Monday, 2 June 2008

Lowepro D-Pods 30 case for Ricoh GX100 compact digital camera

A couple of months ago I posted my experience of the Lowepro D-Pods 30 case with my Canon G9 - Click here to read it. Recently I have been able to play around with a Ricoh GX100 compact digital camera, so I thought it would be useful to report on my experience with it and the D-Pods 30 case, and to compare it with the G9 as well.

Description and specifications
The D-Pods 30 was designed by Lowepro for small digital cameras. It is made from a black stretchy, water-resistant fabric; it has a Velcro secured belt/SlipLock™ compatible loop on the back, a battery/accessory pocket on the front of the case and a memory card pocket in the inside of the front flap. You can also slip something under the memory card pocket (as shown in the photo below). It also comes with a removable shoulder strap and the table below lists the dimensions. In the UK it costs around £7.99.

Interior - Inches / cm
Exterior - Inches / cm
4.9 / 12.5
5.4 / 13.8
2.8 / 7.0
3.2 / 8.2
1.4 / 3.5
2.5 / 6.3

Lowepro D-Pods 30 case with the Ricoh GX100 in it, along with a spare battery in the front pocket and a spare SD card in the memory card pocket. The GX100 has the supplied wrist strap fitted.

What is it like in use?
Well the good news is the GX100 fits nicely into the pouch; it is not nearly as tight a fit as the G9 and it is easy to get the camera in and out. Being a looser fit means that you can not really feel any of the buttons, dials and flash bracket through the case that you can with the G9. This is also partly because the GX100 has a smoother body outline with fewer protrusions than the G9.

You certainly can not use the case with the VF-1 electronic viewfinder attached to the GX100, but it fits OK into the bottom of the case without the VF-1’s supplied case; but I feel that the “naked” VF-1 might well get damaged in transit. With the VF-1 in its supplied case I could fit it in at a squeeze with the Velcro closure tab just making contact, but I felt that it was just as likely to damage the VF-1 as protect it. I suppose for “gentle” transport situations it would be OK – at least the viewfinder would not get lost – but not for carrying on the belt or hanging off a rucksack strap.

The Ricoh DB-60 battery for the GX100 (I also use Hähnel HL-005 batteries with the wide range of Panasonic, Leica and Fujifilm cameras that use the same battery) is much slimmer (10mm vs. 16mm) and lighter (26g vs. 43g) than the Canon NB-2LH battery used in the G9, (as shown in the photograph below) so it fits into the front pocket very neatly without making the whole package too bulky, as you can see in the photo above. In fact I did not really notice the battery in the pocket at all as it fits in nicely just below the GX100’s lens bulge in the case.

The Canon battery on the left - the Ricoh on the right

A SD card fits neatly into the memory card pocket, which is made from stiffer material than the stretchy outer case. If, however, your camera takes Compact Flash (CF) cards then it might be worth knowing that the memory card pocket is not big enough to take a CF card. CF cards will slip in behind the memory card pocket, although it is not as secure as the proper pocket and might easily fall out. The front pocket takes a SD or CF card in a protective case quite securely.

The weight of the whole package (camera, strap, spare battery and SD card, and VF-1) comes in at 386g. Without the VF-1 it weighs 364g. By comparison the G9 weighed in at 500g.

I found it much easier to slip the GX100 in and out of the case when on my belt than the G9.

I have not used the neck strap so have no comment to make on it other than it looks like the standard one that Lowepro supplies with most of its small cases.

All-in-all it is a pretty good choice for a Ricoh GX100. It is a good fit; slipping in and out easily. It is no bulkier than it needs to be and gives good enough protection against accidental knocks and abrasion that occurs when these things rattle around inside bags, glove compartments and sundry other places day-in and day-out.

There is, however, no room for any much larger accessories such as wide angle attachments or with a viewfinder attached (although it can take the dismounted VF-1 at a pinch) – for these you will need a bigger case.


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