View Full Version : another focusing cloth question

26-Mar-2010, 08:06
I'm still new to LF photography
have exposed less than 2 packages of film so far (ie 25 sheets per package)
my interest is primarily landscape and I shoot with a 4x5 Nagaoka field camera

purchased a Calumet dark cloth

my question is how do others control the cloth when they are out in the field
I simply throw it over me and over the camera without fastening it to either
and it can be a pain getting in the way of the lens or blocking my view of the ground glass or simply slipping off my shoulders. I am sure others would find it funny watching me doing this dance with the cloth

I realize I could probably come up with a way of somehow temporarily attaching the cloth to the camera but that has it's own drawbacks (ie pull over the camera inadvertently if not careful etc)

what dark cloth techniques do most LF photographers use?

Oren Grad
26-Mar-2010, 08:21
I use a BTZS hood that stays where I put it, more or less:


MIke Sherck
26-Mar-2010, 08:36
Large binder clips, like you'd use to hold a stack of paper together.


Mark Stahlke
26-Mar-2010, 08:59
I like the Blackjacket. (http://www.quietworks.com/frames_files/BJ_SPECIFICATIONS/BJ_NEW_HOME_FRAME_.htm) I never leave home without it. I have two of them now.

Gem Singer
26-Mar-2010, 09:01
Purchase a smaller, lighter weight dark cloth and use velcro to fasten it to your camera.

A 4x5 Blackjacket focusing hood is a good choice.

Joanna Carter
26-Mar-2010, 09:13
Light & Land do a great darkcloth (http://www.lightandland.co.uk/article.aspx?articleId=326&typeId=2&conId=8).

Brian Ellis
26-Mar-2010, 09:25
I used a traditional darkcloth when I first started with LF because I didn't know there was anything else. I put two Velcro strips on the top of the rear standard of the camera and matching strips on one side of the dark cloth. That helped a little, at least the cloth didn't keep slipping around as I moved under the camera. But as others have suggested, there are better ways than the old horse blanket type darkcloths. I've used the BTZS hoods on every camera I've owned, 4x5, 5x7, and 8x10.

kev curry
26-Mar-2010, 09:26
Yeah right £85 + Shipping for a Páramo darkcloth!

26-Mar-2010, 09:30
I use a black t-shirt. (as quite a few people on here do, i believe)

For 8x10, I stick my head in the neck hole and stretch the waist hole over the rear standard, fits pretty good. It's not super snug on my 8x10, but a little clip to take up some of the slack does the trick.

For 4x5, I reverse it and stick the neck hole over the rear standard (it fits pretty snug on it's own) and stick my head in through the waist hole.

I do have a fairly nice dark cloth with snaps and velcro, but 9 times out of 10 I just seem to grab the tshirt instead. The t-shirt isn't quite as dark as the cloth (since it's only one thin t-shirt) so if I want to do checking on the groundglass stopped down to f32, the real dark cloth would probably be much better (or using two t-shirts doubled up). But I'm usually fine with the t-shirt.

Roger Thoms
26-Mar-2010, 09:32
I use a BTZS hood that stays where I put it, more or less:


Same here.


26-Mar-2010, 11:58
I made a hem on one edge and put elastic in the hem. Then I added Velcro at the ends of the elastic section. This makes it adjustable for different cameras and I haven’t altered the camera by gluing Velcro to it. It has been working great for about 25 years now.

Paul Bujak
26-Mar-2010, 12:09
Ditto with Jerome. I didn't use elastic but the hooks on one side and the loops on the other hold it pretty well for both 4x5 and 8x10.


Martin Miksch
26-Mar-2010, 13:23
I vote with Daniel, the advantage is you can move away from the camera without loosing the dark cloth.

Ralph Miyashiro
26-Mar-2010, 14:00
cloth wrapped around rear standard clothes pinned underneath, like Mikes binder clip idea.

26-Mar-2010, 18:58
Got to Rona and pick up a 3 Meter length of velco that can be cut to fit and wrap your dark cloth around the back standard. The cost of the long strip of velco is less than a new dark cloth. I now use a large nylon changing bag as my dark cloth. I like the compact nature better than anything else.

Steve Barber
27-Mar-2010, 00:26
Same here.


What they said, one for 4x5 and a larger one for 8x10--eliminates a lot of aggravation and leaves both hands free to do something useful. I particularly like being able to be further from the ground glass without having the material falling down between me and the camera and blocking my view.

28-Mar-2010, 08:00
thank you for all of the advice and feedback
this discussion forum is truly a font of knowledge
the help is appreciated

30-Mar-2010, 20:47
I use a black t-shirt, but I added a draw string with stops (like a jacket) to the waist end. It already has a hem so i cut two hole about 1-2" apart and fed the cord through. Works great for the most part and is cheap, but it's not always the darkest.

John NYC
30-Mar-2010, 22:16
Another vote for the BTZS hood... or two votes, that is, as I have a 4x5 sized one and an 8x10 version.

31-Mar-2010, 07:08
After using many types, I keep going back to the BTZS Hood. It's the fastest and most effective for me.

31-Mar-2010, 10:34
I use the larger sized double layer film changing bag its about 24 X 24 inches and is not to expensive. I fasten with roll of velcro from a building supply store cut to the area of my camera. Total cost under $25.00