Have you ever been outdoors with your camera when it started drizzling–or worse, raining? Even if your camera is weather sealed, you don’t want to tempt fate and expose your expensive photography tools to the elements.
I photograph youth football. I’m out there with the kids in all sorts of weather, even rain. My camera and lens are “weather sealed” (Canon 80D with 70-200mm f/2.8), but I don’t like the idea of tempting fate where my camera gear is concerned. Usually, the worst weather I have to deal with is a “clinging mist”, or light drizzle—but as you can see in the following shot, the weather here in the Pacific Northwest can take a very wet turn, very quickly:
A photography friend of mine, Dan Plunkett, told me about the Altura Rain Cover. After he let me take a look at his, and after learning it costs less than $15, I decided it’d be a ‘no brainer’ to buy one.
I’ve seen photographers shoot with plastic garbage bags wrapped/taped to their cameras and lenses–or big bulky blanket looking contraptions over their gear. Rather than all that, I wanted something light, easy to use, and unobtrusive. I roll video sometimes–and need to be able to see the LCD screen, as well as easily get to the buttons and zoom ring. The Altura Rain Cover lets me do all that.
The cover is large enough to completely protect not only my camera with battery grip, but also my 70-200mm lens, with lens hood—and all mounted on my Benro S6 fluid video head—with room to spare. The inner part of the cover (where it wraps around the lens hood) is lined in a rubbery, grippy material. Once I get it on my camera and lens, I tighten it using the built-in velcro strap, and that grippy material “holds on”, creating a water barrier around my lens hood. Pretty cool.
The cover has “sleeves” that let me access my camera’s controls, as well as the lens’s zoom and focus rings. There’s even adjustable ‘draw strings’ at the end of the sleeves–so I can cinch it to my wrists, and prevent water from coming in that way. On the underside of the cover is a zipper. I usually leave it unzipped so I can mount my rig to my tripod or monopod. The entire backside of the cover is made of flexible, clear plastic which allows me to see the LCD screen, buttons, etc. Although it’s not the most comfortable thing to do, if I really have to, I can look use the viewfinder through that plastic.
When not in use, the ‘raincoat’ folds flat, and I slip it into an area in my camera bag where it’s not in the way. It’s not bulky, and weighs almost nothing, so honestly, I forget it’s there until I need it.
The rain cover doesn’t let me connect my Rode video-mic (or much of anything else) to the hot shoe on top of my rig. Looking through the viewfinder is possible, but not comfortable–and probably not what the vendor expects we’ll do. “Live View” shooting is doable though. Once I get my hands inside the cover there’s not a lot of room to maneuver to fiddle with the camera’s buttons and dials, and even less room to adjust the zoom and focus rings on the lens. Shooting sports, I need to be able to quickly operate the camera–and with this cover on, I’ve had to re-learn what I can and can’t do, as well as how fast I can do it.
If you’re like me and live in an area where it might rain when you’re out shooting (I live near Seattle), you want to keep your photography gear dry while you do it. This rain jacket doesn’t break the bank (only about $15 as of this writing), and has some nice features. It folds flat and doesn’t get in the way in my camera bag. I forget it’s even there most of the time, but boy am I happy I’ve got it when it starts raining! If you think you might get caught outdoors in the rain while shooting, it doesn’t hurt to have an Altura Rain Cover in your camera bag!