As winter arrives, it’s a good time to remember that water and most camera gear don’t mix well. Fortunately, a number of companies offer solutions: camera weather protectors.
We’re not talking about costly underwater housings here; these devices won’t protect your camera if you actually submerge it. But these handy and easy-to-tote accessories will keep your camera and lens dry while you shoot in the rain or snow.
Ewa-Marine Rain Cape
Ewa-Marine (distributed in the United States by RTS) is best known for its pliant plastic camera bags that let you use your camera underwater. But the company also offers a line of topside camera protectors, the Rain Capes (aka Hurricane Hoods), made of a clear, double-laminated PVC.
Rain Capes come in a variety of shapes and sizes to fit various SLR camera configurations (film and digital) with short to long lenses, as well as video camcorders. For example, the C-AF Rain Cape can handle a film or digital SLR with a zoom lens up to 300mm. The optical glass front port attaches to the front of the lens via the provided A-ring/C-ring adapter, and you operate the camera with one hand inside the cape and the other hand outside. Snaps and a zipper close the Cape for maximum protection. You can use a Rain-Caped camera freehand or mounted on a tripod. Estimated Street Price: From $19 (C35 for an SLR with a pop-up flash and a lens up to six inches long) to $159 (C500 for a camera with a 600mm lens).
Kata E-702 Elements Cover
The Kata E-702 Elements Cover from Bogen can protect a pro D-SLR with a lens up to 200mm; the accessory E-704 Extension Sleeve Kit extends this to 600mm. The slip-on cover is secured using adjusters, pull cords and a full-length double zipper, and allows access to all camera and lens controls via sleeves at each side. The transparent cover allows you to see all the camera controls and readouts. Estimated Street Price: $63 (E-702); $80 (E-704 Extension Sleeve Kit).
Aquatec Sports Shield
AquaTech’s Sports Shield comes in five sizes to fit SLRs equipped with short lenses up to 600mm super-telephotos. There’s also a Sports Shield SS that protects shoe-mount flash units. Sports Shields are available in navy blue and camouflage. Estimated Street Price: From $82 (Sport Basic for a camera and a zoom up to 300mm) to $239 (SS-600 for a camera with a 600mm super-telephoto); $79 (Sports Shield SS). Each unit requires an eyepiece adapter,sold separately.
Strap maker OP/TECH offers two camera weather covers. The Rainsleeve is a simple "camera glove" that slips over the camera/lens (up to 18 inches long by seven inches in diameter) and your hand and forearm. A drawstring holds the unit at the front of the lens, and the camera’s eyepiece cover clamps the finder opening in position—so you’re viewing through the finder, not through plastic. Rainsleeves work with both handheld and tripod-mounted cameras. Estimated Street Price: $7 (two per package).
FM Photography's Shutter Ha
OP/TECH WeatherGuards fit cameras with motordrives and large lenses (up to 6.5 inches in diameter). The unit consists of two parts—a lens cover and a camera cover that attaches to the lens cover—and can be adjusted to three positions. You also can use the lens cover alone as an extended lens hood. Estimated Street Price: $69.
FM Photography’s Shutter Hat is a lightweight cover that fits a camera with a lens up to eight inches long, yet slips in a pocket or clips to your belt for easy transport when not in use. A handy inside pocket can protect memory cards and batteries with quick access, while a top window can be positioned for access to the flash shoe or viewfinder eyepiece. New Velcro® dots for the lens hood increase stability. You can use the camera handheld or on a tripod. Estimated Street Price: $39.