Best DSLR camera lens cases iMore 2021
The best digital camera has a full body of lenses available. The more you practice, the faster you learn. I've been hauling camera bodies and lenses across the world for more than 20 years, so I know a thing or two about what works and what doesn't. The best DSLR camera lens cases prevent scratches to the glass and structural damage to the barrel while remaining lightweight and travel-friendly. They also keep dirt and debris from collecting on sensitive lens parts. When I hit the road, my lenses tuck away inside the NANUK 910. The hardshell exterior and cushy interior foam are impact-resistant and fit any size lens. I have a few other favorites. Let's talk about the best DSLR camera lens cases this year.
- Best overall: NANUK 910
- Best value: Altura Photo KM0532
- Best for long lenses: Think Tank Photo Glass Limo Backpack
- Best tough case: Ape Case ACLC4
- Best universal Case: G-raphy Camera Bag Insert
Best overall: NANUK 910
When you need superior protection, you want the NANUK 910. It looks like a small, hardshell briefcase and is light enough to take anywhere. The 910 is IP67 waterproof rated, in addition to being dustproof and shockproof. The NK-7 resin exterior stands up to drops, scratches, and all the knocking around that adventure photographers and travelers can throw at it.
Foam inserts line the inside of the case on the top and the bottom. You cut them to size, so you're guaranteed a perfect fit around all your pricey lenses and even your camera. The NANUK 910 comes in eight colors, making it a cinch to grab more than one case to house sets of lenses used for specific outings like landscape or sports shootings.
My only beef with this case is that it's not lockable. If you travel with your gear, you'll need to put this inside a locked suitcase or backpack, especially if you're going by plane. If that's not a concern, the NANUK 910 is a solid hard case with a slim profile and comfortable handle that will safeguard your glass against the elements and normal day-to-day wear and tear.
- Waterproof and shockproof
- Foam cutout inserts fit lenses to size
- Comfortable handle
- Slim profile
- Latches are not lockable
Best value: Altura Photo KM0532
This four-pack from Altura Photo includes small, medium, large, and extra-large pouches. All are neoprene, so they're naturally water-resistant and shield your lenses from dust, sand, and dirt. The material is thick enough to keep lenses from scratching when bumping about and provide a little cushioning against drops.
Lenses slide into the top of the pouch and stay secure with a cinch strap. It's no work at all to put lenses inside the bag or to remove them. We love the added swivel hook on the side of the lens covering. With it, you can attach lenses to belt loops, backpacks, and carabiners for easy access. The interior is a plush faux fur lining that buffers sensitive glass nicely but tends to shed a little. Keeping lens caps on makes this a non-issue for most photographers.
If you're a hobbyist or want a set of pouches to toss in your camera bag before you head out the door, these no-nonsense offerings from Altura Photo are worth the price. They're lightweight, keep dirt out, and the swivel hooks are perfect for attaching to your camera strap or backpack.
- Water-resistant neoprene
- Swivel hooks are genius
- Drawstring tightens around lenses
- Four pouches included
- Interior lining sheds a little
Best for long lenses: Think Tank Photo Glass Limo Backpack
If you carry a telephoto lens for wildlife or sports photography, you know what a pain it can be to haul all that weight around. Giant lenses meant to capture every detail from a distance are back-breakingly heavy and unwieldy. Enter the Think Tank Photo Glass Limo Backpack. It fits pro DSLR telephoto lenses up to 600mm, and we love almost everything about it.
Transporting big glass is comfortable with this oversized lens case-backpack combo. It looks and feels like a backpack, and it's fully adjustable and ergonomic, so you can take it through the backwoods or to the stadium without issue. The interior is sturdy enough to prop up a large lens, and it has padded, adjustable dividers to keep smaller lenses from shifting while you move. The dividers adjust to your lenses and camera size, so there's really no end to the number of lenses or camera bodies you can carry.
There's a large mesh zippered pocket in this bag and around the exterior. You'll have lots of room for filters, extra batteries, a tripod, memory cards, lens collars, and even your tripod. The downside: it's pricey. There's no denying it's a big investment to go with the Think Tank, but there's nothing that competes with it today.
- Balances weight well
- Fits lenses up to 600mm
- Comfortable to wear
- Lots of storage pockets
- Padded dividers for smaller gear-hauling
Best tough case: Ape Case ACLC4
Most of the best DSLR lens cases are pouch-style, cinching closed with some sort of cord. The Ape Case ACLC10 goes one step further by adding zippers. Cinched pouches work well if you have lens covers on your equipment. However, they still let a small amount of dirt and dust inside. With a zippered case, your lenses are treated to an airtight seal, safe from dust, dirt, and debris.
This is a medium case that fits adjustable or prime lenses. There are other sizes available to accommodate lenses in your kit. The outside is rip-stop nylon fabric that's tough and durable, and the inside has a tremendous amount of removable padding. The combo means that you can drop or bump your lens, travel with it, or keep it in your camera bag without worry. The Ape Case is the most durable DSLR lens case in my kit.
There are two wide straps on the back of this case so that you can attach them to a belt buckle, camera strap, or backpack. Genius! The only negative is that you have to buy each case individually, making it a little pricier than some options. Still, we think it's worth it. If you need a tough-as-nails camera lens case, you just found it.
- Has additional removable padding
- Belt/backpack loop on back
- Zippers to keep debris out
- Must be purchased individually
Best universal case: G-raphy Camera Bag Insert
Internal camera units, often abbreviated as ICUs, are among the most versatile pieces of gear photographers can own. The camera insert bag from G-raphy is half-tote and all ICU. Unlike other inserts, the G-raphy has a handle at the top, so you can slide it in a backpack or carry it independently.
The G-raphy bag insert is shockproof and waterproof and folds down small when not in use. Detachable, adjustable dividers stick to the interior lining, separating your lenses and protecting them against damage while traveling. Since the dividers move anywhere you like, there are endless possibilities for storing gear. You can fit three medium to large camera lenses inside or keep your camera and a couple of lenses, plus still have room for filters, spare batteries, and lens covers.
There's little to dislike with the G-raphy offering. Given a choice, I'd prefer three dividers to the two provided, but since dividers can be found for next to nothing these days, that's hardly a valid complaint. If you want a single ICU that is carryable on its own and fits in a backpack, put this in your cart now.
- Shockproof and waterproof
- Top-sided handle
- Two interior dividers
- Fits most lenses
- Could use another divider
You carry a camera in your pocket all day in the form of a smartphone. Yet, there are at least 4 situations when a digital camera is better than an iPhone camera. For those of us who shoot with a full-on interchangeable lens camera, protecting your equipment is a must. And that starts with the very best DSLR camera lens cases.
The case I rely on is the NANUK 910. It doesn't have locking clasps, but it is waterproof, shockproof, and keeps dust and sand from settling on sensitive lenses.
The NANUK 910 comes in a variety of colors. I've picked up two kits, one for wildlife lenses and the other for landscape equipment. Now, I can grab the gear I need in a hurry and hit the road. I love the customizable foam inserts that work with long and short lenses, and because this case is waterproof, I never have to leave it behind.
If you need a setup that will allow room for your computer and gear, check out the best laptop bags for photographers.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
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