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Review on Mr.Zhou's USD50 half case
Old 07-26-2007   #1
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Review on Mr.Zhou's USD50 half case

Sorry for the huge delay of this review. It should have come out 2 weeks ago.

Definitely it is not like that a case physically fit on a leica can be called a Leica case. The case must meet the taste of Leica users.

Leica itself makes everything gorgeous except for its never-ready case, which is a good protection but bulky for daily usage. In the market, you can find half case from Luigi (200EU range), A&A (150USD) and the one from Popflash (made in Japan, 110USD range).

So it's quite interesting to have a review on Mr. Zhou's USD50 half case to see what can be achieved within 50USD.

First of all, don't get it wrong. It's not a cheap clone copy with a "made in China" tag. It's an original design by Mr. Zhou. He didn't have any cases from Luigi, A&A on hand. He used his M3 and measured all the data he need.

Part (I) First Impression





The case is in a very attractive shape. Very smooth to fit my camera into the case. It's wrap the camera exactly well, no loose.

Leather feels great, very soft. It's in genuine leather, not feel cheap. I measure the thickness, 2.3-2.4mm in average. My luigi is 2.6-2.7mm. If you put them side by side, you will say, Luigi's is a case, and Mr. Zhou's is a glove for its softness. According to Mr. Zhou, he try to use the best material he can get in China. Of course, he can try those imported leather, better but definitely will run the price higher.

The internal layer is very well selected. I am not an expert in material. I can only say it's in genuine leather and as soft as that on my Luigi. I am very confident that it won't scratch your precious camera.


Handcraft. It's not purely hand-made. It's sewed by machine. Due to the reason, they can't use the thick lines as that on Luigi's, but still robust enough. The leather is well tailored and the sewing is good.

I can say the shape of the case if closer to A&A. Both have a wider shoulder than Luigi's. It makes it easier to fit and remove the case, but IMO, Luigi's design is more elegant.


On the right top part of the rear, Mr. Zhou's case has more protection on the camera. Good. I like it.

The most novel design of Mr. Zhou's case is the grips. The mini grip on Luigis has been considered as one of the best design. Mr. Zhou uses a bigger new moon shape grip on the front and another grip on the rear to support your thumb. you can be familiar with this kind of grip on many cameras, such as minolta X700. But it's the first design of this kind of thing on a leather case.




The grips are made by so call "heat molding" technique (correct me if you know the right name for it). In practical, they are great that you can hold your camera with one hand only very comfortably. I don't use heavy lenses. IMO, the case can fully replace the Leica M grip I normally put on my M4P.








More pics will be added.

Part (II) with a Luigi's case side by side

To be added later....
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Zhou0016.JPG (136.1 KB, 2756 views)
File Type: jpg Zhou0011.jpg (173.9 KB, 2723 views)
File Type: jpg Zhou0022.JPG (129.8 KB, 2706 views)
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Last edited by roundg : 07-26-2007 at 02:31.
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Old 07-26-2007   #2
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more pics of the casing
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Zhou0020.JPG (152.8 KB, 2714 views)
File Type: jpg Zhou0023.jpg (136.8 KB, 2683 views)
File Type: jpg Zhou0024.jpg (160.3 KB, 2678 views)
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Old 07-26-2007   #3
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Great review, thank you.
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Old 07-26-2007   #4
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I just ordered one in black for my MP - told it should be with me in a week to 10 days, can hardly wait. If it's as good as it looks, I will be getting a second for the M3.

I'll let you all know.
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Old 07-26-2007   #5
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looks really nice! and the price seems right.
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Old 07-26-2007   #6
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Thank you very much for the review! It's very interesting to read the review about my work. I saw your half face in the picture, Roundg. You must come to my house when you visit Shanghai.
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Old 07-26-2007   #7
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can someone post Mr. Zhou's contact? I'd like to order one as well. THanks for the review.
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Old 07-26-2007   #8
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I can't post an AD in RFF's classifieds because it's for private sellers, not dealers. If you like to order one, it's available on eBay now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by monochromejrnl
can someone post Mr. Zhou's contact? I'd like to order one as well. THanks for the review.
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Old 07-26-2007   #9
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You left out the Kameraleder case, possibly the best case ever made, although some would argue for Luigi.
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Old 07-26-2007   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boobo
I can't post an AD in RFF's classifieds because it's for private sellers, not dealers. If you like to order one, it's available on eBay now.
I see on ebay that it's $55.00 for the case and $16.00 for the shipping. Any special Rangefinderfourm prices?

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Old 07-26-2007   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChadHahn
I see on ebay that it's $55.00 for the case and $16.00 for the shipping. Any special Rangefinderfourm prices?

Chad
I could cut off $2 from the case price. Thanks
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Old 07-27-2007   #12
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I bought one for my M2 on eBay today.

They look great, and for that price it seems like a no-brainer. I wouldn't even be surprised if Mr. Zhou decides to raise the price eventually, given the costs of the competition.

I'll post my impressions when the case arrives.
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Old 07-27-2007   #13
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Do you have the link to Mr.Zhou's shop?
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Old 07-27-2007   #14
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The case indeed looks temtping, however what bugs me (also with Luigi cases) - the lack of ISO dial observing facility on the back. I'd probably really consider that fine case by Mr. Zhou would it offer some kind of sealed ISO window like the one available on standard not_commonly_appreciated Leica never_ready case. Just cutting the hole on the back doesn't appeal to me being prone to gathering dust and dirt inside quite easily.
Mr. Zhou, is it possible to make a sealed window on the back for ISO dial observation ? Sealed by some kind of hardened transparent plastic sewed/stiched into the leather (kind of Leica's own approach) ? If it is, how much price increase it can generate ?
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I'd like one
Old 07-27-2007   #15
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I'd like one

i'll dig around on ebay.

Quote:
Originally Posted by boobo
I can't post an AD in RFF's classifieds because it's for private sellers, not dealers. If you like to order one, it's available on eBay now.
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Old 07-27-2007   #16
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If anyone can find it, I'd greatly appreciate a link to Mr Zhou's eBay shop too - for that kind of price, I think my M6 might be getting an early Xmas present.
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Old 07-27-2007   #17
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Here's the link for eBay
http://search.ebay.com/_W0QQsassZjiozhou
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Old 07-27-2007   #18
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Boy, would I like one for my Epson R-D1. Hint hint!
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Old 07-27-2007   #19
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Anyone try this on an M7? I wonder if the opening in back is large enough for adjusting your exposure compensation?
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Old 07-27-2007   #20
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Somewhere I think I read that the opening is added if you ask for it and it takes a few extra days to get it. If that is the case, you may be able to specify and get what you want.
I was thinking the same thing for my M7. I've got a Luigi case for it with the Motor M, but this would work with the motor off. I'm not sure though.
I have to take the case off to change film, so I change the asa at the same time
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Old 07-27-2007   #21
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These cases look great. Although I am a very satisfied Luigi customer, I am glad to see the RF world thriving.
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Old 07-27-2007   #22
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I wish Zhou would come out some other colors.. like a more orangeish brown..
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Old 07-28-2007   #23
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any chance of a CL case in the near future? i'll be very interested
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Old 07-28-2007   #24
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I have just received my black Zhou half-case for evaluation. Thank you, Zhou.

I waited extra time to get a black version for my black M6. I will compare the Zhou half-case to a Luigi half-case and a [modified from full] Leica half-case.

I wish Zhou would add/offer a leather strap to make a complete package [for money]

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Old 07-28-2007   #25
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Do yo know if this case can fit on a voigtlander bessa r2?
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Old 07-28-2007   #26
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It fits a Contax IIIa quite well. I am happy about this fact.
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Old 07-28-2007   #27
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I don't want to repeat what others already have posted above. I tried out Zhou's half-case, and I compared it with a Luigi half-case and a modified Leica half-case. I requested from Zhou a black half case.Imade all pics B&W but you can see that Luigi's case is in brown and so is the one by Leica.

The immediate observations:

1. The Leica case is 2.5 times as heavy as either cases by Zhou or Luigi. It is the least elegant looking case but the most sturdy and protective of the three.

2. Between Luigi and Zhou, there is a slight edge to Luigi's case for perfection. I like Luigi's case from the front more since there is no needlepoint being seen as in Zhou's case where stitches are shown in the middle lower part of the case.

3. Zhou's case has a great hand grip feature. I like it.

4. Zhou's case fits more readily a camera than Luigi's case. Both cases are like gloves, with the Luigi case being softer.

5. I am able to use the Zhou Leica M case on my Contax IIIa with ease.

6. An important feature is sturdiness over time,and this feature needs to be revisited a few months from now.

The following photos will show you side by side and individual cases:








The first two images show the Zhou and the Luigi half cases side by side. Both look and feel really good.





Images 3 and 4 show the Leica and the Zhou half cases side by side. The Leica case has a tripod mount metal attachment that screws into the tripod mount.






Here we see the Zhou and Luigi half cases.










This is followed by showing these two half cases with a Contax IIIa and Leica M6.







Lastly, I compared the fit of Zhou's half case for the M3 with the Leica half-case. Zhou's half case fits more snugly.


Overall, I am very pleased with how the Zhou half case looks on the M3, M6, and even the Contax IIIa. It is well made and the gripis a great addition. I chose a model without an opening for the ASA setting. A matching leather strap would be great.

Raid

Last edited by raid : 06-09-2010 at 04:22.
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Old 07-28-2007   #28
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Will there be a Zhou half case for the M8 soon?
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My case review
Old 07-29-2007   #29
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My case review

I got my case yesterday from Mr. Zhou - Thank you !

It was very well packed (in a nice hard card box).

I can compare to Luigi cases (although all of my Luigi cases have built-in
grips) and a no-name "made in Italy" leather case, see roundg's original post.

Compared to the no-name case, the leather feels much better -
very similar to the leather used in the Luigi cases. It also has
nice leather smell. The case is just a tiny bit thinner than a
Luigi case and differently cut. In the front, the cut does
permit easy removal of fat lenses, like the Canon 50/1.2, which is
important to me. From the user's point of view, maybe the most
important difference is the thumb grip on the back - very useful
(no torque on the flash shoe ). The case is also a little higher
on the left and right camera edges.

I can recommend the case. My wish to Mr. Zhou is to make cases
for classic cameras where there is no alternative to the factory
cases, like the Olympus OMs. And straps, please. The strap
in the picture below is a Luigi strap, in the same price range
as the new case ...

Best,

Roland.

PS: to show the general look and detail of the cases cut, here are some photos (larger pictures in http://ferider.smugmug.com/gallery/3225396). The brown case is a Luigi case.
















Last edited by ferider : 07-29-2007 at 08:02.
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Old 07-29-2007   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sergiojaenlara
Do yo know if this case can fit on a voigtlander bessa r2?
I'm confident it doesn't because of the strap lug locations.

Roland.
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Old 07-29-2007   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roundg
In the market, you can find half case from Luigi (200EU range),
Luigi's half case can be found in this site's classified for about 100 euros or $140 USD.
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Old 07-29-2007   #32
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freider: great pics.. thanks for posting. I didn't know he made them in black...
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Old 07-29-2007   #33
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I agree with all of the points that Roland stated above. The Canon 50/1.2 is a big lens, and having the half case permit its full use is a big plus.

I should add that my Leica case has the strap attached to it and not the camera whereas both of Luigi and Zhou have the strap not attached to the case.


I will leave my black Zhou half case on the Contax IIIa since it already has a black Luigi hand strap. They match beautifully, and the Contax suddenly looks more luxurious!

I also received the case in a black box. This was a nice touch.
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Old 07-29-2007   #34
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I too ordered a black case a few days ago. Interestingly, the initial offering of black cases have sold out and another lot went on sale. The initial offering of brown cases still has 3 remaining.
Seems more folks like the black so far.

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Old 07-29-2007   #35
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Steve,

I have three brown cases by other manufacturers,and then I added a black Zhou case. It is very nice looking on a black body with a black strap. Keep colors away from it. No colorful straps.
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I got a black one
Old 07-29-2007   #36
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I got a black one

on ebay yesterday, and confirmation that it shipped this morning.

Nothing special, so I don't think it will have the asa dial cutout, but I don't think I need it for the m6, as I just set it once (when I remember to...) while changing film.

Quote:
Originally Posted by murrayb53
I too ordered a black case a few days ago. Interestingly, the initial offering of black cases have sold out and another lot went on sale. The initial offering of brown cases still has 3 remaining.
Seems more folks like the black so far.

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Old 07-29-2007   #37
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As I know, Mr. Zhou has made small batch of cases with the asa dial cutout. The cutout doesnot fit M7's I think, only for M3 to M6.

IMO, no need for the cutout for M3 to M6.
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Old 07-31-2007   #38
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My Postman just delivered the black half case. This is just after paying for it on the 27th. Pretty Fast !!!
As far as the case is concerned, this purchase is really a no brainer. IMO it is well worth the dollars spent.

I do own a Luigi DeLuxe Neckstrap. I was concerned if the larger split ring that Luigi uses would fit easily through the snap case closures. They did with great ease. I find the fit of my M3 to be perfect, like a glove.
The leather is soft enough to the touch while being firm enough to keep hold of the shape of the body.

I feel this item is a bargin for the price. It will be interesting to see if it remains at this price point.

In regards to Luigi's case compared to this, it's a personal choice that really comes down to a better choice to leather and workmanship, a larger assortment of camera manufacturers, and the bottom line.....at least three times the cost.
I say this while not trying to imply this case is of a lesser quality. Its quality appears fine enough to hold and protect our cameras in a fasionable and affordable manner.

BTW, the built in front and rear grip make this case stand out. They really help.

As previously stated, the case is delivered in a white draw-string bag and packed in a black cardboard box.
The presentation is nice.

Steve
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Old 07-31-2007   #39
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I've just ordered a black Zhou case for my M3 - to go with my Luigi Neck Strap - sounds like a good match according te the reviews on here.... I'll post some pics when it arrives.
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Old 07-31-2007   #40
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I wish Mr. Zhou would make a case for the Rolleiflex SL2000F. There may be very few customers!
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