Customer Reviews: Pelican 1510 Case with Foam -Black
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
Color: Black|Change
Price:$163.00+ Free shipping
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on January 13, 2009
I purchased this case with foam to protect Nikon equipment used for wedding, location portraiture and sports photography. The Pelican cases are outstanding and are as good as equipment cases get. The waterproof neoprene O-ring gasket, pressure equalization valve and latch design set Pelican cases apart. The 1510's max-allowable carry-on size is a huge selling point if you have even a 1% chance of travel with expensive equipment - you want to keep it in your immediate proximity, not in some disgruntled and underpaid baggage handler's tender care. It's a bit on the heavy side if you're used to a soft-sided camera bag, but you would expect that from such a durable case.

The down side of this purchase for me was the "pluckable" foam (which you should cut and never pluck). The foam is a great concept and gives better protection (if cut with thick foam sections between items) than the alternative 1515 Padded Divider set Pelican sells. However, it's VERY unforgiving - once cut it's cut. (Tips on cutting foam are below). I recommend you SERIOUSLY consider purchase of an empty 1510 case (no foam) and additionally purchasing the 1515 Padded Divider set instead of the 1510 with pluckable block foam. This will give you much more flexibility and simplicity (unless you never plan on adding new equipment) while still protecting your equipment. For this reason I will eventually (probably very soon) trash the very expensive foam and will buy the 1515 divider set.

If you decide to stick with the foam, hey, it's your money, but here are some tips which will make you less dangerously postal after realizing your mistake:

0) The case comes with 4 foam layers, two thin ones for bottom and the lid, and two thicker ones with the grid of semi-pre-cut pluckable foam. I will be referring to "marking the foam" below. This is done in the thick layers with toothpicks. Gently work a toothpick in to the corner of where the little 1/2 inch foam blocks come together. I'll use the term "hole" for the space you cut out for your equipment. Notice I said cut not pluck. Use a serrated steak knife to gently saw through the semi-pre-cut pluckable blocks for the neatest appearance. Let's make this look professional, OK?

1) Take all the foam out and look at the bottom of the case. See those intruding wheel wells and the intruding handle well? (Pelican had to intrude those into the case's interior to make it fit the airline's luggage size requirements). You don't want your $2000 camera setting on that wheel well as it vibrates while rolling over asphalt or grouted tile. Use the thin bottom foam pad to mark these areas off on the thick pad and only put in shallow holes (no cutting into the bottom thick foam layer) for items such as a flash or 50mm lens in these areas. You don't want tall items like a camera body here! I cut out areas so the bottom layer of foam sits better on the wheel wells - optional, but now the top layer of foam doesn't ride up on these corners.

2) Plan on leaving at least 2 to 3 foam blocks (1" to 1.5") of space between all your equipment. Thin foam will be VERY flimsy and will tear when your equipment is being inserted into the holes.

3) Make sure you clearly mark both thick layers with toothpicks, masking tape or something similar so you always know which side is the top. This is way more important than it sounds.

4) Get all your equipment out and arrange it on one of the thick layers, and start marking the foam while arranging your equipment. Remember you may be buying more equipment, so keep your holes grouped fairly close and leave unused space as contiguous as possible. For this step you're looking at everything from above and thinking in 2 dimensions - width and depth. Just marking, no sawing yet...

5) Now for the 3rd dimension of height - measure to see if the equipment is taller than a single layer of thick foam. These holes will have to be extended through both layers.

6) OK, it's time to get your steak knife and get ready to start sawing. Try to saw out the holes in complete blocks and set them aside to store them. This will greatly aid in fixing problems later on. Tell little Johnny to get away from them - give him some bubble-wrap instead. Don't drink alcohol until you're finished. You'll probably need some when you are finished though - I suggest The Glenlevit & water on the rocks, but without the water...

7) Think you're done? Wrong. Now work your equipment all the way into the holes and get the cut-out blocks you set aside earlier. Put the cut-outs on top of the equipment so they are level and mark how deep they go down into the hole with a toothpick. Measure from the bottom to the toothpick with a ruler to determine how deep it inserted into the equipment-filled hole. Now transfer that measurement to the TOP of the block instead of the bottom. For instance, if the bottom of the block inserts .75" into the hole, mark off .75" from the TOP of the block. Now saw through that plane with your serrated knife, perpendicular to the semi-pre-cut cuts. Try to be as neat and even as possible. Still looks bad when you're done, right? Since you follow directions well and measured this from the top and not the bottom, the ugly side will not be visible when impressionable clients look into our custom camera case when the equipment is removed. Remove the equipment from the hole, take the top piece you cut with the ugly side down and insert it into the bottom of the hole, then reinsert the equipment, and - Hey Look! - It's flush with the top!

8) How many mistakes did you make? OK, now move all your equipment a safe distance away, like the next room. Go get some Elmer's glue and put tiny super-thin lines of glue on your mistake blocks, glue them back in very carefully inserting them from the bottom so we don't get any glue on the outside visible parts of the foam. Set the two patched thick foam layers on their tops so the glue you still managed to smear on the bottom doesn't stick to anything (a wet washcloth will help with cleaning up excess glue). Now wait until tomorrow for it to dry so you can go back to step 4. It is now safe to grace a few ice cubes with the gentle caress of some Glenlevit while you wait for tomorrow's adventure in foam cutting.

FINIS) Well, painful though it was, I promise it was less painful than if you would have wouldn't have followed my awesome instructions. Now that it's a couple of hours (or days) later and you're nerves are completely frazzled and that bottle of The Glenlevit is a number of inches lower than before you started, don't you wish you would have listened to my advice about purchasing an empty 1510 and the 1515 Padded Dividers?

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on April 24, 2010
For my business I often must travel on short notice so I have a "go kit" packed for 3 day stays designed for carryon travel, and now its all in this case. Let me explain some things not shown in the picture.

First, on the back is the famous roller wheels and pull-out handle for getting through the airports. They are made of black plastic typical pelican tough stuff and don't show here.

Second, this case is sized for the maximum allowable carry-on size, which means no hassles at the airport.

Third, it comes with 2 layers of the famous pick and pluck foam insert. This does the job, but its not a custom fit for everything out there and looks funny. You can also buy closed cell foam sheets and trace out your product's outline, then I like to use an electric carving knife like you'd use on the thanksgiving turkey to cut clean lines and curves. That's a personal matter - if I'm traveling, I have smaller pieces of foam for sensitive stuff and often put clothes and such in the rest of the case, taking out the pelican foam.

Fourth, Pelican re-designed their tough as nails snaps. While they kept things closed tight, often getting them open after temperature and pressure changes could be a challenge. The new snap is a 2 step design with a closure step, followed by a locking step. This gives the same strength as before but without busting thumbs to get the snaps open.

Finally, the whole box is tough as nails. Just a note here, it is a heavy piece of carry on but most airlines don't weigh that yet. All the hinges are designed for the rigors of being kicked, dropped, water landings, etc and with proper packing your inside contents are ready to go.

I have one other Pelican travel case that I've owned for over a decade - it's their Maximum checked luggage box - it's been on alot of airplanes and now has the TSA low security lock so they can peek inside (they usually do and leave me a note on top of my dirty laundry since anything of value goes with me carryon). That box also has wheels and has become much more than a box over the year. It has served as a chair, a luggage cart to carry other bags on top of its wheels, and over 10 years of air and ship travel it has some scuff marks but everything still works. It's why I insist on pelican products and why I was happy to hear they made a max carryon size. My personal view on their divider system sold separately for this case is that it's suboptimal for most applications and a tad overpriced but I'm sure it does exactly what some people need by making lots of padded compartments inside once placed.
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on May 7, 2007
I have tried other soft cases and semi rigid suitcase style cases for my cameras, but this is the one. I am able to get just the right amount of stuff in this case. The pluckable foam insert is a well thought out product, but make sure you get your gear layout right before you start plucking. The fact that this case is carry on size is crucial. I would love to get just a little more gear inside, but, without bending the fabric of space and time, I must say it holds as much as I could possibly ask for the size of the case. I was able to get a Canon 5D body (with battery grip), a Canon 20D body, a 24-70 "L" series lens and lens hood, a 10-22 lens for the 20D, a 70-300 (NOT an "L" series) for the 20D, an 18-55 starter lens for the 20D, card reader and cord, extra battery, 10 memory cards, polarizing filter, two canon 550 flashes, extra AA batteries for the flashes, "feet" for the flashes, the radio controller for the flashes, extra 9V battery for the controller, battery charger, AA battery insert for the battery grip, camera straps, lens brush, small multitool, and finally, extra lens caps. While there are a few other small things I would like to fit in there, that is all the breakable stuff plus some, and that is what this case if for. When I get different lenses, I will order new pluckable foam, and I like that I can do that. The pluckable foam is the way to go. Stuff is held without any movement. If a luggage handler drops this case, nothing will shift at all on the inside. That is what I call protection. If you get creative with the two layers of foam, you could probably do a two layer set up of one shallow item on top of another shallow item, but I am afraid I would forget about the item stored in the lower layer. It is a no nonsense rolling (!) case that does one thing exceptionally well - protect expensive camera gear! It does that without fuss. The design of the hinges on the lid are a huge plus! They open to set amounts so that the lid holds itself open just past vertical. That way it is out the way, but doesn't slam into the floor when you open it. It is then easier to grab and close. It is a very small but brilliant thing that I now would hate not to have. The wheels roll beautifully, the pull handle extends just the right amount of distance. Don't expect a fancy handle - it slides out and locks, slides in and locks. It isn't fancy, but that's the idea. Judging by the design, they planned the pull handle to be a replaceable piece in case it gets trashed. How that could happen, I have no idea, because it is simple and seemingly indestructible, but I like that they thought it through so well. This is the kind of organization and protection I have been looking for. Buy this thing, and never look back. I would also recommend two of the TSA approved Pelican locks.
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on January 5, 2015
I read a LOT of reviews before purchasing this Pelican 1510 case. I had concerns about my stuff fitting in such a small case (I really was attracted to the fact that this had wheels and fit in the overhead compartment), and it's amazing how much gear you can fit in this.

The key is to take your time pre-visualizing how you think your components will best fit. I set my items atop the foam and moved them around several times, like a jigsaw puzzle, before committing to plucking any foam. I noticed that several reviewers were dissing the pick 'n' pluck foam option, but it totally works for me! Provided you plan your plucking in advance, you should have no problem, and this case will offer great protection for years to come!

In my case, I fit my Canon 70D body, two zoom lenses (18-135 and 55-300 Canon), my flash unit (top left, in the bag), two battery chargers, three extra batteries, a Neewer LED light unit, a Swifi viewfinder attachment, a couple of filter cases, two lens pens, a flash booster, a bunch of AA batteries (for the Neewer light), a couple of extra SD cards, and lens hoods for both lenses. As you can see, my Swifi viewfinder took up a fair amount of space, but leaving that out would allow for a couple of more lenses easily. I think I spent about an hour or two configuring this case to my specifications, and I'm quite happy with the layout.

I figure if I need to bring along a tripod and/or monopod, they should easily bungee to the top for easy wheeling.
Add a couple of Pelican TSA locks, and you're Wheels Up! Accept no substitutes for Pelican!
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on January 11, 2016
I needed a tough, waterproof suitcase and this fits the bill. This case is in and out of trucks every day in all kinds of weather and pulled across various types of paved surfaces and side walks. It encounters bumps, holes, cracks, dirt, rocks, snow, ice, rain - did I leave anything out? well you get the idea. Then it's loaded into a shuttle van with other drivers luggage and gear where it takes more abuse. It has two sturdy handles for carry upright or horizontal and a very easy to operate slide out handle to pull it. The sturdy wheels are recessed to allow the case to lay flat or to stand upright. The latches are the best I've seen on any case and the hinges are solid and hold the lid open to access contents while in the truck if necessary. The lid liner (sold separately) makes a great companion to organize personal belongings. I pack three changes of clothes, personal items, atlas, gps, and a gps mounting bracket. This case is a tad heavier than an average suit case - but if you need a tough suit case look no further!
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on December 14, 2015
I have 3 Nikon cameras and several lens. This is perfect for storing a couple of the cameras and all of the lens. I live on a working vineyard ranch, so, dust is a Huge problem. This is as tight and well made as I've seen yet. I comes with the foam on the top and bottom. This way I can make exact housings for everything and it doesn't roll or move. The dust and water stays out and I couldn't be more pleased.
It also is like a rolling suitcase with a pull out handle and wheels. As heavy as it can get with all of one's valuable cameras and lens
equipment it's a very welcome feature!
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on February 16, 2009
The Pelican 1510 case was the perfect size to hold 10 cameras I use for my classes in the schools. Great protection for taking them from class to class.
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on April 9, 2015
I travel frequently with electronic equipment and cameras. This case is great for a carry on item. Because it is built like a tank, you will have less room inside than a standard carry on bag. For me, the trade of is worth it. Used it yesterday as a seat in the airport, it gets checked sometimes on the smaller planes, it takes all the abuse in stride. So far it has been on 15 flights and about 20,000 miles and is working great. Added the mesh pocket lid insert (available here on Amazon) for cords, cables and other little stuff.

Two places to place your own padlocks. The wheels are beefy. Handles are very strong. Foam inserts are nice (additional pad on top and bottom).

Here is a secret...get the desert tan one. That way if you need to find it on the baggage carousel it is easy. I once watched them bring up about 30 bags that were gate checked up to the jet way. I think 29 of them were black roller bags...and there was mine, easy to find.
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on December 19, 2013
I have had this case for 20 months, and it is out on the slushy Chicago sidewalks almost every day, winter and summer. It has functioned as a table, a chair, a step stool, and it has of course protected my expensive camera gear. It's a great size as I bought the mesh pockets for the lid, and with that I am able to store my Sony NEX FS-100(with lens), two lav mics, two shotgun mics, an H4N Zoom Recorder, big headphones, an extra lens and some other various things like batteries in it without making it too crowded. The only time I have ever had an issue is when one of my employees somehow ground the wheel down and made one side flat so it would wobble when we rolled it. I have no idea how he achieved that, and it has never happened since, but I emailed pelican, and they sent me two replacement sets of wheels and two new backings for the entire case to make sure I never had to call again. Replacement was simple and done by me over the course of about five minutes. What amazingly nice people too!

I have noticed that after two years of almost daily use the foam that comes inside of it is starting to wear out and fall apart, but honestly if that's the worst that happens in two years of use I'm thrilled and will buy a replacement foam! It's also completely water/snow/sand proof from what I have seen. This has been rolled through snow, sleet and hail, put in the sand at a windy beach and my gear never gets any negative repercussions.

If you're looking for a case to store anything of value that needs to be protected go Pelican all the way! I am a true believer and will be buying only pelican for the rest of my life.
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on March 4, 2016
Excellent case and perfect for my new professional camcorder! I'm already customizing the foam inserts to accommodate the camcorder itself, extra batteries, charger, cables and other accessories I need on my shoots that normally would have been lumped into the compartments of my soft carry bag.

With a lot of research and Pelican's lifetime guarantee against breakage, this investment was an easy choice!
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