Darkroom Innovations Focusing Hood

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I bought the Darkroom Innovations darkcloth and started using it this weekend. I'm a little puzzled about how to properly use this or other cloths.

Q1. How do you attach the cloth to the camera? Do you stretch the elastic over the rear standard only? Or do you place it around the complete rear so that the elastic touches the bellows (possibly damaging it)? Or do you put it completely around the camera including the front standard?

Q2. How do you do this without moving the camera and how do you get to the controls?


-- Ben Diss (bjdiss@interport.net), October 26, 1998


After I get the camera leveled and pretty much set up, I put the elastic portion over the back standard only. However, I do not let the hood touch the bellows. You have to look carefully at the configuration of your specific camera to determine the best place to affix the hood given the specific shot you are taking. Sometimes I end up sticking a cloth under the space between the bed and the back standard for another form of a light seal when I need to really check critical focus. There is a lot of surface area to check on 8 x 10.

Having used a one dimensional flat cloth hood over the camera, using the lightweight hood from DI is a breath of fresh air. Try several configurations to find out what works for you.

-- Michael Kadillak (kadillak@rmi.net), October 26, 1998.

A1.) It depends on the camera design, but generally i put completely around the rear standard. i really doubt that you will be able to damage your bellows. I use mine with an ARCA-Swiss F-line, a Canham DLC, and a V-pan.

A2.) My cameras don't move, but that doesn't mean I am not careful. What camera are you using? With the A/S and the Canham some of the controls end up inside the bag and I just manipulate them through the bag.

I fully agree with Michael, the DI darkcloth is great; it is far superior to standard cloths. I was skeptical before trying it, but one use sold me. It tends to get a little hot in the summertime though, but it is much better than a flapping "horseblanket" with weighted corners. Maybe the next version will have air conditioning (LOL).

-- Ellis (evphoto@insync.net), October 26, 1998.

As others have noted, you stretch the cloth over the rear standard only. I believe that Darkroom Innovations makes two versions of the cloth, one for field cameras and one for studio cameras. Assuming you have a field camera and the field version of the Darkroom Innovations cloth, when you stretch the elastic over the standard the openings on the left and right sides of the cloth should allow you to reach the controls (such as the control for back tilt) on the left and right sides of the back standard. If you're having trouble operating these controls you might want to check with Darkroom Innovations and make sure you have the correct version of the cloth for your camera. As a matter of interest, the cloth was designed by Phil Davis' wife and I agree with the others who have posted here - it's a vast improvement over the traditional dark cloth.

-- Brian Ellis (beellis@gte.net), November 02, 1998.

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