Over the past 20 years, I’ve used more photography specific bags and cases than I could possibly remember. The constant search for the ‘perfect’ bag seems never-ending. Soft cases for carrying around town, backpacks for adventures, hard cases for travel, pocket cases for hiking, and the list goes on. The one truth I can attest to is that often as photographers, we carry far more gear than we need. Being prepared is great, but it often means we rely more on the gear we carry than we should on our talent.
I’ve been on the hunt for minimal hard case suited to airline travel and quick photo shoots in the desert. Something that would carry just what I need and nothing more. A musician friend of mine turned me on to SKB Cases in Orange, CA. He went on and on about their guitar cases, so I thought I’d give their iSeries DSLR Pro Camera Case I a try.
When the case arrived, the first thing that caught my attention was the weight. I’ve used several competitive hard cases and all of them tipped the scales in comparison to the SKB. At 5-lbs, the case is light enough to not tire your arm out quickly when loaded. It measures 18-inches long by 12-inches wide and 8-inches deep. That means its perfect for sliding it under the airline seat in front of you. As an avid traveler, this made me very excited. Sometimes, its the little things. I can carry a roller suitcase and this without hassle. The case is extremely well made with a sturdy handle and metal reinforced holes for dual safety locks. Just make sure they are TSA approved locks if you plan on checking the case at the counter.
“A great choice for traveling photographers. The case fits in both the above head compartments as well as under the seat in front of you.”
Something unique to the SKB cases are the trigger release front latches. Are they needed? Probably not. Do they feel great against your fingers as you open the case? You bet. The entire case is injection molded, constructed of ultra high-strength polypropylene copolymer resin. The case is completely waterproof featuring a gasketed and submersible design (IP67) that is resistant to corrosion and impact damage. The rubber grip feels great in your hand and that round valve in the center of the case is an automatic ambient pressure equalization valve (MIL-STD-648C).
As you can see, the case is designed around just the essentials. My Canon 5D Mark II with 24-70mm f/2.8 lens fits perfectly with the lens hood detached and placed in front. There are sections for two additional lenses as well as a square section for miscellaneous goods like memory cards or charger. I found that anything longer than the 24-70mm in the additional lens locations is too much. The PE foam used to surround your gear is a hard foam so the finger cutouts are a nice touch.
Now here is something that was a tad frustrating about this case design. I use three of the most common compact flash card cases and none of them fit in the extra hole. There are smaller cases out there you can purchase but it would have been nice if one of these fit. I’d also love to see this same case equipped for 1 additional lens and a spot for a flash unit in place of the second additional lens. Maybe we’ll see that cutout in a future iSeries case from SKB.
For smaller lenses like my Canon 40mm pancake, the case comes with four, half-inch removable rings to fit various lenses. Yes I can count, one was being used elsewhere at the time. These help lift the lens up so the top makes contact with the soft foam in the lid keeping your lenses from rattling around.
I’ve been using this case for about a month and as you know, I take care of my gear while at the same time thoroughly testing its capabilities. The case has been completely covered in silt from the desert and I even dropped it a few times at standing height. The two channels on the bottom of the case (pictured right) help distribute the force of the case hitting the ground. Even if you don’t drop it, you pick up and set down a case like this a lot throughout its life. It’s nice to know SKB considered this in the design. Surrounding the core of the entire case is extra enough extra material keeping your gear safe and secure inside.
“On over a dozen outdoor shoots, I’ve yet to see even a speck of dirt inside the case.”
A removable divider lets you run a longer, telephoto lens attached to your camera if you choose. The 70-200mm fits nicely here with the lens hood attached. Depending on what you shoot, this setup should allow you everything you need to get the job done. Just remember to throw your flash in your pocket.
We haven’t seen much water here in Southern California lately, so I decided to create my own water test. I gave my nephew the hose and bet him a scoop of ice cream that he couldn’t get water inside the case without opening it up. Don’t worry, I still bought him the ice cream. All of the gear was bone dry after a solid 10 minute soaking. This has actually become my wash routine for the case post shoots.
What I like:
- Well made, lightweight sturdy construction
- Foam is perfectly cut, finger holes are a nice touch
- Trigger release latches
- Great size for travel needs
- Water and weather proofing is top notch
- Price is good at $119.99 from various websites
- Made in USA
- Lifetime Warranty
What I don’t like / Suggestions:
- The extra space could be larger to hold common memory card cases
- Would like to see the same case available with 1 lens + flash unit
- An optional shoulder strap
Aside from a small fit issue with my memory card cases, the SKB iSeries DSLR Pro Camera Case I has lived up to its promise. I can’t forget to mention, this case is Made in USA and covered by their Lifetime Warranty. If you’re looking for something similar, I can safely recommend this case. It’s taken a fair amount of abuse this month and has performed flawlessly.
#skb #edc #photography #carry #dslr #canon #nikon #leica #camera #gear #travel #madeinusa
The SKB iSeries DSLR Pro Camera Case I is a great choice for photographers that require the best possible protection for gear on the go. If you need an essentials only gear case, this may be the answer.