As soon as I purchased my Canon S95 during Amazon's brief "deal of the day" for $229 1 week ago today I immediately set out to find a compact carry case. After perusing countless styles I narrowed it down to 2, this Olympus Neoprene and the Case Logic TBC-302 Ultra Compact Camera Case with Storage (Black)
. They were relatively inexpensive so I ordered both and evaluated.
Since the issue of "the odor" has become such a contentious topic within recent posts I thought I'd address it first. There is no doubt this item has a noticeably strong (unpleasant) smell inside the case. Several ppl have equated it with kerosene or industrial solvent. IMO the smell is definitely noticeable but not so overpowering unless you decide to sleep with it on your pillow, which of course is crazy... right? That said, I may have found a way to mitigate the issue.
I experimented by liberally spraying the interior with Febreze® Air Effects® Air Freshener Linen & Sky Scent (3-9.7 Oz/275 g)
. I generously sprayed it several times during the first day and left the case open for about 24 hours to "air out." By day 3 there was a marked improvement, the odor was still there but considerably less. I repeated the process once more and unless you're snorting something out of the case (highly unrecommended), it's almost negligible now.
My next concern was more of a safety/security issue. It regards the magnetic closure which works adequately without the camera but marginally with it. By this I mean it requires an initial downward pressure on the flap to make it conform to the shape of the S95 and magnetically latch. This is possibly due to a slight misalignment between the magnet (embedded in the flap) with the mating metal tab (embedded in the case). Remember, this case was not designed by Olympus for the S95, it comes very close and given time the flap may slightly stretch (as with a new pair of slippers). My thought is each time I squeeze it closed the case will eventually mold itself better to the camera's shape and latch more readily - that's my thought anyway. So far it appears to be working.
However, my biggest fear was having the camera accidentally pop-out while I carried it on my belt. So as an "experiment" I took a little hike yesterday through "Telegraph Pass" here in Phoenix which is a moderate rated trail with lots of altitude changes, large boulders and uneven surfaces. I made sure to maintain awareness and keep a vigilant eye on the camera during my hike. I can now attest that after more than 6 miles, numerous jumps, slides and severe bumps, the camera never left the case :) Perhaps it was the neoprene interior, the snug fit or just dumb luck, either way the camera didn't eject. That said, I'm still not completely convinced of the magnetic closure's strength and would feel more confident if Velcro were used. In fact, I may install some in the future as a precaution.
I'm more certain now than when I started that this case will carry my S95 and 2 SDHC cards securely (if worn on a belt). BTW, don't count on slipping it into your jeans pocket easily as it would be pretty bulky, a jacket maybe. However, if you need additional space for say the Canon CB-2LY Li-Ion Battery Charger for NB-6L Li-Ion Batteries
or extra battery, you're out of luck. In fact, be prepared to exercise a little more patience with one other small issue...
If you prefer using the camera's included wrist strap (most do), you may find it a little tiresome winding it into the case every time you holster it. Your options are either: folding it carefully and tucking it next to the lens; allow it to hang outside the case; or just omit it altogether (not a good idea).
Lastly, this may be one of the few times that corporate cost cutting by Olympus may be a benefit to Canon (or other) customers. If you buy this case for the S95 (or other model), you'll be happy to learn that Olympus elected to omit the their name tag from the exterior (unlike the product photo). At least it spares me from surgically removing it with an X-Acto knife...
- Exterior black design is discrete.
- Semi-rigid exterior shell is nominally padded (made from nylon)and compact.
- Soft neoprene padded interior (think wetsuit liner) without uneven or ragged edges.
- Wide horizontal opening facilitates camera insertion and removal.
- Quality stitching throughout.
- Two internal sewn-in elastic pockets for memory cards (for use without plastic cases).
- Wide (heavy duty) exterior belt loop (not elastic and sewn at both attachment ends).
- No exterior logo labels.
- Magnetic catch could be stronger.
- Insufficient space for anything but camera and 2 memory cards.
- Ooooh, that smell...
In conclusion, nothing is perfect and the fact is this case appears well made (aside from the odor issue); has a nice design; fits the S95 (mostly) and offers a good value. Its worth considering and should definitely be on your short list.
As for greater capacity to carry the camera and accessories there may not be much choice but to either carry these items separately or look at a larger case such as the Case Logic DCB-302 Compact Case for Camera - Black
Now that I've had ample time living with the case it has really grown on me, in fact it is the case I use most frequently now. The issues with the opening flap have not completely been eliminated (not installed Velcro yet) but since weather has been cooler my jackets and sweaters keep it from opening. Will need to re-examine come spring.
What I have noticed is when the camera is within the case and not on my belt, the flap issue is non-existent. Only after mounting it onto my belt (no I'm not that horizontally challenged either) does the case distort slightly causing the magnet to become misaligned. No big deal really but thought it might help those still sitting on the fence trying to decide... BTW, I too installed the Richard Franiec custom grip and can testify (as others mentioned) it has no effect whatsoever fitting in the case!
As an aside, I did also purchase the Case Logic DCB-302 Compact Case for Camera - Black
(sort of went "case crazy" since buying the S95) for a very reasonable $5.98. Without too much detail, it strikes a very good balance between compact size and storage capacity. The overall outline is slightly larger (barely) than the Olympus case but with "puffier" padding. Having two secure zippered compartments, one to contain the camera (no magnet issues) and one for accessories along with included adjustable shoulder strap, it brings this case up to a whole new level. I'm still amazed at how much it can hold within such a tiny footprint!
Bottom line is this, the Olympus case is a wonderful design if you are traveling light and are looking for the smallest, lowest profile. But if your needs require additional space but also want to keep things minimal there are alternatives...
Well, it's been about 6 months now and most of my concerns have been alleviated. The smell is long gone, the magnetic catch works well enough and the case has conformed perfectly to the S95's shape. Bottom line, I use this case almost all the time now. My biggest sticking point regards any traveling.
Long trips are most challenging as the case is far too small to carry all the necessary items. Even the other cases mentioned are unable to contain the camera, 3 extra batteries, charger, 12VDC adapter and 2 spare memory cards. So my compromise is this; the camera with 2 extra memory cards fit into the Olympus case and all the other items get "squeezed" into the Case Logic DCB-302, or until I find a better case solution.
In the end the Olympus Horizontal Neoprene and Nylon Case has exceeded my expectations and was definitely worth purchasing. If you understand it's limitations you will find it to be a durable, elegant and ideal solution for carrying your camera.
Well my worst fear has occurred... while traveling out of town to sell our late parent's home I accidentally dropped my camera on an outdoor staircase about a half flight up! Needless to say, the camera did not survive the fall without significant damage but the case did possibly mitigate some of it. Despite denting the housing and creating a malfunctioning lens error, it could have been worse. Can't blame anyone but myself as I had both hands full of stuff and didn't have the S95 lanyard attached to my wrist.
On the positive side of things, I am grateful for AmEx protection plan which extended the original Canon warranty from 12/12 to 12/13. They graciously paid the full cost of the camera which was appreciably higher than the cost of repairs so I suppose things worked out better than I deserve. While I didn't have my S95 to take pictures of our family's home (which we owned for 30+ years) on the final day before closing, I did manage some decent shots and videos with my sister's iPhone.
Bottom line, no case will protect you from yourself or your own stupidity... lesson learned, always wear the wrist strap even when it's in the case!