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  1. #11
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    There's no heavy machinery needed to make bellows. A good industrial sewing machine is very useful though. You can make bellows on your kitchen table

    Camera Bellows have large map drawers full of the various manufacturers patterns, this is their greatest resource, and the skill of the actual workers making up the bellows. They didn't make the standards/panels the bellows attach to.

    Ian

  2. #12
    Bob F.'s Avatar
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    I know you can do it by hand but I though it may need specialist folding machines or similar to get the accuracy and throughput required for an industrial process. If it's a bunch of patterns, folding by hand with perhaps a jig or two in a vice and a heavy-duty sewing machine then there is some hope I guess.

  3. #13
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Bob, I suspect there are few specially made or adapted tools as well, Camera Bellows products are the best bellows on the market, and there's years of experience being called on when they are made, so it would need the right person to follow them.

    There are other Bellows manufacturers, in fact there's one less than 20 miles from Camera Bellows, I know the owners but they've never made camera bellows although some of their small machine bellows are similar in scale. Unfortunately production runs would be far to small for them

    Ian

  4. #14
    Rolleiflexible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Grant View Post
    Camera Bellows have large map drawers full of the various manufacturers patterns, this is their greatest resource.
    Exactly. When I needed a new bellows
    for my 5x7 Sinar Norma, they had the
    pattern on hand -- I had the new bellows
    in New York six days later. I am sorry
    to see them pass.

  5. #15
    df cardwell's Avatar
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    Weeping ... they did several cameras for me over the years.
    Bless 'em.

    They were the ONLY good makers on the planet.

  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by df cardwell View Post
    Weeping ... they did several cameras for me over the years.
    Bless 'em.

    They were the ONLY good makers on the planet.
    I'm sure their bellows were very good but they're not the only bellows makers. I just received a set of kodak 2d bellows form Western Bellows and am very happy with them.

  7. #17
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PanaDP View Post
    I'm sure their bellows were very good but they're not the only bellows makers. I just received a set of kodak 2d bellows form Western Bellows and am very happy with them.
    The difference is that Camera Bellows made the original bellows for virtually every Western made LF & MF cameras, and have done for quite a number of years, so when you bought from them you got the same high quality or better than the originals.

    Ian

  8. #18
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    They did an excellent job on my 11x14" American Optical bellows. I had them make it a bit longer than the original and sent them the frames, and I think I had it in about two weeks including shipping time both ways. I was hoping to have them make a 7x17" bellows for me some time in the next year or so.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
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    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  9. #19

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    Wow, this is extremely sad news. I've had them make custom bellows for me in the past and they always exceeded my expectations. I had also planned to continue to use them in the future for additional projects.

    I know there are other bellows manufacturers around, but I'm not aware of anyone else that makes something comparable to their "lightweight" bellows. This is the extremely flexible bellows that doesn't use stiffeners to maintain the shape of the ribs. Bellows made from this material/technique fold much smaller and are much more flexible than conventional bellows that incorporate stiffeners. This permits a longer bellows to fit within a folded camera and also allows the use of wide angle lenses without switching to a bag bellows.

    My first experience with this type of bellows was my Canham DLC - and it was one of the best features of that camera. I could use all my lenses from 75mm to 720mm telephoto with the single stock bellows. When I needed a compact bellows for my 7x17 Franken-ARCA project, Camera Bellows was the first place I turned. They delivered quickly, and as always, exceeded my expectations.

    If this story of their demise if indeed true, I will certainly miss their friendly service and top quality product. I also wonder what this means to all the large format and ultralarge format camera manufacturers that rely on them as a supplier of bellows for their cameras.

    Kerry Thalmann
    Really Big Cameras

  10. #20

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    agh!

    Western Bellows is good, though...and a 30 minute drive from me.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

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