When we first spied the Pedco Wrap-Up camera wrap during the summer trade show season, we at SNEWS® were intrigued and excited by this ingenious little accessory and couldn't wait to put it to the test.
The small camera wrap is a stretchy neoprene piece about 8 inches long and 4.5 inches wide with a thin metal base plate at one end that mounts to a pocket-sized camera via the tripod socket. (There are other Wrap-Up sizes available for larger cameras too.) Once attached to the camera along its base, the neoprene strip wraps around the camera snugly, totally encasing it, and stays put with a Velcro-type closure. Essentially, the wrap and the camera integrate together as one piece.
The stretchiness of the neoprene allows it to wrap around most standard-sized digital cameras up to 1-inch thick, like a Canon PowerShot or an Olympus Stylus, two cameras our team tested with the small sized Wrap-Up. The neoprene face that hugs the camera has a soft texture so it will not scratch screens and other optical features.
Slip it into a backpack, pocket or purse and the camera is always protected in a super-slim profile. When it's time to take a picture, un-do the Velcro closure and the wrap hangs from the camera base as you snap away – no two-handed fumbling or looking for a place to put the case. We tested the small wrap in the urban and suburban environments of the United States as well as on a 12-day bike trip in Europe, stashing it in a front mesh pocket in sun, wind and rain.
Our testers found the Camera Wrap lived up to its claims: It always stayed attached to the camera via the screw in the tripod socket. It protected camera features and was handy to use since it eliminated fumbling with a separate camera case. On our bike trip, we had numerous compliments and questions about where it was available.
In the course of testing the small camera wrap, we did identify a few nit-picky things that have room for improvement. For example, when adjusting the camera to take a vertical picture, the wrap has a tendency to flop into the lens frame. Users need to hold it back by hand or, as one tester devised, roll the wrap backward and attach the end onto its own Velcro so the case is shortened and doesn't flop around as much. Also, the thin rubber-esque bumper guard on the metal base plate starts to lose its stickiness and separates from the plate over time. In fact, by the end of our bike trip and several other business trips, it had squished around into another direction.
And, it would be handy if a small rectangular fabric patch or other slim pocket-like system, about the size of a business card, were sewn on the inside of the neoprene wrap to hold a piece of paper with contact info in case the camera gets misplaced. In addition, some kind of small clip on the outside of the wrap would be helpful for those times you want to put it on a waistband or purse strap.
We identified another issue when using the Olympus camera. The problem is that its battery/chip compartment is on the base of the camera, so any time you want to charge the battery or replace the chip you have to find a coin to try to unscrew the wrap. This also precludes you from (easily) using a tripod since you’d have to take off the wrap to do it -- of course not a lot of users of small cameras may use a tripod.
We’d also recommend that the manufacturer refine the sizes of the wraps. The small size worked fine with the pocket-sized digital cameras we used, but the XL wrap for a full sized camera didn’t fit well. It bunched and pinched around the lens and camera body so much that we didn’t want to use it. Some rejiggering is mandatory on this one.
But, despite these quirks, our testers overall clearly liked this handy little gadget in the small size and plan to keep using it to protect their cameras. As long as we can keep our colleagues from swiping it out from under us!
SNEWS® Rating: 4 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)