Felt

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Curt, Oct 16, 2007.

  1. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    I was looking at one of my field cameras and noticed that it has felt in the back to prevent light leaks, none of my other cameras have felt, they are metal. What determines whether a manufacturer puts a dado in the back and adds felt in the channel? The Shen Hao has felt but the Calumet, Toyo cameras don't for example.
     
  2. eli griggs

    eli griggs Member

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    I can't give an informed answer but off-hand I might view felt as a sign that machining tolerances are not what they should be. I don't recall any view camera I've ever used as having felt light-proofing and other than correcting for potential light leaks, I don't understand why a view camera would have them.

    Having said that, my view-camera experience is rather limited. Sinar F, Toyo studio types, Kodak and Speed Graphic and I'd really like to know the reasoning for felt on your Shen Hao and other view-cameras.

    Eli
     
  3. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council

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    You don't see it on metal view cameras because metal doesn't warp or otherwise change dimensionally over time and with exposure to temperature and humidity, anyways not to the same extent wood does. Metal can expand or contract in heat and cold, but it always returns to the same shape and size when the temperature stabilizes. If you get metal wet, it won't warp. That's why they use felt.
     
  4. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member

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    The Linhof Color is metal, and has a strip of felt around the back. :smile:
     
  5. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

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    I don't think I'd want felt on my camera because it is a great trap for dust and debris! Have you ever checked out those light traps on a film holder where the dark slide goes in?

    The light traps on my wood field cameras have close tolerances and work fine without felt.


    Felt is one more thing to have to worry about IMHO.
     
  6. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council

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    Most light traps in film holders actually DO have felt or synthetic velvet of some kind as an additional buffer, if for no other reason than to prevent long-term wear from creating bright spots that cause reflections.
     
  7. Richard T Ritter

    Richard T Ritter Member

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    Cameras that are over 50 years old sometimes had red felt and newer ones had black felt. Most times the felt is added by the owner.
     
  8. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    All three of mine have felt: elderly (60's) monorail Arca swiss, Gandolfi variant (uses a metal Cambo back) and my Shen Hao.

    Bob.
     
  9. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council

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    I was so tempted to just say, "Because they felt like it". :D
     
  10. Struan Gray

    Struan Gray Member

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    Velvet, not felt. If I couldn't use my old plate cameras as an excuse to lurk in the ribbon and lace section of my local haberdashery, something else would have to be found.... :smile:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 16, 2007
  11. Bandicoot

    Bandicoot Member

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    Interesting: none of my Arcas of that vintage use felt in the backs, but they all used foam between the bellows and the standards and between the standards and the backs and boards (foam which in my experience isn't really necessary to keep them light-tight).

    I wonder whether yours was a felt for foam DIY replacement, or a version I haven't come across - which is very possible as they seemed to make all sorts of variations.

    The only Arca things I have with felt in them (not counting the velvet light-traps in filmholders and RFBs) are a sliding back for RFBs on the 6x9 models, and a 'slides two ways' four-on-a-sheet dividing back for 4x5.

    Well... there's ribbon to make tabs for lifting things out of fitted cases, velcro tape for securing dark-cloths, safety-pins for everything imaginable...

    Not to mention remnants of voile and net-curtain material to use for diffusing light (not on the light), all sorts of shiny fabric for bouncing it, and just about any sort of fabric for backdrops.

    I like my local fabric shop :smile:



    Peter
     
  12. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    What I was calling "felt" is probably a velvet material. I never had a camera with this material until I bought a Shen Hao. It's a very nice camera but the back doesn't appear to any different than any other wood camera I have or have seen. It's not felt though after looking and is most probably a velvet material. it's in a dado and I haven't heard anything negative or positive about it, it's just there.

    Fabric stores have some very nice women who know just about anything you would want to know about fabric. Last time I was at one they sold me a bottle of liquid that keeps the end cuts from coming unraveled. I was replacing a film holder end tabs cloth.
     
  13. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    Sorry: sloppy use of words on my part: I was using felt as a general term for a soft light-baffling material. Upon closer inspection, what I was calling felt is in fact what looks like a heavy-duty velvet around where the film holder seats. There is a channel for it to sit in but it does indeed look like a retro-fit as it's not a terribly good fit. The other baffling you mention is foam on mine too.


    Cheers, Bob.
     
  14. Struan Gray

    Struan Gray Member

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    Me too.

    I think it's like buying darkroom materials, or raw lumber, or strong bread flour - there's the feeling that you are not a mere consumer, but instead are a productive artisan.

    My old cameras and plate holders have 1/2" or 3/8" velvet ribbon set into shallow rebates so that the edge of base material is protected from being lifted. These are the old style holders where the darkslide is captive, so there is no need for the more agressive beryllium copper springs you find on modern holders. A similar arrangement is common on polariod copy cameras, and all the polaroid adapters for electron microscopes I have used.

    My 60s-era Sinar Norma has a sort of black string in the depths of the light trap baffles where lensboards and bellows attach. It's redundant, but a useful safety measure - I don't get light leaks in the couple of places it is missing, but worry that in strong side lighting I might. Micro Tools sells a self-adhesive thin strip of black foam that would make a suitable replacement. The older cameras don't have the interlocking grooves of the Sinar, so the integrity of the velvet is more important.