BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Angie K. Noden

Please tell me what this blanket thing is.

I bought a grab bag of some photography stuff at a local consignment shop, mainly to get the gray cards. In the bag was an item that I am not familiar with. It is a piece of material (feels like polyester) that is 3'x 4'. There is a tag that says Calumet. I know Calumet is an online photography supply store.
Will someone please tell me what this item is used for.
Thank you for answering my silly question.

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1/31/2006 11:36:13 AM

Bob Fately   Well, I guess it could be a small backdrop of some kind, but if it's black then it's likely a viewing cloth for a large format camera.

Think of the olde tyme days when the photographer had to duck under a lightproof cloth to see the image on the ground glass to focus - this could well be one of those cloths. Calumet sells large format cameras (the kind that use 4x5" or 8x10" or larger sheets of film).

Just FYI, Calumet is not just mail-order, they have brick-and-mortar locations in Chicago, California, and the UK that I know of. They;vebeen around a long time and are quite reputable.

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1/31/2006 3:50:20 PM

Angie K. Noden   That makes sense. I forgot to add that it is black on one side and white on the other.
Thanks Bob!

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1/31/2006 5:32:53 PM

Michael H. Cothran   Yes, it is a darkcloth, focusing cloth, viewing cloth - or whatever you want to label it. It is placed over the back of a large format view camera, and over the head of the photographer to block out light, so that the photographer can better see the ground glass image on the back of the camera. With view cameras, one focuses the image on the ground glass, and they can be quite dim. The white side faces out, to keep the heat down, and the black side faces underneath, to keep things as dark as possible.
Michael H. Cothran

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1/31/2006 7:34:42 PM

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