5 Factors to Look for When Buying a Case for Your Camera

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5 Factors to Look for When Buying a Case for Your Camera

Every photographer wants to be sure that their camera can be carried around safely and that it is available quickly when needed. They also want to know that their camera is protected from accidental damage. Some photographers may have more than one camera and lots of accessories to carry, and in that situation a camera bag is probably the best solution. But for photographers who only want to carry a small amount of equipment, or possibly just a camera, then a camera case is the ideal choice.

Small compact cameras are not always sold with a case, and although larger cameras (such as a DSLR) may come with a basic case, in many instances owners may prefer to upgrade to a case which offers more features. Naturally, the type of case required depends to a large extent on the kind of camera owned, and there are several things to take into account when choosing.

Types of Cameras

Cameras fall broadly into three sizes: compact cameras, mid-sized cameras (including compact DSLRs), and standard DSLR cameras. Compact DSLRs and standard DSLRs may have different lenses that can be attached, and owners of these cameras may want a case that includes space for at least one additional lens.

Factors to Look for When Buying a Camera Case

With that in mind, here are five factors to look for when buying a camera case.

Design Features for a Compact Camera

Compact camera

 

Size


Compact camera cases are generally small; the case can be stored in a handbag or rucksack.
 

Shape


Compact cameras have few protrusions, so a small case or pouch is ideal.
 

Closure


Cases often feature a simple flap closure with velcro, magnetic catch, or popper. Alternatively, the case could be closed with a zip.
 

Access


A zip is more secure, but flaps allow quicker access.


 

Mid-sized cameras (including Compact DSLR)
 

 

Size


Relatively small.
 

Shape


Compact cameras may only need a universal case. Compact DSLRs require a shaped case for a better fit and perhaps space for an additional lens.
 

Closure


Usually a zipped closure or flap closure.
 

Access


Flaps give better access, but zips keep the camera more secure.


 

Standard DSLR
 

 

Size


DSLR cameras are large, especially if fitted with a zoom lens.
 

Shape


Each camera model has a very specific shape. Generic cases are available, but cases for specific models may be preferred for a better fit. Some cases are designed to take a camera with a zoom lens attached.
 

Closure


Most cases have flaps secured with velcro or clips.
 

Accessories


Velcro flaps allow quicker access, but clips add to the security.
 


When deciding on the best design, take care to consider all the aspects carefully. Bear in mind that internal or external measurements may be given, so check to make sure that the camera will fit into the case properly. If the case is too small, zips may become worn over time, and the camera could also be scratched. A case that is too large allows the camera to slide around inside, which may also cause damage. For compact DSLRs and standard DSLRs, check the manufacturer's information to ensure the case is designed to fit the specific make and model of camera.

How Much Protection Does the Case Give?

Compact camera

 

Outer fabric


Compact camera cases are usually thin, but the cameras are generally robust and need little additional protection. Hard shell cases give more protection than soft shell.
 

Padding


Not normally included
 

Protection from the elements


Cameras are often waterproof and dust-proof, so the case does not need to include these features.
 

Equipment housing


There is no internal housing for camera or equipment


 

Mid-sized cameras (including compact DSLR)
 

 

Outer fabric


May be thicker, offering some protection against knocks. Compact DSLR cases are likely to offer better protection.
 

Padding


May be included, especially for compact DSLR.
 

Protection from the elements


Likely to be shower-proof but not totally waterproof. Unlikely to have dust-proof zips.
 

Equipment housing


The case may be shaped to hold the camera snugly.


 

Standard DSLR
 

 

Outer fabric


Generally thick, offering good protection against accidental damage.
 

Padding


Very likely to be padded.
 

Protection from the elements


May be shower-proof or fully waterproof- some designs even float in water. May also be dust-proof.
 

Equipment housing


May contain memory foam or EVA to house the camera and perhaps an additional lens. Some have a suspension system to hold the camera securely. Soft inner recesses protect delicate areas, e.g. LCD screen.
 

When buying a case, consider how robust the camera design is and the level of protection that is needed from the case. Generally, higher specification cameras need greater protection because of their nature. Think about where the camera will be used - if it is vulnerable to water or dust damage, then a case that protects against the elements is important. Internal protection will be needed for delicate cameras such as DSLRs to avoid damage when moving around.
 

What Material Is the Case Made From?


Compact camera


Usually made from plastic, neoprene, fabric, or leather. May have a hard or soft shell.
 

Mid-sized (inc. compact DSLR)


Neoprene is very popular, but may also be made from fabric, plastic, or leather. May be hard or soft shell.

Standard DSLR


Universal cases are likely to be made from neoprene. More specifically-shaped cases likely to be EVA, with memory foam interior. DSLR cases are generally soft shell, although some may have a hard surface to protect the lens surface.
 

For compact cameras, the material for the case is largely a matter of personal preference as the actual design and protection offered varies little between the different materials. However, for more expensive cameras, the material is more crucial. EVA or neoprene offer a good deal of external protection, and memory foam will hold the camera securely without scratching any delicate surfaces.

How is the Case Carried?


Compact camera

 

Straps


Case usually has a bootlace-style wrist or neck strap that clips to side of case.
 

Waist fitting


Some cases have holes to allow the case to be fitted to a waist belt.
 

Additional handle


Not usually included


 

Mid-sized cameras (inc. compact DSLR)

 

Straps


Likely to be a neck strap, either with a shoelace-style, or a narrow strap. Unlikely to be padded or non-slip. Some also have a wrist strap.
 

Waist fitting


May have the ability to be fitted to a waist belt.
 

Additional handle


Not usually included


 

Standard DSLR
 

 

Straps


Needs a wide neck strap, which may be padded, preferably non-slip. The strap is usually adjustable, attached with clips and is removable.
 

Waist fitting


Some cases may have fitting for a waist-belt, but this is not very practical due to the weight of the camera.
 

Additional handle


Many designs also have a padded handle.
 


For smaller cameras, a wrist or neck strap is often the preferred choice as the camera can be accessed quickly and easily. Neck straps allow the hands to be free, while keeping the camera ready. Wider straps are better for heavier models to be hung from the shoulder to avoid neck strain. Non-slip versions prevent the case from slipping off the shoulder.

What Additional Storage Is Included?


Compact camera


Generally need very little extra storage for accessories. Some designs have an internal or external pocket for a spare memory card.
 

Mid-sized (inc. compact DSLR)


Additional storage depends on the kind of camera. Compact DSLRs cases may have storage for a small number of accessories.
 

Standard DSLR


Compared with a camera bag, a case will only have limited storage. There may be capacity for an extra lens as well some smaller accessories, such as an additional lens, spare batteries, or memory cards.
 

Naturally the amount of storage needed in a camera case depends on the accessories to be housed. Photographers are likely to want spare memory cards and batteries readily available, and DSLR owners may want space for an additional lens. However, camera cases are only intended to carry a limited amount of equipment, enabling the user to travel light.

Conclusion

Whatever the model of camera, choosing the ideal case is very much a matter of individual circumstances. However, customers should always consider exactly what kind of case will suit their needs best, and research the available options carefully before making a purchase. The result will be a camera case that is perfect for every situation.

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