Glossary Terms
Left: folded bellows of a folding camera seen through
opened camera back. Right: same bellows unfolded

A Bellows can be an integral or optional part of a photographic camera and serves as alternate lens tube or lens tube extension. For photographing, a bellows has to be expanded to its working length. Most bellows cameras have a front door upon which the bellows unfold when the door's opened for camera usage. More sophisticated bellows cameras allow one to fix the bellows in various positions to optimize the image plane for special applications like architecture photography.

As an optional part of a camera with exchangeable lenses, a bellows can extend the lenses' capabilities to make images of small objects at small distances by extending the lens tube's length. Such a bellows can be fixed at any length as the length of its guide rail(s) allow.

The average folding camera unfolds its bellows to a fixed length. Some models with exchangeable lenses allow different bellows expansion lengths. Some sophisticated amateur cameras allow tilts and shifts, but in most amateur cameras the bellows is just optimized for the compactness of the folded camera.

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lens board in centric positionlens board shiftedlens board tilted vertically and horizontallylens board of professional press camera shifted up and tilted down

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