry.

kev curry
19-Jun-2009, 09:08

William McEwen
19-Jun-2009, 09:37
There is one other accessory that I find valuable - an inexpensive folding canvas table, the kind they sell for $6 at Target. One of the unwritten laws of nature is that when you see a scene you want to photograph, the only available place to lay down your bag will be covered in mud/grime/pig sh**/etc. Having your own portable landing space for your bag really makes the photo expedition more fun.

Louie! A terrific idea. I don't ever have mud problems (I only shoot portraits at people's homes) but I am going to look into the canvas table idea. It will elevate my camera case so I don't have to bend over or kneel to grab holders etc.

BTW, Brave Combo performs their version of "Louie, Louie" in their new CD, "The Exotic Rocking Life." Check it out - lots of great playing and energy.

eric black
19-Jun-2009, 09:55
As you try to digest your way through dozens of responses, keep in mind that everyone has personal preferences and they may ultimately not be the same as yours. fortunately, the items you are looking at are relatively cheap compared to cameras and lenses. You may have to acquire a few of each to ultimately find what you really like- use the forum here to part with the unwanted items.

Me personally, a Schneider 4x loupe, Lowepro bags/backpacks, and either a Gnass or Harrison dark cloth are what I ultimately gravitated towards. Im not as sold on my dark cloths as I am the other items and plan to make my own dark cloth at some point in time- just not in the near future.