The Best Camera Cases for Photographers
October 24, 2022
Camera bodies, lenses and other photography gear can be extremely expensive, particularly for high-end equipment. Naturally, because of their price point and fragility, many photographers go to great lengths to take care of these items. Thus, procuring the best camera case one can afford is a wise investment.
However, there are a cornucopia of different kinds of camera cases on the market, ranging from soft sling bags to tough-as-nails camera hard cases and everything in between. That said, where protection is concerned, camera hard cases are second to none.
To help photographers figure out the best camera case for their needs, today, we will explore some of the best hard cases for protecting photography equipment from knocks, bumps, dust and unfavorable weather conditions and inhospitable climates.
Let’s get started.
Camera Case Considerations
When shopping for the best camera case for your needs, there are a number of factors that need to be taken into consideration.
Some of the most important elements include:
Depending on the kind of work you do, you will need different kinds of equipment on a given assignment. In fact, as various jobs can demand different types of gear, you may even want to own several different sizes of camera hard cases in order to choose the right one for a given shoot.
However, if your budget only allows for one, then it is best to consider what you normally bring with you to a location.
Camera cases should allow the user to not only protect their equipment but access it easily as well. While a case might appear stylish, functionality should always come before form. That said, if you can have your cake and eat it, too, then by all means pick up an aesthetically-appealing protective camera case.
Not all camera cases are created equal. Thus, the best camera case is going to be the one that ensures your gear is perfectly protected — no matter the conditions.
Where durability is concerned, you will usually get what you pay for, so don’t be penny wise but pound foolish when it comes to protection.
While it is important to purchase a high-quality camera case to safeguard your gear, cost is still a consideration for most folks.
While it is certainly advisable to treat your camera case as a vital investment, you will still need to live within your means when shopping for camera cases.
That said, here are some of the best camera cases that money can buy.
When you are loading up with a considerable amount of camera gear, a case can quickly become heavy. Therefore, the weight of a case can be a factor for some folks. However, more lightweight options are likely to come at a cost.
Therefore, depending on your needs and situation, you may have to decide if you are okay with a case that is a little bit heavier or a little bit more costly.
The Best Camera Cases for Photographers
Taking all of the aforementioned elements into consideration, here is a selection of camera cases that are sure to meet most photographers’ specific mix of needs:
The Pelican Air 1535 is an ideal travel case as it is constructed of super-light proprietary HPX²™ polymer, making the case up to 40 percent lighter to comparable cases. At just 9.98 pounds (with foam), this case is a breeze to handle.
However, the 1535 is still extremely durable, boasting the same crushproof, dustproof, waterproof design that has come to define Pelican cases. Where usability is concerned, this case’s 20.39 x 11.20 x 7.21 inches interior can accommodate a variety of organizational solutions, each of which is capable of organizing camera gear and giving it an added layer of protection.
Part of what makes the 1535 an ideal travel case for camera equipment (aside from its lightweight design) is that it features an automatic pressure equalization valve to prevent vacuum lock from air pressure changes, a retractable extension trolley handle, smooth and quiet polyurethane wheels with stainless steel ball bearings and is the maximum size for a piece of carry-on luggage.
Pair all of that with a limited lifetime warranty and this one of the best camera cases traveling photographers can buy.
If you are in the market for something a bit larger to get your gear from location to location, then the Pelican Air 1615 is likely to fit the bill.
Featuring all of the same elements as the 1535, the Pelican Air 1615’s exterior dimensions of 32.58 x 18.40 x 11.02 inches max out the limits for airline check-in sizes, while still avoiding oversized luggage fees, thereby providing you with the most room possible for your photography gear.
While a larger option than the 1535, the case itself is still 40 percent lighter than competing models and is also equipped with quiet rolling stainless steel ball bearing wheels, making the case easy to transport.
Waterproof, crushproof, dustproof and accompanied by a limited lifetime warranty, the Pelican Air 1615 is a solid choice for any photographer that travels with a lot of gear and requires the extra space.
1510 Protector Carry-on
Pelican’s Protector line is the gold standard for protective cases. The 1510 Protector Carry-on case has taken Pelican’s legendary design and converted it into the toughest carry-on case in the industry. Waterproof, crushproof and dustproof in its design, the 1510 Protector Carry-on is constructed to withstand the world’s harshest environments, thereby ensuring your gear receives the best protection money can buy.
With its external measurements clocking in at 22.00 x 13.81 x 9.00 inches, the 1510 is compact enough to qualify as a carry-on case. Internally, the case measures 19.75 x 11.00 x 7.60 inches and allows for various organizational options, such as Pick N Pluck™ foam, padded dividers, TrekPak inserts and the like.
While the Protector's superior security adds to the case’s overall weight, it does come equipped with rubber over-molded top and side handles, a retractable extension trolley handle and strong polyurethane wheels with stainless steel bearings for convenient transportation.
If you are going to be traveling for a long period of time, heading to harsh environments or simply storing your equipment and want to be assured that your gear is safe and sound, the 1510 Protector Carry-on case is an excellent choice.
Another option that photographers might opt for in the Protector series is the 1650 Protector case. Similar to the options presented above in the Air line of cases, the 1650 is a similar yet larger option for photographers to store and protect their gear. Featuring interior dimensions of 28.57 x 17.52 x 10.65 inches, the 1650 supplies photographers with 3.08 ft³ of storage capacity for their equipment.
The 1650 Protector provides your gear with the ultimate protection in a stackable, watertight, crushproof, dustproof design. Equipped with seven double-throw latches and two stainless steel hardware and padlock protectors, the 1650 ensures that your gear will safely and securely get from point A to point B.
Additionally, the 1650 comes with three double-wide, foldable handles, a retractable extension trolley handle and four polyurethane wheels, making it easy to transport the 28-pound (with foam) case.
Like many of our other cases, the Pelican 1650 Protector also features an automatic Pressure Equalization Valve to balance interior pressure and keep water out, two-level Pick N Pluck™ with convoluted lid foam for customized storage, as well as a variety of accessories and other organizational options.
V525 Vault Rolling Case
If the Air and Protector lines of cases are outside of your budget’s capabilities but you are unwilling to compromise in the protection that your equipment receives, then the V525 Vault Rolling case is likely the right choice for you.
While not as light as the Air and not as robust as the Protector, the Vault line of cases is a more economical alternative to our other lines, while still providing Pelican’s legendary levels of toughness with a heavy-duty polypropylene construction.
Crushproof, dustproof and weather resistant, the V525’s external dimensions measure 19.90 x 10.60 x 7.30 inches, thus meeting airline regulations for carry-on luggage. With a weight of 11.5 pounds (with foam), the V525 Vault is an affordable alternative to the 1535 Air.
Equipped with heavy duty ergonomic handles, retractable extension trolley handle and quiet rolling stainless-steel ball-bearing wheels, this case is easy and convenient to transport to just about any destination. Additionally, the V525 opens briefcase style for easy access and storage and comes with foam or padded divider support material to keep your gear safe and organized.
Where security is concerned, the Vault lives up to its namesake, as the case comes equipped with two push button latches, steel reinforced padlock loops and a host of other protective features at a price every travel photographer can afford.
0965 Micro Memory Card Case
At the end of the day, if your memory cards aren’t safe and secure, you could end up losing all of your work from your most recent shoot. Thus, it is wise to invest in a dedicated case for your cards. That’s where the 0965 Micro Memory Card case comes in handy.
Engineered using the finest components, the 0965 Micro Memory Card case is ideal for storing up to six CFexpress and/or XQD cards in a tough polycarbonate exterior with a water resistant seal. Additionally, this micro case comes equipped with a shock absorbing insert liner. As a package, this case will keep your work safe from impact, moisture and other undesirable elements.
Like many of Pelican’s other products, we stand by the 0965 Micro Memory Card case with a lifetime guarantee.
Getting the Best Camera Case for Your Needs
There are a lot of different kinds of camera bags and camera cases out there, which means that finding the best camera case for your needs, situation, gear and budget can be a bit of a daunting task. However, finding a camera case that is well suited to you is critical for ensuring the safety, longevity and performance of your expensive camera equipment. Given how sensitive and pricey this gear can be, acquiring a camera case that can take a beating is well worth the investment.
Mull over the camera case considerations listed above to narrow down exactly what you are looking for in a camera case and shop Pelican’s selection of the best camera cases for travel photographers to find the ideal protection for your situation.
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