How to protect your camera in the rain?
Rain can give a photo a very special atmosphere. But although most cameras are water resistant, there is always a certain risk in taking the camera out of the backpack in the rain.
How can you protect your camera from rain? Various manufacturers offer rain covers for your camera. With a bit of skill you can also make your own rain cover. You can protect your camera from rain as follows:
- Regularly wipe the camera and the lens with a cloth
- Use an umbrella
- Make a rain cover yourself
- Buy a rain cover for your camera
Why you should protect your camera from rain
Unlike most smartphones today, DSLR's and system cameras are not waterproof. Many cameras are dust and spray water proof, but no camera would survive a heavy rain shower or even a fall into water.
But this is not only due to the lens bayonet, which allows changing the lens, but also to all the buttons and connectors of the camera. Most of the buttons actually have a seal to prevent water from running into the camera. But these are only useful against smaller water drops.
If water actually gets into the camera body, it can cause a short circuit. This in turn can damage the camera hardware.
This is especially bad if salt water gets into the housing. Because salt water conducts electricity better, short circuits occur even faster. If the water dries, salt residues remain. This in turn is aggressive and can lead to rust inside the camera.
So you see, water can do a lot to your camera. But how can you protect the camera from this? Quite simply. Namely a rain cover. There are many of these on the Internet. You can also make one yourself.
Weatherproofing the camera
As already mentioned, many of the cameras and lenses are now weatherproof. To a certain extent, the attached seals may keep the rain out. In light rain, the internal camera seal is sufficient and nothing should happen. In general it is always better to be careful.
In light rain I don't mount the rain cover most of the time. Since I have an additional lens coat on the lens, the drops are absorbed by the cloth and do not endanger the lens. If you don't have a raincoat, you can wipe the drops on the camera and the lens regularly with a cloth.
Of course you can easily use an umbrella. This works very well for example in landscape photography. But if you want to take pictures of animals the umbrella is useless. The heavy equipment makes it impossible to hold another umbrella. Additionally the umbrella is very conspicuous and could scare away many animals.
As soon as it starts to rain more heavily and drops start to form on the lens, I mount my rain cover. There are many umbrellas for cameras on the internet. But you can also make your own rain cover.
DIY camera rain cover
Plastic bags are quite suitable as rain protection due to their impermeability. If you cut a hole into a plastic bag you can easily make a rain cover. For this you need:
- Plastic bag
- Adhesive tape (duct tape)
- Elastic bands or elastic band (big enough to fit around the lens)
First you have to cut a hole on the bottom of the plastic bag. This hole should be just large enough to fit over the lens. Now you have to reinforce the opening with tape. Without this step, the bag will quickly tear or expand.
To make sure that the rain bag fits well over the lens you can either put some rubber bands over it or attach an elastic band of the size of the lens to the plastic bag.
The homemade rain cover is now already finished. You can also add an opening for your right hand. Again, you would have to reinforce the opening with tape.
Because the rain cover is made of plastic, it reflects a lot of light. It is also quite loud in windy conditions. This can be disturbing for the animals. That's why I replaced my self-made rain cover with a RainCoat a couple of years ago. It is a bit more expensive, but in return it is of high quality and very well thought out.
The rain cover from Lenscoat
The company Lenscoat offers different (rain) covers for your camera. All of them work in the same way and are made of the same waterproof material. Available in different sizes, the raincoats are perfectly adapted to your camera and lens. The RainCoat is available in the sizes Small, Medium and Large. Furthermore, the raincoats can be bought in different colours and with different camouflage.
The different models
The rain cover in the size Small is recommended exclusively for landscape photographers. With a length of about 30 cm, the rain cover protects cameras with lenses of a focal length up to about 70 mm.
With the size medium, lenses such as a 70-200 mm or a 80-400 mm can be protected from the rain. The rain cover has a length of about 43 cm.
The rain cover in the size Large has a length of 58 cm. This rain cover fits for example a 300mm 2.8.
RainCoat Pro/ Standard
In addition Lenscoat also offers 4 more raincoats. These are even bigger and are long enough for a 600mm f/4 and have one or two entrances to make the operation of the 4 raincoats easier. The RainCoat Pro and RainCoat Standard have an opening on the right side of the camera. This allows you to take normal photos and still protect the entire camera from the rain. Without this sleeve, you have to pull back the RainCoat to operate the camera.
The RainCoat 2 Standard and RainCoat 2 Pro have an additional sleeve on the lens. This makes it possible to turn the zoom ring or focus ring on the lens even with the RainCoat.
But what is the difference between the Standard and Pro? In the Pro version, this rain cover is slightly larger than the RainCoat large. At 77 cm, the rain cover is sufficient for practically all telephoto lenses. If this is really not enough, an extension is also provided.
At 52 cm, the Standard version is somewhat shorter than the RainCoat Large. No extension is supplied either.
The rain covers from Lenscoat are all of very high quality. I have owned the same RainCoat for years and it still does its job like on the first day. All seams are well sewn. The fabric is waterproof and has a good quality.
The RainCoat can be adjusted to fit your equipment with various velcro fasteners and a drawstring. For example, the RainCoat can be attached to the sun visor with a Velcro fastener. Two additional Velcro fasteners help to keep the RainCoat compact on the lens. With the pull cord, the opening towards the camera can be enlarged or reduced. This allows the opening to be made so small that only the viewfinder is visible.
The sleeves can each be folded and stored in a sewn-on pocket with a Velcro fastener. In this pocket there is also another small pocket in which e.g. a battery can be stored. I always leave the sleeves open, because I want to operate the camera with my right hand.
In addition to the RainCoat there is a small pocket in which it can be stored.
A rain cover is a must for every nature photographer. Whether you want to make a rain cover yourself or buy one is up to you. I myself used a plastic bag as rain protection in the past. Since I bought the RainCoat, I could not imagine using a plastic bag anymore.
I recommend that you buy a rain cover. I have been using the rain cover from Lenscoat for several years. It has already accompanied me in the wildest autumn storms or protected my camera in hurricanes on the sandy beach.
Compared to a homemade rain cover, the RainCoat works much more reliable, is easier to install and is also a lot more durable. Because the RainCoat is made of fabric, it does not reflect light. In windy conditions, the RainCoat is also much quieter than a plastic bag. Furthermore, the RainCoat has a camouflage effect in a camouflage pattern. This also reduces the chances that an animal will notice you and leave.
You want to get a rain cover too? In the following table, I have summarized my recommendations for various equipment. The links are affiliate links and will lead you to the Lenscoat website. If you buy an item through my link, I will receive a small commission. But for you the price does not change.
30 cm 24-70 f/2.8
43 cm 70-200 f/2.8; 80-400 f/4.5-5.6
58 cm 300 f/2.8
52 cm 300 f/2.8
77 cm 600 f/4; 800 f/5.6
RainCoat 2 Standard
52 cm 300 f/2.8
RainCoat 2 Pro
77 cm 600 f/4; 800 f/5.6
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