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Thread: Foam for lens case

  1. #11
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Foam for lens case

    Plain ole poly bubble wrap sleeves. If you want something supplementary to this, get pre-made velcro lens wraps. The case dividers can be improvised with styro fome-core board etc. Urethane foam should only be used for temporary shoot location transport. Case manufacturers like Halliburton and Pelican include diced foam you can pluck to shape yourself. Cutting it can be done with a bread knife or specialized power foam cutter (quite expensive). True closed-cell foam that thick would be quite heavy, but you could hypothetically get an inert type if you could afford it.

  2. #12

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    Re: Foam for lens case

    Just as a point of information, Rodenstock large format lenses are shipped in a cardboard box with a layer of foam that is wrapped around the lens which has both caps on and is in a plastic bag.
    Seems if this is good for the manufacturer it should also be a good hint to the user!

  3. #13

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    Re: Foam for lens case

    Whatever you use, lens caps fore and aft should be a requisite.
    And a Crown Royal bag...uh...did I mention Crown Royal bags? Very similar to the material Kodak used in those boxes Ektars came in
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  4. #14

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    Re: Foam for lens case

    So this Pelican case + pick n' pluck I just bought should only be used for transport and not long term storage?

    This one was for my RB67 and lenses, but I'm also trying to decide what to do for my 4x5 kit.

  5. #15
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Foam for lens case

    Yes, particularly if your case is stored in a humid, damp, or hot area, which accelerates foam degredation. Cameras and lenses really need some air circulation around them, or at least a dessicant like Dri-Out if you keep them in a gun safe etc.

  6. #16
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Foam for lens case

    I don't like arguing with Bob S. because he's quite informed, but I've had little open-cell urethane foam liners sometimes accompanying B&W and Tiffen filters transfer smudge onto them. Compact white styrofoam, like that used for food containers, seems fine; but it's not compressible like urethane foam. Bob dealt mostly in Heliopan filters, I believe; but he can clarify this technicality. The liners I have seen used for new lenses by Rodenstock, Nikon LF, etc, were a light breathable styro tissue, so presumably inert; so I suspect this is what Bob has in mind.

  7. #17

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    Re: Foam for lens case

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    I don't like arguing with Bob S. because he's quite informed, but I've had little open-cell foam liners sometimes accompanying B&W and Tiffen filters transfer smudge onto them. Compact white styrofoam, like that used for food containers, seems fine; but it's not compressible like urethane foam. Bob dealt mostly in Heliopan filters, I believe; but he can clarify this technicality. The liners I have seen used for new lenses by Rodenstock, Nikon LF, etc, were a light breathable styro tissue, so presumably inert.
    Before we were the Heliopan distributor we were the B+W distributor. When Heinrich Mandermann bought B+W from the Bormann and Weber family trustees he found that since he had also bought Schneider out of their bankruptcy he didn’t want the USA Rodenstock distributor selling B+W in the USA when he also owned Schneider USA.

    But we also distributed Rodenstock filters in the USA once Rodenstock brought out their proprietary filter line to supplement the Heliopan private label filters that they sold. That also explains why we didn’t sell the Kaiser branded German filters as they are also Heliopan.

    Also, bear in mind, that from the 70s on we also sold Schneider lenses through Linhof and Novoflex. As well as the Schneider and Zeiss lenses, and some Japanese lenses, for Rollei cameras. Until Samsung bought Rollei.

    Our experience with Rimowa camera cases were urethane foam. But they were layered over a thin layer of marine plywood and covered with a fabric.

  8. #18
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Foam for lens case

    Marine ply - which I do know quite a bit about - would itself technically be a no-no because it involves outgassing formaldehyde glue. But the effects of that could have been minimized if the ply was allowed to air out over a period of time first (unlikely), or if a sealant or cement needed for the fabric isolated it (maybe). I don't take anything for granted. Maybe it wasn't real marine ply at all. Why would a case manufacturer need something expensive like that unless someone was going to drop their case into the harbor? - and only the case itself would survive ! Multi-lamination plys do not automatically equate to marine. Finish ply was also made that way in case the cut edges showed; but that generally involved at least some degree of formaldehyde content too. With a bit of distinct airing out, all it takes is a decent coat of true shellac to isolate the residual amounts. But in such an example, I'd be less worried about lenses being affected than something else in the studio, like film or printing paper. I personally use multi-lens cases with "hobby ply" dividers - thin lam ply, but coated and well aired out (I can tell by the smell). Then these cases are themselves stored in bigger poly tubs with lids, with dessicant inside. They're actually a different kind of equipment box than you find in a camera store. Why? Simply because it was the kind I distributed and got at a huge discount.

  9. #19

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    Re: Foam for lens case

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    Marine ply - which I do know quite a bit about - would itself technically be a no-no because it involves outgassing formaldehyde glue. But the effects of that could have been minimized if the ply was allowed to air out over a period of time first (unlikely), or if a sealant or cement needed for the fabric isolated it (maybe). I don't take anything for granted. Maybe it wasn't real marine ply at all. Why would a case manufacturer need something expensive like that unless someone was going to drop their case into the harbor? - and only the case itself would survive ! Multi-lamination plys do not automatically equate to marine. Finish ply was also made that way in case the cut edges showed; but that generally involved at least some degree of formaldehyde content too. With a bit of distinct airing out, all it takes is a decent coat of true shellac to isolate the residual amounts. But in such an example, I'd be less worried about lenses being affected than something else in the studio, like film or printing paper. I personally use multi-lens cases with "hobby ply" dividers - thin lam ply, but coated and well aired out (I can tell by the smell). Then these cases are themselves stored in bigger poly tubs with lids, with dessicant inside. They're actually a different kind of equipment box than you find in a camera store. Why? Simply because it was the kind I distributed and got at a huge discount.
    Rimowa camera cases were waterproof, the Canadian navy towed them behind their kayaks on one trip to the Arctic. They also floated.
    The most popular ones were made from marine plywoood covered with Rimowa’s aluminum skin on the outside and with a layer of foam, inside the case on the inside was a layer of insulating foam on all six side. Holding the foam in place was a molded plastic tub that had grooves on all sides. Into the grooves were marine plywood, very thin, covered with foam and that was covered with fabric. They used aluminum slots that were self adhesive that would strongly adhere to the fabric. The dividers were exactly the length of the interior. By cutting them to size with a supplied knife and using the stick on aluminum channels they could be cut to whatever desired sizes to partition the required subdivisions.

    This resulted in an aluminum camera case that was waterproof, insulated like a cooler chest, would float and hold 50% more equipment then, for instance, Halliburton or Pelican cases, that are foam filled. Foam filled cases, for best protection should have 1” of foam between each piece of equipment and between the sides and bottom of the case. The Rimowa cases gave better protection without that requirement and the partitions were about 1/4” thick!

    No problems at all with outgassing. The top of the case was filled with urethane foam that was very dense and would mold to whatever it came in contact with. To form the waterproof seal the interior tub had a rounded raised ridge that the foam compressed onto to and that seal was waterproof to 3 atmospheres. It was very effective. So much so that Gepe’s waterproof and crush proof Cardsafes for memory cards used a similar seal.

  10. #20
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Foam for lens case

    Alum skins would have automatically isolated any nasties in the ply, except at the cut edges, where presumably a sealant would be used if waterproofing were to be realistic. I've never owned anything Rimowa, but have made things like that in my own shop. Nowadays it would make more sense to use ultralight honeycomb aluminum to begin with; but that's tricky to fabricate without specialty equip (which I sold). Injected urethane foam inherently degrades over time if either air or moisture gets to it. In deep-fill situations, like waterproofing significant voids in boats while still retaining buoyancy, the degredation progresses only so far then tends to cap itself off. Fiberglass hulls help. All urethane decomposes except the moisture-cure varieties, which are an entirely different category of applications, including TRUE marine sealants. Ironically, ABS cases like Pelican can easily break if dropped on a hard surface in very low temps. ABS can go brittle unless it has air-cell inner core construction like thick ABS drainage pipe.

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