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Thread: Focusing Cloth

  1. #11

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    Re: Focusing Cloth

    Dark cloths are still the fly in my large format ointment. I bought a Blackjacket, but man--is that thing big. I feel like I should be inviting friends to come under with me and making arrangements for catering. Maybe I'll rent it out for weddings. I'd like to find something at half the weight and size of the Blackjacket--but still breathable. I got the hybrid version, but it still heats up in a hurry under there.

  2. #12

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    Re: Focusing Cloth

    I can't even imagine using a large format camera without a darkcloth. Anyone who would do so, would probably fly a Nieuport 17 without a white scarf and goggles.

  3. #13

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    Re: Focusing Cloth

    I love my huge black bath towel purchased from the "Mart" (WalMart) for $4.

    Works fabulously on my 810 Arca.

    Easy to wash too.

  4. #14

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    Re: Focusing Cloth

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Davenport View Post
    I can't even imagine using a large format camera without a darkcloth. Anyone who would do so, would probably fly a Nieuport 17 without a white scarf and goggles.
    A scarf and goggles are quite beneficial for flying an open cockpit aeroplane just as a dark cloth is beneficial when trying to focus a large format camera, or boots and a stetson when riding a horse.

    The Nieuport 17 was quite a plane in it's day. Long ago my Dad introduced me to Charlie McCarthy---an old time press photographer who had retired from the local paper---who IIRC flew one with the Lafayette Escadrille.

    An ideal dark cloth IMHO is one that doesn't "bleed" light and is big enough to gather under your chin to block reflected light from below. Find something at the fabric store and have your bride make one for you---or use a good quality black sweatshirt inside out.
    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.

  5. #15
    Stephen Willard's Avatar
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    Jun 2002
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    Re: Focusing Cloth

    I have both the BTZS and the Ebony AW focus cloth and clamp. I use the BTZS for most of my shooting in normal weather, but when the storms arrive or extremely hot weather prevails I use the Ebony system. The BTZS holds up well to windy weather and makes a tight seal around the camera to avoid glare. The Ebony system cost around $250 with the clamp and is the only rain jacket focusing cloth that really works. I have tried everything for shooting in hostile weather, but the Ebony is the only one that gets the job done. Most of my best work is now shot in bad weather and the Ebony AW hostile weather system has payed for itself 100s of times over in increased sales.

  6. #16
    Still Developing
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    Re: Focusing Cloth

    I'd agree that the BlackJacket is particularly big but it's extremely good at giving total darkness (and I mean total - although with a little addition http://), enough space to bring your head back and take in the whole picture, excellent material that doesn't bunch but gives you enough grip so it won't slide off your head and easy access for loupe and to access the rear controls (on an Ebony 45SU here).

    I would like the Ebony all weather and have also thought about a 'polite' focusing cloth that isn't the size of a sumo wrestlers smock. It's a credit to BlackJacket that even though it's so big I wouldn't be without it.

    Sooo.. not one for the introvert but definitely fit for purpose.

    Tim

  7. #17

    Re: Focusing Cloth

    I bought two 2XLXT, v-neck t-shirts. I put a black one inside of a white one and sewed the together into a 2-layer shirt. The v-neck is perfect, as it fits over the back of my various 4x5 cameras with a little stretch...enough to hold it in place without anything else.

    I eventually turned up the bottom of the shirts and sewed in a space to run through a piece of leather cord. Now I can put the big end of the shirts over the back of my 8x10, tighten it up with the leather, and stick my head through the v-neck opening. I can put my arms in through the arms of the shirt when I work this way.

    The whole thing folds up nicely, and is as dark as anything else I've tried. I probably have an hour into it, and about $8 for the supplies.

  8. #18

    Re: Focusing Cloth

    Barry,

    LOL! True, the BlackJacket is bigger than most cloths. That's because I found that most LF photographers (myself included) have big heads. ;-)

    In all seriousness, I believe you own the 8x10 version, which by its very nature has to be bigger (56" neck, 36" girth/length). The additional length is designed to accommodate another characteristic common among LFers, farsightedness.

    And if I can find a better combination of truly breathable fabrics with the same light-blocking capability as my current offerings, I'm all over it.

    Thanks, also Tim. I appreciated your idea to improve the performance with the Ebony. It looks like a great idea.

  9. #19

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    Re: Focusing Cloth

    Quote Originally Posted by BarryS View Post
    Dark cloths are still the fly in my large format ointment. I bought a Blackjacket, but man--is that thing big. I feel like I should be inviting friends to come under with me and making arrangements for catering. Maybe I'll rent it out for weddings. I'd like to find something at half the weight and size of the Blackjacket--but still breathable. I got the hybrid version, but it still heats up in a hurry under there.
    You should try the BTZS hood. I don't have a Blackjacket to compare but the BTZS hood is very small and very light. I get double use out of it by using it as a wrap for my camera when the camera is in the pack so it takes up almost no extra space at all.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  10. #20

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    Re: Focusing Cloth

    My Blackjacket is the 4x5 model--but perhaps it's the Clyde Butcher limited edition. I've thought about cutting it down and making a sawed-off version, but maybe I'll check out the BTZS hood. If that doesn't work, I might try buying some fabric and making my own. The Blackjacket just seems huge and it flaps around in the wind, and takes too much time to continually pack and unpack. My Chamonix is a little wisp of a camera and it just seems mismatched to the Blackjacket.

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