BTZS focus cloth : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I have the 8x10 BTZS focus cloth and I like it a lot. But it IS kind of big on my B&J field camera.

Recently I decided that I want one for my older 4x5 Toyo Field Camera. That camera is really a 5x7 and has an outside back size of 9" x 9 1/2". SO I'm wondering whether I should get the 4x5 or 5x7 BTZS cloth for that camera. Darkroom Inovations thinks that the 5x7 would be fine. I just don't want to get one that has such a sloppy fit.

Can anyone comment on this?

-- David Grandy (, April 19, 2001


Try the size out buy getting a piece of dark corduroy or velveteen from a fabric shop before you spend a good deal of money on it... you just might keep the corduroy instead... just a thought.

-- Scott Walton (, April 19, 2001.

The only view camera photographers who use blankets rather than the BTZS focus cloths are those who have never spent the $60 and tried the BTZS.

I gave up a long time ago on those who say "Really--trying to hold down an enormous blanket in the wind, especially sealing the bottom against bright light reflecting off the ground, while trying to focus AND hold a loupe to the ground glass... really, it's not so bad." The worst was when the 2-page(!) article appeared in View Camera magazine a couple of issues ago by a guy who suggested that you're an idiot if you don't drape your WHOLE CAMERA under a horse blanket (again, I doubt he ever tried the BTZS).

Bottom line: those who have tried the BTZS almost never go back to the blanket.

Enough ranting. I'd go with D-I's recommendation; I've found them very accommodating about exchanging and even about offering to customize the "waist size" if it doesn't fit. A simple safety pin or two will quickly take up any slack if the 5x7 cloth isn't quite snug enough but you judge that the 4x5 would be too small.

-- Simon (, April 19, 2001.

I had my wife sew me up a regular focusing cloth a while back and like a previous respondent and after a challenging episode with the wind, I decided to try out the 8x10 BTZS offering. Never went back to the cloth. When I got the Canham metal 5x7, I felt that the 4x5 might work but opted for the 5x7. For the nominal difference in size, weight and cost comparing it to a 4x5 BTZS and putting the 5x7 on a 4x5 camera, the elastic seems perfectly acceptable. If you have a 5x7 to start, it is a no brainer. I say get the 5x7.

Good Luck.

-- Michael Kadillak (, April 19, 2001.

Not exactly responsive to your question, but I agree the BTZS is a great darkcloth, and I would use it by preference over everything else I have EXCEPT when I travel, which is frequently. It just takes up too much room. Then I use the admittedly flimsy nylon sheet sold by Ebony (I think it was singled out in the infamous View Camera "horse blanket" article cited above, as the single least acceptable darkcloth in the world.) Flimsy as it is, it works fine with their folding panel and velcro arrangement, is waterproof, and folds into about 25% or less of the size and weight of the BTZS equivalent. Might matter if you're planning on being more mobile with your smaller system than you are with your 8X10. Nathan

-- nathan congdon (, April 19, 2001.

Wasn't "that guy" in _View Camera_ Gordon Hutchings, and didn't he pick up that technique from Morley Baer, if I remember correctly? No slouches, those guys.

-- David Goldfarb (, April 19, 2001.

The 4x5 should work on your 5x7 camera. I used the 4x5 on my Agfa Ansco 5x7 camera. It was a tight fit but it worked fine and I actually preferred the tight fit to the very sloppy fit of my 8x10 BTZS dark cloth on my 8x10 Deardorff. I also much prefer the original gray BTZS dark cloth to the current version. The original weighed less and was less bulky. Don't know why they changed.

-- Brian Ellis (, April 22, 2001.

With regards to Baer's enormous dark cloth and his need to wrap his entire camera up with it during exposures: It should also be noted that Baer was known to use an ancient and run-down Agfa view camera that most likely NEEDED to be wrapped entirely!


-- Jason M Wallace (, October 08, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ