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  • Writer's pictureCraig Van Horne

Shipping Cases – Super important but usually a hassle…

Protecting your equipment in transit, or even while sitting around the office or your house waiting for the next shoot is really important. We all invest in our equipment, all to varying degree’s of monetary expenditure, but for everyone on every budget it’s important to us all to ensure the investment we made is protected and not only good for our equipment, but also good for our wallets. Normally finding a shipping case, like a Pelican Case is a massive pain in the ass. The reason for that is that most camera stores, or other retail outlets don’t really stock them and the ones they have in house are rarely what we are looking for so it’s virtually impossible to handle the case and see if the kit we intend to protect inside it will fit the way we want.

One really important part of having the right case for your camera gear is to ensure, or at least mitigate, the potential of forgetting something you need on a shoot, because you’re constantly moving kit from one bag to another etc. Having the right case means that at a glance you will be able to determine if anything is missing once you get used to how it’s supposed to look when it’s got everything you need in it.

What’s pretty depressing is that virtually none of these retail stores are going to have the various accessories or things like the soft divider sets, or lid organizers that are available for Pelican Cases. In my search to find a case for our camera kit to hold the camera, lenses, rods system, microphone, batteries and all that gack, the laptop we use in the field for offloading cards and replicating the data and all sorts of other stuff directly associated with the kit. So how to choose?

Well, I ran across a company here in Calgary called Optimal Case & Lights Inc.who not only sell Pelican cases but also keep a massive inventory in stock! Holy crap! I went in and looked at some cases sitting in the front. The girl working there, Teresa came out and we chatted a bit and I told her what I was looking for, and not really knowing which case I wanted because it’s hard to imagine the size of Pelican Cases interior dimensions without actually seeing them. Teresa was incredibly helpful, she knew the models and made some suggestions, even suggested that I might be interested in the padded divider set for a Pelican 1560 Case. So I asked if they had one,“absolutely” she replied, I asked if I could see it out of the box, “of course” was her reply. Now I’m getting happy.

Teresa also gave me the price, which was less than the retail stores out there, not a lot less on this larger case but enough to make me feel good about the purchase. I had also been on the search for a Pelican 0915 Case for SD memory cards, all of the camera stores I went to were out, but Teresa had them… Now I’m even more happy, and it was under $19.00 which is 33% less expensive than the same case at Vistek… and it was in stock!

I have to say, I cannot overstate how important it is to me to be able to take my kit and mess around with cases or bags and see what might work, it makes me comfortable with the purchase and I feel like I made the right decision. Teresa was awesome and I even had a chat with the owner of the company who just happens to be Teresa’s father-in-law. I can say for certain that I will be back to buy more cases from Teresa at Optimal Case & Lights Inc.. For those who live in Canada but aren’t in Calgary, they offer free shipping on orders over $125.00 CDN. That doesn’t get you hands on, but the pricing is really competitive and better than the retail guys without question. For us Calgarians, I think that Optimal Case & Lights Inc. is perfect for getting the shipping cases we need at a great price and being able to go in and try them out.

Once in a while I run into a company like these guys who are knowledgeable about their products, friendly and have what I need, so I’ll talk them up. I think it’s incredibly important to find these types of companies wherever you live and support them by shopping there, whenever a company is part of helping solve a problem we have, then they are worth promoting. So find these companies in your area because sometimes they service other industries that use Pelican Cases as well, but aren’t well known to the camera and video crowd; wherever there is industry there is likely some company selling these cases and at a better price than a retail camera store.

Here’s their website again: Optimal Cases & Lights

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