Today I bought a instrument hard case for my Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera and its accessories at Clas Ohlson for 550 SEK (£40 / $60), with the article no. 31-4142. Although it was Black Friday the price wasn’t lowered for this particular case, but that’s o.k. as the price is a steal anyway. It’s a no-name brand, made in China for Clas Ohlson, and is professed to be a water and dust resistant, as well as shock absorbing safe case for cameras, tools, instruments, etc. It measures 43 x 38 x 16 cm and weights 3.2 kg, made of heavy duty black plastic. The lid has a rubber packing to keep out the water and humidity. The insides measure 39.5 x 32 x 11.7 cm and carry 4-layer shock-absorbent foam lining inserts, of which two have a precut diced pattern for easy cutout to accomodate the equipment. Clas Ohlson offers two more sizes of the hard case, the one I purchased being of mid size. Put a brand name on the case and it would have cost twice or thrice as much for equal performance and quality; many reviewers hail it and compare it with much more expensive equivalents. Staying true to my guerilla codex I couldn’t resist buying it because of the cost / performance ratio, equalling the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera and therefore being worthy of it.
The purchase of the hard case was necessitated because there has been an increasing need of protecting the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera, as well as keeping everything attached to it in one place. I have already had requests of shooting projects, so I need to bring my camera to a location far away from home (up until now I have shot with my camera in the vicinity) in a safe and protected manner. Also, I have to bring all of the necessary accessories with me to a shooting location. That’s why I have a need for a moderately sized case, which may carry not only the BMPCC chassis, but my Meteor 5-1 lens and attached zoom lever rod, filters and lens hood, as well as batteries (several of them), battery charger and cables, BMPCC power supply, and SDXC flash memory cards. The cutout of the foam lining inserts was easy because of them being perforated in one centimeter cubes; it just took some pulling with the fingers without the need for a knife. (Unfortunately, some reviewers report that these easily come off after wear, so I have to watch out when handling the packing and unpacking.) I took care to make enough room around the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera body for a future cage, so that I would easily be able cut out a larger space without interfering with the other cutouts for the accessories. I also have some room left in the middle for some extra accessory, such as a prime lens. Clas Ohlson offers spare foam lining inserts which may come handy in the future if I decide to make some rearrangements.
The lid and the bottom of the hard case has a lining in the form of small cones which keeps everthing pressed down in place. First I cut out the top layer so that the camera chassis, lens, filters, zooming rod, charger, power supply, batteries and lens hood would easily fit; the lens was the hard part as I had to do some precision cutting to fit the zoom lever at the side of the lens tube. I have the M42x1-MTF adapter from RafCamera always attached to the lens, so I had to accomodate for that in the cutout. The bottom layer was cut out with somewhat more sparse foam cubes to adjust the shapes of the objects, in some cases leave it uncut entirely. The entire process was finished in less than an hour. The lid closes smoothly, tight and secure. The case lid has snap locks for easy locking of the case. The corners also have a hole each prepared for padlocks. Everything feels robust and well protected. The case handle is made from some other type of plastic, almost like rubber which creates a distinct pleasant and comfortable feel to the hand while carrying the case; the entire hard case with all of the equipment stored inside gives a quite heavy feel. I will have to buy at least another hard case for the future Camtree Hunt rig (the cage itself will fit in the first case that I already have together with the BMPCC), i.e. the rod adapter, 15 mm rods, V-Mount battery holder and battery, A-Box preamp, follow focus arrangement and mattebox. A shoulder rig arrangement will also have its place in a case such as this, plus some extra lenses, mic, etc. I’m quite convinced that I will buy another one or two from Clas Ohlson.