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View Full Version : Any alternative Linhof bellows fit Technikardan?



speedfreak
5-Mar-2011, 19:46
I just bought a Linhof Technikardan 45 (non-s) and it came with just the bag bellows. Seeing as I want to use my normal (210) to long (360) lens', but can't see spending $600-700 on a factory bellows, what are my options?

Option #1: I see someone from China is selling standard bellows for this camera on the Bay, but they don't come with the frames. I could buy someones ratty, pinholed bellows, harvest the frames and I'd be good to go, but who knows about the quality of the Chinese product?

Option #2: Are the Technikardan standards unique to the camera, or would a bellows from one of the other Linhof monorails work?

Option #3: Buy ratty bellows, harvest the frames, and get Westren Bellows to make a custom setup?

For all practical purposes, I don't need 485mm of extension, and since I have the bag bellows I'm covered on the short end. What are my options if I don't want to spend the same amount of $ on bellows as I did the camera?

Bob Salomon
6-Mar-2011, 03:36
1: Not that we know of. It uses a double tapered bellows and there are not many around. It compresses enough to let you use a 65mm without movements with the standard bellows.

2: Yes

3: Your choice but you could loose the ability to close the camera if the bellows is not flexible enough.

The price of the Linhof bellows will increase 4/1/11 so do be aware that they will be less now.

speedfreak
6-Mar-2011, 10:04
So it sounds like my only options are to buy new (most likely, not gong to happen) or find a ratty old set from someone and use the frames for the Chinese lookalike, or have western bellows use the frames to fabricate a new set.

For people that have had new bellows made by a third party company for their TK, how many inches did you reduce the bellows by in order for them to fold up with the camera? This assumes that the custom bellows are a single taper design, as a doble taper would require a bit more work and a thinner matrl.
Considering that the bellows are so easy and quick to change on these cameras, I might not need, or want, the custom bellows to fold with the camera.
Any opinions on this?

Bob Salomon
6-Mar-2011, 10:15
So it sounds like my only options are to buy new (most likely, not gong to happen) or find a ratty old set from someone and use the frames for the Chinese lookalike, or have western bellows use the frames to fabricate a new set.

For people that have had new bellows made by a third party company for their TK, how many inches did you reduce the bellows by in order for them to fold up with the camera? This assumes that the custom bellows are a single taper design, as a doble taper would require a bit more work and a thinner matrl.
Considering that the bellows are so easy and quick to change on these cameras, I might not need, or want, the custom bellows to fold with the camera.
Any opinions on this?

Depends on how much movement you would expect to use when the standards are closer together. The TK bellows are extremely flexible.

BTW, the 23 TK bellows is not a double taper and the camera still folds so there is more to it then the double taper.

Nathan Potter
6-Mar-2011, 10:35
I use both double taper and single taper with TK's. The double taper is unquestionably handy but expensive new. If you can afford the time you will eventually find one used in good shape. But such a fine camera really deserves an original bellows. Without checking, I think I can use a 75 mm with an OEM single taper and certainly a 90 mm will usually be OK depending on the bellows flex. A chinese lookalike may need to be adapted to the Linhof frames using an intermediate piece of material, so will require a bit of work.

Nate Potter, Austin TX.

IanG
6-Mar-2011, 10:36
You could ask Custom Bellows in the UK (formerly Camera Bellows), they make the originals for most manufacturers in Europe. They supply replacements and are usually significantly cheaper than OEM replacements, but you'd need to provide the frames.

Ian

speedfreak
6-Mar-2011, 17:21
My theory is that with any lens shorter than say, 120mm I can use the bag bellows and then have the standard for 135mm- 400mm. It seems doable to have a standard bellows, single taper, that covers roughly 400mm (plus some, if possible) that can fold into the camera. I'm not concerned at this point being able to use a 65mm with the standard bellow, as I have the bag bellows for anything remotely wide angle.

Sure, someday I'd love to have a factory standard bellows, but at this point I can't drop $700 on it. The bag bellows is nice to have, but I need to have a standard set for all my other lens' longer than 150mm.

mortensen
8-Mar-2011, 13:28
Interesting thread. I don't mean to hijack, but a custom made bellows (from, say, custombellows.co.uk) for the 65-240mm range would not cause problems when folding, right? I would 'just' need to provide the frames...

speedfreak
9-Mar-2011, 02:07
I may be off base but I feel the linhof oem bellows are ridiculously over priced. What are they at currently? $600-700? And Mr. Bob says they are going up in price at the beginning of April. Sure, they are probably some of the best made bellows, but really a couple peices of fabric and two plastic frames for almost a cool G. There's no way.
With the resale prices of LF cameras these days, mere mortals can actually afford some of these really nice cameras. I don't believe I'm alone in thinking that an affordable bellows for this camera shouldn't be a pipe dream.
All I need is a bellows that fits my way of shooting. Do I need 480mm of extention and the ability to use a 65mm all in one bellows? Nope. I've got a bag bellows for the short lenses and don't ever really get into situations where I need the crazy extention. What I need varies from others' needs.
One of the things I love about the LF community is the DIY mentality and the ingenious ways people solve problems with interesting solutions. My problem is I need a bellows for this camera, but don't have close to a thousand dollars to spend on it. I know I'm not alone in this!

tadler
27-Jul-2011, 15:18
I may be off base but I feel the linhof oem bellows are ridiculously over priced. What are they at currently? $600-700? And Mr. Bob says they are going up in price at the beginning of April. Sure, they are probably some of the best made bellows, but really a couple peices of fabric and two plastic frames for almost a cool G. There's no way.
With the resale prices of LF cameras these days, mere mortals can actually afford some of these really nice cameras. I don't believe I'm alone in thinking that an affordable bellows for this camera shouldn't be a pipe dream.
All I need is a bellows that fits my way of shooting. Do I need 480mm of extention and the ability to use a 65mm all in one bellows? Nope. I've got a bag bellows for the short lenses and don't ever really get into situations where I need the crazy extention. What I need varies from others' needs.
One of the things I love about the LF community is the DIY mentality and the ingenious ways people solve problems with interesting solutions. My problem is I need a bellows for this camera, but don't have close to a thousand dollars to spend on it. I know I'm not alone in this!

no, you're not alone in this of course, it's so unnecessarily expensive!
i'm curious if you already found a solution. i just got my TK yesterday and the first thing i checked was the bellows. it looked like a Christmas tree when i put a light inside. so many holes and cracks all over!
did you end up buying a generic bellows off the Bay?
please let me know your solution and experience.

speedfreak
28-Jul-2011, 21:21
I posted a wtb add on the forums and was offered a bellows that "has a few small pin holes, but nothing that can't be patched easily". Well for $220 I got a bellows that was full of pin holes and cracks. Sh$t, what to do now? Well I read some threads, did a bunch of research an ended up giving them a coating of plasti-dip. I spent plenty of time cleaning them by hanging them with a slight weight just to expose every fold. I took the regular plasti-dip (thinned with denatured alcohol, I think) and hit every corner at least three to four times. Then I checked with a light. No dice, still plenty of light getting through. Next thought was to coat the bellows entirely with the spay version of the Plasti-dip. A few coats later my bellows is now sticky when I pull it apart and probably still has holes.
I am just using a dark cloth over the bellow when I shoot now, but am still thinking that I might try to make my own modified single taper bellows just to see how they work. I love DIY projects, so we'll see what happens. But, I could just order the Chinese bellows since I have the frames, get some pliobond and be done with it. Hmmmm?
I must say that I absolutely love the TK and tend to leave the bag bellows on it when I pack it away. Needless to say I've begun to "see" more wide angle since using the standard bellows has become such a pain.

Ari
28-Jul-2011, 21:56
Chinese bellows, Pliobond, that's a party!
I'd suggest you do that, and be done.
Or search the forum for bellows repair; my suggestion would be black automotive silicone applied generously with a gloved finger.

Frank Petronio
28-Jul-2011, 22:01
I only played with a Technikardan for a few minutes one time but it is an admirable camera that I would love to have someday. I'm sure the OEM bellows is by far the best but I did buy one of the Chinese bellows to replace on an old Technika I had this past Winter. While the Chinese bellows is some kind of synthetic cloth, it was very well made and also thin and flexible. I didn't see that it was any bulkier or stiffer than the OEM Technika bellows.

However they come without frames and the instructions for mounting the frames were consistent with what I was sent. I had to do some trimming and use some common sense to get them mounted. It wasn't as slick as the factory job. But for the money, they are definitely workable for about $100 and a couple of hours of workshop time (tops).

Dave (Altcruiser) also got a bag bellows for a Kardan GT I sold him and he said it was the same thing, a decent workable bellows for the money. Took some stress to attach the frames but not that hard.

I don't know how much glue scraping you have to do with the Technikardan but get the frames clean (wirebrush, repaint black) and see if you can find some sort of flexible black sealant or glue. I didn't use any glue on the Technika even though Linhof obviously did, but the mechanical connection to the frames was plenty. Still, I wished I had the right goop. But you'll have a month to find some, the cheap shipping from China takes a while.

I think the Plastidip trick works OK for a few holes, but once you get the seams and corners going, the bellows is losing its integrity and you'll put so much goop on that it will be a sticky mess (and you'll still put a darkcloth over it because you will never trust it.

mortensen
29-Jul-2011, 00:03
sad to hear that you're having so much trouble finding proper bellows, speedfreak!
Have you considered cusombellows.co.uk? they should be tooled up for the TK standard bellows - they just need the frames you already have. I don't know their prices (should be reasonable, though), but I consider using them myself, since I need a bellows for my 90-210 range with max movements. Got my TK45S a few weeks ago - without a doubt the best camera I've used so far (um, but it's only three in total).

Does any of you know, whether Linhof would sell the frames for the bellows separately? I need a few spare parts for the ground glass assembly as weel, but I could fear they would only sell me a new back. Btw, Frank, do you still have that sexy looking, stripped Tech IV?

Frank Petronio
29-Jul-2011, 04:54
No I sold it. A very rugged beast though.

speedfreak
29-Jul-2011, 08:05
Hey Mortensen,
I've had custom bellows in my mind for a while, and no doubt, out of all the options that are reasonably priced, they are the best. Just have to be patient with the over seas shipping. I have heard very good things about Western bellows down in LA as well that might be a better option for me as to avoid the extra expenses of shipping something many thousands of miles away.
I wish someone offered a universal bellows like the rubberized type that Arca Swiss uses. It could be perfect for those that use wides (say 75mm) to mabee 350mm. The amount of tome I have my camera fully racked out or completely compressed is virtually never, so I don't need the bellows to cover those ends so much. Ahh to dream...

Frank Petronio
29-Jul-2011, 08:32
I think that the bellows place in the UK can make an Arca-style bellows, the problem is knowing what to specify since they don't seem to be conversant when you ask them to replicate a 1995 version of an Arca Model XXX1234 bellows with your Linhof frames.... they want know how many pleats, the sizes, etc. and not try to guess.

They made an 8x10 Sinar bellows without frames, it was a simple contact cement flat gluing job to attach my wirebrushed frames from a ratty bellows. It was really well made and quite a value compared to buying a new Sinar bellows, even though I suspect they make the OEM Sinar bellows as well.

I think the Linhof bellows all use glue and a mechanical connection, so attachment is more secure (as Linhof stuff is the best) but also more of a hassle to DIY.

Bob Salomon
29-Jul-2011, 09:30
I think that the bellows place in the UK can make an Arca-style bellows, the problem is knowing what to specify since they don't seem to be conversant when you ask them to replicate a 1995 version of an Arca Model XXX1234 bellows with your Linhof frames.... they want know how many pleats, the sizes, etc. and not try to guess.

They made an 8x10 Sinar bellows without frames, it was a simple contact cement flat gluing job to attach my wirebrushed frames from a ratty bellows. It was really well made and quite a value compared to buying a new Sinar bellows, even though I suspect they make the OEM Sinar bellows as well.

I think the Linhof bellows all use glue and a mechanical connection, so attachment is more secure (as Linhof stuff is the best) but also more of a hassle to DIY.

Frank,

A TK 45 bellows is a double tapered design. I don't believe that Arca had anything like these bellows. The double taper allows it to fold and to use exceptionally short lenses (if movements are not needed). If movements with very wide lenses are needed then the WA bellows would be used.

Frank Petronio
29-Jul-2011, 09:56
Bob, if I had this lovely camera then I would save and budget to get the OEM bellows, I think they are nicer by far, and they increase the value of the camera. The poster a few back mentioned wanting an Arca-Style bellows. If it were like the Arca I understand the camera wouldn't close fully and it might even stress something but nobody is stopping him from making the wrong decisions ;-p

We're facilitators.

speedfreak
29-Jul-2011, 16:33
I think what is being missed here is I DONT NEED A double taper design bellows! A single taper design like 95% of the cameras out there would be damn near perfect. I have a bag bellows for all the movements I could ever want with 150mm and shorter. I even prefer to fold the camera with this bellows attached. Of course the guy that is marketing the Linhof brand will say that nothing else will work, its his job. If everyone that ever used this camera had to only buy this particular Linhof bellows for the camera to work, I'd think there would be more than a few sitting on shelves not being used, mine included! All I'm saying is that options are good and one size doesnt have to fit all.

tadler
30-Jul-2011, 09:05
do you know if the chinese bellows for TK are a single or double taper?
btw, as we've already seen, so many TK bellows are ruined, so owners get new ones and never fold the camera with the bellows on (or fold it with the WA bellows). i think we should stop mentioning the benefit of having a double tapered bellows as one that can be folded with the camera. it's not a benefit if it ruins the bellows...

Bob Salomon
30-Jul-2011, 09:28
do you know if the chinese bellows for TK are a single or double taper?
btw, as we've already seen, so many TK bellows are ruined, so owners get new ones and never fold the camera with the bellows on (or fold it with the WA bellows). i think we should stop mentioning the benefit of having a double tapered bellows as one that can be folded with the camera. it's not a benefit if it ruins the bellows...

The only way to damage the bellows on a TK by folding or unfolding the camera is by not following the extremely easy instructions on how to open and close the camera. Especially since the instruction book for the TK is downloadable from the Linhof web site at no charge!

We, as the Linhof distributor since well before the TK was introduced, have had so few requests for a spare bellows that it is a special order item and not normally kept in stock.

The benefit to the double taper is that it allows the bellows to be compressed particularly tight so the camera becomes supremely compact and convenient to travel with yet is exceptionally fast to open and set-up. Literally in less then 10 seconds from folded to open and ready to shoot!

When the original TK was introduced the japanese Linhof distributor ordered a series of non-folding 45 TK cameras. After a single production run they dropped the idea for the benefits of that double tapered folding camera design.

Brian Ellis
30-Jul-2011, 10:42
I think what is being missed here is I DONT NEED A double taper design bellows! A single taper design like 95% of the cameras out there would be damn near perfect. I have a bag bellows for all the movements I could ever want with 150mm and shorter. I even prefer to fold the camera with this bellows attached. Of course the guy that is marketing the Linhof brand will say that nothing else will work, its his job. If everyone that ever used this camera had to only buy this particular Linhof bellows for the camera to work, I'd think there would be more than a few sitting on shelves not being used, mine included! All I'm saying is that options are good and one size doesnt have to fit all.

Just curious - when you get your inexpensive bellows that's different from the normal Technikardan bellows and is designed specifically for you, what are you going to do and say when you sell the camera? I can tell you from experience (see below) that there's a good chance an odd-ball bellows will cost as much in resale value than the difference between what you'll pay for your special-needs bellows and what a Linhof bellows would cost.

I used to own a Technikardan. When I needed a new bellows I used a bellows company located near Tampa that charged a lot less than Linhof/Marflex and had a very good reputation (made bellows for Clyde Butcher's cameras among others). Unfortunately the bellows material they used was too thick to allow me to fold the camera. So I had to keep the camera open all the time and carry it over my shoulder on a tripod. Before I figured out what to do about replacing the bellows I sold the camera (and of course disclosed the bellows problem) because there were other things I didn't like about it. To sell the camera I had to reduce the price by about the cost to the buyer of replacing the bellows with a Linhof bellows.

Fast forward a few years. I now own a Linhof Master Technika. Love the camera. Need a new bellows. With my Technikardan experience in mind I bit the bullet and sent the camera to Marflex. Marflex installed a new Linhof bellows. Fit perfectly, worked perfectly, cost a good bit more. Obviously this is all about personal choices, not right and wrong. But to me it was worth it just to know I had the correct bellows, installed correctly, worked correctly, and the camera almost certainly will never need another bellows. And when I sold the camera I thought it was a plus that I could say the bellows was a Linhof bellows that had been installed by Marflex.

Noah A
30-Jul-2011, 15:38
...
btw, as we've already seen, so many TK bellows are ruined, so owners get new ones and never fold the camera with the bellows on (or fold it with the WA bellows). i think we should stop mentioning the benefit of having a double tapered bellows as one that can be folded with the camera. it's not a benefit if it ruins the bellows...

After using my TK for a few months (of solid professional use, hundreds of sheets of film and lots of packing and unpacking the camera) I can't imagine why people have such trouble with folding this camera. It really is very simple if you follow the easy instructions.

I wonder if the reason TK bellows are often in bad shape on used cameras is because they were real pro workhorse cameras instead of collectors items. It's a camera that was more popular with pros than with weekend hobbyists (and I'm in no way bashing weekend hobbyist photographers here!). But many of the TK's I see used were used by busy architectural photographers and therefore were probably subjected to lots of hard use, travel, etc.

The exposed-bellows design may also lead to some damage, though this is easily solved with a domke lenswrap or similar padding.

I did think about getting a custom bellows made (or making one) so I wouldn't have to switch bellows when I switch between my most used lenses (115mm and 210mm). But eventually I decided the standard bellows are so good that I'll probably just stick with them for now.

Michael Kadillak
30-Jul-2011, 17:19
I purchased the plastic bellows ends from Linhof and had Camera Bellows make me a straight tapered bellows out of the synthetic material and I take it off when I fold the camera down and put it back on when I am ready to shoot. Takes all of three seconds to take it off and put it on. Works like a champ and I do not have to worry about making a mistake. I put a piece of foam between the standards when I am carrying it in its 5x7 Tenba case.

sanking
3-Feb-2013, 12:17
I purchased the plastic bellows ends from Linhof and had Camera Bellows make me a straight tapered bellows out of the synthetic material and I take it off when I fold the camera down and put it back on when I am ready to shoot. Takes all of three seconds to take it off and put it on. Works like a champ and I do not have to worry about making a mistake. I put a piece of foam between the standards when I am carrying it in its 5x7 Tenba case.

It is a few years later but I am in a similar position to the OP and have more or less the same issues. I recently purchased a Linhoff Technikardan 45S in EX+ condition, with bag bellows. The bag bellows is essential for my work but I would also like to have a regular bellows. Here are my choices, please comment as you consider appropriate.

1. Buy a new Linhoff bellows for the TK45S. These are priced at around $800 from Adorama and B&H, or buy directly from Linhoff. Are the Adorama and B&H bellows made by Linhoff? In other words, is the the true deal double taper bellows Bob speaks about, or do I have to get that from Linhoff?

2. Buy the Linhoff bellows frame for the TK45S, if available, and have a third part make a bellows for me. Seems to be several sources for this. Anyone have a current price, and source, on the bellows frame for the TK45S from Linhoff?

3. Buy the Linhoff bellows frame and pick up one of the Chinese bellows and do the mating work myself.

4. Try to obtain a model of the Linhoff bellows frame and make it myself. I am pretty hand with materials, but then don't want to get involved with tar babies.

Comments and suggestions appreciated.

Sandy

Ari
3-Feb-2013, 12:44
Mr Salomon would have a source for TK frames.
I've looked at the universal bellows from eBay seller "ecbuyonline"; they will accommodate your request, and Rudy is a fine person to deal with.
Having never ordered those specific bellows from them, you should first ask what materials are available as options; thinner might be better.

You can also send your frames to another bellows maker, like Custom Bellows, with specs for your own design of universal bellows.
And have a look through the forum posts, there is quite a bit about custom-made universal bellows for the TK45.

gary mulder
3-Feb-2013, 12:50
- The bellows frame of the regular bellows are the same as from the bag bellows.
- Linhoff do not make there bellows them self. They are made by a third party. But the frames are linhof
- I have been happy with Chinese bellows, but for that route you need a set of frames.

Bob Salomon
3-Feb-2013, 13:01
It is a few years later but I am in a similar position to the OP and have more or less the same issues. I recently purchased a Linhoff Technikardan 45S in EX+ condition, with bag bellows. The bag bellows is essential for my work but I would also like to have a regular bellows. Here are my choices, please comment as you consider appropriate.

1. Buy a new Linhoff bellows for the TK45S. These are priced at around $800 from Adorama and B&H, or buy directly from Linhoff. Are the Adorama and B&H bellows made by Linhoff? In other words, is the the true deal double taper bellows Bob speaks about, or do I have to get that from Linhoff?

2. Buy the Linhoff bellows frame for the TK45S, if available, and have a third part make a bellows for me. Seems to be several sources for this. Anyone have a current price, and source, on the bellows frame for the TK45S from Linhoff?

3. Buy the Linhoff bellows frame and pick up one of the Chinese bellows and do the mating work myself.

4. Try to obtain a model of the Linhoff bellows frame and make it myself. I am pretty hand with materials, but then don't want to get involved with tar babies.

Comments and suggestions appreciated.

Sandy

First you have a Linhof camera. Linhoff is/was a camera repairman in Michigan.
The bellows that are sold by dealers is the complete bellows as sold by Linhof. Linhof does not list the frames only as an accessory.
Some third party bellows may work if you have frames but we have had lots of complaints about bellows that did not work properly after coming from a third party

Lastly any price that you see today for Linhof from dealers will increase April 1 as the factory has just sent out their new 2013 price list and we can only hold current pricing until then.

Bob Salomon
3-Feb-2013, 13:02
Mr Salomon would have a source for TK frames.
I've looked at the universal bellows from eBay seller "ecbuyonline"; they will accommodate your request, and Rudy is a fine person to deal with.
Having never ordered those specific bellows from them, you should first ask what materials are available as options; thinner might be better.

You can also send your frames to another bellows maker, like Custom Bellows, with specs for your own design of universal bellows.
And have a look through the forum posts, there is quite a bit about custom-made universal bellows for the TK45.

No, Linhof does not list frames only. They are strictly a part and actually there would be no reason for them to sell frames only, bellows material only and complete bellows.

Ari
3-Feb-2013, 13:55
Sorry about my assumption.
I thought since Marflex supplied the bellows frames at one time, the people who have since replaced Marflex would also sell bellows frames.
I seem to recall they sold for about $100 for the pair.

Bob Salomon
3-Feb-2013, 14:22
Sorry about my assumption.
I thought since Marflex supplied the bellows frames at one time, the people who have since replaced Marflex would also sell bellows frames.
I seem to recall they sold for about $100 for the pair.

Martin may have salvaged them as we had sent him some old bellows that we replaced on demos cameras that were used at shows and for press reviews.
Or he may have been able to buy them as parts from the factory. If he had them in stock when you ordered them then the first is the most probable. If he did not have them in stock then the second is the most probable.

It is extremely important, if using salvaged frames, that you make sure that they are not warped or that you do not create warpage when mounting bellows material to them as a warped frame will leak light.

Nathan Potter
3-Feb-2013, 14:24
Sandy, look for an old junk TK45S bellows that is cheap and retrieve the frames. I originally obtained bellows with frames for $120. Then send the frames to an independent supplier noting the extended length of the bellows you want.

If you choose this route make sure the four grooves used to lock the bellows to the standards are intact.

But I'll side with Bob and say such a fine instrument needs the complete original package. One of my original TK bellows has now gone thru 2000+ openings and closures over 12 years, loose in a backpack, and unprotected (without the neat case that Linhof sells for the purpose). Looks a bit ratty but no pinholes.

Nate Potter, Austin TX.

Michael Kadillak
3-Feb-2013, 15:28
It is a few years later but I am in a similar position to the OP and have more or less the same issues. I recently purchased a Linhoff Technikardan 45S in EX+ condition, with bag bellows. The bag bellows is essential for my work but I would also like to have a regular bellows. Here are my choices, please comment as you consider appropriate.

1. Buy a new Linhoff bellows for the TK45S. These are priced at around $800 from Adorama and B&H, or buy directly from Linhoff. Are the Adorama and B&H bellows made by Linhoff? In other words, is the the true deal double taper bellows Bob speaks about, or do I have to get that from Linhoff?

2. Buy the Linhoff bellows frame for the TK45S, if available, and have a third part make a bellows for me. Seems to be several sources for this. Anyone have a current price, and source, on the bellows frame for the TK45S from Linhoff?

3. Buy the Linhoff bellows frame and pick up one of the Chinese bellows and do the mating work myself.

4. Try to obtain a model of the Linhoff bellows frame and make it myself. I am pretty hand with materials, but then don't want to get involved with tar babies.

Comments and suggestions appreciated.

Sandy

It has been several years since I completed this task and I remember purchasing the bellows plastic end pieces from Linhof. I just assumed that they were a stick item and thought nothing of the issue as upon request I was given a price and it seemed reasonable. Maybe I just got lucky. I forwarded the end pieces directly to Camera Bellows and they made me a straight taper bellows out of the Canham synthetic material that I had experience with from my former Canham MQC 5x7 metal camera. I switch between the bag bellows and the straight taper replacement bellows and once I flip the two lever bars the bellows are off of the camera and I can get it in my camera case in no time and no worries about making a mistake with the original taper bellows should I be in a hurry or get unintentionally clumsy.

I would secure a set of the end pieces and go with who would provide you with the best price for a new bellows. If the Chinese company is going to charge you $50-$100 I would even consider having them produce the double taper original bellows. That price of admission is much more reasonable now than what options I had at the time so I made a different choice. For wide angle work with a bag bellows or architecture, there is not a better tool for the task at hand. I would not attempt to make a bellows myself as a one off. Attaching the bellows to the frame is well within the more reasonable range of accomplishment.

Cheers!

Noah A
4-Feb-2013, 06:53
... But I'll side with Bob and say such a fine instrument needs the complete original package. One of my original TK bellows has now gone thru 2000+ openings and closures over 12 years, loose in a backpack, and unprotected (without the neat case that Linhof sells for the purpose). Looks a bit ratty but no pinholes.

Nate Potter, Austin TX.

As much as I'd like a universal bellows and as expensive as the OEM bellows are, after some thought I tend to agree. I was somewhat shocked to see that my standard bellows is now full of pinholes. I bought my camera used so I don't know what the bellows went through before I owned it.

I may send the frames off at some point to try to get a universal bellows made, but I'm about to leave on a shooting trip to Dhaka, and I'm not about to risk my investment in film, processing, travel expenses, etc. on a bellows that I'm not sure of.

mortensen
4-Feb-2013, 12:39
as some (most) of you know, I have mounted a universal bellows from ecbuyonline on to the old frames for my normal bellows (pinholed to death when I bought the camera). I ordered 300mm and I get the following movements apporximately:
90mm: 23-25mm front rise / 15mm back shift
115mm: 40mm front rise / 30mm back shift
150mm: full movements, although I need to 'help' it a bit
210mm: full movements (surprise...)

For reason I don't know, this bellows feels less flexible than the universal bellows I had on my chamonix, which gave me almost 50mm front rise with a 90.
Bottom line (for me): should I do it again, I would order from either Custom Bellows or see if I could get a chamonix uni-bellows fit the frames.
last, but not least, a disclaimer: my above mentioned bellows has not been in the field yet.

Noah A
4-Feb-2013, 14:41
Thanks Mortensen, that's very helpful. For some who might be wondering, you're talking about the 150 Apo-Sironar-W, no? Even the standard TK normal bellows will max out the movement on my lowly Apo-Sironar-S.

I did order a replacement Linhof factory bellows for my TK, I just can't risk a trip's worth of photos on something I'm not sure of, not to mention there is no time anyway. But I may send my leftover frames to Custom Bellows or Chamonix to see what they can come up with. The frames are in great shape and the old pinholed bellows came off easily. When I get back from Dhaka I'll look into it.

Bob--Any chance of resurrecting the idea of a single taper bellows that's good for maybe 90-210mm for the TK? I doubt that Mortensen, Ari and myself are the only ones in the world who want one. Something with the flexibility of the Technika bellows but just a tad larger to fit the TK frames would be great.

mortensen
4-Feb-2013, 14:51
Bob--Any chance of resurrecting the idea of a single taper bellows that's good for maybe 90-210mm for the TK? I doubt that Mortensen, Ari and myself are the only ones in the world who want one. Something with the flexibility of the Technika bellows but just a tad larger to fit the TK frames would be great.

+1
enjoy Dhaka (not envious at all... ahem) and yes, my 150 is a Sironar-W... lovely lens, but it doesn't fit inside a Technika, which is seriously annoying when I have a cam and infinity stops for it!

Bob Salomon
4-Feb-2013, 16:39
Thanks Mortensen, that's very helpful. For some who might be wondering, you're talking about the 150 Apo-Sironar-W, no? Even the standard TK normal bellows will max out the movement on my lowly Apo-Sironar-S.

I did order a replacement Linhof factory bellows for my TK, I just can't risk a trip's worth of photos on something I'm not sure of, not to mention there is no time anyway. But I may send my leftover frames to Custom Bellows or Chamonix to see what they can come up with. The frames are in great shape and the old pinholed bellows came off easily. When I get back from Dhaka I'll look into it.

Bob--Any chance of resurrecting the idea of a single taper bellows that's good for maybe 90-210mm for the TK? I doubt that Mortensen, Ari and myself are the only ones in the world who want one. Something with the flexibility of the Technika bellows but just a tad larger to fit the TK frames would be great.

Very doubtful. When the original TK first came out the Japanese distributor wanted a non folding version which Linhof made exclusively for them. They had to buy a total production run. They ordered once back in 1987 and never duplicated the order again.

While some people might want it most do not. As mentioned before, The Technika 3000 does 35mm lenses and up with one bellows with full movements, limited only by lens coverage and the bellows.

NoBob
9-Nov-2014, 09:45
What's the situation like now? Just wanted to see if there was any update on how easy it is to get hold of inexpensive (especially standard) bellows that include the frames.

Bob Salomon
9-Nov-2014, 11:17
No change.

NoBob
10-Nov-2014, 02:38
Would buying a pair of wide angle bellows (with frames) and Chinese made standard bellows (without frames) off ebay and swapping the bellows work? How easy is it take the wide angle bellows off the frames and put in the standard ones?

Bob Salomon
10-Nov-2014, 03:07
Would buying a pair of wide angle bellows (with frames) and Chinese made standard bellows (without frames) off ebay and swapping the bellows work? How easy is it take the wide angle bellows off the frames and put in the standard ones?

You don't know the TK. The 45 TK has a double conical bellows. It is larger in the middle then it is at either end and the front of the bellows is smaller then the back. It is also extremely flexible as the camera standards make a 90 turn when you close the camera and it does that with the bellows attached.

NoBob
10-Nov-2014, 04:26
True Bob, I don't know it. Am doing research to find out what's involved and how much it'd cost down the road.

So on a pair of frames the wide angle bellows can't be swapped for the standard bellows by hand?

Bob Salomon
10-Nov-2014, 05:50
True Bob, I don't know it. Am doing research to find out what's involved and how much it'd cost down the road.

So on a pair of frames the wide angle bellows can't be swapped for the standard bellows by hand?

Frames are the same.

As a point of reference. A new TK 45 W/A bellows retails for about $850.00 and the standard, replacement TK 45 bellows retails for about $950.00 so they are so close in price that salvaging frames would not be sensible unless one can find junked ones with frames that are not warped. And that while salvaging they don't warp the frames. Which can be done fairly easily if not careful. Warped ones will leak light.

NoBob
10-Nov-2014, 09:52
Thanks Bob. Just that you can find wide angle bellows on eBay for a lot less than the new ones.

Bob Salomon
10-Nov-2014, 12:02
Thanks Bob. Just that you can find wide angle bellows on eBay for a lot less than the new ones.

That's because the W/A bellows is an accessory while the standard bellows is a replacement part. And we sell far more accessories then replacement parts.

NoBob
14-Nov-2014, 08:07
Hi Bob,

Do the 45 and 45s use the same bellows?

Bob Salomon
14-Nov-2014, 08:20
Hi Bob,

Do the 45 and 45s use the same bellows?

Yes, all accessories are the same.

NoBob
14-Nov-2014, 08:33
Thanks.