bent bellows : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

i don't know how it happened, but when I returned homw from my last field adventure with my Wista D? I unfolded the bellows and there were areas that were bent. I have the camera on a tripod now with the bellows extended. The wierd wrinkles don't want to come out. I must have folded up the camera when it wasn't quite dry. I had been shooting in the field and it had been raining. Help please. I don't have the money for new bellows. Any and all suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

-- jacque staskon (, December 21, 1998


Is this a problem? Does the bellows interfere with the light reaching the film? If not, I wouldn't worry about it. Anyway, they may simply straighten themselves out in time. I suppose you could try *lightly* misting the inside of the bellows with water, folding the camera up and leaving it overnight.

-- Peter Hughes (, December 21, 1998.

Hello Jacque and Merry Christmas! I also own a Wista D with similar, if not exactly the same, "bent bellows" as you report. The bends (small folds and wrinkles that run at oblique angles to the bellows pleats) that I have were caused by using extreme movements with short focal-length lenses (which I seem to do more than occaisionally) thereby folding the bellows in places where they don't normally want to fold. In your case, the situation may have been exacerbated by the dampness. None of my bends or folds has ever cracked or broken through the bellows and caused a light leak and I have been using the camera for 6 or 7 years this way. Of course, I try to be careful with the bellows, but when the shot calls for that extra 1/8 inch of front rise with the 90mm, I just go ahead and bend the bellows. If your bellows are not leaking light you can probably use them for years still, even if they aren't as pretty as they used to be. By the way, a good test for bellows light leaks is to extend the bellows fully, and, in a darkened room, run a light bulb in and around the inside of the camera. That way, pinholes are easily seen from outside. If you need repairs, you can try it yourself with bellow repair tape, or there are several good, independent bellows manufacturers/repair companies that you can contact. I don't have any addresses offhand but you can search the web and this forum for help if you need it. Hope this helps and that the holidays were great. ;^D>

-- Doremus Scudder (, December 25, 1998.

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