SKB Cases released their iSeries Pro DSLR cases about a year ago and we subjected their 1914 case to a long-term evaluation to test its durability and reliability under harsh conditions. The case was tested by five different evaluators (their remarks in quotes below).
SKB is no stranger to the protective case market and we are well-versed with their product line thanks to our sister publication, FutureMusic. With the burgeoning DSLR filmmaking market, SKB has tailored their injection molded, waterproof cases to meet the demands of almost every scenario required by filmmakers in today’s fast-paced, run and gun productions. The military-grade 1914 cases are constructed of high-strength polypropylene copolymer resin and feature a gasketed, waterproof, submersible design that is resistant to corrosion and impact damage. The 1914 is listed as IP67, a rating system developed by the International Electrotechnical Commission. IP stands for Ingress Protection and is commonly used by manufacturers to classify different degrees of protection against invasion or immersion. The IP rating is normally followed by two digits, the first designates the level of dust-resistance, the second indicates water resistance. Dust-resistance levels go from 0 up to 6 and water-resistance goes from 0 to 9. At IP67, the SKB is practically dustproof and water resistant down to three meters. In one of our tests, we left the 1914 submerged in a shallow pool (2 feet) for 10 straight days and found no signs of leakage from cracks, fissures or porosity. Once retrieved, the 1914 was left outside in the elements for 14 days where it encountered every imaginable summer weather condition from hot baking direct sun to torrential downpours. The 1914’s interior and exterior remained unscathed.
The SKB 1914 features a molded-in hinge, patented trigger release latch system and an automatic, ambient pressure equalization valve (MIL-STD-648C). The lockable, TSA-formatted trigger released worked without a hitch for over an estimated 1000 opening and closings throughout our evaluation. What didn’t fare so well was the pull out handle, which became harder and harder to extend over the course of our test. By the end, our last two reviewers “didn’t even bother to extend the handle” since it became an “exercise in patience.”
Designed specifically for DSLR camera, the inside of the 1914 is made of dense PE foam with predetermined cutouts for two camera bodies, four lens slots, lens hoods, a Speedlite, memory cards, batteries, and other additional accessories. The main camera compartment can be adjusted to fit a variety of DSLR body sizes and lenses with ingenious foam donuts to accommodate different dimensions. Of the four lens slots, three are adjustable to fit a variety of with three half-inch foam cutouts. Our reviewers found, “for the most part,” the case’s cutaways “allowed for most common situations requiring a DSLR rig,” but “there’s always a compromise at some point.” Owners of long telephotos, “should be aware that the long lens slot is just shy of 9″ making it inaccessible for some of the heftier super telephotos,” such as the Canon 400mm.
Considering the abuse the SKB 1914 DSLR case was put through, we found it performed admirably. The only caveat being the pull-up handle, which “didn’t hold up as well as the snap-flush, rubber handles” and “should be considered for a redesign” (see The Future below). Retailing for under $300, you get a lot for your money with the 1914, and it should be “seriously considered for anyone who requires subjecting their DSLR rig to adverse conditions.” Recommended.
The Future: For the iSeries 1914 Pro DSLR Case Mark II, SKB should consider redesigning the pull-out handle. Sand and grit too easily clogs the ability to extend the hand over time and the plastic handle does not retract completely down in order to be flush with the body. In fact, it protrudes about 1/2″ putting itself in harms way and is only a matter of time before it takes a debilitating hit.