Your Guide to Determining the Right Case for Your Camera

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Your Guide to Determining the Right Case for Your Camera

Having gone to a great deal of trouble to choose exactly the right camera, there is little point in buying a case that isn't suitable. A casual photographer may have chosen a small compact camera that is always ready to point and shoot. Others may have opted for a mid-range camera with a few more features, but is still simple and convenient to use. Serious photographers are likely to have selected a DSLR camera with many features or one of the newer compact DSLR cameras.

The Needs of Different Kinds of Cameras

Whatever the kind of camera, determining the right case for it involves thinking about two main points; the level of protection needed, and the ease with which the camera can be carried and accessed. Just as each kind of camera is different, so the requirements for a suitable case are different.

Small Compact Cameras

These cameras are very small and light.

Small Compact Camera Characteristics


Size and resilience

Small and robust.



Everything is already well protected – lens usually retracts, buttons for use are flush with the body, and there are no camera parts sticking out to get caught.


Level of protection needed

Low level of protection needed due to the camera design.
Some cameras are waterproof, and their compact design makes them dust-proof


How the camera is used

Likely to be carried in a handbag or similar bag all the time rather than carried separately. Used mainly for taking snapshots on informal occasions. Needs to be easily accessible and ready to shoot at any time.


Accessories needing to be carried

Minimal accessories likely – e.g. a spare memory card or spare batteries


Suitable Cases for a Small Compact Camera

Cases for small compact cameras are small and are usually intended to be carried within a larger bag. However, most have a wrist strap for added security when carrying. They may also have an internal or external pocket for accessories.

Soft zipped pouch

Convenient style as it is small and the zip guards against theft.
Usually thin material (e.g. PVC, fabric, neoprene, leather) as the camera needs little protection from damage.
Can be brightly coloured or patterned – becomes a fashion accessory.
Zip closure may make access slower


Soft flap pouch

Similar to a zipped pouch, but closes with a flap. May be secured with velcro, a popper, or a magnetic catch. This makes access quicker, but may be less secure.


Hard case or shell

Offers better protection against knocks, but may make the camera slower to access. It may also be less suitable for carrying in another bag.
Usually made from plastic or aluminium


Mid-sized Cameras

Mid-sized cameras may look more like a traditional camera.

Mid-sized Camera Characteristics


Size and resilience

Relatively small and resilient



Similar to the smaller compact cameras although there may be some parts which need an element of protection


Level of protection needed

Slightly more protection from damage may be needed if the camera design is less sleek and parts are sticking out.


How the camera is used

Less likely to be carried all the time as may be too large to fit in another bag.


Accessories needing to be carried

Minimal accessories needed.


Suitable Cases for a Mid-sized Camera

The case requirements for a mid-sized camera are similar to those of a compact camera, although there is likely to be a means of carrying the camera separately, e.g. neck strap, belt loops, or key-ring clips. Pockets are usually included for a few accessories.

Soft zipped or flapped pouch

Similar features to a case for a compact camera.


Hard case or shell

Offers better protection against accidental damage but may be too large to fit in a handbag or similar.


Shaped case

Cameras with protruding lenses may be safer in a shaped case, which hugs the camera better than a pouch and stops it slipping around inside.


Compact DSLR Cameras

Superficially, compact DSLR cameras may appear to have similar requirements to those of a mid-sized camera. However, these high-end cameras have all the functionality of standard DSLR cameras, but in compact form, so they need a case with higher specifications.

Compact DSLR Camera Characteristics


Size and resilience

Similar in size to mid-sized cameras, but with delicate parts.



Look more like traditional cameras, with protruding parts which need protection.


Level of protection needed

Need a high level of protection from accidental damage and the elements.


How the camera is used

Unlikely to be carried all the time, but its smaller size means it could be carried frequently. Could be used for informal snapshots but may also be used for specific photography excursions.


Accessories needing to be carried

Has similar accessories to a standard DSLR although they are smaller in size. This may include: interchangeable lenses and filters, spare memory cards, batteries etc.


Suitable Cases for a Compact DSLR Camera


Universal shaped case

Shaped to house the camera but not specifically designed for a particular model, so the fit may not be exact.
Outer material may be neoprene or similar, providing protection and flexibility
May have space for additional lenses and pockets for accessories
Likely to have an adjustable neck strap.
Usually a flap closure – flap makes the camera more easily accessible.


Specific case for the camera model

Shaped to house the camera exactly – more like a traditional camera case. Likely to be produced by the camera manufacturer.
Offers good protection.
Often made of leather, although neoprene or fabric may be used.
Can be left on while camera is in use – some can even be fitted to a tripod.
Less likely to have additional space for accessories – they may need to be carried separately.
Adjustable neck strap.
Shaped flap closure – easy access to camera.


Standard DSLR Cameras

Standard DSLRs are the largest and heaviest kind of camera.

Standard DSLR Camera Characteristics


Size and resilience




Traditional camera shape with protruding lens and additional parts needing protection. May have a zoom lens fitted.


Level of protection needed

Needs a high level of protection.


How the camera is used

Not likely to be carried all the time – more likely to be used for specific photo shoots or events.


Accessories needing to be carried

Only a limited number of possible accessories can be fitted in a camera case.


Suitable Cases for a Standard DSLR Camera


Universal shaped case

Broadly shaped to fit the camera with lens fitted – may be designed to take camera with zoom lens.
Outer material strong and durable – may be padded for protection.
May have suspension system to cradle the camera safely.
Some cases have memory foam inserts, which provide a soft protective inner surface to avoid scratching sensitive areas, e.g. lens glass, LCD screen.
Lens is generally fitted to the camera, plus space for spare memory card, battery, and perhaps a couple of filters.


Specific case for the camera model

Will fit the camera extremely well, providing very good protection against accidental damage.
Other features are similar to the universal case.


Buying the Right Camera Case for a Camera

Buyers looking to purchase the best camera case for their camera will need to consider all the factors involved before making a decision.
Naturally, if the camera is a simple one, it will need less in the way of protection, and only a few accessories are needed. It is a matter of personal choice whether to opt for a soft or hard case, what material the case is made from, and what kind of closure is preferred.
If the camera is more valuable and has a higher specification, it is essential to research the different options available. Consider whether a universal case offers the best level of internal and external protection – a case designed for the specific model may fit better and keep the camera more secure during movement. If the camera needs a zoom lens, then search for a case that can accommodate this, and ensure that there is ample room for accessories.


Owning the right camera case can make all the difference to a photographer. Having chosen a suitable case with care, they can be safe in the knowledge that their camera is protected from damage and that all the accessories they need are at their fingertips, allowing them to relax and concentrate on taking their photographs.

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