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Pelicase Review

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Pelicase  Review: PelicasePeli cases are claimed to be the ultimate protection for your camera gear. As you can see from the photo they also come in all shapes and sizes...and colours!

We took delivery of a few for testing to see if they live up to the claims.

Test by Peter Bargh

The range
The cases begin with the tiny 1010 from the fairly new Micro range that's ideal for a small compact camera or one of many of the latest digital compacts from the likes of Pentax and Canon. They go up in incremental groups with small, medium and large categories. These include the huge 1600 series (these are so big they even have wheels to make them easy to transport when full with kit) and the longer 1700 series that are illustrated with harpoon guns encased, but could be used to store and transport studio lighting accessories.
The sizes, along with weights, are as follows:
(The price is correct atApril 2003 and is for all models with foam insert when provided)

MODEL Weight with foam in lbs Weight w/o foam in lbs

Internal Dimensions
in inches

External Dimensions
in inches
Length Width Height Length Width Height Price
1010 - 0.40 4-7/16 2-15/16 1-11/16 5-7/16 4-1/16 2-7/64 14
1020 - 0.50 5-3/8 3-5/8 1-11/16 6-3/8 4-3/4 2-7/64 18
1030 - 0.54 6-1/2 2-3/4 2-1/16 7-1/2 3-7/8 2-7/16 19
1040 - 0.68 6-9/16 3-15/16 1-3/4 7-17/32 5-5/64 2-5/32 20
1050 - 0.84 6-9/16 3-15/16 2-3/4 7-17/32 5-5/64 3-1/8 21
1060 - 0.98 8-7/16 4-7/16 2-1/4 9-13/32 5-5/64 2-5/8 25
1120 1.24 1.17 7-3/8 4-7/8 3-1/16 8-1/4 6-9/16 3-9/16 30
1150 1.98 1.76 8-3/8 5-7/8 3-11/16 9-1/4 7-9/16 4-3/8 39
1200 2.87 2.65 9-3/8 7-1/4 4-1/8 10-5/8 9-11/16 4-7/8 53
1300 3.53 3.09 9-3/8 7-1/4 6-1/8 10-5/8 9-11/16 6-7/8 63
1400 4.40 3.90 12 9-1/16 5-3/16 13-3/8 11-5/8 6 95
1420 - 3.78 13 5 10 15 8-1/2 10-1/2 90
1450 6.40 5.60 14-13/16 10-3/8 6 16 13 6-7/8 113
1470 5.45 3.80 15-3/4 10-9/16 3-3/4 16-11/16 13-1/16 4-3/8 150
1490 6.55 5.20 17-7/8 11-1/2 4-1/8 19-7/16 13-15/16 4-11/16 177
1500 7.10 6.50 17 11-7/16 6-1/8 18-1/2 14-1/16 6-15/16 130
1520 8.60 8.00 17-7/8 12-3/4 6-3/4 19-1/8 15-7/16 7-9/16 160
1550 11.90 10.50 18-15/16 14-7/16 7-3/4 20-11/16 17-3/16 8-9/16 184
1600 14.00 13.00 21-3/4 16-13/16 7-7/8 24-1/4 19-7/16 8-11/16 218
1610 23.25 20.00 22-3/16 17-1/8 10-9/16 24-9/16 19-5/16 11-15/16 290
1620 26.10 24.50 22-1/16 17 12-9/16 24-13/16 19-3/8 13-7/8 319
1650 30.35 29.40 29 17-7/8 10-1/2 32-1/2 20-1/2 11-5/16 320
1660 42.00 34.00 29-1/8 20-11/16 17-5/8 31-1/2 22-7/8 18-7/8 452
1700 17.00 16.00 35-3/4 13-13/16 5-1/4 38-1/8 17-13/16 6-1/8 251
1750 25.60 23.50 50-1/2 13-7/16 5-1/4 53 17-7/16 6-1/16 287
The larger cases have two clasps to close the case that pull the lid firmly to the body and create a strong seal. Most models have a new automatic purge valve. This is a semi-permeable membrane, which resists water ingress and automatically releases pressure in case of atmospheric pressure changes. Micro cases shut with one lip catch, but you still need both hands to press each side to clasp it shut. Pelicase  Review: Pelicase
All larger models have a strong carrying handle too that's smooth and rounded to ensure it's comfortable to carry. Two holes are bored if you wanted to attach a shoulder strap, but Peli don't appear to make one. They do sell a padlock which fits through the holes to prevent someone opening the case. The Micro cases come with a small wrist cord. Pelicase  Review: Pelicase
All models have two hinges with what appears to be a steel rod through the middle. They look fragile, but I could not break one by forcing it backwards with a good amount of pressure.. Pelicase  Review: Pelicase

The interior of the Micro cases are very basic, a rubberised style coated base and a high density foam lid. This will stop the camera slipping about but you still have to pick the right one to ensure the camera fits snugly. The see through top versions don't have the foam in the lid, which is a disadvantage from a protection point of view. Pelicase  Review: Pelicase

The larger cases can be bought with either partition inner or a pre-diced foam style. The pre-diced are fine if you intend keeping the contents of the case the same all the time and over the snuggest and most secure fitting, while the partition type give you much more flexibility.

Pelicase  Review: Pelicase

Pelicase  Review: Pelicase
To use the pre-diced version you would place the camera where you want it and then pull out all the foam diced pieces below it to form a shape where the camera can slot into. Pelicase  Review: Pelicase

The test!

All models above the Micro range are made out of the same Ultra High Impact structural copolymer which Peli claims is unbreakable and watertight. They are so confident that they say "You break it, we replace it... forever." Well, we like a challenge here on ePHOTOzine so lets see if these two claims are worth the paper they're written on! Pelicase  Review: Pelicase
Nothing better than running over the case with a Vauxhall Frontera which has a kerb weight of around 1800kg. If that doesn't break it nothing will!
First up we chose the Micro 1040. Pelicase  Review: Pelicase
Will it come out alive? It's hard to believe, but the only mark was where the uneven patio stones made an imprint in the ridges on the polycarbonate exterior. The hinge and the seal were still intact even though we did hear a cracking sound as the tyre lifted off the ground. A resounding thumbs up for this little armadillo!
Next to what turned out to be a bigger challenge the mighty 1550. I say a bigger challenge because it proved impossible to get the Frontera wheel over the case as the case slide off away from the vehicle as the wheel approached. I, trusting the driver, Katie, (I must have been mad here was her chance to get a pay rise) attempted to stop the case moving as she drove up over the case but I slid along the floor with it! So a ramp was needed. We didn't have anything to hand so we used a cut down tree stump and bingo! We managed to get the wheel resting on the case. So the initial thought is if you did leave your case lying around and accidentally wouldn't be able to go over it and your gear would be safe. Pelicase  Review: Pelicase
And if you did manage to run over it? Well here's what happened. The case did bend, but it didn't flatten so providing the gear inside isn't packed top to toe the inner sponge would allow the room needed for maneuver. And the case was still useable despite a warped rear seal and a couple of cracks on one of the hinges. That's strong! Full marks then for strength! Pelicase  Review: Pelicase
But what about water? Surely we can stump Peli here! Well, no actually. The case provides a water tight seal. The Pentax Optio with all it's electronic insides was fully protected from our sink attack, and what's even more impressive is that it floats. So if you take a camera out with you on holiday and decide to go for a swim you can take it with you and while you're bathing on the beach it's the safest protection your camera will have from sand. And if it accidentally fell overboard while you were out on a peddlo you could quickly recover it with ease. That's another result in my book! Pelicase  Review: Pelicase

These cases are, as the blurb suggests, incredibly strong so if travelling around by airplane is a necessity your gear won't be damaged -even by the most clumsy baggage handler. They're also great to sling in the boot of a car or on the hull of a boat and will find a suitable home on site for engineers and basically cope with any rough treatment you'll throw at them. It is very unlikely that you'd drive a car over one, but hey, we proved you could for the hell of it! The cases even come with a lifetime no quibble replacement so if you did manage to destroy one you can get a brand spanking new one.
They may be more expansive than your standard aluminium case bought from the likes of Argos, but you do, in this case (pardon the pun), get what you pay for. Highly recommended. Although a better form of carrying would be useful.
When buying I'd suggest you take the gear along to ensure you get the right size or, if that's not convenient, you could take the measurements from above and draft out the size on your computer.

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