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Thread: DIY light-tight material for bellows

  1. #21

    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Bellingham, WA (displaced Canadian)

    Re: DIY light-tight material for bellows

    I made sure I was light tight by applying adhesive-backed matte black vinyl to the inner layer. It's super thin and creases nicely. It might tear or stretch over time on the corners, but it's worked well so far, and can easily be patched with more of the same. It's so thin that the addition patch layer would be negligible.

  2. #22

    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Central PA

    Re: DIY light-tight material for bellows

    I've used the blackout fabric for one bellows, for an 8x10---where the the front standard is the same size as the rear, with a 4foot bellows extension (macro photos with an 18" lens...) the seam causes a thickness issue that runs almost 2" difference to the un-seamed sides when it's all compressed for transport. If I were doing it again, I'd stagger where the seam overlaps to make the tube but for my purposes it is o.k. I will probably revisit that material for the 8x10 field camera I'm restoring, staggering the seam and making the folds as big as I practically can given the design of the old camera. I have but fragments of the original bellows to go by. White exterior is nice in that it stays cool but shows dirt like crazy.

    I've also thought about making bellows for other even crazier ideas and thought that some variation on a bag bellows might work for some of what I have in mind i.e. a 14x17 studio camera and use external loops glued on and use the loops to support the bellows out of the optical path. It won't be as pretty as other solutions but it ought to work. If the bellows clipped in and out of the cameras easily enough or folded well enough, they might even be useable in cameras in the field. Of course if the 8x10 thing project works well enough, I might just make the bellows the "traditional" way. This is a long ways into the future before I attempt the 14x17.

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