Be Wise and Weatherize
DVFreelancer Special Assignment
Editors note: Winter is upon us and it's time to think about keeping the rain, hail, sleet and snow out of your camera internals. Here are some suggestions for inexpensive weatherizing options and keeping your camera safe and dry!
Be Wise and Weatherize
Winter is about to rear its head once again that means rain, hail, sleet, snow and corrosive salts, none of which are particularly good for the internals of your camera. If you’re going to be working in the field, better be prepared. The time to think about rain gear is upon us.
If you’re shopping for a photographer or videographer in your life, wet weather gear is always a thoughtful present and won’t break the bank. When you’re carrying around a high dollar camera and lens, you can never have too many rain sleeves.
Basic Rain Protection For DSLRs
The most basic protection you can get for your DSLR is a simple rain sleeve. It’s a fairly basic plastic camera cover with a draw string on one end and a place you slide your hand into to work the camera controls.
While not all models are terribly convenient to work in, having one in your vest during a sudden cloud burst can be a life saver. These range in price from a little over $3 to just under $20. Having one when you really need it can save you thousands in camera repairs. Cheap insurance if you ask me. Come on, big spender, spring for a couple rain sleeves.
More Advanced Protection
The next step up in price and functionality as models like this Kata and Storm Jacket. Check the model as some require a separate sleeve for the type of lens you own. These models are made from more durable material and have more advanced access panels for getting inside to work with the camera controls.
These are not disposable, unless you have a lot of disposable income. And they’re not as compact as a simple rain sleeve. For something like this, you’ll need to use the big pocket in the back of your vest, or in your camera bag. These run from $30 to $100, depending on how complex they're made.
For smaller video cameras, look at an option like the Camera Duck, which fits most smaller cameras and has built-in pockets to insert warmers for both your hands and the camera.
Top of the Line Protection
After this level we get into specially fitted rain covers that are custom built for your particular camera and lens. These will be significantly more expensive than pre-made covers but will last longer and provide better protection. In this class are models like these from Porta Brace, Canon, and Aqua Tech.
Because of the materials, custom fit and numerous access features for working camera controls, you will be spending a lot more. Then again, it’s a lot cheaper than paying for a new camera or the insurance premium for damaging a rental. Custom covers can run from $130 up to several hundred, again depending on the amount of work that goes into them.
Finally, Protect You
I prefer a big, roomy, well-made poncho to the disposable variety. You want something that covers the seat underneath you and provides plenty of room to work. A hood is not optional and avoid the type with a bill in the hood as those tend to channel water right to your camera.