Every new camera brings its own challenge to manufacturers of camera cases; every variation demands a rethink and a checking of measurements and location of cut-outs. In the case of the Leica Q2, it is sufficiently different to the original model to warrant a complete redesign.
For the past month or so I’ve been working with Paul Glendell of Scotland-based Classic Cases to ensure that his new Q2 half-case is tailor-made for the job. Prototypes have been flying between Aberdeen and London and photographs and comments have been on their way back.
The final version is now in my hands and I’ve been using it on the Leica Q2 for the past week. It is a delight to use, complementing the classic looks of the Q2 and offering greater stability and firmer grip. It you are a fan of the traditional approach to camera cases, look no further.
The first thing to know is that in common with all Paul’s cases, this is a traditional design, made from heavy-duty leather from Bakers Tannery, the last oak-bark tannery in the UK. The case is hand-stitched throughout in matching or contrasting thread.
My prototype review case is made from a smooth black leather and is lined with a comforting red plush to keep the camera body cosy and safe. There is no awkward retaining screw to remove and the two “ears” at the top corners close with press-stud fasteners to hold the case securely on the camera.
There is sufficient left to accommodate most types of split-ring strap. Paul makes matching straps but, since I didn’t have one for the test period, I used a Rock n’Roll segment strap which works well with the Q2, allowing just the right amount of springiness to help overcome the weight.
The bottom of the case is perfectly flat and, unlike with many half cases, the camera will stand upright without falling onto the lens. Bear in mind, though, I was using the Q2 without the lens hood so there was less forward weight. The bottom is die-stamped “Classic Cases, Hand Made in Scotland”.
While many cases on the market use a softer leather than this traditional design, Classic Cases are likely to be around for decades.
They are very similar in construction to the brown-leather cases which were so popular on film cameras up to the seventies or eighties.
These cases were built for life and, when you search through camera fairs you’ll often find the case has stood up to wear more successfully than the camera.
Initially, the leather is indeed on a stiff side — more like a shiny pair of jodhpurs than a pair of gloves or a designer leather jacket. But, as I know from past experience, Paul’s cases will mellow with age. They will grow to complement your camera aesthetically as well as providing it with a high level of protection.
One of the biggest bugbears of using half cases is the need to remove the case in order to access the battery or SD-card slot.
Many cases these days have opening doors so you don’t need to take off the case at all.
However, this is a clear area of wear and enthusiasts of these classic cases will argue that the lack of an opening at the bottom improves rigidity and ensures long life.
For this particular case, however, removing it to get at the renewables is far easier than most. The fit is precise and the camera slides in and out without difficulty. All you have to do is undo the two press studs and the case is off within seconds.
Paul makes a valuable point when he says that removing the case frequently has benefits:
if you have a case with the ‘door system’ in it you almost certainly won’t bother to take your camera out of the case, probably for many months. Removing the case will remind you to check for any bits of dirt and grit which inevitably find their way into a case. I clean out the case on my M9 every couple of months or so. My M9 has been in one of my own cases for about seven years and the camera shows absolutely no signs of marks.
It’s a good point and one that I have been guilty of overlooking in the past.
Paul has adopted the open-back design for the Q2 case. It is often better from a rigidity point of view to incorporate a strip of leather across the top of the screen. This isn’t possible with the Q2 because the large viewfinder is only a couple of millimetres above the top of the screen, thus making a top frame impossible. To counter this, Paul has incorporated stiffeners into the top of the case to ensure that it fits closely and doesn’t flex in use.
Another important aspect is protecting the vulnerable left and right top edges of the top-plate. Some half-cases provide no protection, but Paul has ensured that the press-stud “ears” sit slightly above the level of the top-plate to ensure protection of the camera is dropped on the top corners.
All in all, this is a case that will give you years, and possibly decades of use. Of course, this longevity is perhaps less important these days with rapidly changing designs — it was certainly different in the days of film cameras when product life was longer — but it’s no bad thing to know that you have the best quality of protection
Perhaps the most surprising and attractive aspect of the Classic Cases Q2 case is its price. For a hand-crafted product of this quality, £175 including tax is a rare bargain. Part of this, of course, is down to the fact that Classic Cases are made in the UK and there is no import duty to be paid.
The Q2 Classic Case is available in black, brown, rich brown and tan. You can choose your lining cover from red, blue or green. Matching straps are available at a cost of £49 in all the leather colours.
Paul is now working on a detachable screen cover and details of this will be on the site soon. You can customise your case here at Classic Cases but Paul is happy to respond to individual requests, including stamping of initials on the bottom of the case. Subscribe to Macfilos