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Film changing Bag vs Tent


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Hi everyone,

I am new to film but I recently got an Aaton XTR Prod and I’m trying to get my whole kit in order. I am now looking to buy my first film changing bag or tent. 

1) Since right now I have a S16 camera should I buy a bag/tent that’s for s16 or buy something bigger that can fit S35 magazines too? 

2) Are there any downsides on issuing a big changing bag or tent for smaller magazines? 

3) Would you recommend a changing bag or tent and what are the pluses and minuses for both? 

I looked at the Harrison changing tents and they were at around 260$, isn’t that a bit expensive?

Thanks a lot! 

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P.s I read somewhere that Harrison’s film changing tents the sleeves are bit tight or that they were a bit to close together. Does anyone have any experience with them and is this really an issue or just people being too picky? 

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I use a changing bag for 16mm mostly and tent for 35mm. I don't think you need a tent for normal stuff on 16mm, no real benefit for personal projects. If you're changing 4 mags at once, a Harrison large tent is great, but I can change 2 mags at once with a large changing bag and it works fine. 

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The medium format photography ones are the best. The one I have isn't made anymore, so I can't recommend one. Amazon in the US sells a bunch of large format bags. I'd just check the reviews and make sure they don't have fucked up zippers or something like that. 

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Not to be contrarian, but I will submit that a tent is more convenient because the top of a bag rests on your hands while working. That becomes a real problem with summertime heat and humidity. Sweaty hands and that bag touching you can be frustrating. Really frustrating if the film cones on you and you have to reel it back into place.

On the other hand, the bigger size of the tent can be inconvenient for transportation, or in really tight work spaces.  If I had to do it over.... I would go for the tent,  but that is just me.  YMMV.

Of course, you could go to Home Depot and buy some skinny pipe  (plastic), and corners and rig an inside roof frame, maybe.

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Boris,

Without question, I would buy the Harrison Tent.  Size:  36"x27."

Yes, the tent is an upgraded changing bag. Camping/outdoor hiking tents utilized that suspension system and a Pro camera assistant realized a shrunken version of that would solve the sort of problems I described earlier.

Now, if you have any possibility of working with 65mm movie or 11"x14" stills loading/unloading, or you really like the extra space afforded by the 36"x36" bag... by all means go for it.

Provided you take proper steps to care for it,  protecting it from damage, pin pricks, cuts, tears, or abrasions,  you will not have to buy another one for a very long time.  So even though it is expensive initially, in the long run it will be cost effective.  Take care of your changing tent and it will take of you.  Just don't lose it and hope it doesn't get stolen. 

Nothing I've written is meant to disparage the bag, it's only that if you spend a lot of time changing in a bag,  not a darkroom, then the little comforts add up for a more pleasant experience in a tent.  With both there is a learning curve.  (It will not hurt to have both).

Film Tools, B&H, Camera Essentials are places to purchase it here in the States.

Hope this answers your question.

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21 hours ago, Boris Kalaidjiev said:

Eric if you had to buy a tent for 16/35, what tent would you buy? 
 

You can use the tent as a changing bag too, right? 

Tent 100%. Never seen anyone use a bag on set for anything serious.

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17 hours ago, Eric Eader said:

Provided you take proper steps to care for it,  protecting it from damage, pin pricks, cuts, tears, or abrasions,  you will not have to buy another one for a very long time.

Theoretically, but the Harrison tents fall apart. I've had two and both disintegrated. The outside reflective coating fails and turns into a sticky goop. 

I really like the tent, a must-have for 35mm and larger. However, when you're just shooting for yourself and may not have a dedicated place to put the tent on a professional film set, then a bag works a lot better. I can put it on my lap in the car and change film. My Harrison tent barely fits in the back of my X5 and it's a bear to setup and take down multiple times a day as you shift locations. The whole thing is a PITA for non-professional "I need to load one roll" situations, which is what 99.9999999% of people out there with PERSONAL 16mm packages need. Otherwise, they're hiring a loader who has their own tent. 

Plus.... and this is a big one. It's super easy to forget a changing bag/tent. So that's why having a bag in the camera case is a life saver. 

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I have and use a tent…..you don’t get the sweats so much with the tent haha…..I mean if you are shooting Aaton and you are taking camera bags and stuff u might as well set up the tent……

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