Display Camera With Bellows Open or Closed?

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by Worker 11811, Feb 3, 2014.

  1. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    I've just moved to a new home and I'm starting to set up my camera collection for display.

    I have a bookshelf where I am going to display my camera collection in my living room.
    It's not going to be just for display. I will put several cameras on the shelf that I will use from time to time. Some will be "shooters," some will be "keepers" and the rest will be just for display. "Shooters" will be taken out to be used regularly. "Keepers" will be be used only occasionally. The rest will be for display only.

    Essentially, this display shelf is going to be like a gun rack... only for cameras. :wink:

    I have several cameras with bellows, either rangefinders or various other folding types. There is a Speed Graphic and some other things like that.

    The question whether I should store or display the cameras with bellows open or closed?
    Will leaving them open all the time damage them? (e.g. the leather cracks?) Will leaving them closed do something similar?

    Does it even really matter so long as one is careful opening and closing the cameras?

    To use the "gun rack" analogy, some people store their guns with the actions open for safety reasons but some store them with the actions closed to keep them from getting damaged or dirty.

    I think I am going with the "It doesn't matter so long as you are careful" option but I just wanted to check in and see what others thought.
     
  2. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    I store mine out of sight in the proverbial cool dry place, and the bolts/breechblocks/etc. in a different place.
    As for cameras, if they're in a dust free location, open. Otherwise closed.
     
  3. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    Randy,
    I don't know of an open or closed bellows .... which is best but I think that from an esthetic point of view an open bellows would be more appealing. It would not have to be fully extended to get the effect. I have a user field camera that I store bellows closed but that is for space constraints. I have seen larger format (8x10 +) cameras displayed on wooden tripods as a decorative item. You might check with someone who replaces bellows to see if one of the leather dressings is worthwhile.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  4. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    The bookshelf is in a corner, out of the way, where there isn't a lot of traffic. It is as clean as any other living room in a townhouse apartment. Besides, I live alone, now. No kids or pets and I don't smoke in the house. (The smoking lounge is on the patio.)

    Leather dressing. Hmm... There's a thought. :smile:
    Some of my cameras could probably use it.

    What does one use? Just plain old neatsfoot oil, applied judiciously and carefully? Or, is there a special product for cameras?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 3, 2014
  5. smithdoor

    smithdoor Member

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    I store mine close for since 1973 still working today

    Dave
     
  6. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    In other words, far from dust-free. It's amazing how much dust a camera can accumulate. Unless you like spotting negatives, (not to mention the troubles caused by dust in shutters, rangefinders, and etc.) I'd either put them in a case or keep them closed. If they're display-only pieces, it won't matter.
     
  7. Trail Images

    Trail Images Subscriber

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    I have a niece who started a collection a few years ago and I've helped add a few cameras to it over time. We have the bellows open on all of the cameras so far and see no issue to date, but only a short period overall. One thing I made sure of is no direct sunlight on any objects as well as no heating / AC ducts blowing down on the shelves either. She has a good start on her project and it looks great with two multi-shelf areas to show the items on. One other notable item is, we live in So Cal, so the normal earthquake precautions are in place too.....:D
     
  8. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    You might want to look for a barrister bookcase - those have glass doors that slide in sorta like a roll-top desk (only flat, of course). Those keep out a lot of dust. Mine that get used usually sit in camera bags ready to go. I do have some old ones that don't get used sitting in a barrister case with some bellows extended (space and look dependent).
     
  9. Nick Merritt

    Nick Merritt Member

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    Store them closed. Protects them from chemicals, UV rays, inadvertent mishandling.
     
  10. Peltigera

    Peltigera Member

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    My thought was thata storing them open means a lot of dusting for someone.

    Before using leather dressing on the bellows, I would check they are actually leather. If they are made from plasticised cloth (most Zeiss Ikon and Voigtlander) the dressing might harm the bellows.
     
  11. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    The main one I am thinking of is a Zeiss Ikonta IV. Late 1955 or early 1956 vintage?

    I'm not so worried about the Speed Graphic. It is in need of CLA and minor repairs. It would only get used on rare occasions. I could leave that one open without too much worry. However, of the bellows need dressing, I suppose I could do that.
     
  12. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I don't believe in leaving temptation in peoples way, I store my cameras and lenses in two locked Peli cases inside a locked steel fireproof office cupboard, having being burgled before in my
    previous house I don't want to make it too easy for thiefs.
     
  13. vintagesnaps

    vintagesnaps Member

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    I switch them around from time to time, but I don't have a display as such, I have cameras on a shelf here and there. I like to have some out w/the bellows open for a time; seems better to store them closed but I've bought some that had probably been closed up for a lot of years - seems good to open and use them if they're still functioning.
     
  14. Shootar401

    Shootar401 Member

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    I store my cameras with film in them ready to go. I don't own a gun rack, but my ar15 and 1911 are always loaded ready to go.

    Sent from my phone with an app
     
  15. Too old to care

    Too old to care Subscriber

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    I have an old Kodak No. 3A that looked like new until I displayed it open. The beautiful red bellows faded over time. I did not realize it until it was too late, I saw another one that had been kept closed. I would display them closed in a dust free cabinet.