Bellows material, is this leather? (versus synthetic)

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by alpshiker, Feb 11, 2003.

  1. What is the material that was used on older bellows? My linhof cameras came with a shiny black polished bellows
    that looked like leather from the outside, but was reinforced with a mesh or fabric inside. Was this a sandwich of
    fabric and thin leather or of a kind of fibre paper? It smells like leather too or maybe this is the smell of the varnish.
    The replacement bellows are now made of matte synthetic material. They are not as decorative but they do the job
    quite well and are maybe less sensible to moisture. Any comment on the different type of materials used for
    bellows? Thanks!
     
  2. Hello Paul

    I have had a number of Linhof Tech's of old vintage (leather bellows) as well as Sinars (the Norma had leather bellows, the newer P had syntethetic) and a few old Chrown & speed graphics. The superior bellows were the synthetic ones on the chrown graphic. The most prone to leaking was ooold Tech. bellows as the corners gave up. If able to chose - I would have preferred synthetic for accordian-style bellows (where the unlimited number of corners seems to overstrain the leather) and soft leather (leather from goath seems to be the choice for some field-camera producers) for bag-type w/a bellows. The rather stiff rubber-like plastic on my Sinar 5x7 WA bag-bellows is sometimes a pain to use. For outdoor use/possible getting wet - synthetic is preferable: dry leather get soaked, and when wet they are more prone to rip and other damages. Bear in mind that my experience is with used and sometimes quite old equipment - maybe a newer leather bellows behaves differently.
     
  3. Thanks Tor. Just ordered a new synthetic from Camera Bellows and must say that the difference of price from the one handed by the camera manufacturer is less than half. Never mind the beautiful leather. The new Linhof are probably synthetic anyway for that's what they provided last time I ordered.
     

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