travel w/ULF - film changing tent? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

The previous post brings up a point I've been thinking about. I shoot on 12x20 and will be travelling with it this summer (I hope). I only have a couple of holders, and at $400 a pop I'm not likely to be buying a lot more anytime soon. How are ULF users changing film in the field? I've done the "dark motel bathroom with towel under door" trick, and it works fine as long as you're in a motel and it's night. What about while camping, or anywhere during the day? Has anyone used the Harrison film tent made for 12x20? How big is this beast and (most importantly) how well does it work?


-- Mark Parsons (, May 21, 2001



I have the large (but not the largest) Harrison tent, and had them modify it with two pockets, one on each side. These pockets allow the large filmholder darkslides to extend beyond the original tent size, which makes it possible to do up to 12x20 in the tent I have.

My 12x20 is new, so I haven't tested it in the tent yet, but the 7x17 holders have ample room for film loading. The biggest problem is that the holders are so large, that you can't do too many at a time, and it's difficult to have the film sitting on one side and the open holder sitting on the other.

It's also much more difficult to keep the filmholders from touching the sides of the tent when the film is inserted. This will cause you dust problems, so you need to take special care to avoid doing this.

Harrison's largest bag may make all of this irrelevant, but that one is so big that I just couldn't picture taking it on a real trip.

One thing to consider is that you make sure you have enough holders for a typical day of photography, so that you are not forced to change film midday where you have no way of escaping the sun. I think it would be worth it to buy a couple of filmholders if it will enable you to do that. At $8 to $12 a sheet for film, $400 goes by pretty quickly, just to keep it in perspective.

I much prefer to use a hotel bathroom if I can. I can keep the film cleaner, it's less confining, cooler, and faster. If I have to, I'll use the bag, but normally only when I ran out of film, and I'm not in a position to go back to the hotel to change it, or if it's midday and the hotel is only safe for changing film at night.

I know of a source for filmholders that may be less expensive that you might want to check out. Email me off list if you want the email address.


-- Michael Mutmansky (PSU4EVER@IX.NETCOM.COM), May 21, 2001.

I regularly photograph with a friend who shoots 12x20 and he uses the bigger Harrison tent & loves it. Easy to use on the hood of a pickup or on the back gate of his 4x4 as well as on a motel bunk.

If you find what you use tends to collapse onto the film you can make a small tinkertoy frame inside to keep it more open.

-- Dan Smith (, May 21, 2001.

I bought a film changing tent direct from Great Britain and it is just that. It is a tent that I can get into with the film and holders. I take it everywhere and use it in motels, in my truck bed inside the cap, and elsewhere. It must be used in subdued light though, because extended use lets you start seeing sources of light (which I would recommend for changing tents of all kinds for this very reason). It was not cheap, but cheaper than two new holders. My problem is, I forget the name of the company. Anyone out there from Britain or elsewhere and know it? I read about it YEARS ago in a column by a British woman in Popular Photography at the dentist, and I called her at home in Great Britain and she hooked me up.

-- Rob Tucher (, May 23, 2001.

No expertise but my two bits in the form of a link

Also, has a few relevant threads.

Enter 'changing tent' and 'film tent' in the search box or in

-- mj akbar (, May 24, 2001.

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