CMS-Japanese Motorcycle Supply Parts

Pelican 1510 or 1514 case review


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Welcome to the Pelican 1510 with padded dividers - aka the Pelican 1514 - review! Firstly, a little background: I was in the market for two cases; one as a garage case and a lug-everything-to-a-job case and another to primarily be used as a lighting case and perhaps doing a second job as a stripped-down kit case. The Pelican 1610/1614 ended up being my choice as a garage case and the choice for the smaller case came down to the 1510 with dividers (the 1514), available on Adorama, Adorama, Amazon, eBay US, eBay CA, eBay UK, eBay AU. This was because I wanted a case with rollers - I like my back intact and for long distances why carry when you have to? - and also a case which would neatly fit my light stands should I find that I had room enough to chuck them in, too.

The stands ended up fitting in absolutely perfectly in the case with dividers, slotting in just neatly. Now, light stands aren't really a candidate for being easily broken and the purpose of fitting them in the case isn't so much to protect them as to just have all of my lighting kit in one case that I can pick up, eyeball and cart off to a job in mere seconds without having to grab additional bags. I like things being simple and streamlined and having everything in one case is very much that to me.

I was quite keen to get the 1510 in orange but unfortunately they only make this Pelican in black and desert tan. Bummer! Having it be carry-on legal for some airlines is nice in theory but given the heavy weight of just the case and dividers if I put anything of significance in it it's going to blow the weight limit of carry-on for any of the carriers that I've flown recently and as such the size is a bit academic. It is a very nicely sized case, though, and I wouldn't consider something smaller for a lighting kit (my style of non-ultralight lighting kit, anyhoo). As it turns out I haven't really used this as a stripped-down kit bag yet because a) it's so bloody useful as a lighting case and b) I tend to shoot out of something like my Domke F3x or Boda bag and don't usually need more than that on a job so a small shoulder bag and the case complement each other so nicely that I haven't felt the need. Onto the photos! Same as any Pelican case - industrial look, very solid plastic, chunkily styled. Here it is fully loaded up.

Here's a review of the Pelican 1514 hard case - essentially a 1510 case with padded dividers

...and straight to the important bit - here's what I fit in it!

Here's a review of the Pelican 1514 hard case - essentially a 1510 case with padded dividers

Inside we find:

Batteries and tape are stuffed into a small corner to the left, the grids are under a padded piece below the 580, there are two 580 IIs stacked on the lower right and the top is a large compartment containing what you can see on the labels. The OC-E3 mod is one I did myself with the help of an electrician friend (thanks again Josh!) and the two ends of the OC-E3 clip into a Cat5 cable of any length. I routinely carry 10m around and haven't needed more than that. Works great with the newer cameras such as the 1D III which can control the master from the back of the camera... means you can stick the master in the mix and still have the speed of changing settings on the fly that you get from using Canon's communication system.

The top section spread out:

Here's a review of the Pelican 1514 hard case - essentially a 1510 case with padded dividers

The LP-632s and other stuff are kept in little zippered semi-hard fabric containers with clear plastic top parts that I found in a camping store sale for $10. They're grand for storing stuff in in these bags and stopping stuff scratching other stuff. Here's what fits in the entire case laid out:

Here's a review of the Pelican 1514 hard case - essentially a 1510 case with padded dividers

For the size of the case it's honestly surprising how much you can fit in once you get the hang of packing it right. This is my second go at packing effectively and I think I've got a pretty good setup at the moment with everything being readily accessible yet well protected. The long Honl snoot gets wrapped around one of the Manfrotto stands when it's packed away - you can see that in the shots of everything in the case. It's the easiest way I've found of storing it and it's a very nice fit.

This is a touch I'm happy with - to keep the umbrellas from shifting about I've used a couple of short velcroed pieces of elastic that came out of one bag or another I've had (either a Crumpler backpack or perhaps a Lowepro shoulder bag):

Here's a review of the Pelican 1514 hard case - essentially a 1510 case with padded dividers

Used thusly:

Here's a review of the Pelican 1514 hard case - essentially a 1510 case with padded dividers

Quick and easy to remove and very effective at stopping them from moving. You could very easily make your own.

Here is how I have arranged the bottom of the large compartment:

Here's a review of the Pelican 1514 hard case - essentially a 1510 case with padded dividers

Honl gobos velcroed to the velcro strip that goes along the center of the base, speed straps to the velcro back, everything else placed on top. Oh, and the shorty snoot gets velcroed to the back next to the speed straps.

One thing I've noticed about the 1510 compared to the 1610 is that the 1510 has some pleasantly rubberised sections on the handles which the 1610 lacks. Top handle:

Here's a review of the Pelican 1514 hard case - essentially a 1510 case with padded dividers

Center handle:

Here's a review of the Pelican 1514 hard case - essentially a 1510 case with padded dividers

The extendable handle doesn't flex one bit with the amount of weight I've put in it (thanks to my then-girlfriend, now-wife for the hand modelling):

Here's a review of the Pelican 1514 hard case - essentially a 1510 case with padded dividers

It is a very comfortable height fully extended for me to roll around and I'm 5'8". The handle's locking/release mechanism differs from the 1610 and I find it easier to release one-handed:

Here's a review of the Pelican 1514 hard case - essentially a 1510 case with padded dividers

Simple clasp right below the hole you put your hand through. Very easy, I like it. Still feels solid. You pull the tab towards camera left and pull up on the handle to release it. Another point of curiosity; despite being shorter in body the 1510's handle actually extends a tiny bit farther than the 1610's does.

Here's a review of the Pelican 1514 hard case - essentially a 1510 case with padded dividers

Not a great deal of difference, probably less than an inch - I haven't precisely measured it though! I find both a very comfortable height.

In conclusion? This bag fits my needs perfectly and is an excellent solution for someone wanting a hard case for their gear. As a lighting and studio kit case it works very well - it gives me about 8" extra in height for when I need it (and being 5'8" I do need it at times!), is extremely durable and makes it very easy for me to find whatever it is I'm looking for as it's all in front of me. Rummaging through pockets in a bag is definitely more time consuming. Unpacking and packing the gear the way I've set it up is extremely quick and easy.

I would highly recommend this case to anyone whose needs were similar to mine. Since there are already a few reviews floating around of this case with camera gear in it hopefully this one will add something a little bit different to the mix. It's also going to be a great travelling case for when I go car camping/4WD camping and similar; chuck a simple kit and travel tripod in here and I don't have to worry about water, mud, sand or getting stuff chucked on it - everything in there is going to be safe no matter what. Some things I've skipped which have been covered in the 1610/1614 review which are the same here - things like the padlock holes and the double-throw latches are just the same quality between the two so if you want more info on those see my other review. Only difference in the above two things is that the 1510 has two latches at the front whereas the 1610 has two at the front and one on each side.

As an update nine years after writing the above - I still have the case and it still gets regular use. It has seen a wide variety of uses - as checked luggage with a full camera kit for cross-country weddings to carting around three or four different generations of off-camera lighting. It still basically looks like it does in the above photo except with a few more scuffs on the underside.

Grab the Pelican 1510 (with foam): Amazon, eBay US, eBay CA, eBay UK, eBay AU

...or the 1514 as pictured above: Amazon, eBay US, eBay CA, eBay UK, eBay AU

The 1514 is often advertised as a 1510 with dividers so don't be surprised if there's a fair bit of overlap there...



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