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03-14-2009, 08:33 AM   #1
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"Building" a Camera Bag

All of my stuff is sitting in hard cases or boxes, impossible to shlep around in a practical way, so I need an all-solution bag that will hold everything (Spotties and lenses).

The cost of the "real" case gear is astronomical, so I picked this up at Target yesterday for 70 bucks:

Swiss Gear Aubonne Wheeled Duffle - Brown : Target

The sides are nicely padded, it's huge, and has wheels. I'll probably still use another small bag for the Cokin stuff, film, the miscellaneous accessories, but I want this one to hold 3 or 4 bodies, 10 or so lenses, a big old Spotmeter, a monopod, one of those small tripods, and whatever else.

I was going to build an insert "box," possibly out of styrofoam, and make compartments. I like this idea because in the Florida heat, that foam really keeps the temps down. However, because of the angled walls on the sides, not so easy to do.

Anyway, I'm being long-winded (which is nothing new for me), but any other ideas? Like, is there a good source to buy the standard padded velcro compartment dividers, or freestanding pieces that I can just stick the lenses into? I was thinking of just making my own by wrapping a piece of cardboard around each lens, then wrapping bubble wrap, and then wrapping something "pretty" for the exterior.

The key word here is inexpensive.

03-14-2009, 03:44 PM   #2
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Well, apart from sewing your own dividers (My arthritis has improved, lately, and I'm thinking I may hang out a little bit of a shingle doing this, if my sewing machine still works) ...here's one thing, if you decide to go with the insert 'box' concept:

You know the cardboard cans that whiskey bottles and the like may come in? Each of these can be the basis for a couple of lens-holding tubes, like a hard case, (cut them so that you get an end or lid and about the right height) ...and you can line them with thin packing sheet foam. You can then attach them together as you like. I make them for the drawers I keep my photo things in, to prevent them banging around at any motion.

I wouldn't likely choose these for carrying things around in a working bag, (especially where the cardboard might get damp) but surely there's enough protection, there. )

For a really quick version, you could use the tube pieces and some athletic socks just tucked over them.

QuoteOriginally posted by Ira Quote
All of my stuff is sitting in hard cases or boxes, impossible to shlep around in a practical way, so I need an all-solution bag that will hold everything (Spotties and lenses).

The cost of the "real" case gear is astronomical, so I picked this up at Target yesterday for 70 bucks:

Swiss Gear Aubonne Wheeled Duffle - Brown : Target

The sides are nicely padded, it's huge, and has wheels. I'll probably still use another small bag for the Cokin stuff, film, the miscellaneous accessories, but I want this one to hold 3 or 4 bodies, 10 or so lenses, a big old Spotmeter, a monopod, one of those small tripods, and whatever else.

I was going to build an insert "box," possibly out of styrofoam, and make compartments. I like this idea because in the Florida heat, that foam really keeps the temps down. However, because of the angled walls on the sides, not so easy to do.

Anyway, I'm being long-winded (which is nothing new for me), but any other ideas? Like, is there a good source to buy the standard padded velcro compartment dividers, or freestanding pieces that I can just stick the lenses into? I was thinking of just making my own by wrapping a piece of cardboard around each lens, then wrapping bubble wrap, and then wrapping something "pretty" for the exterior.

The key word here is inexpensive.
03-14-2009, 04:11 PM   #3
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Thanks, Lady! I knew alcohol (liquor boxes) would SOMEHOW play a part in the solution here!

And while I was out running errands today, I thought the same thing--thick athletic socks.

I don't care if the bag looks pretty and cool when I open it. I just want to protect the stiff and get it all in one bag.
03-14-2009, 04:32 PM   #4
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Hee. Well, how you empty the tubes is not my business.

The only thing about the cotton idea is, you probably really do have to watch that moisture, not to mention any lint. Artificial fibers might be your friend, there.


It's probably not hard to scare up the tubes, though, I'd let about six of them accumulate over a few years (cause you can also stick them together and make workshop storage for longish pieces of whatever) by the time I hit on the idea.

03-14-2009, 11:35 PM   #5
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Here's two diy bag projects I found from a Finnish photography site. They are not as "heavy duty" as the one you're planning but very nice. Text is in Finnish but good pictures.

diy bag 1 (scroll down to page bottom and click "Ja itse projekti >>>" to see pics)

diy bag 2
03-15-2009, 01:38 AM   #6
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Ira, since you live in Coral Springs, you might check out area scuba diving shops for scraps of "sharkskin" neoprene (both sides covered in stretch nylon fabric) foam as used in wetsuits. Grab a can of neoprene cement, too.

Form yourself some cylinders (a circle of foam for the base, just larger than the diameter of each lens, plus a rectangle of foam a couple of inches taller than the height of each lens by a width equal to the circumference of the circle you cut out for the base). Glue one width end of the rectangle to the base and glue the height edges of the rectangle together. Punch a few small holes around the open top of the foam cylinder and run a short bit of shoe lace or small-diameter cord through the holes to cinch the top closed once you put your lens inside, and there you go. Neoprene lens pouches! Cheap, shock resistant, flexible to pack, and you can make them without needing to sew the edges (unless you'd like a stronger, more finished look to the pouches).
03-15-2009, 07:56 AM   #7
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Christine, I'm totally confused, although it can't be that complicated.

In other words, I have my circle of foam for the base, and the bottom edge of the neoprene gets clued to the outside edge of the foam, correct? (Not on top.) The side edges of the neoprene now get glued to each other to form the tube, right?

And Ovim--did that guy make those dividers himself? That site wasn't giving my old Mac G4 a heart attack.
03-15-2009, 10:38 AM   #8
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wouldn't it be easier ???

While I know that sometimes building stuff is half the fun, seems to me that if you don't need a professional bag, and want to keep it inexpensive, flea bay has numerous sellers with stuff like this.....all for less than $50 bucks....



ROLLING CAMERA BACKPACK PHOTO DIGITAL VIDEO BACK PACK - eBay (item 220352107461 end time Mar-28-09 18:31:09 PDT)

03-18-2009, 04:47 PM   #9
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I appreciate the response and that link, but I said 3 or 4 bodies and 10 lenses.

That bag wouldn't even hold my joint supply for the day.

I spent just 70 bucks on a quality piece of luggage that will easily hold everything, including the very phalic 400mm.

My 400 wouldn't even fit in that bag you linked, let alone 9 more lenses and 3 bodies.
03-19-2009, 12:23 AM   #10
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Darice 6mm Foamies Sheets will make good dividers. Cutting the pieces so they can interlock shouldn't be too hard to figure out. You can always buy a template, a moving box for glasses, or a case of wine, if needed. The material is also easy to glue together if you what a 12mm thick divider. Easy to cut, easy to glue, doesn't deteriorate or crumble.

I don't know anything about the vendor in the link, it was just the first one in a google search.
03-19-2009, 04:40 AM   #11
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your best bet for the foam would be something like this...

Mountaineering-Sleeping-Mat

for $11 you get enough foam for a half dozen bags. You can find these pads at army surplus stores for even less...

Mike
03-19-2009, 04:51 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by MRRiley Quote
your best bet for the foam would be something like this...

Mountaineering-Sleeping-Mat

for $11 you get enough foam for a half dozen bags. You can find these pads at army surplus stores for even less...

Mike
I have been using cut down mats for many years. But I always stick with high quality products, the best mats being made of EVAzote, which is more durable, has higher density (better resistance to humidity) and is simply more robust. EVAzote has the added benefit of a very low content of softener chemicals and solvents. Cheap mats can contain a high amount of solvents, which can be very bad for the plastics of lens tubes and (depending on the formulation) can even fog the lenses over time.

So I wouldn't go for the cheapest mat - but it is still a cheap solution anyway.

Ben
03-19-2009, 05:37 AM   #13
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Well... you've approached it more scientifically than I Ben but even the cheap sleeping pads are likely better than craft foam... I never thought about the solvent issue, but maybe thats why pro bags cost so much. They may be using high-end plastic-safe foam.

Mike
03-19-2009, 05:48 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by MRRiley Quote
Well... you've approached it more scientifically than I Ben but even the cheap sleeping pads are likely better than craft foam... I never thought about the solvent issue, but maybe thats why pro bags cost so much. They may be using high-end plastic-safe foam.

Mike
This is also experience-based, as I ruined the front lens of a lightmeter (plastic lens) with a solvent from a protective bag... I think, you can also use "applied science": sniffing out excess solvents usually works, they simply stink...

Ben
03-19-2009, 06:28 PM   #15
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Man, thanks to ALL of you! Now we're cooking with fire!

I was talking to a friend of mine today who said the same thing about the interlocking dividers, but using rigid foam insulation, and then he mentioned regular foam, like the stuff linked here.

My wife works at Wal-Mart (hooray for the worst pay in the world but at least a 10% discount), and she said they carry Poco's Foamies Sheets. But as you know, Wal-Mart carries EVERYTHING, so I'll also check mats made out of EVAzote.

Maybe my wife will even have sex with me on it before I cut it up, but I doubt it. Her ass is too big.

Again--Poco, Mike, Ben, others--THANKS!

Same glue for all of these materials?
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