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  1. #1

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    FINALLY! A light tight, good quality darkcloth for LF and ULF!

    I've been looking for a new large darkcloth for several months now and finally settled on buying one from Photographers Formulary, and when I got it I was quite disapointed. It was very thick fabric that was not light tight, worked well as a sponge when photographing in wet conditions and was just very bulky!

    However, today I recieved a brand new darkcloth made by Kevin Saitta (Saitta bags) here on APUG. He told me that he was putting alot of research into making the best quality darkcloth possible, so I purchased one from him. Well, it showed up today and all I can say is WOW! He seached high and low for a super light weight fabric that is completely light proof. It is black light proof fabric on the inside, and white fabric on the outside to reflect the sun.

    Here is whats great...the white fabric is completely water resistant so I can use it in the rain, snow, ect! The black fabic inside is actually fire resistant (useful if your a smoker?!) The darkcloth also weights a couple pounds lighter then my old one, and folds up smaller in my bag!

    I was having problems also finding a darkcloth in a large size for the 11x14 and 12x20 camera, so I was pleased that Kevin offers them in small to VERY large sizes, not to mention CUSTOM SIZES for someone that shoots panoramic cameras. I got a 5'x6', but you can get larger. (Also works well as a blanket when camping!)

    So anyways, I just wanted to share this with you guys since I am so excited to finally find a good quality darkcloth.I know alot of photographers are still fighting with there little tube jacket hoods, or some photographers still swear by their torn peice of fabric, old sweatshirts or ripped t-shirt...but if you want a 100% light proof, water resistant, fire resistant and light weight darkcloth, take a look at these. I don't believe Kevin has them on his site yet or has even mentioned them here on APUG yet...but he should have them up really soon.

    All the best,

    Ryan McIntosh
    www.RyanMcIntosh.net

  2. #2

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    Ryan,

    Is there an elastic end that wraps around the camera or does it attach with velcro? Are the prices comparable to what you would have to put on the table for other brand focusing cloths? I have been looking for a high quality cloth for my 8x10 but still prefer the cheapskate solution: an old black hooded sweater...

    Best, Markus

  3. #3
    scootermm's Avatar
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    Ryan
    you may have just sold me on getting one. Kevin made a pouch for my two 7x17 holders and its amazingly well made. the darkcloth seems tempting
    Thanks for the info ryan

  4. #4

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    Markus,

    Its a traditional darkcloth, square. All edges of the darkcloth have a border material, probably just added for durablity and look nice. I believe Kevin is including "bulldog clips" with all darkcloths, as they are small clips that you can stick anywhere on your camera. They are smooth on the inside and will not scratch your camera or cause any problem. Actually, I been using these clips to hold my darkcloths for many years and I think they are better then velcro, and elastic because they hold better in the wind and you can hook them wherever you want. Personally, I think the elastic is a pain in the butt and does not work that well, and velcro does not always hold well and you always have to match it up perfectly everytime.

    As far as prices goes... they are priced the same as any other darkcloth on the market (abit cheeper then Photographers Formulary), but they are ALOT better in quality and are all handmade. I cannot give you prices because Im not sure Kevin has set exact prices yet, and they are all different depending on what size you need for whatever format you shoot.

    Regards,

    Ryan McIntosh
    www.RyanMcIntosh.net

  5. #5

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    The Blackjacket, also a sponsor, is quite interesting. They offer many sizes and two models, one of which is breathable and preferred by most of their customers. Water proof means that sweat vapor stays inside too, so breathability is important. ULF models coming soon.

    Mike

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by scootermm
    Ryan
    you may have just sold me on getting one. Kevin made a pouch for my two 7x17 holders and its amazingly well made. the darkcloth seems tempting
    Thanks for the info ryan
    With shooting Ultra Large Format, Matt...I would highly suggest it! Its amazing how much of a differences a 100% light tight darkcloth makes when trying to view such a large ground glass! I have used many different brands of darkcloths and even the darkhoods, and none of them were as light tight as Kevin's. I can hold the cloth up to the sun and not even see any light!

    Mike,
    I think the BlackJacket is a great idea and I know many people who are pleased with them, however I found it was a pain to have to always stick your head inside and have it hooked to the camera. The other problem I found was when using older ULF cameras, its best to leave the darkcloth wrapped around the film back when putting the holder in and pulling the darkslide. This is not very simple when using the BlackJacket, but is easy when using a traditional darkcloth.

    Breathable material is important, yes! Kevin's new darkcloths are made out of this very soft, lightweight thin material, which I believe is quite breathable when under the cloth. However, I was standing out in Tucson, AZ heat and it was nearly 100 degrees outside, so I did not want to stay under there for TOO long!

    Regards,

    Ryan McIntosh
    www.RyanMcIntosh.net

  7. #7

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    Sounds tempting... Thanks for posting this, Ryan.

    Best,

    Markus

    PS: I agree it is often critical to wrap something around the camera back when you pull the dark slide. I do this routinely now after learning the consequences the hard way.

  8. #8
    Russ Young's Avatar
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    The View Camera Store makes and sells the tubular type. I find that with the glare from below, a standard dark cloth is almost useless in the desert. The tube closes lengthwise with velcro so that you can (1) vent it a little in hot weather (2) get the loupe on the groundglass. It has elastic at the camera end and has never blown off; it also catches WAY less wind than a traditional dark cloth. Last, but not least, it compacts into a very small area... have been using them about 8 years now...
    Russ

  9. #9

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    http://www.apug.org/classifieds/show...p?product=1597

    Kevin posted prices and information on the darkclothes in the Classifieds.

    Regards,

    Ryan McIntosh
    www.RyanMcIntosh.net

  10. #10

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    I'm with Russ - I started using the BTZS cloths which the View Camera store sells and far prefer them to the traditional style darkcloth - more compact, no clips etc and compact. being snug around the rear standard is the key though. I couldn't imagine going back to a regular kind.

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