In the past when I’ve had to protect my camera from the rain I’ve resorted to using Ziploc bags, grocery bags, and even cheap disposable camera bags that were really little more than glorified grocery sacks. That was all well and good for a Rebel XTi, but when I have an investment in a camera like 5D Mark II that doesn’t have weatherproofing or a 1D Mark IV that is going to be in a heavy downpour for an event, I want more protection. This is where ThinkTankPhoto’s Camera Rain Covers like new Hydrophobia 70-200 comes in. It’s designed to accommodate Canon & Nikon’s most popular lens – the 70-200mm, and in my case even worked fine with my 100-400mm as there’s a little extra room in it.
As you can see in the pictures above and below, this product really covers your gear quite well. In fact, you can remove your eyepiece and replace it with one from ThinkTankPhoto to have a snug fit around the eyepiece area to avoid having water leak in around this vulnerable spot. I used the EP-C for my 5D Mark II and the EP-CIII for my former 1D Mark III body and my current 1D Mark IV body. There are also EP-N series for Nikons and some even work for Sony DSLR’s.
The handy sleeve allows you to get one hand in there and work your camera like you are used to, and your other hand can operate external to the bag which I found to be acceptable – but sometimes you have to push a little harder. There’s a even handy flap to cover your eyepiece while you are waiting for the action to resume.
Rear view of the Hydrophobia 70-200 with the arm sleeve extended
There’s a lot more to this camera rain cover than you might imagine. A lot of thought and great design by industry pro sports shooters have made the perfect bag that features a place to store your memory cards, a nice rain lens cap, and the ability to tuck your camera strap away nice and neat while using the built-in one in the rain. The straps will even hook on to your Camera Support Straps which will fit nicely on most TTP backpacks. I use mine so camera stays put without swinging back and forth and is secure if I have to run.
Here’s some pictures (click to enlarge) of some of the nice features of this bag:
Here’s a real cheesy video worthy only of a blog that shows you how you interact with some of its features:
Pardon for the hand tattoo in the first scene – that was my note. :) There’s also a funny glitch where I couldn’t push a button with my hand holding the camera steady – this isn’t an issue in normal operation, but it is a major hassle when your camera swivels and you are doing it with one hand. I guess if you shoot with a beer in one hand, this might be a problem so consider how you shoot before deciding if this a problem for you. :)
This is an expensive product for protecting your gear in the rain, but it’s much cheaper than repairing damaged gear. For the pro or prosumer shooter specializing in outdoor photography where the weather turns bad, this is a must own product. It will allow you to concentrate on your shoot and not worry about your camera getting damaged. For the casual or beginner this is a pure luxury that you should only consider when you’ve completed your camera body, lens and support items.
I had intended on showing you this product in action in Vancouver at the Olympics, but sadly I didn’t see a flake of snow or a drop of rain while I was there (isn’t that how it always works?). Even my hometown of Seattle has been crazy dry for this time of year, so even an impromptu rain demo hasn’t aligned with my schedule. As a result, this video is merely an interactive walkthrough. I have poured water on the bag with a water hose and everything came out fine – of course using a hose creates an unnatural angle so I got a little water on the end of my lens, but that’s all good. With the eyepiece cover and lens cap cover in place, it stayed totally dry on my tripod. I don’t think this product would help those doing river rafting where the camera could be submerged, so I still recommend a underwater camera housing. However, if you are making a trip under Niagara Falls on the Maid of the Mist (or whatever that boat is called) you’ll be glad you had this covering your camera.
Highly recommended for those who can afford it, but not for those tight on cash with other items still on the wish list.
I’d also like to point out that this is an award winning product – see Hydrophobia® 70-200 Rain Cover Named Winner 2010 DIMA Award.