The Peak Design Shell is exactly what I've been waiting for since I first got myself a Peak Design Capture Clip. If you're a self-proclaimed photographer (or even just own and carry a camera) and you're not already familiar with Peak Design, then you're missing out.
I've used Peak Design's Capture Clip for a while now, and ever since I've gotten it, I've been looking for a way to protect my camera from the elements while it's attached to my pack – Shell was designed to do just that.
It's also a lot sexier than just having a plastic bag wrapped around your camera for protection.
NOTE: I have a small AND medium Shell. I feature photos of both and offer a comparison towards the end of this review. Shell also comes in a large size (for $5 extra), but I don't own hardware necessitating anything larger than a medium (my take on the different sizes with my 60D can be found further down).
- 4-way stretch fabric is seam-taped to resist rain, snow, dust and abrasion
- Access viewfinder and controls without removing
- Allow use with any Peak Design strap
- Completely cinches closed for safe camera stowage
- Packs down small into its built-in storage pocket
- Lifetime guarantee
THE INTEGRATION | As advertised, Shell does a fantastic job integrating with Peak Design's other products. I use both the Capture Clip and the Leash with Shell and haven't had any problems with either. Shell is designed to allow for each integration with Peak Design's anchor system, and even with access to the camera, the anchors and Shell do not allow any water to make its way to your camera.
THE WEATHERPROOFNESS | I bought this because I wanted my camera to be protected in the rain, snow, or whatever else hazard happens to be threatening the well-being of my picture making device. Shell does exactly this. I've used this in heavy rain on both a strap (the Peak Design Leash) and on the Capture Clip. No matter how I was securing my camera or what the conditions were like, I am confident that my camera will stay dry and protected – and it does.
THE PROTECTION | Although not its intended purpose, Shell also provides your camera with an extra layer of security should you for some reason manage to drop it or smash it against something (which I've become quite good at when exiting crowded public transport). The fabric won't protect your camera from everything, but small nicks, scrapes, and dents can certainly be prevented when using Shell.
THE WARRANTY | As always, I am a fan of warranties and of companies that stand behind their products. According to Peak Design's website, “every single one of [their] products comes with a no-hassle, no-rhetoric lifetime warranty.” The warranty does not cover cosmetic wear, but anything that affects the performance of the product is covered. I've yet to need to replace an item under the warranty, but I'm confident that they would happily stand behind this claim.
THE FIT | Shell comes in three sizes: small, medium, and large. It's designed so that most cameras can fit into either a small/medium or a medium/large (unless you have a mirrorless camera or a full frame camera with a zoom lens). I didn't know which would work best with my camera (Canon 60D with the EF-S 10-22 lens) so I decided to try both the small and the medium. The small fit snugly and made getting at some of the controls a bit more difficult, but I definitely preferred it to the medium which left far too much excess material hanging around.
THE ACCESS | This ties a bit into the fit, but if your setup is on the edge and you decide to size down, you may have some difficulty accessing your camera's controls. I am still able to reach and use (relatively easily) my 60D's controls, but I do experience some unwanted pull on some adjustment knobs from time to time. If the weather isn't horrible, it's easy to simply lift up the entire back of the cover, but if you really need that protection during your shot, then you had best be able to use your camera blind.
THE ZOOMING/MF | If you are a fan of primes or don't do much in the way of zooming, then you can ignore this last part (please continue reading if you shoot on manual focus), but for anyone who plans to be zoom-happy (or focus-happy), Shell can certainly get in the way. Grabbing your lens through Shell and attempting to adjust the zoom or focus rings can result in the fabric pulling back on the ring to where you began the process. This can be accounted for, but things certainly won't be as easy as they would be without a cover (duh).
THE COLORS | To be honest, there's not much to complain about here – I really love Shell. But as long as we're looking for things to whine about, how about the lack of colors! What's this “only black” business? Let's get some reds, blues, greens – hell, let's get some pink and rainbow too! I don't know about the rest of you, but I'd definitely buy this thing in some bright neon reflective color (high-vis for cyclists?).
Small or Medium?
Now that you've decided that it's time to invest in some protection for your camera, it's time to decide what size you need.
Shell comes in three sizes: small, medium, and large. Peak Design's recommendations are as follows:
- Mirrorless cameras with almost any lens.
- Crop-sensor DSLRs with kit or small prime and no battery grip.
- Crop-sensor DSLRs with almost any size lens and/or battery grip.
- Full-frame DSLRs with lenses as long as a 24-70 f2.8 and no battery grip.
- Full-frame DSLRs with almost any size lens and/or battery grip.
- Flagship DSLRs with almost any size lens.
Just to clear things up, anywhere you see “almost” above, it basically means “excluding very large zoom lenses”.
I found the small to fit over my 60D (with an EF-S 10-22 lens) quite snugly – which I like. The medium was a bit too baggy for my liking, but would definitely work as well (especially with a longer lens). The controls can be a bit difficult to access at times with the small (especially if I have gloves on), but it's bearable so long as I never need to shoot something at a moment's notice.
Lastly, here's a look at the chart Peak Design uses to show the different fits:
Peak Design's Shell does exactly what it's intended to do. Sure, it can make messing with the settings or controls of your camera a bit trickier, but you wouldn't even be using your camera in certain situations without Shell – so it's difficult to complain.
If you're a fan of the Capture Clip and you enjoy having your camera with you (and accessible) regardless of what the conditions may be, then Shell is an obvious addition to your backpacking outfit.
Check out Peak Design's Shell here.
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