Choice of bellows replacement : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I've gone thru some previous posts regarding ordering new bellows from both Western Bellows and www.Flexproducts as two possible suppliers. I did order a small bellows from Western before and the quality was only ok and it took over 15 weeks. As most of the posts were somewhat old has anyone had a more recent experience with either of these companys of if you've used them are you still happy with your bellows? Im looking for a replacement for an old Kodak Eastman view #2 8x10. If you have had a satifactory experience with them (or other suggestions) I would appreciate your opinion. What was price and customer service like? Otherwise it looks like I'll be buying a lot of gaffers tape. Thanks.

-- bill zelinski (, May 12, 2000


Universal Bellows, 25 Hanse Ave., Freeport NY 11520 (516) 378-1264. I don't know if they are any better, I've never done business with them personally. Hope this information helps. ;^D)

-- Doremus Scudder (, May 13, 2000.

2 years ago I used Universal for the new bellows on my Kodak Master. They were prompt and friendly and very accomodating and inexpensive. I dissasembled the camera, shipped them the bellows with frames intact and for $158.00 and maybe three weeks - I was good to go.

I had asked them to make the new bellows 36" long - the cameras maximum draw, but not the original extension. They called back when they got the bellows and explained that they could/would make the bellows to my specs - but couldn't guarantee that the camera would close when it was compacted. So we talked for a while and I wound up saying do the best you can. I now have 34" of draw that will still allow a 50 mm lens to focus at infinity - on an 8 X 10.

So, I am very happy with what I got for the price I paid. HOWEVER, I could see how others more discriminating and less botom-line conscious than myself would fault the quality of materials and workmanship. Glue is quite visible at some of the joints and the material reminds me of something you might find in the back of a Cuban Taxi. Also, I don't think their warranty is specatacularly long. Deardorff used to give 30 years on their bellows.

I have a good friend who was quite happy with the quality of the job Western did on his 5 X 7 Ansco. However, they took their sweet time about it.

I have seen very good things about a company in England that uses a material unlike other bellows manufacturers. I believe they are used by Keith Canham and Lindahl among others. Cannot recall the name though.

-- Sean yates (, May 13, 2000.

Try - they are an excellent manufacture, I'm almost certain that when I first bought my MPP it was on to it's second set of bellows, the replacement ones were from them, and they are, I believe, better than the original.

-- David Kirk (, May 14, 2000.

I have an 8X10 bellows made recently by Flexproducts. The company was very customer friendly and it only took 4 weeks to get the bellows back. Quality was okay considering the $160 price, but nothing like the original Calumet bellows. The folds were not symertrical and the inter and outer material was not glued in places which caused a few puckers in the bellows. Flexproducts offered to make the bellows over again but I was to eager to get out and use the camera and figured it was only a cosmetic problem that I could live with. Good luck!

-- Ron Lawrence (, May 14, 2000.

thanks all, I do remember something about a supplier overseas, wish I could find out more. I did try some of the homebrew formulas I have some "Polyshield" dip that is used for grip coating hand tools and will try that in the next few days and report back if it really works or not.. Otherwise Western Bellows seems to be the one, I spoke to them and the cost is a reasonable $240.00,inc. shipping, Im just a little concerned about the quality of their materials.

-- bill zelinski (, May 14, 2000.

Wow, I now have 3 coats of this Polyshield stuff covering a large number of corner pinholes, it really works! It dries somewhat flexable and maybe alittle too sticky but I will try to give it some hard use in the next few weeks but this may be the best solution for plugging up pinholes, I'm concerned about long term effect on the old leather but even if it lasts only a few months I will have time to save up for a new bellows, will post results again in a few months.

-- bill zelinski (, May 25, 2000.

You can purchase bellows through me. I give free quotes within a few days and most bellows are delivered within 2-3 weeks. I buy them overseas from the same place that Sinar, Linhof & Canham buy theirs. These bellows are of the highest quality. You can contact me at the email above.

-- Robert Kipling (, February 06, 2001.

As recent feedback on Western Bellows, I sent them my Deardorff 4X5 special. It came back about 12 days later and they did a really nice job on it.

-- Kevin Crisp (, March 04, 2001.

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