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Thread: Experiences with changing bags and tents?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Portland, OR

    Experiences with changing bags and tents?

    When traveling, is it worth the size/weight of carrying a Pup Tent (for 4x5) over fighting the dust from traditional changing bags? What is your experience and recommendation?

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Fort Worth TX

    Experiences with changing bags and tents?


    no question the pup tent.


  3. #3

    Join Date
    Oct 2003

    Experiences with changing bags and tents?

    If you plan on changing film in the field the answer is YES. If you plan on changing film in a bathroom in a hotel then no, as long as the batroom ban be darkened.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    San Francisco Bay Area

    Experiences with changing bags and tents?

    Hi Chris,

    I know it might be futile, especially in light of the recent paper announcement from Kodak, to request Tri-X be made available in Readyloads. I've never had a good experience keeping dust from film during the loading process in the field, theres just no dust free way to do it. I've even pondered the idea of re-using old T-max readyloads with Tri-X! Some ideas, even apparently good ones, should be abandoned without further thought, and especially before disaster strikes.

    Good Luck


  5. #5
    Robert A. Zeichner's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 1999
    Southfield, Michigan

    Experiences with changing bags and tents?

    Typically, tents and bags are big dust collectors. No matter how careful you are, there always seems to be something in there that finds its way onto your film. One trick I've tried that helps is to dispense the film emulsion side down. Get everything ready inside. Insert your arms and get real comfortable. In my hotel room, I turn the air on artic for awhile and cool the place down so I don't sweat so much while in the tent. I let everything settle in there for a bit before I start to load. this lets some of the dust particles land. I slowly open the film and set it sideways in the inner box with the base up. Then I pull the darkslide 3/4 of the way out and load upside down. This seems to work although I much prefer bringing some black plastic and tape and waiting for dark to do it in the bathroom. I found that a black bag from 16x20 paper with some Scotch 235 strips attached, folds up nicely in my camera bag. This technique got me through 8 towns on 3 islands in Greece last May and without any fogging.

  6. #6

    Experiences with changing bags and tents?

    I'll cast my vote for the tent. The larger the better. I use a Photoflex changing room, and for me, it's just adequate room for 4x5 (I need the room to fully open Grafmatics), but it was a LOT less expensive than the larger tents from other manufacturers. The Photoflex isn't the best or most comfortable on the market, but it works for me. I was previously using a changing bag whose dimensions were about the same as the tent I now have, but the raised ceiling of the tent seems to make a huge difference in the amount of dust and other crap that gets on the film. It certainly makes film handling easier.

  7. #7

    Experiences with changing bags and tents?

    I did a bag on one trip as I was shooting color and wanted to keep it cool in original box. I loaded film on a kitchen table in the bag and it was all perfect, but a royal pain. No dust, but it was a new bag that I keep inside a plastic bag when not in use.

    This film was actually cleaner than what I loaded in my darkroom before it was set up with air filters.

    Now here is a thought. At first thought a tent would be better, but further consideration will tell you that as the tent is expanded, ambient dusty air is brought inside .

    Could you carry an air filter and clean the air inside an enclosure before expanding the tent?

    Or you could run an air filter inside the tent after set up. A larger tent would be required to accomodate all this.

    Third idea is seal up a bathroom, wipe down to clean all dust, run the air filter for a while, then expand the tent previously cleaned at home, and then load film.

    If you want to simulate a bag, lay a towel over your hands and try loading film. This is not fun.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Orange, CA

    Experiences with changing bags and tents?

    I use the Harrison Original Tent (for 8x10), and thoroughly blast any visible dust off my film holders with pressurized air before putting everything in the tent for loading. So far this regime has gotten me through four trips in the dusty southwestern U.S. without significant dust problems, although maybe I've been leading a charmed life.....

  9. #9
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    brooklyn, nyc

    Experiences with changing bags and tents?

    I bought a changing tent for a trip to the desert several years ago, and the experience was dismal. Never mind how hot it got inside that thing in the back seat of the rental car in Arizona ... my negs ended up being the dustiest things i've ever seen in my life. looking at them through loupe, you'd think it had been snowing.

    I'm sure it's possible to do a lot better than I did, but given any other choice ... I'd take the other choice. Motel bathrooms, readyloads, or even stopping at phot labs in local towns and asking to borrow the changing rooms.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    now in Tucson, AZ

    Experiences with changing bags and tents?

    The tent-type changing bags are far superior to the old flat kind- those are a recipe for disaster. I agree with paulr that a motel bathroom works better but I wouldn't be without my Calumet tent on any long photo trip. The best advice I have, though, is to PRACTICE using the thing before you are forty miles from town with twenty holders to change.

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