The Ultimate Camera Travel Case : Peli 1510 Review
For a number of years, I have been considering the Peli 1510 Protector case primarily for my video set up. I wanted a robust carry case that could cope with heavier gear and that would remove the anxiety of “Don’t put anything on top of that bag, there is a camera in there!” every time anyone packed anything near my soft shell carry case. The Peli 1510 has dramatically reduced my camera travel anxiety and vastly improved my equipment storage and organisation.
Where it all began: The Classic Camera Case
Let me take you back a few decades. I purchased my first DSLR film camera back in the 1990s, an investment piece needed to be looked after and protected. I remember a trip to my local camera retailer and leaving with a large, shiny, aluminium brief case with solid foam insert. Looking back, it was an intimidating spectacle, a bright, shiny aluminium covered plywood case that shouted “There is something expensive in this case!”. In reality, it wasn’t terribly practical and despite the look it wasn’t actually that robust.
Peli 1510 Protector Case
Fast forward 30 odd years and camera protection has advanced as quickly as the camera technology itself. Thankfully the aesthetic has also improved dramatically and my first impression of the Peli 1510 case was that it has all the sophistication of a case you would see in an action movie. It’s solid, robust, sleek and simply looks impossible to destroy, so much so Peli offer a lifetime guarantee with the line “You break it, we will replace it“. I think this punctuates the quality of the Peli 1510 perfectly.
The plain black plastic case is exceptionally well made with the rims and locks aligning perfectly each time I open and closed the case. The latches are solid and hold the case closed securely, there is a reassuring light thud as they lock closed. If you are flying then you will be happy to know it’s under the carry-on size limits for most airlines. In addition the case has two metal reinforced lock rings should you want to add padlocks before it putting it into the hold (See above).
Peli 1510 : An Ample Storage Solution
My Peli 1510 shipped with the foam base and top, even with these inserts I was surprised just how much capacity there was for gear. The aim of the case is to carry a combination of my stills and video equipment as well as a plethora of accessories. In the past I invested in bags but only ever consider my camera and lenses, forgetting about the multitude of accessories and cables I also need to carry.
Length (mm): 514
Width (mm): 288
Depth (mm): 191
- Airliner carry on size
- Automatic pressure equalisation valve
- Easy-open latches
- Retractable handle
- Rubber ‘O-ring’ seal
- Scratch resistant
- Solid wall design
On a recent trip to the north coast of Ireland I decided to carry just the Peli 1510 for my camera gear and I carried my laptop in a separate bag. Remarkably I was able to fill the case with a stills camera, batteries, charger, 3 lenses and a mic system with cables. In addition, I packed two rugged hard drives, my DJI Mavic Air, 3 batteries, charger and remote control, my laptop and stills camera charger and finally the Syrp Geni Mini time-lapse device and cables. To be honest I didn’t need all of this equipment but as it fitted in the Peli I brought it ‘just in case’.
The 1510 TrekPak Inserts
When I first opened the packaging and saw a little cutting tool I was acutely filled with fear. I was struck by a Déjà vu of my 1990’s aluminium case and trying to cut a camera shape into a large solid piece of foam with a Stanley knife. The resultant butchery was not only an eyesore but when I complete the foam surgery I found my camera still rattled about a foam cavity. There was no way to maximise on the storage and I carried more foam around in the case than camera.
The Peli Trekpak inserts are different and something to get excited about in terms of style and versatility. Peli have a simple rule, measure twice, cut once and it works. One of my challenges with the case was deciding on my layout design and to be honest, I am still not sure I have it perfect (yet).
The trekpak surround insert fits perfectly and I started building a grid around my devices until I had the perfect structure. The walls of the insert are held in place with metal pins that come with little red ribbons designed for easy removal. The ribbons offer the additional bonus of making the inside of the case look rather ‘cool’ in my opinion. The walls are foam coated so you can push your hardware into place with a degree of grip and protection.
My video camera is considerably bigger than my stills cameras and lenses. One solution I have come up with is an additional wall that I can swap in and out according to my set up. The initial layout was designed for my 4K video set up including three lenses, headphones and two mics. One easy, additional insert means I can transform the case to carry my Fujifilm gear with a plethora of lenses, batteries and chargers.
Hard Case v The Traditional Rucksack
I use the Peli 1510 as my main travel case which then opens to be my remote base at a location. I still use a small rucksack to venture from my Peli out into the mountains. The Peli 1510 offers some fantastic advantages over a rucksack for long distance travel. One of the drawbacks of a rucksack is the lack of structure and form.
Packing a rucksack tight with items means they can knock together but there is also risk of compression of the more fragile pieces of equipment. I can’t for a second imagine carrying my DJI Osmo camera in a traditional rucksack bag for fear of damage. The Peli removes the risk and removes the anxiety. The padded, foam internal offers amazing protection with the rigidity of case ensuring there was no compression damage.
Unlike a rucksack opening the lid of the Peli case reveals all the contents, lenses and accessories are all easy to find. The organisational advantage of the Peli 1510 means I now use it to store my equipment even when I am not travelling. Everything fits into the case and it’s easy to swap out lenses at a location before venturing out in the mountains.
The Peli 1510 is also really easy to lift in and out of the car boot. This means I can take everything I need in the car and avoid forgetting a particularly cable, lens ring or filter. The Peli 1510 has become my fortified travel office, the pull-out handle and wheels make it exceptionally mobile which is great if it is loaded with a DSLR video camera and associated shoulder rig.
I am struggling to consider what the Peli 1510 case would have to encounter before seeing any signs of damage, the case genuinely appears blast proof. Some might argue the Peli 1510 is overkill for the everyday photographer but I’d disagree. If you travel at all with your gear then consider the case as essential especially if you want to avoid camera worry.
The Peli is stunning. You can bash, drop or pile 3-4 additional cases on top of the 1510 and still be confident your camera is safe. In fact, you could ship your gear in the 1510 and still be sure the content will be protected. You can be dropped off at an outdoor location and know your gear is safe from the winter elements. Better still the Peli makes for a comfortable seat when shooting a 40 minute time-lapse on the Giant’s Causeway. What I love best is the protection comes with the benefits of organisation. The trekpak insert mean I can instantly find an accessory or lens, it’s finally great to be organised even when out and about. I should have bought one years ago!
Peli 1510 Protector Case