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My hubby recently treated himself to a new camcorder. However when he decided to buy a case for it he found that most of the recommended cases were just too big and bulky for our needs. We knew that we would mainly be taking the camcorder around the theme parks of Florida so it needed to be in a small case attached to a belt so it was secure but out of the way most of the time. We searched on the internet and in various stores but just couldn't find anything suitable.
Whilst browsing around Gatwick airport (trying to pass the time!) we wandered into the Dixons store and spotted their huge range of Lowepro cases. We have a Lowepro case for our Digital camera and have been very happy with it so we decided to take a closer look.
We selected the Apex 30 AW after making sure it was large enough and paid about £21 for it as the original price was £25 but there was the airport discount. We had not seen this particular case in any store previously and it was the perfect size for our requirements.
The external measurements of the case are: 13.5cm x 7cm (D) x 8cm (W)
The listed internal measurements are: 12.5cm x3.5cm x6cm but our Handycam is a good 4.5cm deep and it fits fine.
Our case is black with grey insert but I believe there is also a blue one available.
This is a single compartment case and this is accessed with a zip that goes virtually right around three sides of the case. This makes it exceedingly easy to open when accessing or storing the camcorder even though it is a snug fit. The zip has a secure tag which makes opening struggle free.
The storage compartment is lined with a bright orange fabric which looks nice. The back has a good layer of padding with a brushed surface. The pocket then has a padded interior fabric divider which has an integrated pocket ideal for storing extra memory cards, this small pocket has a flap that is fastens with Velcro so it keeps all the chips secure even when extracting the camcorder. This pocket is easily big enough to store several SD cards. In front of the divider, attached to the case, is a black mesh pocket that would be ideal for storing a spare camera battery. We do not have one of these but found it handy for storing our tickets and also a little cash as the divider protects the camera from any scratches. The interior fabric has gusset folds at each end of the zip to prevent the camera accidently falling out when the pocket is unzipped.
The exterior of the case feels quite rugged and practical. There is a thick plastic area on the base which comes part-way up the front of the case to protect it from knocks and stops the fabric from being damaged. The sides of the case have a reasonable amount of padding to protect from small knocks. The fabric does not feel at all cheap and is showing no signs of wear at all and it has been extensively used over the summer and also suffered two weeks daily theme park abuse last month as well.
The whole case feels that it would provide a lot of protection from the elements but to complement this the case also contains an extra all-weather cover (hence the AW). This nylon cover is attached and stored in the back of the camera case and is easy to pull out and slip over the case to provide extra protection from rain, sand and dust. This covers most of the case, there is just a small area of the back of the case that is exposed but this is likely to be in contact with your body anyway. An elasticated edge keeps it in place. Once finished with it is easy to stuff back into its handy compartment. We used this a lot when there was a chance of rain or being sprayed with water, however on full-blown water-rides I still prefer to pop the cameras into plastic food-bags for extra protection!
We tend to carry our cameras on belts or bum bag straps (a major fashion failure!). My other Lowepro case has a sewn-in belt loop and I was a little dubious when I saw the attachment design for the Apex 30AW. There is a stiff, reinforced piece of fabric that forms a belt loop by being sandwiched between two pieces of Velcro and another piece of material at the bottom. This did not look very secure to me but it has not given any concerns during use and is actually easier to use than the traditional belt-loop as it can be slipped straight into the correct position and then fastened. I think this may be part of what Lowepro call their Slip-lock system which is designed to attach to other products in their range but I don't know a lot about it. If you prefer then a shoulder strap/neck strap is supplied which can be quickly attached to two hard-wearing fabric loops on the side of the case. As with my other camera case I think that the strap is very thin and is uncomfortable to use so I tend not to bother with this.
This case has certainly fulfilled all of our requirements. It looks smart and has a larger capacity than expected and holds our Handycam perfectly. It is easy to use and secure to carry and I was glad we found it. As I said we bought it at the airport and I have had difficulty finding it in other retail establishments but it can be purchased on line. Once again I feel Lowepro have provided an excellent case for a great value price and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.