Porter Case for 4x5 carry-on case

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I looked at the Porter Case (www.portercase.com) at B&H last week. It seems like a great concept. For those who haven't seen it, it's a regulation carry-on locking hard case with a unique handle that converts the case into a dolly that can handle 200 lbs of additional luggage. Aside from the outside plastic looking a bit ugly, the padded dividers seem decent enough, and the guys at B&H say that all the people they know who have them (as well as those at www.photographyreview.com) swear by them. People on this forum seem to have used every piece of camera-related equipment known, however there is a conspicuous absence of any comments on this seemingly great product. Why?

Has anyone used a Porter Case? What did it win out over or lose to in your choice of carry-on hard case and why? I ask because I have long considered buying one for general use (clothing, etc) as well as for camera equipment.

-Tony (NYC)

-- Tony Karnezis (karnezis@aecom.yu.edu), January 26, 2002


I have had one for about ten months. In use, it has held up but some of the connection points (for instance that hold the handle on) seem like they may not last long--but have so far. Actually I have little occasion to use it in its dolly transformation; it does work well that way though. Since it is so thin walled, there is more interior space relative to its exterior space as compared to, say, a Tenba Air Case. It does carry on easily. It is much easier to open and close with its two brief case style snaps than a wrap around (and snag around) zipper.

It was not quite big enough so I bought the sack sort of thing they sell to attach to it. A big hole wore in it the first day. The Porter folks refunded my money for it without protest. So I got smallish computer/brief case thing from an office supply store and lash it to the side with velcro and snap hooks. That way, at airports I can detach it and carry like my brief case so that it does not seem to count as one of my carry-ons.

I suspect that for actual shock absorbing qualities a Tenba Air Case (which have wheels too these days) may be better. It would not shatter either; the Porter case might burst under the wrong circumstances. And the Porter case has far less padding. I would not trust either to check through my gear but if forced to chose for check-through purposes, I'd go with Tenba. But in a Tenba case my Wisner was actually smashed when I checked through one time. So you pays your money and takes your chances.

-- John Hennessy (northbayassociates@earthlink.net), January 26, 2002.

We bought the computer case, but they are fairly the same model (different padded compartments.) I swear by it for holding my laptop and all of my equipment. I've had mine for well over a year and I've beat it up, dropped it, pretty much abused it sort of like that ape in the samsonite commercials and it has held up strong. the joints and connection points look weak, but in my experience (using it as a cart and hauling up to and possibly beyond the 200lb maximum) they are as strong as can be. Goes up steps in cart config very well.

That's my 2 cents worth on this subject.

-- John Wolfe (jwolfe01@email.usps.gov), March 20, 2002.

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