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Thread: Has anyone designed and built their own camera bag?

  1. #1

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    Has anyone designed and built their own camera bag?

    I just spent hours online today looking at bag after bag after bag, looking at interior dimensions, partitions. Then I spent hours at any shop in town that might sell a bag of any sort, and absolutely nothing, and almost nothing that holds what I want how I want.

    I have never sewn, except one pillow in 8th grade home economics, 35 years ago, but my fathers wife is a very good amateur seamstress. Iím pretty sure I could sketch up more-or-less, and let her figure the more detailed stuff.

    For those that have Iím wondering if a homemade bag is disappointing because it doesnít have the level of finish of a commercial bag? And did you find the process worth it, or did you poure a hundred hours into and and decide itís nice, but never again?

  2. #2
    umop apsidn
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    Re: Has anyone designed and built their own camera bag?

    I would encourage you to do so! I've made two, and been really pleased with them. It was necessity as like you I just couldn't find anything that would fit my large format cameras. The first one I made for was a 4x5 monorail. See here: https://www.largeformatphotography.i...38#post1186038 and another for my 5x7: https://www.largeformatphotography.i...02#post1185702

    I have no experience with sewing. I bought some fabric that I figured would hold up over time and then put everything together with a needle and thread by hand. Took about a week or two just making panels then attaching them to each other. No real plan, I made everything up as I went along. The only thing that I couldn't really puzzle out was zippers for the top. So instead for both I just made it a big flap.

    They've held up fantastically over the years. What's especially nice is they're sized exactly for each camera with absolutely no wasted space. Unlike commercial products I don't have thirty tiny and useless pockets and pouches either. And it's not black fabric. Why is anything store bought for photography always black?

  3. #3

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    Re: Has anyone designed and built their own camera bag?

    Quote Originally Posted by konakoa View Post
    I would encourage you to do so! I've made two, and been really pleased with them. It was necessity as like you I just couldn't find anything that would fit my large format cameras. The first one I made for was a 4x5 monorail. See here: https://www.largeformatphotography.i...38#post1186038 and another for my 5x7: https://www.largeformatphotography.i...02#post1185702

    I have no experience with sewing. I bought some fabric that I figured would hold up over time and then put everything together with a needle and thread by hand. Took about a week or two just making panels then attaching them to each other. No real plan, I made everything up as I went along. The only thing that I couldn't really puzzle out was zippers for the top. So instead for both I just made it a big flap.

    They've held up fantastically over the years. What's especially nice is they're sized exactly for each camera with absolutely no wasted space. Unlike commercial products I don't have thirty tiny and useless pockets and pouches either. And it's not black fabric. Why is anything store bought for photography always black?
    Nice job on those! I agree on the interior cloth. Black just makes finding things in the bag so tough. I think the idea of being able to size it for exactly what I need will almost as great as being able to actually fit what I need.

  4. #4
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Re: Has anyone designed and built their own camera bag?

    I could not find a good carrying case at a camera store, but I really like my drink cooler camera bag.
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  5. #5
    Drew Bedo's Avatar
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    Re: Has anyone designed and built their own camera bag?

    I have never built the bag itself. However years ago (mid 1990s) I did adapt a day-pack by cutting closed cell foam in to layers that fit the internal volume/shape of the bag. Then I cut out spaces for the gear I wanted it to hold. I am sorry to say that it looked a little crude because my craft skills are b order-line . . .but it worked great.

    I am a fan of re-purposing thrift store sourced non-camera bags too.
    Drew Bedo
    www.quietlightphoto.com
    http://www.artsyhome.com/author/drew-bedo




    There are only three types of mounting flanges; too big, too small and wrong thread!

  6. #6

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    Re: Has anyone designed and built their own camera bag?

    Unfortunately, along with hours of searching online--not just camera shops but also general bag stores--I went pretty much everywhere in town I could find. I don't have any particular love for camera bags--most of them use way too much padding. But I think the big issue is that what I want, seems to go against what 90% of large format photographers want. So if I wanted a backpack there would probable be 4 or 5 options, but I need a shoulder bag, and all "messenger bags" I could find simply wouldn't fit. They might be large enough on the X axis, but the Y axis is always much too small, let alone the Z axis.

  7. #7

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    Re: Has anyone designed and built their own camera bag?

    I have been tempted to design one and have it made by someone that makes bags out of old sails. But I have never got around to it...

    Quote Originally Posted by abruzzi View Post
    but I need a shoulder bag, and all "messenger bags" I could find simply wouldn't fit. They might be large enough on the X axis, but the Y axis is always much too small, let alone the Z axis.
    I have a couple that take my Wista 45. One is a old large Tenba the other a Lowepro Nova 200AW (not the ii version). The Tenba holds the Wista, 3 lenses on their board, loupe, lightmeter, 6 film holders and a lot of other small stuff. Problem isn't getting my stuff in but lifting off the ground after filling it is another issue. The Lowepro doesn't hold that much but putting the Wista in the length of width isn't an issue and it has height to spare. The Lowepro Sport 35L AW will probably also do (very deep that one) and if you take the bright orange one you'll always find your bag!
    Expert in non-working solutions.

  8. #8
    William Whitaker's Avatar
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    Re: Has anyone designed and built their own camera bag?

    I did once ('80's) design a camera bag for my Wista 45 and two lenses (plus some film holders). I then had my mom sew it from scratch using my drawings.
    Mom was like that - very talented and a loving soul!
    But it was a lot to ask, even though the design itself was simple and with no complex seams or surfaces. It worked quite well. I have it to this day and in thinking as I write this, I may resurrect it to use with my 3 1/4 x 4 1/4, as otherwise my camera choices have outgrown its dimensions.

    I have a design in mind for the 12x20, but unlikely that will ever come to fruition. I no longer have a sewing machine myself and am unlikely to be able to muster that skill level, anyway.

  9. #9
    Drew Bedo's Avatar
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    Re: Has anyone designed and built their own camera bag?

    Shoulder Bag:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails P1011182.jpg   P1011183.jpg  
    Drew Bedo
    www.quietlightphoto.com
    http://www.artsyhome.com/author/drew-bedo




    There are only three types of mounting flanges; too big, too small and wrong thread!

  10. #10
    Drew Bedo's Avatar
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    Re: Has anyone designed and built their own camera bag?

    ^^^

    But in the last year or so I have deleted some of the heavier, less often used items to save weight. Down to three lenses (90mm. 150mm, 210mm) by dropping the hugh 25' Wollensak. Also gone is the Gerafmatic. Down to six film holders.

    The lenses live in PhotoBackpacker boxes. A few dividers help organize the items and help the bag hold its shape.

    *************************

    You might also look at suppliers of "Tactical" gear, such as Evac-4, Eberlestock, and others . . .for sling bags. I think Hazard-4 actually has a few photo dedicated bags, but others could be re-purposed.

    You have looked extensivly already, this may be a new approach for you.
    Drew Bedo
    www.quietlightphoto.com
    http://www.artsyhome.com/author/drew-bedo




    There are only three types of mounting flanges; too big, too small and wrong thread!

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