View Full Version : Zone VI 4x5 Bag Bellows - missing pins??

14-Sep-2009, 13:27
I've had my Zone VI 4x5 since 1989 (Serial 1251) and I've made many fine photographs with it. Lately I've acquired a used Fuji SWD 90 mm 5.6 lens. The rear element of the 90mm lens will not fit through the opening in the regular bellows (lacks about 1/32") so separately I purchased a used Zone VI bag bellows in hopes that would work. Unfortunately the bag bellows front opening is the same size as the regular bellows so I'm probably going to see if I can file it down a bit to fit the lens.

My biggest problem, however, is that the bag bellows front frame does not have any pins in it to secure it to the metal flange at the bottom of the front standard and at the top using the swing hooks. It's not that the pins have fallen out; it's obvious to me that there were never any pins in it to begin with! What am I missing here?? For the life of me I can't figure out how this bag bellows could have ever been used on the Zone VI camera...there is no obvious method (that I can see) for securing the front of the bag bellows to the front standard.

Anybody have any ideas how this bellows is supposed to mount on the Zone VI 4x5?


P.S. This is the older bag bellows which is half regular belows and half bag.

John Bowen
14-Sep-2009, 15:55
are you sure the bellows was made to fit your camera? I have a Zone VI camera and a bag bellows, they fit like a glove. BUT, my bellows is not half regular and half bag. The person who would be able to help you is Richard Ritter. Give him a call....don't e-mail him, give him a call.

14-Sep-2009, 16:14
This is definitely a Zone VI bag bellows (well, at least this is how it was advertised by the B&H Photo Used department)...both frames of the bellows perfectly mate to my camera. The only thing missing are the 2 pins on the top and the 2 pins on the bottom of the front frame of the bellows.

I'm really baffled by this...


14-Sep-2009, 17:46

Yeah, that's a Zone VI, or at least I bought one just like it from KEH some years ago for my Zone VI. Watch out for the connection point between the two types of shapes, mine came apart in the middle of an architectural shoot on a hot day. Thank goodness for Polaroid back then or I might not have caught the small (2 inch) separation until the whole bag of holders had been shot. My new one is just on big bag.

By the way, even though it was more than 2 months out of warranty, KEH fully refunded my money immediately!!!! Great people to buy from.

Are you certain that your camera takes pins? Mine does not and neither did the previous one I owned. The bellows simply fits into a pair of hook style "keepers" at the base and there are sliding catches that secure the top. My bag and normal bellows both have holes for pins, but no need to use them to anchor perfectly.

If you need them, hardware stores stock brass rods in the correct diameter. Just cut off a small section and push it in, then cut off the proper length and file smooth.

Mark Sampson
14-Sep-2009, 18:10
Try rotating the bag bellows 90 degrees. Then it should fit behind the L-clips at the bottom of the front standard, and be held in place by the sliding clips at the top of the standard. Simple and effective, although dozens of times I put the bag in through the rear standard sideways and had to take it out and turn it. An aggravation I solved by marking the top & bottom of the bag at its back edge. Mine is a partial bag, partial pleat bellows; it's really one of the few weak points of that camera, simply because the plastic it's made of becomes stiff and inflexible in cold weather. (One wonders how this design flaw got past Fred Picker, who photographed snow and ice a lot.) This problem has caused my bag bellows to seperate from their front attachment frame more than once, requiring gluing, and the corners of the bag itself developed pinholes (which was fixed under warranty by Calumet long ago). Doesn't keep me from using it though!

14-Sep-2009, 18:36
Not only are there no pins, there are no holes either in the bellows frame. And my camera does not have "L" clips at the bottom and sliding clips at the top on the front standard. At the bottom there is a flat brass plate with two holes to match the bellows pins; at the top I have two C-shaped swing latches that when closed surround the top pins and pull the frame tightly to the front standard.

It's really weird...this bag bellows frame is made of exactly the same material and is machined exactly in the same shape as my regular bellows frames. The only difference is that the bag bellows has no pins (or holes for the pins) on the front frame.

I'm coming to the conclusion that somewhere along the way Zone VI changed the design for how the bellows is secured to the front standard. I have the Picker/Ritter-made Zone VI (i.e. not Wista, not Wisner, not Calumet) that was purchased new in late 1989.

I guess I'm going to have to figure out how to drill the bag bellows frame and insert brass pins unless someone has any better ideas :(


Ron McElroy
15-Sep-2009, 21:11
The bag bellows you describe sounds like the one I have with the exception mine DOES HAVE PINS. On my camera (SN 531) these pins attach with round hooks, not the slides of the later camera.

Back to your original comment of the lens opening, both my bellows have the same size openings. My SA120 barely fits in either bellows.

6-Feb-2010, 08:21
Dave, what is your serial number? My 1978 uses no pins for the bellows.


6-Feb-2010, 10:10
As to the pins. The pins hole where drilled into the frames. I still have the drill fixture to do it. When we went to no pins we also had the frame opened up to take the new redesigned 120mm lens.

Cameras Zone VI sold in 1978 had the bellows glued to the front frame and were not removable.

6-Feb-2010, 10:27
1978, maybe 1987 I don't have it here in front of me, is the serial number.