Cost of a new bellows

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Fintan, May 13, 2006.

  1. Fintan

    Fintan Member

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    I've just received a Technika III that was said to have no holes in the bellows. Unfortunatly I've just found 4 pinholes letting in way too much light and I'm gutted :sad:

    I'm thinking of returning the camera to the seller but want to check into replacing the bellows. I dont want to try to repair them.

    Can anyone give an indication of the likely cost to replace the bellows?
    Is it a diy job or would a camera repair guy need to do the work?

    Finally if anyone has links to a UK or European supplier I'd appreciate it.

    Fintan
     
  2. John_Brewer

    John_Brewer Member

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  3. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    Fintan -

    I've never priced a bellows, but the bits and pieces I have heard suggest that the price of a replacement bellows could run US$150 or more.

    Here is a link to a bellows specialist on your side of the pond that I have heard good things about. http://www.camerabellows.com/

    You can make a bellows yourself if you have a little patience and not more than two thumbs. There are a number of sites on the web that provide instructions on how to do this. Here's a link to one site: http://home.earthlink.net/~eahoo/page1/page1.html
     
  4. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Camera Bellows UK does a great job, and they probably have Linhof bellows on hand. If not, they make them very quickly. I think my 11x14" bellows was two days in the shop, and I think someone here posted a story about how they needed a new Technika bellows in the US on short notice, and they had it by overnight mail.
     
  5. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    Fintan,

    I bought a 4x5 bellows for my Linhof Technikardan at Camera Bellows about 2.5 years ago. It was $200 US plus postage. There is no VAT in this figure because it is export. I think mine is a longer bellows than you need, so what you want may be less expensive. I have been very happy with this bellows and their service.

    May I suggest that you go to their site and email them for a quote. That is how I started. They accepted payment by credit card. I faxed mine to avoid the risk in sending the number by email.

    The bellows that came on my eBay purchased camera was also not as described. I got the seller to return the cost of a new bellows. It took some pushing, but it worked. Perhaps try that if the rest of the camera meets your expectations.

    Good luck,

    John Powers
     
  6. cdholden

    cdholden Member

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    Camera Bellows quoted me 85GBP to supply and install new bellows for a Korona 4x5. I plan to ship it out this week.
    Chris
     
  7. Fintan

    Fintan Member

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    Thanks for all the replies. I've just emailed them.

    I'm wondering if I could replace it or would I have to send them the camera?

    Thats the dilema I have John, whether to let this camera go and try to return it for a full refund or to try work out a deal for the replacement. I like the camera, it seems in good order, the seller did say the bellows was checked and fine so I'm now wondering about his other assertations about the camera.
     
  8. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The bellows is the most likely thing to have a problem on an old Tech III, so I wouldn't assume that there are other problems unless you see them. Try all the movements, and make sure it all works. Show it to someone who is familiar with the camera, if you can. You might ask the seller if they will cover, fully or partially (on the grounds that you could just patch the pinholes), the cost of the bellows replacement.

    If the bellows has to be glued into place, it's probably best to let them do it. If it's just a matter of unscrewing the old one and putting in the new one, then that's not so difficult.
     
  9. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    Bostick & Sullivan sell a bellows patch kit which contains cloth and flexible cement. It does a more than adequate job on pinholes and small tears.
     
  10. Fintan

    Fintan Member

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    David, no chance of showing it to someone, I dont know any LFer over here. In fact this is the first LF camera I've held in my hands.

    I'm not keen to patch the holes myself [but thanks for the tip anyway Jim]
    I did buy as described "bellows checked and no holes"

    Hopefully I'll get a reply from CameraBellows.com on monday and I'll take it from there with the seller.
     
  11. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Can you post a picture of the camera with the associated pinholes? I am just wondering cause patching pinholes is a pretty straight forward process, I have done it on several cameras over the years and never really had any problems at all with them. Have you put a flashlight(torch) inside the bellows to see how much actual light is leaking?

    I am just a curious sort, so thought I would ask.

    Dave
     
  12. Fintan

    Fintan Member

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    Dave I havent put a flashlight inside but I can clearly see light coming in when I focus at 2.5 feet, take off the lens and look inside. Heres a snap of one of the small holes.
     

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  13. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Hi Fintan,

    Those types of hole are actually pretty simple to repair, I use what we call gaffers tape here in America, it is a non-residue tape that works very well for this type of repair I have done it on several graflex cameras and have been shooting them for years with no problems at all and the tape I use is black, so it blends very well with the bellows, that would at least get you going until you can get the camera in to have new bellows made for it. By the way, gaffers tape works great for redoing the hinge tape on film holders.

    Dave
     
  14. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    repair

    Fintan-I found some very cool stuff at a diving shop here in the states. I'm sure you can find it. It's called Aquaseal-a urethane adhesive and sealant. Reason I like this so much is that after it dries it is flexible as in bellows-flexibel. You must wait until it is dry and that might take several days. But it works very well....
    Best, Peter
     
  15. Fintan

    Fintan Member

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    Hi Dave, thanks for the post.

    I think I'll have to have a go at that, my seller thinks it got damaged in transit, which I'd say is quite unlikely but the implication probably is it's not his problem.

    Fintan

    BTW The groundglass screen could do with replacing so I'll be back to you when I know more about what to ask for etc.
     
  16. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Fintan,

    I would have a very difficult time saying that is transit damage....but it looks to be normal wear and tear for an older camera, the weak spots in bellows are of course the folds, if you got a good price on the camera and it works for what you want to do, I would probably look into new bellows or put some gaffers tape over the pinholes and get on with shooting.

    When your ready for a new screen, just let us know, I have the measurements on file for the Linhofs, so would not be difficult to get one made for ya!

    Have fun, LF is a lot of fun and will open your eyes to a different world!

    Dave
     
  17. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    For smaller pinholes I scrub artist's black liquid acrylic paint into the inside of the bellows with a well-used soft toothbrush. I've had a "temporary" black crepe paper tape patch on my old flatbed 5x7 for 30 years. With the acrylic paint on the inside, it still is lighttight. Try any of the suggestions on this thread before replacing the bellows. If they don't work, you've only lost a little money and some shooting time. If they do work, you've saved plenty of money.
     
  18. Fintan

    Fintan Member

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    I've a real bad feeling I'm going to be seriously hooked on this :D

    I'll keep the camera, patch the bellows, give crap feedback on the seller, and probably replace the bellows in a while.

    Thanks for all the replies.
     
  19. sattler123

    sattler123 Member

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    First thing I would do is try to repair the bellows - it really is not that hard to do - either from the outside with black tape (not the prettiest solution) or from the inside with white glue mixed with black paint - that typically does the job done - just make sure you let the glue dry overnight before folding up the bellows:smile:
    If that does not work then a new bellows from camera bellows in the UK works best - they are great people. I was the one David referred to - I needed a new bellows the next day and gave them a call - and indeed they had it at my door in the US at 11am the next day.
    Replacing the bellows is not very difficult - just take your time - on the TEchIII the bellows has to be glued to the rear frame - there is a website somewhere (I can't find it right now, but will keep looking) that describes exactly what the steps are to do this. For glue I use Pliobond or any regular cement-type glue will do - I just like Pliobond because it is easier to work with. Make sure the seam of the new bellows ends up at the bottom side once installed.
    BTW the pinholes did NOT happen during transportation - no way. They were there when the seller posted the camera on eBay.
    Good Luck
     
  20. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    Fintan,

    Sorry for the delay. I missed seeing that you had asked me a direct question. When I bought a new bellows for my Technikardan, Camera Bellows asked me to send in the old bellows, not the camera. They made the new bellows using the frame from the old bellows. Naturally it fit perfectly.

    Being new to Large Format at the time and having heard that the Technikardan was prone to bellows problems, I asked their advice as to how to avoid similar damage in the future. They were happy to give advice, which in that case was to remove the bellows rather than turn each standard 90 degrees per Linhof direction. You do this on the TK by flipping four levers and lifting out the bellows, nothing difficult.

    I don't know if your model has any quirks in the design that cause holes, but it is a common enough camera that they would probably know and respond if asked.

    Good luck.
    John Powers