Photography News Issue 31

Photography News | Issue 31 | absolutephoto.com

49 First tests

Panzer Conqueror 35.5 £140

Specs

Price

Images With the ability to accommodate a volume of 35.5l, the Conqueror will easily have room for two full-frame bodies, lenses and a flashgun. Far left bottom To test the Conqueror’s watertight seal, the case was placed under a jet of running water for 15 minutes and then submerged for the same amount of time. £140 Construction High impact-resistant ABS engineering resin Foam inserts 5 pieces supplied in total – 2 diced Latch system Double throw latch Seal Tongue and groove with rubber O-ring Ingress protection rating IP67 Volume 35.5l Dimensions (wxhxd) Internal: 480x370x200mm External: 520x431x236.5mm Weight 8kg Contact panzercases.myshopify.com

Many photographers are perfectly content with the level of protection afforded them by a quality camera bag or photo backpack. Some photographers who travel a great deal or work in challenging conditions, however, need something more robust and designed to withstand truly arduous conditions. Perhaps something like a Panzer case. Panzer cases have been available in the UK since 2014 and its parent company, Oakmays, has supplied protective solutions since 1996, so the brand has a good pedigree. Its heavy-duty hard cases are available for phones, tablets, compacts and DSLR systems and all are waterproof, airtight, shatter proof, chemical resistant, crush proof and shockproof. In this test we trialled one of the larger and best selling cases in the range, the Conqueror 35.5 flight case which retails at £140. You can’t help but be impressed with the case’s substantial build quality. True, it weighs in unladen at 8kg but if you need protection, you get it in spades. There are two carry handles – the main one is rubberised for comfort, and there’s a pull-out handle. The latter is firmly locked in place – when parked or in use – and for me was perhaps an inch or two too short for true pulling comfort but everyone’s physiology is different so worth testing this in person. Two latch locks on the front secure the case. These work firmly and need a good push to secure, while their angled lip design ensures you get an airtight seal. Holes are provided if you want to add a padlock or security seal. A pressure release valve is fitted on the front too should you get an airlock. This case comes with fitted foam sheets, one in the lid and four in the

compartment, the top two diced and ready to be customised to your kit. Of course, before you do anything irreversible you need to think about layout. Replacement foam is available from Panzer or online so if you make a mistake or want spare sheets for different outfits it’s no problem. This model has a 35.5l capacity and there’s room for a decent sized DSLR outfit. You can see it’ll comfortably take two full-frame bodies, four lenses and a flashgun. Have the bodies standing on one end and the flash upright and you’ll fit more. Put another way, the Conqueror can take enough kit to make it quite heavy. If you anticipate flying with this case as hand baggage, it conforms to the size restrictions of many (but not all) airlines, but if there is a weight limit you are likely to exceed that once it’s loaded up. As restrictions change you need to check with the relevant airline before travelling. But if the case does have to go into the plane’s hold you know the contents are protected. To gauge the level of the protection offered, I put the case into the bath and ran a jet of water over it for 15mins and left it submerged for the same length of time. Then I put an egg inside, had an 80kg man jump up and down on it and drop tested it from 1m and 2m. The case, also with an egg inside went into the plane hold on a return flight out of Heathrow – I was on a business trip so it seemed a great opportunity to give the case a real-life test. The good news for the case’s interior – and the egg –was it survived my tests and those of the baggage handlers, emerging unscathed apart from a fewwear-and-tear scratches. Yes, real life will throw up sterner and potentially riskier situations but it seems to me that the Conqueror is built to repel. WC

You can’t help but be impressed with the Conqueror’s build quality

Verdict

There’s no doubt that the Panzer Conqueror 35.5l is a terrific, very solidly made case offering a high level of protection and it comes in at a very attractive price. If the size of this case doesn’t suit your specific needs, there’s almost certain to be something in Panzer’s extensive range of cases that will and has the same protection skills as the Conqueror. Pros Incredible level of protection, good capacity Cons The pull-out handle is just a little too short

Above To test how safe gear in the Conqueror 35.5 would be, an egg was placed inside and then the case was dropped from 1m and 2m off the ground. The Conqueror was also jumped up and down on by an 80kg man. The egg survived both tests.

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