5 Best Camera Cases for DSLRs

Camera Cases for DSLRs Image

Just as we’re constantly upgrading to ever more professional cameras and lenses, it’s important to stay current with our equipment transport needs. It usually goes like this: the more expensive the hardware, the more protection that is needed.

The average padded camera bag is okay for general day-to-day use, but if you’re traveling further afield or lugging your kit up a mountain, then you will need the more hardened protection of camera cases for DSLRs and mirrorless setups.

Think of it this way. For musicians, a soft, padded gig bag will suffice for traveling to a local show. When moving from venue to venue, however, flight cases will be needed to protect against heavy-handed roadies and flight attendants. Camera cases add that extra level of protection which can take all the knocks and bumps of transportation, while still making your kit feel like it’s wrapped in cotton candy.

So, without further ado, we’ve researched the top camera cases for DSLRs and put together this list for you.

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1. Pelican 1535 Air Carry-On Case

Pelican 1535 Air Carry-On Case Image

Our favorite is the Pelican 1535 Air Carry-On Case. It may seem initially expensive, especially for what is seemingly a basic case, but the brand is one of the most well-known for its camera protection and longevity of products. The ‘Air’ range is far lighter than previous models, 40 percent lighter to be precise, and weighs in at a respectable 3.95kg.

The official specs say that the case has been drop-tested onto concrete, had steel darts thrown at it, and been submerged under water to give an idea of its protection levels. The wheels are also highly robust and won’t give out after a few passes over rocky terrain.

There are plenty of options on how the interior can be divided up. Basic cubed foam can be used, but the TrekPak Divider System provides more protection and dividing options. Simply slice up the sheets of plastic/foam with the included cutter and secure each panel with the included metal pins.

As this is a more lightweight solution than the rest of the Pelican camera case lineup, the case has just a touch more flex than heavier models. But the movement is so minimal, this model is worth it for the weight saving.

2. Vanguard Supreme 53F Hard Case

Vanguard Supreme 53F Hard Case Image

Another ultimate protection case comes in the form of the Vanguard Supreme 53F, which is an airtight, waterproof camera case. It’s also dustproof and seemingly everything else-proof after we kicked it around for a few hours. The case features steel-reinforced padlock rings and is built for travel with an automatic release valve for airline storage compartments.

There are also lots of carrying handles and tough wheels for easy transportation. Plus, a very substantial form interior that can be configured to all types of gear.

When it comes to the ultimate in protection, you can’t go wrong with either the Vanguard or the Pelican above. The Pelican probably has more configurable inserts, if that’s your preferred method of storage.

3. Nanuk 930

Nanuk 930 Image

Coming in at a more cost-effective price point, the Nanuk 930 is a rock-solid camera case, built to withstand all types of weather conditions. This case has been fully waterproofed, with tightly-fitting latches and holes to add your own padlocks.

The Nanuk 930 also features a pressure release valve for airline flights. As the design is more of the carry case variety, it meets airline carry-on criteria. The other advantage of this case is that the interior has solid foam inserts, which can be hacked up to fit your own particular camera gear. This solution always feels like it gives more protection than thinner, foam padded walls.

The disadvantage is, obviously, that those adjustments are not configurable over time. If you swap out your camera gear or change your mind about the layout in the case, however, new inserts can be picked up for a reasonable price.

As a carry around solution, the Nanuk 930 is a rock-solid piece of kit, able to cart around a standard amount of camera gear with peace of mind.

4. Explorer Cases 3317 B

Explorer Cases 3317 B Image

If you only need to transport a small amount of camera kit, then the Explorer Cases 3317 B is a basic but solid travel solution. The outer shell is weatherproofed and protected against extreme temperatures with its copolymer polypropylene exterior. Metal hinges that are corrosion-proof keep the case tightly shut, with a pressure release valve for airline travel.

The interior has a full-form insert, which can be easily configured to all types of gear. There is enough depth to fit a heavyweight DSLR body and heavyweight lenses. This case is a cost-effective solution for small amounts of camera gear.

5. MIEJIA Portable All-Weather Waterproof Camera Case (Budget Winner)

MIEJIA Portable All-Weather Waterproof Camera Case Image

Considering that this case only costs $23, it provides a surprising amount of protection for the money. The outer shell has an injection-molded, polypropylene waterproof design, with just enough room for a camera body and one or two lenses. The case has been designed more for carting a drone around, but it’s clearly a good solution for a small amount of kit.

The carry handle and latches feel solid enough to last. As per any high-quality case, it features a pressure valve for keeping out moisture and for airline flights. The inside of the top lid features chunky foam, while the main insert can be easily cut up and configured to your own camera gear.

This case is surprisingly well-made and solid for its asking price, though it may not have the same ultimate levels of weatherproofing and pressure regulation as the other models on this list. But as a general carry case which provides very sturdy protection, the MIEJIA offers amazing value for the money in exchange for easy portability without resorting to a camera holster.

Packing up the Best Camera Cases for DSLRs

If you’re traveling around, especially on airline flights when you have to hand your precious gear over to somebody else, you don’t want to be skimping on your carrying case or camera accessories. The top camera cases for DSLRs that we have covered today will offer the most protection. They may cost slightly more than a flimsier unit, but they are designed to take the rigors of whatever can be thrown at them.

When you’re sipping on your gin and tonic in first-class, you need to know all your precious camera gear is fully protected in the cargo hold. The same goes for when you’re out in the wilderness when a camera case can be subjected to everything the environment can throw at it. In these scenarios, ultimate protection trumps the initial cost of the case.

To read about even more options, see our guide on the best camera cases for different camera types.

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