Need help deciding on a case for my XL1s. Hard or soft? at DVinfo.net

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Old December 19th, 2002, 07:32 PM   #1
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Need help deciding on a case for my XL1s. Hard or soft?

So what is everyone's preference when it comes to a carry case? I've got an XL1s and am not sure if I want to go hard case or soft. I need it to be big enough to carry the camera, some lenses, cables, tapes and misc junk. I don't want to have to worry about being Mr Gentle Carry, but I'm not sure if the hard case is practical (big and bulky). Don't get me wrong, I don't plan on tossing this thing around, but I don't want to worry too much while it's packed away. This is my first camera of this size so I'm not sure what's best. Are the soft cases just slotted for different things? Does the hard case have contoured foam? I don't want to spend too much, but I want to make sure I get the size and protection.

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Old December 19th, 2002, 08:08 PM   #2
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IMO, it comes down to whether the camera is to be used as a professional or a prosumer tool.

If many crew members will be handling the camera; if it will be transported on a grip truck with lots of other hard-boxed equipment; if you anticipate the camera suffering a lot of tossing and shuffling during shipment; if the camera needs to be secured in a lockable case to prevent theft from suspect crew members; essentially, if the camera is to be used on real film setups on sets and on locations; THEN one or more unmarked hardshell cases should be purchased to protect the camera gear. (Get ones that are rugged enough to double as stepstools and chairs!)

If only a few trusted individuals will be handling the camera; if you only expect it to make the occasional trip on a commercial air flight or in the back seat of a station wagon; or particularly, if there will be a limited crew (it's very difficult for one person alone to lug around a bunch of hardshell camera cases); then the softshell case is the better buy. (The Portabrace CTC-2 would be my pick.)
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Old December 20th, 2002, 07:05 AM   #3
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need help……,

As your camera is probably the most delicate item you will take on every shoot, I would suggest a hard case. Make sure it is well padded.

I have found a great collapsible cooler, from a company called California Innovations, for my extra lens, cables, etc. (Naturally, they are located in Toronto, Canada. (sic)) They are built to hold 40 cans plus ice.

Since they are insulated, they effectively have good padding; and, they are reasonably water tight.

I was able to pick up a number of them at a Sam's Club, in the autumn of 2K1, for about $9 dollars US, each.

By using different colors, such as yellow for my lighting, red for electrical, blue for audio, black for audio/video cables, I can access what I need, even at night, with less difficulty. They are a great time saver to me.

And no, I have not tested them, to see if they really do hold 40 cans. A 12 pack, is as far as I have gone!!
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Old December 20th, 2002, 08:49 AM   #4
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Rob Schmidt is really correct. I would love to have one of those backpack rigs where you can just pull out your XL-1...that's where I would blow the big bucks.

If you do not have to have a box for a pro shoot, I would also recommend the Sears Truck Tote. It will store an XL-1 with all its accessories, has a collapsible handle and wheels. It can be had for under $50.

My wife built me some custom cushions for the XL-1 so I can keep the cam fully assembled in the Truck Tote. The Truck Tote can even slide in the trunk of the Camry (but not the Corolla or Civic).

If you want to know more, search the site for 'cases' or 'bags' and see the answers you will get.

Happy Holidays,
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Old December 20th, 2002, 10:08 AM   #5
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I'm with Nathan. If I had to blow a lot of money, it would be on a backpack rig, but it's probably not what you need. There are many cheaper options for soft bags (LowePro). Hard cases can also be built very cheaply, or can be very expensive.
Here is the hard case that I built. Case $25us, foam $4us, speaker carpet $6us. Check it out at http://www.virtualdylan.homestead.com/stuff.html
I have no doubts the case would stand up to any abuse just as well as most of the more expensive plastic cases.


Whether you need a hard case or soft case, Robert's breakdown explains it perfectly. If there will be more than just you (and maybe 1 other person) handling it, or you need to look "professional" get a hard case.
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Old December 20th, 2002, 12:50 PM   #6
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Dylan, where did you get the foam??
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Old December 20th, 2002, 04:28 PM   #7
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<<<-- Originally posted by Nathan Gifford : Dylan, where did you get the foam?? -->>>

Home Depot!! God's REAL gift to men! ;)
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Old December 21st, 2002, 01:22 PM   #8
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I picked up a KATA CCC 10 case for my XL1. It's large enough to fit the XL1 with wireless mics attached to the back, tho I have to remove the antennas and take the shotgun off the Lightwave mount.

The bag has built-in stiffeners to resist crushing and protect the viewfinder. And it's small enough to take aboard an airplane as carry-on where I stash it in the overhead bin.

If I have to ship the camera as checked luggage then I disassemble the camera pack it in a Pelican Case.

For spare lenses you might consider a seperate case. Otherwise the case carrying the XL1 ends up getting a bit large. The Kata case has pockets which can carry cables, tapes, etc. Lucky this isn't Betacam -- those tapes take up a heck of a lot of room! Try stuffing a spare Beta tape in your pocket.... :-)
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Old December 23rd, 2002, 09:06 AM   #9
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Hey folks thanks for the great info.

But I do have a huge favor... can any of you post pics of the insides of the bags/cases? Other than Dylans (which is very cool by the way) all I can find online is a pic of the outside. I'd like to see the insides and how things actually fit. I appreciate everyones help and patience with the new guy....

Dylan - how did you contour the foam? Lay the camera down on it, trace it and chissle away with an exacto knife?
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Old December 23rd, 2002, 10:46 AM   #10
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I guess it depends on what your doing with it. How much travel etc. I bought the larger Portabrace(soft) bag. Plenty of room for stuff. I can put the camera in the bag and it's ready to go.
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Old December 23rd, 2002, 11:15 AM   #11
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I did considerable research on cases and looked at as many as i could "hands on". These where the best brands. The Porta Brace was the best followed by the Petrol and then the Kata. the Lowepro was OK but bulky and not camera specific.

The sites show the inside storage setup. Petrol has some really nice hard cases as well as soft. All 3 offer very good camera protection and optimize space. Porta Brace and Petrol were almost equal in quality

I own a Porta Brace CS-DV3 and love it.Well worth the money.

http://www.portabrace.com/asp/dvgallery.asp

http://www.petrolbags.com/cgi-bin/petrolbags/search.html?id=vj9CkdgN#PCC-1

http://www.tiffen.com/kataindexnew.htm
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Old December 26th, 2002, 06:57 PM   #12
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<<<-- Originally posted by Mark Argerake : Hey folks thanks for the great info.


Dylan - how did you contour the foam? Lay the camera down on it, trace it and chissle away with an exacto knife? -->>>

Bingo! :)

The next one I do, I will use a jigsaw with a fine blade.
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Old December 28th, 2002, 06:21 AM   #13
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I got myself a bag from Petrol Bags. There's not a REALLY big difference in quality with KATA or other brands, but it seemed a tiny bit more solid, and just some details that were a bit more thought through, like even with the flap totally zipped open, there's fabric keeping it half-way opened so the flap doesn't ly on the floor...

Really tiny things, but I am very content with the bag.

http://www.petrolbags.com/cgi-bin/pe...ml?id=HhPHqgkS

I have the PCUB-2, which also fits an extra lens. When the mattebox is on, the extra lens won't fit in.

For transport I just drop this bag in a wooden case.

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Old January 6th, 2003, 09:31 PM   #14
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Thanks to Dylan, I built my own hard shell case today with a $14 tool box and $5 in styro. All purchased from home depot. BTW- Home Depot should start marketing to filmmakers. I always shop there when i need supplies for my projects. Tomorrow i'll put the carpet on it. I'm happy to have saved myself a couple hundred bux! I'd recommend this to anyone. I have no doubt my case will keep my camera safe. I'll get some pictures of it if anyone is interested. I'm not that good at building so its not as finely sculpted as Dylan's. Just holds it in there nice and tight.
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Old January 7th, 2003, 12:39 AM   #15
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You're welcome.
Now if you'll kindly deposit the $181 you saved into my Paypal account. ;)
j/k

Lets see those pics!
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