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Shopping for a professional camcorder can take weeks or even months of research. Consideration of optics, format, frame rates, and more is huge in determining the right camera for you. Does anyone put this much thought into buying a camera bag? They should. I’ve owned plenty of good and bad cases over the years. Finding the right balance of protection, usability, and price has been a chore -- until I found the D-Light Capsule from Kata.
I took on a long term documentary project late last year and chose to shoot the ‘phase one’ interviews with the video-enabled Canon 7D DSLR. With the initial interviews now largely complete, my client -- a New York based arts organization -- has requested live performance footage for B-roll. I’ve chosen the Panasonic HMC-40 for this phase of the project. A variety of factors was considered in making this decision, but the most important one was weight. There are still DSLR interviews to conduct. Working solo with two camera systems can get cumbersome.
I thought choosing a lightweight case for the HMC-40 would require a lot compromises. “Lightweight” is usually code for zero protection with limited storage space. The Kata D-Light Capsule 181 flips that on its head. Weighing in at about 3 pounds, the case carries the video camera, charger, extra batteries, and even some audio equipment with room to spare. Similar to Kata’s Palms Lighting cases, the D-Light Capsule employs an arched structure that provides an amazing level of protection without adding bulk or weight. Handles at the top and sides of the bag make it easy to pick up or pull from an equipment shelf. The functional form is equally understated and attractive.
The inside of the capsule is bright Kata yellow. This makes it easy to find the little bits that always blend in to the dark grey or black interiors of other camera bags. This is a big help for a guy like me. I own 5 HDMI right angle adapters due to in-bag misplacement.
Kata D-Light Capsules come in 3 sizes to match today’s popular pro camcorders.
- D-Light Capsule 181 - smaller cameras - Panasonic HMC-40, Canon GL2, Sony A1U, etc.
- D-Light Capsule 183 - medium cameras - Canon XF305, XHG1s, Sony EX1R, Panasonic HVX200
- D-Light Capsule 185 - larger cameras - Sony EX3, Canon XL-H1s, XL2, etc.
All of the capsules are compatible with the Kata Detachable Trolley System (DTS). This is basically a luggage cart for camera and lighting cases. I was able to fit the D-Light 181 over the handle of my rolling carry-on. The bigger bags will need the DTS Trolley.
Starting at under $100, the new capsules are significantly lower in cost and lighter in weight than other pro-grade camera cases. I haven’t seen a carrier product offer this much dollar-to-value in a long time.
David Flores is a photographer and filmmaker based in New York City.