A neglected delight.

Discussion in 'Talk About Large Format Gear' started by David M, Feb 22, 2018.

  1. David M

    David M Well-Known Member Registered User

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    Many LF photographers take pride and pleasure in their equipment – the beauty of the woodgrain, the smoothness of the polish and the shininess of the brass fittings; the softness of the carrying strap. All perfectly legitimate. Who doesn't admire fine workmanship?
    The darkcloth has long been regarded as merely functional – is it dark enough, is it too heavy, does it fit? An old T-shirt is often suggested as an adequate substitute.
    Here is a site that brings stylish prestige to the lonely darkcloth. You might even find one to match your shirt. What could be nicer?

    https://www.wandererphotogear.com
     
  2. Ian-Barber

    Ian-Barber Admin Staff Member Registered User

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    Interesting David. The 2 pieces of gear I am not happy with is my Dark Cloth and Loupe
     
  3. Alan9940

    Alan9940 Active Member Registered User

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    Interesting... My dark cloths are the best because they're my own custom design made by my lovely wife! That said, I never think of photo equipment as needing to make any statement, etc. It's a tool and the best thing it can do is get out of my way! :D
     
  4. mpirie

    mpirie Member Registered User

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    Ian, have you tried the Joe Cornish dark cloth made by Paramo? I think Linhof Studio sell them....not cheap, but very good.

    It's light, showerproof and very compact. I've had mine for around 10 years and it's as good as new.

    Mike
     
  5. Ian-Barber

    Ian-Barber Admin Staff Member Registered User

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    Thats the one I have at the moment. Its the best one so far but I always find that it slides all over the place when its resting on your head
     
  6. Joanna Carter

    Joanna Carter Active Member Registered User

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    I can confirm the Paramo is showerproof. A few years ago, we were on a beach, setting up a shoot when, all of a sudden, a squall hit. So we used the Paramos to cover the cameras and stood next to them getting rather damp.They say all art has a price :oops:
     
  7. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Active Member Registered User

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    I've never bought a dark cloth, I've always made my own. I do own a commercial one that came with my Agfa Ansco 10x8 outfit and it stays with it, but I really hardly need it as the camera also came with a NIB Beattie Intenscrenn which I fitted, it's so bright and easy to use.

    Last Spring I was with a couple of other LF photographers shooting with my Wista one commented that I wasn't using a dark cloth, he realised why when he looked at the screen, it's rarely needed as the Wista combination screen is excellent.

    I'd actually rather have a focus hood, that's all I use with my Super Graphic, or Crown/Speed Graphics. I do carry a dark cloth mostly to wrap the camera in :D

    Ian
     
  8. mpirie

    mpirie Member Registered User

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    I knew there had to be an advantage to having no hair :)

    Yes, it does move around.....normally drooping between your head and the screen, distracting you from the task at hand.

    In a homage to Joe, you could put boulders in the corners! :D

    Mike
     
  9. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Active Member Registered User

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    Well there's always a first :D I bought a nice 1.2 metre square dark cloth yesterday second hand for £10, there's no makers name but it has a Made in England, 100% Cotton, label along with washing instructions.

    My 10x8 Agfa Ansco Commercial View has clips to take the dark cloth on the top of the camera, I don't know why they weren't used by far more manufacturers.

    Ian
     
  10. David M

    David M Well-Known Member Registered User

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    Ian,
    I was about to add a comment about the way cameras are constructed, with no thought for the dark cloth, almost as if the camera was meant for admiration rather than use. It seems obvious that some sort of device should be included, but manufacturers seem to favour adding expensive viewers to invert the image. Your Ansco might be the only one...
     
  11. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Active Member Registered User

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    David, it would be quite easy to add sometning to many cameras with out compromising them.

    This is the Agfa system

    [​IMG]

    I've not restored this camera yet it's only cosmetic :D. I could make similar for my Seneca 7x5 cameras.

    Ian
     
  12. David M

    David M Well-Known Member Registered User

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    Ian G,
    Very simple. I wonder why it's not done by everybody. Somewhere in the back of my mind I have the image of a camera with a folding wire support for the cloth that stopped it drooping down between nose and screen.
    Ian B,
    Some photographers use those cheap reading glasses instead of a loupe. They are available in quite high magnifications. I already wear specs and manipulating two pairs is tricky, particularly if there's a breath of wind. I did try hanging both pairs round my neck but managed to tie the strings into a very intricate knot.
     
  13. Alan9940

    Alan9940 Active Member Registered User

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    Funny, I have a BlackJacket Hybrid darkcloth that attaches to the rear standard via an adjustable elastic cord sewn around the circumference of one end. The idea is...you reach in through the arm holes to make adjustments and focus (I, assume, if using a loupe.) Then, when you're ready to expose you flip the cloth forward, slide in the film holder, flip back to protect from light, etc. I couldn't stand the thing and went back to my own custom made darkcloths that don't hang off the camera! Another thing I didn't like was that attached cloth acted like a sail in any amount of wind. Not good! Horses for courses, I guess. ;)
     
  14. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Active Member Registered User

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    Alan, that's why I actually like a focus hood, I never use my loupes. My British LF SLRs used an optional binocular viewer, just custom made specs for the camera to help focus, the original ground glassscreens were very dime. They were the precursor to the Rolleiflex etc magnifier for eye level focussing.

    I'd actually like a magnifier that views the whole GG screen. I actually have one off a Polaroid macro camera, someone put it in with something I bought off another forum, I just don't have the frame it sat on. I think Horseman mad something similar. I'm not talking about the quite bulky later binocular viewers - no room in a back-pack and over kill anyway.

    Ian
     
  15. Alan9940

    Alan9940 Active Member Registered User

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    Ian, I don't actually use loupes...much prefer magnifying eyeglasses. I have a folding focus hood on my Crown Graphic that I appreciate it for protecting the ground glass, but find it a bit of a PITA when working; I generally just remove it. I've never used any of the 'viewers' and probably wouldn't like them because it adds weight, etc, to my kit. I've been shooting LF for nearly 40 years and only my Wista DX has a fresnel and I've never found it particularly difficult to see the image on the gg. Wide angles can be a challenge, but I've never lost a shot because I couldn't compose and/or focus correctly. I've lost a lot of shots due to my ineptitude, but that's another story!! :D
     
  16. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Active Member Registered User

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    Alan, the original Graflex screens are really quite poor, Around 10 years ago I had my Crown Graphic and Wista 45DX set up side by side in our apartment in Turkey both with 150mm lenses. I noticed a huge difference in screen brightness, a visual comparison meant stopping the 150mm f5.6 Sironar N past f16 to get comparable brightness and the Crown Graphic had a faster 150mm f4.5 Tessar. I actually measured the comparative brightness with a Spotmeter at full aperture (about an inch from the centre) and it was just over 3 stops.

    I replaced the screen on the Crown Graphic, later adding a fresnel (to the rear - viewing side), it's now about half a stop dimmer than the Wista but so much easier to use. Since then I've replaced the screens on all my other Graflex cameras, MPP screens are also poor I've replaced them as well - luckily I make screens :D

    A fresnel won't help with the centre but here's a snapshot that shows the potential overall:

    [​IMG]

    We are lucky the screens on the Wista 45DX cameras is exceptionally good.

    Ian
     
  17. Joanna Carter

    Joanna Carter Active Member Registered User

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    We have the superb Maxwell screens on our Ebonys. Unfortunately, it looks like they may no longer be available; the last post on his Facebook page is from 2012 and his site just comes up blank :(
     
  18. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Active Member Registered User

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    Beattie Intenscreens are still available from Morco, they may be old stock though. I have one on my Agfa Ansco 10x8 Commercial View which came still in its box unused with the camera. The screens on the Wista 45DX (and probably other Wistas) are comparable to the Maxwell and Beattie screens in terms of brightness and ease of use.

    These one piece screens are a fraction brighter than a good ground glass screen and fresnel but at a high cost these days, a Beattie Intenscreen is £140-£170.

    I'd say improving the screen on an LF camera is the most neglected area.

    Ian
     
  19. Alan9940

    Alan9940 Active Member Registered User

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    @Ian G, wow, that's quite a bit of difference in brightness! I assume my Crown Graphic has the original screen, but don't know for sure. Regardless, I've never had any issue with viewing the subject and/or focusing it. My Toho has a Satin Snow gg which is quite a bit better than the original glass. My Arca-Swiss has, I believe, the stock gg which may incorporate a fresnel; it is a nice, bright screen that's a pleasure to use. All that said, I totally agree that the lowly gg is probably the most neglected critical part of these cameras! ;)

    @Joana, I couldn't afford Maxwell screens for my cameras so good thing they're not available. :D
     
  20. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Active Member Registered User

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    Alan, i didn't realise how poor the original screen was on my Crown Graphic until it was side by side with my Wista 45DX up to then I was happy with it.

    Beattie Intenscreens claim to be up to 4 stops brighter than original screens, that I can relate to, while the Graflex and MPP screens are poor I've seen worse and have found around 3 stops difference by comparison and measurement with the Graflex/MMPP screens and a fresnel.

    I have quite a few Quarter plate and 9x12 cameras, they all either have new screens or I've re-ground them and the difference in brightness is very noticeable, and they are far easier to focus.

    A few years ago I boaught a Graflex Super Graphic of another UK LF forum "cheap" knowing it had issues. The back was useless a Gralok arm was broken, the gg back from my Cambo (Calumet) Cadet was a perfect fit although cosmetically wrong. it had a very thin fresnel to the rear of the GG but was surprisingly bright. If I could find more of these fresnels I'd be very happy :D

    Ian
     

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