Andy Westlake tries out handmade leather cases to suit a variety of cameras
TP real leather camera cases at a glance:
- Form-fitted cases for compacts and CSCs
- Handmade from leather
- Choice of colours
- Several versions available for each camera
- Price: £23-£84, plus £5 postage
If you’ve just bought a new camera, you’ll probably want to keep it protected and in good condition. This is especially true of compact or compact system cameras, which tend to have less substantial grip than DSLRs.
There are various ways to remedy this, but one attractive option is the form-fitting leather case. Custom designed for each camera model, these cases provide protection for the base and sides of the camera. In addition, they can improve grip, not only by providing a leather surface but also by adding extra depth to the camera’s body so it sits in your hand more snugly.
I’ve bought several cases by a maker called TP from Jason’s Photo Forest shop on eBay. You can also buy them on Amazon UK from seller Jason Cui. They’re available for a range of models and often come in several versions, including basic half-cases with closed bases, more complex ones with access flaps for the camera battery and SD card, and two-piece designs in the style of ‘ever-ready’ cases. They’re available in many colours, including blue, purple, yellow, pink and traditional black. You should expect to pay around £40 for one with an opening base, including postage.
TP real leather camera cases – key features
Battery compartment cover
Some designs have a hinged base flap, sealed either magnetically or with a stud fastener.
The soft interior won’t scratch your camera and can protect the sides from inadvertent knocks.
Brass fixing screw
This sits flush to the base of the case, and is threaded for mounting onto tripods.
Wrist and shoulder straps can help keep a camera secure, and you can get them in matching styles.
TP real leather camera cases – Our verdict
TP cases are beautifully made from good-quality leather. They’re well designed, offer a decent grip and don’t block any controls. They’re especially well suited to CSCs and invaluable for protecting my Olympus OM-D E-M5 and E-M5 II, providing better grip without adding bulk. Obviously, they’re not cheap, but over the lifetime of an expensive camera body, I think they’re worth it.
SCORE: 5 out of 5
Many small cameras benefit from some additional grip, but leather cases are not always the best choice. For instance, with small compacts they’ll often add disproportionate depth to the camera’s body. So it’s also worth looking around for other options to help keep your camera secure, such as add-on handgrips, either from the camera manufacturer or a third party. These might bolt onto the camera’s baseplate, or simply fix onto the front with adhesive tape. Some grips come with built-in Arca-Swiss-compatible dovetail plates, which are especially useful if you use a tripod frequently. And remember, there’s no substitute for using a wrist strap to keep a small camera secure!