Homemade Changing Bag

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by aaronmichael, Jan 7, 2011.

  1. aaronmichael

    aaronmichael Member

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    The title says it all. I built a large format pinhole camera but will only be able to take one shot at a time without a changing bag. Camera is 8" tall, 11" wide, and 8" deep. Have no money for a changing bag. Any suggestions for something homemade? I was thinking a heavy duty black trash bag might work? Any opinion and ideas are greatly appreciated, thanks.
     
  2. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

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    You might look for one of those large heavy vinyl atheletic gear bags, the kind ice hockey players use, and sew some sleeves on it. Or change film in the trunk of your car? Or the Ansel Adams way---head first in a sleeping bag.
     
  3. guitstik

    guitstik Member

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    Two large sweat shirts, one inside the other. The darker the better.
     
  4. frobozz

    frobozz Subscriber

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    You can get big changing bags awfully darn cheap on That Auction Site... I've picked up two there, for about $10 each.

    Duncan
     
  5. mjs

    mjs Member

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    Plastic trash bags won't work -- they aren't light-tight, even doubled. You can sew one out of blackout curtain material (your local fabric store likely has it,) but in all honesty, a couple of sweatshirts (the largest size you can get cheap,) with the bottoms sewed shut will work as well and likely be cheaper.

    Mike
     
  6. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    Or just turn out the lights.
     
  7. Mark_S

    Mark_S Member

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    I have used something similar to what Guitstik suggested, except that my improvised bag was a winter coat, with potatoe chip bag clips holding the bottom and neck openings closed.
     
  8. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Typical trash bags do not work but ones sold as "contractor's cleaning bag" in home improvement centers do work. These are larger, extra thick, and durable. I use double layers of it as window shield for my darkroom setup. Even in Florida's strong summer time sun, they do shield sunlight just fine.
     
  9. bblhed

    bblhed Member

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    Spend the $10 to $25 dollars and get a proper changing bag, even if you have to wait to save the money it will be worth it.

    The problem with anything home made is that you run a really high risk of static discharge that could ruin your image, or give it nice artistic lines depending on your point of view.
     
  10. aaronmichael

    aaronmichael Member

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    Is that the actual name of the website?

    Thanks everyone for the suggestions. Unfortunately I don't have any sweatshirts laying around but maybe I'll ask around to see if anyone has any they don't need. Or some blackout curtain might work well. It would be nice since it's lightweight. I think the black trash bags we have are made for industrial purposes. I have used them to cover the backs of some of my pinhole cameras to make it light tight and it seems to have worked, but I'll double check on that. I'm always more apt to make something from what I have around rather than going out and buying materials.
     
  11. bblhed

    bblhed Member

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    Using a large plastic bag and moving it around against your skin, and other surfaces, and moving things inside if just asking for an electrical storm in a bag that will fog your film. Save your money and buy the right bag.
     
  12. heespharm

    heespharm Member

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  13. aaronmichael

    aaronmichael Member

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    Okay so the trash bag is out of the question. I appreciate the link but I've never used a changing bag before and therefore have no idea what size I should get. I think the one you linked to is too small. The pinhole camera that I made is quite large. Even though they show the width and length in the description, it doesn't say how "tall" it can go. And about the money thing - I'm a full time college student so my parents usually end up paying for all the film and paper that I use for class (I'm a photography major). Maybe the darkroom at my school has something I can use.
     
  14. guitstik

    guitstik Member

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    I used to us (and sometimes still so) a large box darkened with tape and paint. Cut a couple holes for your arms and pull the arms of a jacket through and fasten it inside. I use the changing bag for 35 and 120. I don't do LF much anymore but that will be changing soon so the box is the way to go.
     
  15. aaronmichael

    aaronmichael Member

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    Hmm - That's a pretty simple solution, and sounds easy enough to make. I don't know if I'm prepared for the looks I'm going to be getting when I'm out and about with my hands in a box or sweatshirt - haha.
     
  16. Joe VanCleave

    Joe VanCleave Member

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    I built a portable darkroom box last year, for changing film holders and processing 4x5 negatives. It's a box made from thin wood paneling attached to a space frame of 3/4" spruce sticks. The top is removable, has a light trap made with a groove and flange method. Insides painted black. Handles on the side for carrying. The key feature is arm sleeves, made from the black oilcloth tablecloth material, available at fabric stores. The black vinyl material is on the inside, the white cottony lining is on the outsides. I used a hot glue gun and gaffers tape to make the sleeves. They are attached to the front of the box with a flange gasket made from thin wood. The outside of the box is finishing in varnish.

    This design is small enough to carry in a car, but too large to carry anywhere off the beaten path. You could perhaps use the idea of arm sleeves, in a more portable or lightweight box. I think the idea of a heavy but light-tight fabric, seamed together with hot glue gun and gaffers tape, is doable by almost anyone with meager mechanical skills; you don't even need to know how to sew or have a sewing machine.

    Here's a picture of the developing box, on a portable camping table at my local city park, where I was shooting and developing paper negatives from my Speed Graphic.
    [​IMG]

    Here's the thread on F295 about the entire project, including construction details that may be of help to you: http://www.f295.org/Pinholeforum/forum/Blah.pl?m-1230847394/s-all/

    Good luck, keep us informed of the progress you make.

    ~Joe

    PS: This box has come in very handy during the winter months when my garage-based darkroom is frigid cold. I still preflash, cut and load paper negatives in the darkroom, but the portable box is a convenient way to process the negatives in the comfort of my kitchen.
     
  17. aaronmichael

    aaronmichael Member

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    Thanks for the reply Joe - much appreciated. I'll probably end up building something a little more lightweight than this. All I need it for is to change the paper in my pinhole camera. I do all my developing in the darkroom at school. Also, I'm just doing my pinhole work for fun - so if I make something that has light leaks in it and a couple of my photos get ruined, then it's no big deal. I like your sleeves idea. It seems like that's a main staple of most people's changing bags. Thanks again for the post, I'll definitely be using your post as a reference when making whatever I end up making.
     
  18. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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    There are huge changing bags made for mini-lab use for loading rolls of paper into the paper cassettes.
     
  19. michaelbsc

    michaelbsc Member

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    And if you pick up the sweatshirts at The Salvation Army it's probably the cheapest solution that you can use in the great outdoors. (Sounds like your budget is tight.)

    fleeBay auctions are hit or miss. I've wasted some money on junk there more than once, including at least one moth eaten changing bag. If $10-20 is a big deal to Aaron I'm not sure I'd suggest this unless he likes to gamble. I have found some great bargains on eBay, but you cannot count on it.

    My favorite, but it won't work if you've got your pin hole camera outside somewhere.

    But take the suggestions and be creative. Remember that all you need is dark, not pretty. And it's the image on the film rather than the stylishness of the equipment that counts.

    Well, maybe some folks are more into the stylishness than the pictures, and if so then they already know how to assuage that desire better than I can tell them.
     
  20. aaronmichael

    aaronmichael Member

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    Where would these be found at?

    Haha - Yes, I am so poor that 10 or 20 dollars is a ton of money to me. Thanks for the reply and words of wisdom Michael. I definitely don't really care about how it looks. The only thing that matters is the final photograph. I just need to make something that's functional and it seems like it can definitely be done for a reasonable price.