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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
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Old February 7th, 2009, 09:25 AM   #1
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Bag or case?

I took my first road trip with my week-old EX-1 today. Packed away in a photo backpack which I had been using with my small HV20 and all of its accessories. I chose not to get a Storm or Pelican case for the EX-1 thinking it would be too cumbersome particularly since I do not fly with my gear and it does not get thrown about by baggage handlers. But now I'm having second thoughts about lugging a $6k camera protected by only a thin layer of padding. My gut churned when I heard my babies' stroller tip over onto the knapsack in the cargo area of my car! Nothing bad happened but it made me reconsider whether I'm taking appropriate precautions.

So, I'd like an informal poll as to who uses a hard case for everyday use and what you pack into it, please. Do you put all your audio gear, hard drives and other bits and pieces into the same case or bag as your camera?

The "pros" of the backpack for me are that it's infinitely configurable and low profile/inconspicuous. The case will afford much greater protection but it's not as if you can wheel it around town without attracting attention.

{FWIW: my current bag has the camera, wireless mic, batteries/charger, warm cards, soft slate, the HV20 as a backup, and two portable hard drives. I'll be adding a matte box in a few months}

Thank you.

(Ps: Mitch, you already answered this somewhere else! Thanks. Just looking for a wider array of responses)
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Old February 7th, 2009, 02:24 PM   #2
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Storm Case (purchased through Zacuto) custom fit for an EX1 or EX3 with a Letus Ultimate 35mm adaptor. It holds the camera, 3 lenses, batteries, charger, memory cards, matte box, 2 x 25 ft mic cables, lavaliere microphone, headphones, business cards and EX3 manual.

Yes, it's a bit big and heavy, but the wheels and carrying handle make it easy to transport. Just like hauling wheeled luggage through an airport. I also like that you can stack a few smaller cases on top of it and use it like a make shift hand truck. Really the only negative with it is when you have to lift it into the back of a pickup truck. I'm not a very strong person, but I can still lift it using both arms and a little help from my left leg (knee).

I'm happy. But this is for professional use. We shoot local television commercials and corporate training and promotional videos.
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Old February 7th, 2009, 02:50 PM   #3
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I have the Kata 197 bag which for many shoots is just fine but recently I have seen where the Zacuto Storm case setup would be really nice. The Kata 197 will accept even an EX3 with a Letus and rails setup as long as you have the height profile as compact as possible and still have room for a few smallish prime lens and the typical mics and accessories you would take, however, you still have to piece a lot together. The wire cage around the upper perimeter of the 197 is pretty robust but the viewfinder does protrude up enough that it does cause you a fair amount of worry that it will be damaged if you are not really careful.

I can see a time in the not too distant future that I will utilize both the bag I have and a hardcase, particularly when I am shooting with the Letus.

With the 197 you can easily still manhandle the bag with a Letus attached whereas with the Storm or an equivalent Pelican it would tip the weight to the point where you would find it difficult to handbomb the thing in and out of a vehicle with one hand.
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Old February 7th, 2009, 04:46 PM   #4
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I have the Kata CC-197! I can squeeze quite a bit of gear into it for my average days shoot but wouldnít throw it around any! Hence, I always try to keep it up right! Iíve found the cam fits better since I got rid of the original mic holder and swapped it for the DM cold shoe mount (doesnít snag so easy getting it out of the bag like it used too). It suits me for all but serious hiking and air travel.
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Old February 8th, 2009, 10:57 AM   #5
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Thanks everyone.

Mitch, does that case come with "extra" foam for situation where you are not carrying the Letus and mattebox?

I could have sworn I saw a Zacuto tutorial on Vimeo or somewhere showing how to add/remove foam blocks based on the configuration you need.
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Old February 8th, 2009, 11:02 AM   #6
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It does come with a fair amount of extra foam, but not enough to completely fill all the voids. But even without the Letus and Mattebox installed, it will hold your EX3 very snugly.
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Old February 8th, 2009, 11:57 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Kerner View Post
I could have sworn I saw a Zacuto tutorial on Vimeo or somewhere showing how to add/remove foam blocks based on the configuration you need.
You did see it but the video is posted on some offbeat page. The video shows there are some wedges of foam at the bottom of some of the cutouts that allow you to stick your camera or accessories in with extra bits installed like baseplates, Zgrip mounts, you know the Zacuto stuff! Kidding aside the forethought shown in with the number of precut plugs you can pull out makes modding the foam insert a breeze. The idea of having your kitted out rig either ready to go or near ready to go out of the case is very appealing.
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Old February 8th, 2009, 03:49 PM   #8
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That's exactly how we use the case. Using one case we can show up with the camera with or without the 35mm adaptor installed. And if we change our mind and want to go with the other setup, we always have everything in the case to change it over.

The only issue we have is the Red Rock Matte Box is very large and it won't fit in the case when the rig is the 35mm adaptor configuration. If we would have bought one of the Zacuto recommended smaller matte boxes, then we wouldn't have had this problem. But their matte boxes are almost twice the price of the Red Rock. But I think I've got a work around for this minor problem.
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Old February 8th, 2009, 04:35 PM   #9
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The only issue we have is the Red Rock Matte Box is very large and it won't fit in the case...But their matte boxes are almost twice the price of the Red Rock. But I think I've got a work around for this minor problem.
What is your workaround Mitchell?
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Old February 8th, 2009, 04:47 PM   #10
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Hahaha! I said I "think". That means I'm still thinking about it! hehehe

The only plan I've figured out so far is to add a second small (light weight) case to the mix. This case would be big enough to hold the matte box fully assembled without the flags installed. But it would also carry the flags and the filters.

I was a little disappointed to find that the custom case we purchased from Red Rock for their Matte box will only fit the box when it's mostly disassembled. You have to remove the flags, remove the rod mount and dismount the matte box from the rod mount to put it away. This takes way to long for us to do as we move from location to location. If we needed to ship the matte box, then their case would be beyond perfect as it's a beautiful case. I'm looking for a simple light weight plastic case with foam inside that I can custom cut to fit the matte box assembled without the flags.

If you have more time than I do for assembly/disassembly, then the optional case you can buy from Red Rock will work great. As I said above, it's a BEAUTIFUL case. You just have to take the time to disassemble to matte box to put it away.

Hope that makes sense. :)
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Old February 8th, 2009, 08:04 PM   #11
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I use the Lowepro Flipside 300.

Lowepro | Flipside 300 Backpack (Black) | LP35185-PEU | B&H

It fits the EX1 perfectly, but there is no room for any extras, except a battery (in the side pouch). They also make a Flipside 400 which might be a better choice for those that want to pack additional gear.
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Old February 8th, 2009, 08:30 PM   #12
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When I got my DVX, my VERY NEXT purchase was a good Portabrace bag. I've had that bag about 4 years now, and it still looks new.

When I bought the EX1 I realized I wanted to go a different direction. So I bought a portabrace hard case with rollers for it. I could stand on the thing and feel secure about my camera.

I keep my camera, shotgun, firestore, headphones, light meter, cables, and a few other ancillaries in there. I also have a production bag that has my long audio and video cables, backup gear, mics, and other needed stuff in it.

When I got lights, I bought a kit with a hard case. It has rollers also.

We spend a ton of money on this gear. For me, it made sense to protect it as best I could. And to me, that means a hard case with reinforced corners, and good foam inside.
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Old February 9th, 2009, 10:15 AM   #13
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Thanks everyone. I'm leaning toward the case myself for the reasons Perrone mentions. I've never had an issue with a bag in all the years I've done still photography but I somehow feel the time has come for more protection. After all, it's basically a $6k computer with a lens on the front. A lot can go wrong with a nasty bump or drop.
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Old February 10th, 2009, 11:52 AM   #14
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The answer is that you really need both, but if I had to have just one I'd go for a Peli. In fact I did... twice!

Peli 1550 & 1560 hard cases | Paul Joy

But I also have a Kata backpack which works well when you need the camera on your back.

Kata HB-207 backpack | Paul Joy
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Old February 18th, 2009, 12:10 PM   #15
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Kata have just launched a Pro series bag which is ideal for the EX3. They will be sending me a bag for review within the next two weeks, I will post full details.
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