how large can pinholes in bellows be? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

How large can pinholes in bellows be not to affect picture quality?

I have a Horseman 8x10 camera with a bellows with a lot of small holes. I repaired the largest of these holes with small pieces of fine leather from an old glove. Then I checked the bellows again for light leaks. I went in a completely dark room and checked for leaks with a flash from inside the bellows and saw a lot of very small leaks. I cannot see these leaks with my eyes but only when checking with the flash. Can I take pictures with this bellows in sunlight? Do you have expierence with a bellows like this?

-- Andrä Steiner (, July 23, 2001


Probably not! I just ran into the same problem with my TK45, the bellows that comes with this camera is terrible, really thin and brittle.Anyhow, I took some pics in the sunlight and even though the pinholes were really, really tiny, they still exposed the film. I corrected this with bellows patch from Bostick and Sullivan, you might want to give this a try.

-- Jorge Gasteazoro (, July 23, 2001.

Ditto the concerns of the previous poster about the Linhof TK45S bellows. I suggest that when the number of bellows pinholes starts to become excessive, the optimal solution is to replace them. Because of the reasonable costs and quality work, go to Camera Bellows in England. They are owned by Lee Filters here in the US (contact Lee for an order) and they produce the bellows for Canham. I replaced my Linhof bellows for $175 and could not be happier. Quick response and excellent work. You will not have to worry about using your bellows at extension any longer. Good Luck

-- Michael Kadillak (, July 23, 2001.

Ditto on above concerns. Pinholes often reveal and conceal themselves and become larger or smaller as you use movements and stretch or sompress the bellows. If you're still not convinced, I can assure you from personal experience that coming back from a 5000 mile trip across the country to find at least a third of the images fogged and streaked does not make for a sunny disposition. Cheers, DJ.

-- N Dhananjay (, July 23, 2001.

A single teeny, tiny little pinhold can ruin your film. Remember, the exposure through a stopped down diaphragm is only a fraction of a second, whereas the pinhole is exposing the film for the entire time from pulling the darkslide out until it is replaced. The soft, thin, glove leather bellows of my Linhof Technika IV has now been replaced twice, although it has been very lightly used (almost $400 a pop). To the contrary, the black plastic bellows material on old Graphics seems to last forever. I have a 9x12 Zeiss Maximar from the '20s which is still light tight.

-- Wilhelm (, July 23, 2001.

I don't know if this would work (never had to try it) but until you can get your bellows fixed, if you have a heavy light tight dark cloth, try draping the cloth over the bellows covering the entire camera except the lens and the film holder prior to pulling the darkslide. Not a permenant solution, but might be worth a shot until you get it properly fixed. Only costs a sheet of film to find out.


-- Andrew Cole (, July 27, 2001.

One trick I frequently use is when you use a black cloth in daylight to view the groundglass place the cloth over the bellows and front standard when you are ready to expose, and pull the slide after the cloth is in place on the bellows. This also prevents light leaks from the top of the front standard or the top of the lens board. Cheep insurance.

-- Lawrence Redfield (, June 13, 2002.

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