Camera bags and hard cases for Photographic, Film and TV gear

Sony F5 Camera case

So how do you make sure your gear works when you need it too? That’s an easy answer, make sure you protect it properly. The easiest way to do this is to have your gear in protective cases or bags.
I own a massive amount of gear and easily 95% of it always travels and lives in a protective case of some sort. I have a range of cases and bags. I use Pelican cases, aluminium cases, fibreglass cases and a range of soft bags to ensure my gear is protected properly which makes it all much more reliable.
I have my gear sorted into cases by use so its super simple to be able to grab the right case with the gear you need in it at short notice. Or even better be able to tell your assistant which case needs to be brought over. If you just fill cases with random items you won’t know what is in every case and you won’t know when something hasn’t been returned to the case, meaning you will loose gear and cost time on a shoot.

What is the best camera bag or case?

Well as with all film, TV and photography gear it depends on what you need and how you are planning on using it. For example, some people like hard shell cases for cameras, but I much prefer a soft bag for transporting my cameras. For both my Red Dragon and Sony F5 cameras I have each of them in their own CineBag CB40 soft case
When I am looking at buying a new piece gear I always think about how I can transport it easily while protecting the gear. I recently bought a new light from Kickstarter, a 1×2 Softpanel which came with a soft case. The issue with the supplied case was it was very large (and badly designed) and you had to disassemble the light to fit it into the case. For me this was not acceptable, so I found a case that allowed me to transport the light fully assembled, while protecting it as well. The reason I want my gear fully assembled is that on a shoot where you need a lot of gear, if your gear is all setup ready to use you save heaps time during set up and wrap and the client or producer loves you for that.

What gear do I use cases for?

I have all my lenses in cases. I have a set of Canon CNE primes that are in a SKB iSeries case. This SKB case is waterproof and comes with a foam insert made for the Canon Cinema Prime Lenses or Schneider Kreunznach Xenon FF Prime Lenses.   I have a set of Red lenses that are in a Pelican 1510. All my Canon L series lenses are in a Lowepro Pro Runner Backpack. My Oconnor Follow focus lives and travels in a Pelican Storm iM2200 case.
I have two different location lighting kits that travel in hard cases. One kit is all in a Pelican 1600. This kit is mainly for travel or small/ quick interview setups. It has 2 Lowel Tota’s and 2 Dedolight dedo’s as well as 5 small light stands stands, extension leads and dimmers. I have another case with a range of light stands and lighting gels. The second light kit is much larger and travels in a custom made aluminium case.

From this brief description of some of my gear and cases, you can see that I do realise the value in protecting my gear. I you buy decent quality gear and look after it will serve you well for a long time.

Pro Case Tips

  • Another advantage to having gear in cases makes it easier and quicker to move. Gear in cases stack better on trolleys as well as in your vehicle. I use both a Magliner Junior cart and trolley/hand cart to move my gear.
  • Avoid having too many small cases as it can be hard to transport and become confusing which case has what gear in it.
  • Colour code your cases. I buy different colour Pelican cases for different uses. For example I have a Red Dragon camera kit and use Yellow Pelican cases solely for Red Dragon only gear. If you are stuck with already having all one colour cases, then make sure you label them clearly with what they contain.
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