Changing bag of tent?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Ces1um, Dec 29, 2017.

  1. Ces1um

    Ces1um Subscriber

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    I'm looking for advice on whether or not I should purchase a changing bag or tent. I will not be using it to load film into a developing tank. It will only be used to load film into a 4x5 film holder. Likely I will only ever use this at home, before I head out to take a planned photo. It is conceivable perhaps though, that I may want to unload and reload these film holders in the hatchback of my car but this would be much less likely and if it happened would occur maybe twice/year.

    fyi- I have a darkroom at work where I process all my film. I just didn't want to have to drive to work to load film holders before heading out to take a photo. I also only have one light tight room in my house, but it is extremely dusty and is not suitable for handling film.

    I appreciate your feedback.
     
  2. Truzi

    Truzi Member

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    I've only used my 4x5 a few times, but I found the changing bag a bit annoying because it is not rigid. I suppose I could put a "box" in it, but that takes up space.

    I'd definitely suggest the changing tent/room instead. Plus they are more portable than a bag with a box in it, just in case you have problems on location.
     
  3. Trail Images

    Trail Images Subscriber

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    I've only used my 4x5 a few times, but I found the changing bag a bit annoying because it is not rigid.

    I found that to be true with the bag I have. I had a long time ago just bought some PVC and made a break down pipe arrangement to keep the bag upright & rigid. It works fine and comes apart easily as I never glued the pieces together, they merely slide apart.
     
  4. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    I’ve never used a changing tent since a changing bag has always worked well for me.
     
  5. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    I use a Fuji Dark Box FDB12. Picked it up on ebay about 10 years ago for about $40.00. Not for backpacking (too heavy), but folds up nicely for car use. I do use a bag when traveling by air.

    **** Regardless of the changing bag/box I use, as soon as my arms are inside, and the film box/holder is opened, an annoying itch emanates from the tip of my nose. It never occurs when I'm loading in the darkroom, where it would be easy to scratch. Not sure if it's just me, or it's a universal phenomenon... ****
     
  6. craigclu

    craigclu Subscriber

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    For your situation/use, I'd lean toward a tent. It's so much more efficient for loading holders. Tents are bulky and store awkwardly vs a bag but certainly excel at this duty. I use the Harrison and can recommend them.
     
  7. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Subscriber

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    I use a Harrison Jumbo tent but I load 8x10 holders and a Jobo drum.

    For 4x5 I would recommend a smaller Harrison tent. Some use other brand tents and like them. I don't like a changing bag myself but they are certainly usable for 4x5.
     
  8. Andrew O'Neill

    Andrew O'Neill Subscriber

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    Just get a large film changing bag and stick a three-sided card board wall inside. I did that for a few years in Japan, until I found this little telescopic gadget that turned the bag into a tent.
     
  9. OP
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    Ces1um

    Ces1um Subscriber

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    So the consensus seems to be you can make due with a bag but most people seem to prefer the tent. Thanks for your help everyone!
     
  10. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Harrison film tents have little strut poles, just like a camping tent. But also like camp tents, if they're rolled up too tight, the urethane coating on the fabric eventually degrades and gets both sticky and stinky. So be careful buying old used film tents of any brand. But Harrison is the best.
     
  11. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Subscriber

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    My roll-up changing bag with double-layer zip and velcro overseal and double elastic arms was bought for $20. Though not into large format, I have changed films around in a ZeroImage pinhole camera (initially fiddly, but then very easy and quick) and also yanked out a partially finished roll of 120 from my Pentax 67. Some PUPs are obscenely priced: saw one advertised for more than $600 (!) — Harrison Pop-up or something (?)

    The late, great Tasmanian photographer Peter Dombrovskis (1945-1996) used his sleeping bag to load forby holders on his legendary 2-week treks into the wilderness. Lots of bushwalkers still do this.
     
  12. Either the Changing Room that I recommended or the Harrison tents will work. Both are large enough without being too large and both fold up nicely. Your choice.
     
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  14. mike c

    mike c Subscriber

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    I use the same cube box that Sirius Glass has, works good for 120 & 35mm, 4x5 is a little tight but much better than the bag, The cube collapses into a flat 15" oval which is very convenient.
     
  15. Alan Gales

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    I first used a bag for 4x5 and then bought the Harrison Jumbo tent when I moved up in size to 8x10. Like I said earlier, I preferred the tent. You might try the bag and see if you like it before buying a tent. If you later decide on a tent, you can always keep the bag for when you go on vacation. Bags fit well in a suitcase and give your wife more room for outfits! :D
     
  16. Keeping s bag around is always a good idea for an emergency with a 35mm or MF camera. I found them limited for 4"x5" for which they were good for sheet film holders but hard to use for Grafmatic 45s.
     
  17. Truzi

    Truzi Member

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    On vacation last summer I loaded some Grafmatics and Kinematics in a "large" changing bag. It is doable but a bit of a hassle without a rigid frame (and cardboard would be dusty, so a plastic insert would be better).
    What really makes me want - and suggest - a tent is one of the multi-sheet holders jammed. I had to put my Super Speed Graphic in the bag to fix things. A tent would have been so much easier and faster.

    If you're running around with a large format camera, I don't think the extra size of a changing tent is really that much - especially if it's sitting in your car in case of emergency.

    (The jam was Rollei IR film slipping from a septum because it's so thin. I've since figured out how to prevent that.)
     
  18. mrosenlof

    mrosenlof Subscriber

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    I have a (possibly) older version of the cube type that Sirius Glass and mike c mention. Mine collapses to a 19 inch circle and is just big enough that it's a bother for a trip that involves air travel. Otherwise I like it quite a bit. If I were buying today, I would look seriously at the Pup Tent types. They fold to a shape that fits luggage better. Mine is just fine for a car trip.
     
  19. btaylor

    btaylor Subscriber

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    As others have mentioned I also really like my Harrison. I bought both of mine used.
     
  20. mark

    mark Member

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    I have a changing room and it is awesome. A little tight for loading and unloading 8x10, but doable.
     
  21. guangong

    guangong Subscriber

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    For loading 4x5 film holders a roomy changing bag is just fine. However, for slitting film and loading Minox and Minolta 16 cassettes, loading 35mm cassettes and 16 mm movie cameras the job is much easier using a tent. The tent I use is self erecting by means of springs that I bought from a dealer in Hong Kong.
    You would also save space using a bag if only purpose is to load film holders.
     
  22. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Sleeping bags? Ha! Ansel Adams had stories about changing film in holders that way. Then one day in Carmel I was watching the wretch hired to spot prints made from those early negatives. Must have been the worst job on earth. But some people have successfully used heavy black plastic bags at night, like the kind printing paper is packaged in. But my fingers get stiff in mountain cold at night, so I've never tried it myself.
     
  23. Alan Gales

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    That's why I bought the Jumbo. It's big but I can quickly set it up on the bed!
     
  24. John Koehrer

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    It isn't hard to made a support from PVC pipe and a couple of fittings. If it's not glued it can be completely collapsed for storage.

    Ok then I've used a FUJI light box it's 24X24X24" and folds to about 5X12X24" with an MDF base and chromed steel legs. It ain't light
    but is convenient if you're not in the field. 13-14 lbs.
     
  25. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    My gosh! For that amount of wt and bulk, you could carry an awful lot of already loaded film holders. Even my larger Harrison tent is only 2 lb.