Dark cloth cloth.

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Robert, Feb 13, 2003.

  1. Robert

    Robert Member

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    I finally remembered to stop into the local Walmart and ask about getting some cloth to make a nice big dark cloth. Funny thing was I didn't have to explain to the lady what a dark cloth was. She knew and found me a nice black cloth that was on sale. 3 meters cost me a total of less then C$7 or I guess $5 US. It's some sort of man made cloth and you wouldn't want a suit made out of it but it seem light tight. Black on the outside lined with something on the inside. I'm going to double it over and make something big enough for any camera I might dream of. I got the impression I wasn't the first looking to make a dark cloth.
     
  2. LFGuy

    LFGuy Member

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    Sounds good. I've been on the look out for a replacement for a while, though I haven't been trying too hard. Do they have a cloth section (like you'd find at a normal cloth/sewing store) or was this something packaged up? Thanks.
     
  3. Robert

    Robert Member

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    She cut me a piece off a roll. Bascially I wandered around looking lost until I found somebody to help me. I explained what I wanted and she dragged me over to the odds and ends section. Works great. Stopped the lens down to F/45 and it looked bright.
     
  4. SteveGangi

    SteveGangi Member

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    That's where I got my darkcloth. They were selling the 3 foot square pieces, so I bought 3 black and 1 white one. I made a sandwich, sewed them together, and am still using it. Having the white side makes a difference in the summer.
     
  5. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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  6. Robert

    Robert Member

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    I've actually decided to not seal the two ends together. It's long enough at 3metres[10 feet] that I can wrap everything up in it. Was going to use glue-))
     
  7. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    I had my dark cloth made from ripstop nylon...black on one side, white on the other for the reflection of sunlight in the summer. I had two pairs of velcro strips about 6 inches long the width of my leather camera handle sewn to the center of one of the sides. When setting up, it is a simple matter of passing two pieces of velcro through the handle and fastening to it's opposite componant. This has worked well for over fifteen years now.


    Another idea that I have seen and like a lot is to fashion one side of the darkcloth into a sewn together circle with elastic on the interior of the circle. The circle would need to be large enough to slip around the perimeter of the camera back when it is stretched and would then grip the camera when relaxed. This seems to be a good idea in that it would do a better job of securing the sides of the darkcloth then my arrangement does.
     
  8. Bill

    Bill Member

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    Here in Vancouver we have a store that sells supplies for making outdoor gear. I was able to pickup black ripstop nylon with a white neoprene layer on one side (I'm guessing it was intended for rain coats, something we tend to need here...). It works like a charm - light tight and light weight. The only problem is it doesn't breathe too well - last summer in New Jersey it was like a sauna under there.
     
  9. Joe Lipka

    Joe Lipka Member

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    Most fabric stores have a product called "black out cloth" that can be used as a layer in making curtains and draperies. That's what the Mrs. used when she made mine. Don't forget the drapery weights sewn into the corners.
     
  10. David Hall

    David Hall Member

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    I don't think this is far afield enough to be its own thread, but...

    I would be interested in hearing how people secure darkcloths to the camera, if you do, and about whether weights are a benefit or a detractor. I've heard both.

    Just wondering.

    dgh
     
  11. fingel

    fingel Member

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    I designed my dark cloth out of black velveteen, and a white nylon outer lining to reflect sunlight. At one end it is folded over and sewn so you can thread a piece of cord or twine through it to secure it to the camera, or at least draw it together. The velveteen traps light very well, and it also adds some friction to the cloth so it won't slide off my camera if I don't want to tie the string. The nylon is a little bit shiney and keeps me cool under the cloth. An added bonus is that the shiney white nylon makes a great reflector in a pinch. Best of all, the materials were only about $20.
     
  12. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I'm still using a black T-shirt. Dark enough, and the neck fits nicely around a 4x5 camera back. Besides, the sleeves give easy access to the ground glass with a loupe.

    Of course, we're not often plagued with excessive heat here in Norway, or I might consider a white outside...
     
  13. SteveGangi

    SteveGangi Member

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    Like I said earlier, I use the Walmart cloth for my 4x5. For the other cameras, I got a blackout cloth which is bigger. On all the cameras, I hold the cloth in place with "bulldog" paper clips which I "borrowed" from work. There are probably better ways, but this way is easy. I don't use any weights, I had been told they can be risky in a wind. I can live with the lumps, but not with a broken groundglass.
     
  14. philldresser

    philldresser Subscriber

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    Dear All

    I am afraid that I still use a jersey like Ole as the elasticated neck fits well over the back. However I fully intend to make my own cloth for my 4X5 soon. Is there a specific pattern like the dressmakers use or or are they just square? and how big should a 4X5 cloth be??. Does the white layer make that much difference?

    I would be interested to hear how many people add the elastic in for attachment to the camera.

    Thanks

    Phill
     
  15. David Hall

    David Hall Member

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    Phil,

    I made one once that was tapered a tthe front: a little narrower at the end that fits around the back of the camera, and longer at the opposite corners. Like a dress. I don't know if it's ideal or not, but it allows me to move around more behind it, and I think it helps in wind. I did not use weights.

    All the ones I have purchased were always rectangles. You could go the calumet site for dimensions.

    dgh
     
  16. Robert

    Robert Member

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    Steve Simmon's book has sizes for different camera formats but I'd wager it's only a guideline. My feeling make it big you can always make it smaller. I think I tried almost every sweat shirt I own. Not one was really light tight. My camera has clips on it's sides. Nothing on the top. Of course on the top they'd really help but four clothes pegs do the trick. Light coming up the bottom is a bit of a pain and I keep thinking I should use more pegs around the bottom. It would sort of turn the cloth into a big tube.
     
  17. Super Graphic Guy

    Super Graphic Guy Member

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    I bought my fabric from Wal Mart as well. Mine is similar to David's in that the end that fits around the camera is tapered some. About 6 feet long. black layer on the inside and a tan layer outside. The tapered end is stitched together for about 18 inches to block light from coming in the bottom.

    As for attaching it to the camera I stitched an elastic band in the camera end. It did not turn out as tight as I wanted it to, giving me encouragement to someday add a 5x7 as the dark cloth would fit. Total cost was under $10.
     
  18. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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  19. philldresser

    philldresser Subscriber

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Aggie @ Feb 19 2003, 06:20 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> well I guess having just tried a dark cloth for the first time, that females have an advantage. Bra straps sure come in handy for more than one thing. </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    Aggie

    Please clear the picture in my mind. How do you use the bra strap.

    Hopefully it is to wrap around the camera back and pull the dark cloth tight

    Also does this mean that I can go into a local store and ask for a 34D Dark Cloth?

    Phill
     
  20. Robert

    Robert Member

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Aggie @ Feb 19 2003, 01:20 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> well I guess having just tried a dark cloth for the first time, that females have an advantage. Bra straps sure come in handy for more than one thing. </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    I'm buying a new set of spring clamps. Never have too many clamps-)))
     
  21. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I use a black t-shirt, which is fine except fo very bright days. I use the same t-shirt as a form of protection fo the camera when it is not in use or when transporting by foot.
     
  22. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Aggie is sure getting a handle on large format photography...a true "thinking lady" it seems. The added benefit in her method is that one has a means of keeping their ears war on cold winter days.
     
  23. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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  24. lee

    lee Member

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    One of the nice things that Darkroom Innovations sells is a dark cloth that has elastic on the one end and velcro on the other. the elastic end fits around the back of the camera and the other end has a slot for your head and shoulders. That has the velcro on it. Light colored on the outside and dark (mine's blue) on the inside. The velcro is on the bottom so you can slip your hand in and use the loupe. Cost about $60.00 and it is well worth the money. Just wad it up and toss or stuff it in the backpack. Someone is bound to have mentioned this before but I will mention it too.


    lee\c