Question on Maintenance of folding/bellows cameras

NGH

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Hi Two questions;
1. Is it better to store a folding/bellows camera open or shut? I am thinking shut as it will exclude light and air from degrading the leather, but maybe it puts tension on the folds?
2. Does anyone put any sort of treatment on the bellows leather to keep it supple?
 

compur

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Folding cameras aren't airtight so closing them won't exclude air.

I keep mine open and away from direct sunlight. I treat the leather from time to time with a liquid leather conditioner.

The reason I don't like to keep them folded is that it seems to put more stress on the folds and presses the leather against itself which can cause the leather folds to stick together. I have opened old folders found at yard sales that had been kept unused and folded for long periods and had the bellows pull apart due to the leather sticking to itself.
 
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vintagesnaps

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Most of mine are closed and put away, but some are displayed open, and I switch them around from time to time. I don't do anything to a vintage camera if it doesn't need it (the 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' kind of thing!).

I've seen resources on repair/replacement and new bellows being sold, and covers to slide over bellows to make them light tight if they're developing holes or other damage. I have plenty of old film cameras that are usable that I have some for display that can just sit arond looking cool and don't have to actually work.
 
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NS: Nikon Shooter

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My RZ67 and my optical benches have bellows as well as the PB6.
Only the later is fully extended sometimes. Though all are well over
30 yo, none require special care other than keep away from direct
sunlight and excessive humidity.

-
 
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Grandpa Ron

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The answer to the ops question is difficult to answer because it depends on the usage and storage the camera will receive.

I have a 1915 Seneca 4x5 view camera that had been closed and stuck in the corner of my basement (cool and damp) since the 1970's when I inherited it. A couple of years ago I opened the bellows slowly and they worked just fine. A bit of leather dressing was all I needed. I use this camera every couple of months, so the bellows get a work out periodically. I store it with the bellow closed.

Alternately, I also have a 1940's vintage enlarger that was stored in a garage attic for several years, in lots of heat and cold. The bellows disintegrated as soon as I moved the them.

If I were going to store a camera's bellows it for a long time, I would probably store them closed, to protect them from the environment but I would open them very carefully and not subject them to temperature extremes while stored; which is good advise for almost any photo gear.

Just my two cents.
 
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RAZKY

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Hi Two questions;
1. Is it better to store a folding/bellows camera open or shut? I am thinking shut as it will exclude light and air from degrading the leather, but maybe it puts tension on the folds?
2. Does anyone put any sort of treatment on the bellows leather to keep it supple?
I store them folded. My extension bellows are stored at about 1/2 extension. I may apply mink oil very sparingly if the leather seems stiff, but that is rare.
 
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