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Thread: What's wrong with using cloth tape instead of gaffer?

  1. #1

    Default What's wrong with using cloth tape instead of gaffer?

    I was at a camera shop trying out a lens with a body when a guy pointed out to me in an ultra-scared fashion that i shouldn't have use this kind of tape to "gaffer". I asked him why and he told me of his/his friends' harrowing experiences.... simi wordings and all the sh*t coming out together with the tape. I was about to take it off in front of him and he was even more gan cheong asking me better to leave it as it is, i will faint if i see the end-condition.

    Later, still not satisfied, i just tore off the tape from the cap cover, lens markings and body. Nothing of any sort of paint or markings was torn or defaced, and no sticky white residue was left on the surface. Very clean. The camera shop owner was grinning away. The lens is just a 3rd party tamron lens, nothing special.....no weather sealing or special durable coating.

    I have heard of all the horror stories of tapes being aciding and ruining stuff....so is that true? I have been trying out cloth tape for my stuff for the past 4 months, since i can't bring myself to spend $30 for a roll of gaffer when $1 cloth tape works.

    Any comments that i should know?

  2. #2
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    I have observed. Many time I have noticed that certain photographers like to taped up their camera body to the extend that the camera model is unidentified. Is it because they are so scared that daily usage will cause wear and tear to the comestic appearance that they fervently gaffared their camera. Or is it they are afraid their camera will attract unwanted attention from robbers and snatchers, hence the disguise. Or are they too ashamed that they are carrying some cheapo camera that they need to hide it from other lensmen.

    What are your views, gaffers?

  3. #3

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    Well, i use it coz i don't want the letterings to come off, easier to sell.

  4. #4

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    I gaffer so that the camera cosmetic appearance can be maintained mint for the next owner when i sell it.

  5. #5
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    that really depends... some tapes will dissolve its glue content when either over a little higher temperature or over time. even branded tapes like 3M & Nitto Denko are liable for such, therefore they have placed a 1 year shelf life for all tapes sold.

    also, when you paste your tape on, if you intend to remove it a while later, do not press the tape down... as in do not smoothen the tape until it really sticks. if you do that, most likely the tape will also remove the dirt or any loose remains... like some sprayed or coated prints.

    also, you pay for wat u get, if u pay for things for the specific purpose... it works... u paid for it... like the gaffer tapes or those really sticky double sided tapes which could hold 5kg...

    lastly... with wat i mention above... read the instructions carefully... also those small little warnings... often neglected...
    Logging Off. "You have 2,631 messages stored, of a total 400 allowed." don't PM me.

  6. #6
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    I ever tape using the SAF black tape and everythg ok. but must qualify i took out the tape a week later, so dunno the long term effect.

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    This is one of the no-right, no-wrong answers kinda type of thread.

    Whichever pleases you, works, is the best for you. No need for second opinions.

    Even if you feel toilet paper looks nice and can decorate the camera and yet protect the camera and yourself in the field, then it's good enough.

    Extreme analogy, but it all boils down to personal preference, not 'the right thing to do'. It's not wrong to use cloth tape or even scotch tape. Personal preference and thoughts... that's all.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by espn
    This is one of the no-right, no-wrong answers kinda type of thread.
    .
    I thought so too. Coz when the guy saw me cloth taping my equipment, he was like going extremely ecstatic about it and gesturing that i have done so much disservice to my equipment that i should be shot kinda look. I see already also scared, tot that this time i sure die. You know what i mean...??

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Del_CtrlnoAlt
    also, you pay for wat u get, if u pay for things for the specific purpose... it works... u paid for it... like the gaffer tapes or those really sticky double sided tapes which could hold 5kg...
    Of course i am not doubting the quality of true gaffer. They use it professionally for stage cabling and stuff too. Just that i am not sure if cloth tape has any serious repercussions. In my case, i used it and have no problems with it for a few months in the field.

    I guess to be safe, i will replace once every 2 months lor.

  10. #10

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    BTW, that guy was noticing what i was using in the camera shop, my equipment/tool. He must have stared quite hard as i was some 3 meters away. Scary.....next time i go toilet must be careful too. Thinking back it's scary right? It's just a lousy D70 + tamron glass, nothing special. Not what Leica or Hassy. Basket...

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by espn
    This is one of the no-right, no-wrong answers kinda type of thread.
    in a way i agree with espn. it's just a matter of what works for you.

    for me, i've tried gaffer and it works beautifully so i stuck to it for all my stuff. and people who have used/borrowed/bought my stuff know that mine are cosmetically excellent. i've left gaffer on my cams for as long as 6 mths without harm, and up to a year on other stuff (like my tripod legs).

    and personal experience which i've seen before. someone i know once used cheap duct/cloth tape on his camera before, and left it there for a few months (note the time: personally i think anything left there for a few days or short weeks won't affect much). when he tried to remove it, the tape came off, but the glue residue didn't. in the end, he had to resort to scraping and using solvents to remove it, which left chemical stains, and played havoc with some rubber coating stuff.

    but end of the day, it's personal preference. same way people chose filters for their lenses - some buy super-ex B+W filters for mid-range lenses, some buy mid-range Hoya/Tokina for their super-ex lenses. same theory - whatever works man!

  12. #12
    vince123123
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    do you guys have any "trick" to gaffer small areas like buttons? i find paint wearing off from buttons quite easily. do you gaffer button by button (!!!) or just stick a big piece on the whole area and "feel" the buttons through the tape?

    also can some kind souls (point espn n larry) post some pictures of their gaffered bodies and lenses? i'm keen to gaffer mine too.

  13. #13

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    Hmm...actually i have left it on for 4 months now. Maybe coz i didn't bring it out to sun, perhaps heat has got something to do with it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2100
    Hmm...actually i have left it on for 4 months now. Maybe coz i didn't bring it out to sun, perhaps heat has got something to do with it?
    yah it does if i not wrong. strong heat will melt the tape glue and cause it to stick to the surfaces. gaffer tape is different cos it's originally designed to be used on performance stages and platforms where residue is a big no-no (imagine a graceful ballerina losing her footing cos of a sticky patch on the stage) and there are very strong stage lights used (which can be very hot). that's why gaffer is so ex.

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    i'm not sure what brand or type of gaffer you guys are using, but the gaffer i use here isn't cheap and is sticky as hell. although it doean't leave any residue when removed, it is very hard to remove i.e. will stick like superglue especially to itself, and i wouldn't recommend using it as a method of protection.

    seems to me the gaffer you guys are using is what we call here in melbourne cloth tape which looks like gaffer but it's not as sticky, easier to tear off strips and does not leave any residue...... we use this tape on studio flooring without any damage to the painted surface.......if gaffer was used on the painted floors, no matter how gently you are when removing it, the paint will come off with the gaffer.....

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by sleeper
    i'm not sure what brand or type of gaffer you guys are using, ..
    Nope, you got it right. I am using cloth tape, the cheap one. Doesn't leave any residue and sticks ok, but apparently when you subject it to heat it will melt and gets gooey. Very difficult to clear the resultant mess. $1 per roll at my local discount store.

    Gaffer is what is truly recommended, around $30 per roll. But like you said, it is extremely stick, though it is heat resistant.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2100
    Nope, you got it right. I am using cloth tape, the cheap one. Doesn't leave any residue and sticks ok, but apparently when you subject it to heat it will melt and gets gooey. Very difficult to clear the resultant mess. $1 per roll at my local discount store.

    Gaffer is what is truly recommended, around $30 per roll. But like you said, it is extremely stick, though it is heat resistant.

    if gaffer is extremely sticky, why would it be reccomended? wouldn't the cloth tape be sufficient? as long as it stays on and protects the surface?
    thats the part i don't understand....

  18. #18

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    i duno what cloth tape u use. the 1 that i have leaves a bit of residue when i take it off after 1 year on a piece of plastic

    and the "SAF black tape" leaves a lot of residue after a few months on my saf bag

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by sleeper
    if gaffer is extremely sticky, why would it be reccomended? wouldn't the cloth tape be sufficient? as long as it stays on and protects the surface?
    thats the part i don't understand....
    I guess it's sufficient for my usage. Just have to be mindful should i bring it out to the bright outdoors for a long period of time. Gaffer doesn't suffer such a problem, just have to take more care when removing. So there is no right or wrong i guess.

    Well, i also don't really understand why the guy who saw my cloth taped equipment went so astonished. I was initially quite embarassed and thought i was a dork, he sounded so confident in that i really made a gross mistake... "Pleeeuzh....don't take it out, you WILL regret it". My colleagues were pretty surprised at his reaction too.

    Good to hear others' opinions.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by quekky
    i duno what cloth tape u use. the 1 that i have leaves a bit of residue when i take it off after 1 year on a piece of plastic
    ABC type of cloth tape found in most discount stores. $1 per roll! I used for 4 months only though.... maybe will change once every 2 months.

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