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Bellows Maintenance?

  1. Grif
    Anything special to keep your bellows "soft" and not cracking?
  2. hairygit
    Hi there, all depends what your bellows are made of! For proper leather bellows, I have used "Neatsfoot oil", it is sold here in Britain for softening walking boots and the like, but you need to buy it from a cobblers or shoemakers store, as modern retail shoe outlets seem to have no udea what you're talking about! I do it as follows; with the camera closed, mask off the lens (cotton wool and thin strips of masking tape work for me!) open the camera, and withe a small artists brush, apply the oil from the inside of the bellows, do NOT apply too much at once, just a thin, even coating. As you work toward the lens area, this becomes more fiddly, and I have a plastic handled model painting brush which I cut near the bristles and glued back on at 90 degrees, ideal for getting in as the bellows get narrower toward the lens, When you are happy that you have covered all of the inside of the bellows, close the camera, and leave closed for about 24 hrs. When you open it again, there should be a noticeable difference in the suppleness of the leather, and the oil leaves no sticky residue! I have also been told that Nivea cream works well, but I have not tried it myself, as being a cream I assume it would need to be rubbed in, which seems very fiddly! On the subject of non leather bellows, I can't see much that can be done with them, exposure to light causes Ultra Violet degradation of most synthetic leathers, causing cracking and light leaks, but if anyone can put me right on this point, I'd be grateful
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