The Orca OR-516 is a deep, easy-to-use roller bag for video shooters
For five years I’ve been using a ThinkTank Photo Airport International bag for my video needs, and I love it to bits. Unfortunately, as the years passed and my kit grew, I needed more space. I didn’t want to carry a second suitcase, so I was looking for a similar wheeled suitcase but with more space. After looking at a few options, I got the recently announced OR-516 from Orca for $323.00.
What can I say, I love it. It has a lot of character and lots of space and protection. For the full review, skip it.
Orc OR-516 Size
It was love at first sight, I managed to put on not only my kit of lenses and bodies, but also all my audio kit, cables, monitor, and some trinkets. There’s a full “shopping list” below if you’re interested. but for now, let’s just say, it’s a lot.
As for the specifications, the internal size of the bag is 50x33x18cm and outside is 55x40x25cm. (19.7x13x7″ and 21.5×15.8×10″). It’s not much different from many other bags, other than the bag is as deep as the white rabbit’s hole, so you can place many items vertically to save space.
Certainly, with this kind of bag, there is room for padding, and there are plenty of pads for you to build the case of your dreams. (Thirteen, if you insist). I actually removed three pads to make room for my Sony FX3 neck. (This handle is a storage nightmare and probably deserves a separate post). The extra space also allowed for three hard cases with
- Nano claps, and mini-arm for mounting.
- My audio adapter kit: PL adapters, splitters and short cables
- 1/4-20 props
These three bags make it very easy to know where everything is on the set. I don’t have to dig too deep or fiddle around to get these little pieces.
Storage and compartments Orca OR-516
Outside you get:
- External padded laptop pocket (up to) 17″
- 2 outside pockets for phone, passport or other small documents.
- a top pocket with rubber slots for memory cards and a cable to extend a USB battery outside the bag.
On the inside
- There is another 17″ laptop sleeve on the lid, as well as two zippered pockets for small accessories, cables or papers.
- A nice spacious yellow padded compartment with 13 dividers.
The two zippered pockets take up the entire lid making it extremely efficient, but a little messy for smaller items. I would like the next release to split one of these units into two smaller pouches.
The bag is incredibly durable and well made. In fact, it’s on par with my previous Airport International which is still going strong after five years, hundreds of shoots and dozens of flights. According to Orca, it’s weatherproof, and I plan to test it next winter. The wheels are very smooth and the zippers are fantastic. Of particular note is the extendable handle which seems extremely sturdy and will take a beating and survive. Unlike some of my other rollers, it has no wobble.
As I mentioned before, the material of the bag is super strong, but it comes at a price. The smooth black surface attracts marks like a magnet. He had smears before I even took him out in the field, and after being on a few productions he’s not black anymore, hey. It doesn’t look like anything functional is damaged; It’s just the look that’s a little off. The Think Tank Airport International and the Manfrotto Pro Light Reloader are made from different fabrics that don’t get dirty so quickly.
The back of the case has two plastic knobs designed to raise the case above ground level so the back does not touch. Still, I wonder if the floor is clean before putting the bag down. I think I will get over this feeling soon. One thing that would have helped is to add two internal straps that prevent the case lid from opening all the way.
Let’s start with the fact that portability isn’t really a word. That said, I’m going to use this to describe how the bag moves.
When the bag is totally empty, it weighs about five kilos and change. That’s a lot for an empty bag. I understand that the thin padding, nice zippers, and sturdy construction all impact the weight of the bag, but it’s still not a lightweight bag. Of course, no one really cares as long as you tow the bag like a cart. Between the smooth wheels and the perfect balance, it rolls like butter.
Weight comes into play when we look at back systems. Yes, the bag has a set of straps that you can expose and use as a backpack. But for me, with two Sony FX3 bodies, three lenses, two monitors, seven batteries and a few other bits and peace, I get a 21 kilo bag. It’s not something I want to carry on my back. If your gear weighs less, you’ll find the back system quite handy.
The Gold-516 has a few noteworthy features. Some are standard and some are unique, but you should know them because they will be make your life easier.
- Tripod strap – as with many wheeled cases. the Or-516 comes with a Velcro strap to attach a tripod to the side. This makes transporting a tripod on location super easy.
- External USB connection. The top of the bag has a USB port. The other side goes inside the case and connects to a USB battery (say the huge Tether Tools ONsite power bank). Now you can charge your devices out of the case without having power banks everywhere.
- Memory card storage – the small pocket keeps your memory cards accessible and orderly in a bunch of small pockets. I prefer my hard case, but if you’re only using a few cards, you’ll appreciate the ease of access.
What happens inside an Orca Or-516:
As promised, here’s everything inside the 516:
What can I say, I’m a sucker for good roller photography cases. And the Orca Or-516 is one of the best I’ve used so far. If you need a big case that can go on a plane with plenty of space and features but don’t mind a few dust marks, for $323 this is the bag for you!
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