Focusing Cloth for Whole Plate

Discussion in 'Plate Cameras and Accessories' started by Jim Cole, Jul 10, 2009.

  1. Jim Cole

    Jim Cole Member

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    I need to find a good focusing cloth for my Seneca whole plate camera. Most have an elastic cord around one end that attaches to the camera back. Manufacturers normally make cloths for 5x7 and 8x10.

    Any help on deciding which would fit better?

    What are you whole plate shooters using?

    Thanks,
    Jim
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I used a piece of old red velvet curtain and died it black, 33 years later they are beginning to fade :D

    It's no big deal, format is almost irrelevant, find some material and make one that suits you and your camera.

    Ian
     
  3. Jim Cole

    Jim Cole Member

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    Thanks Ian. I'm not much of a sewer, so I generally am willing to spent a little bit of money to get something functional. I will be using the camera outside mostly so I need a cloth that attaches to the camera to deal with the wind.
     
  4. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

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    Find a local fabric/haberdashery store - You should be able to purchase a yard or two of velvet (or other suitable material). Take the opportunity to chat to the staff, and chances are, you'll find one that is happy to put a hem along one edge.

    Thread a length of 1/8" elastic cord through the hem and then use a spring toggle to adjust the tension to suit.

    You might find a mom'n'pop curtain store will also be able to oblige for a minimal fee - Say a print of the store and staff :smile:
     
  5. NormanV

    NormanV Member

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    "I'm not much of a sewer"
    Isn't a sewer the pipe where all the liquid waste from your house goes?
    Do you mean that you are not much of a seamstress?
     
  6. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    sewer: one who sews
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sewer[2]


    hi jim

    i just use a big piece of felt or black canvas
    it is cheep at a fabric store,
    it is helpful if it attaches to the back of the camera
    but if you drape it, and gather it at the bottom with your fingers
    it works well too.

    a t-shirt works well, as does a jacket or pretty much anything that can block the light .

    sounds like a beautiful camera, have fun!

    john
     
  7. Jim Cole

    Jim Cole Member

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    Hi everyone,

    Thanks for all the do-it-yourself tips. You folks are much more resourceful than I am.

    I am trying to avoid black as I photograph mainly in the southwest US and it's generally too hot to hide under a black cloth. I'm looking for a silver outside/black inside cloth. Yes, I know I can make one of those, too.
    Let's just say I'm lazy and don't want to exert the effort to fabricate my own cloth. I'm really just trying to find out what size cloth to order pre-made. I'll just call a couple of the manufacturers.

    John, thanks for saving my literary butt.
     
  8. Richard Wasserman

    Richard Wasserman Member

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  9. Jim Cole

    Jim Cole Member

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    Thanks Richard, I'll check into it. How does this cloth attach to the camera?

    Jim

    Never mind...I answered my own question.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 10, 2009
  10. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    I suggest going with the Blackjacket. Check out the website which is pretty informative. I have tried the horseblanket type which is OK but you need a clamp or velcro on the camera or something else to really keep it dark. I tried the BTZS which is OK but the elastic is too tight on some cameras and the thing is a sauna in the summer and a humidifier in the winter. I bought a Blackjacket and was impressed by the overbuilt quality. I have not been able to use it a lot yet, but I like it best so far.
     
  11. Jim Cole

    Jim Cole Member

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    Jerold,

    I have heard a lot of good things about the blackjacket, but I'm a bit worried about futzing with the sleeves. I like a cloth that simply has velcro along the bottom that can be opened up to get my loupe to the ground glass. The Harrison that Richard mentioned seems to fit the bill as it has a bit of elastic around the camera opening that provides a little tension, but the opening size is adjustable with velcro to fit various camera sizes.

    Thanks for the suggestion.

    Jim
     
  12. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    I had issues with that too, but in the end I concluded it was OK. The sleeves are loose, drape like. No different in principle than dealing with the loose edges of a conventional dark except that the Blackjacket does not dangle open or flap in the wind as much. It has an adjustable shock cord to secure around the camera. That is better than velcro which can wear out and attaches annoyingly to camera cases etc. It is better than elastic because it does not torque the camera during on/off and sometimes mess up focus. Also, the cinch cord makes it easier to use with multiple cameras or formats than elastic types.
     
  13. Akki14

    Akki14 Member

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    I made an elasticated darkcloth for my 4x5 camera then realised all I'm doing is making a simple skirt with an elasticated waistband. It's incredibly simple to sew and fast if you have a sewing machine available to you. Just need to decide on a cloth that is right for you. I'd go for a black cotton drill fabric.
     
  14. Jim Cole

    Jim Cole Member

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    Jerald,

    Good points that I'll consider. Thanks for taking the time.

    Jim
     
  15. Jim Cole

    Jim Cole Member

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    Thanks Heather,

    Your're right, it is just a skirt and rather easy to make. Just don't have a sewing machine. Thanks for the reponse.

    Jim
     
  16. Peter Black

    Peter Black Subscriber

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    Time for a visit to your local thrift/charity store?
     
  17. Jim Cole

    Jim Cole Member

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    Found a Harrison cloth that I bought several years ago that I had forgotten about after buying my small lightweight one for the 4x5. The Harrison cloth works fine on the WP camera.

    Thanks for everyone's suggestions here.