No large format photography for a month :-(

Marley

Active Member
Registered User
Well yesterday evening the inner zip on my Calumet changing tent let go and although those nice folks at WEX are going to replace it (I only bought it in March) they have no stock for at least a month. I have no rooms or large cupboards in our London flat that can realistically be light proofed, and only a fairly small changing bag that is really only useful for 35mm or medium format tank loading.

This really has sparked me to think about how rubbish modern zips are ... how many of us have backpacks or jackets or waterproofs that wind up as landfill because their closures are made of the universally rubbish material I refer to as Chinesium: this is amazing stuff as it can be metallic or plastic but in whatever form it is produced it has the tensile strength of edam cheese and therefore the life expectancy of a depressed mayfly.

Here's the irony: my Edwardian travel camera ... and my 1950s MPP have been put out of action by a bit of throw away modern design. Arggggggghhhhhhh
 

David M

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Registered User
That's a tragedy. I've had one of those for a while and it's given me no trouble. Saint Ansel used to dive head-first into a sleeping bag to reload his ten-eights when he was younger and poorer. A sleeping bag in an unlighted room at night might work well. Breathing would be optional.
I think we should blame our constant modern desire for cheapness. The Chinese are only responding, very efficiently, to this. An Edwardian photographer might be more concerned with quality than price. We've discarded a great deal of the Victorian and Edwardian spirit.
 

Marley

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I have no beef with the Chinese in particular ... just with throw away culture :)
these days I'm heavily persuaded that what we actually need is a 'repair culture' where higher quality products have their life extended by building in serviceability.
 

David M

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Registered User
I have to agree. Repairing something can be very satisfying.
I've just posted a video of a craftsman making a camera that may bring you hope.
 
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Marley

Active Member
Registered User
It was amazing how difficult it was to convince the person at WEX that when a zip fails it's impossible to send back the tent undamaged ... unless they were going to accept responsibility for damage in transit to my £100 Stearman Press tank and film holders that were securely stuck inside! Uh and post them back to me once they had done what I had to do which was cut open the tent to get them out!
 

Stephen Batey

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Registered User
I have Harrison changing tents, and I've not seen a Calumet one; but most tailoring and alterations people can replace zips. Is there anything special about this one that would preclude this? I've not actually examined the zips in my tents.

Edit to add: since it's easier when I'm home to use my darkroom rather than find a large space to erect a Harrison Jumbo tent, the tents only get used when we're away. And, of course, that hasn't exactly happened much in the last couple of years. The last tent usage was in September last in Jersey.
 

Marley

Active Member
Registered User
I have Harrison changing tents, and I've not seen a Calumet one; but most tailoring and alterations people can replace zips. Is there anything special about this one that would preclude this? I've not actually examined the zips in my tents.

Edit to add: since it's easier when I'm home to use my darkroom rather than find a large space to erect a Harrison Jumbo tent, the tents only get used when we're away. And, of course, that hasn't exactly happened much in the last couple of years. The last tent usage was in September last in Jersey.
The quality of the materials of the Calumet tent and it's construction would make it very difficult indeed to sew to it. It's built a bit like a double skinned 3D Lastolite reflector ... with internal pop up spring steel framing. A replacement is £60.00 and I suspect the cost of a tailor would be more than the worth of the box. It's impossible to access the mounting areas of the zip ... and indeed the zip may indeed be bonded on rather than sewn in.
 
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