Photography Rain Gear

Accessory Reviews News Uncategorized

It´s obvious, I know, but electronics and water don´t mix. And unless
you’re shooting with a body made before 1980, chances are it´s filled
to the brim with the stuff. Even though a little drizzle typically isn’t anything to worry about, it is not unheard of for even a little
bit of water to render a camera inoperable. So what can you do about it?

First, it’s important to note that even weather-sealed professional
bodies are prone to failure in the elements. For just as many people
that take their pro bodies through a storm without ill effects, there are an equal number that have their bodies stop functioning due to
much less exposure. Samples vary, seals wear out, dust causes leaks,
etc. The same thing applies to non-sealed gear. Some people never protect it,
and others lose it in minor conditions. The only way to guarantee your
investment is safe and dry is to do your best to keep the moisture
off of it. And the methods to achieve that goal go from goofy to
purposeful and anywhere in between.

Let’s start with the goofy: The Pant Leg

Many convenience stores carry cheap, disposable rain jacket and
pants. Find one that has legs or sleeves that are the right size for
your gear and cut them out. Leave a bit hanging off the end to cover
the camera and your head and you’re set. Bonus if the leg or sleeve
has a draw cord on the end, use it to tighten around the lens. A
close cousin to this is the shower cap. They tend to cover any point
and shoot and even some smaller SLR/lens combos easily.

The Trailer Trash

Is the store out of rain pants? Grab a garbage bag and some rubber
bands. Poke a hole smaller than the diameter of your lens in one end
and push the lens through it. The hole is smaller to allow the
plastic to stretch and seal around the lens hood or he lens. Use the
rubber bands to tighten these areas and keep them from slipping off
too much. If the remainder is too big, cut it off, leaving enough to
cover the camera and your head.

The Pragmatist

This is the middle ground. It is a balance between complexity and
effectiveness. Essentially, these protectors distill the issue into
is most basic elements. Problem: rain. Solution: barrier from rain.
These are barely different from the “Pant Leg,” but they do go a
step or two further. More durable materials are used, such as nylon
or canvas, sometimes coated with water proofers. Seams are sealed.
Concessions are made for ease of installation, and straps are used to
keep panels where they should be. Some, like the Kata, even have
windows for viewing the screen as well as exchangeable lens sleeves,
but that’s pretty feature-rich for this category. If you want to keep
your gear dependably dry with minimal fuss, these are the items you
should be looking at. They’re made by Newswear, Kata, Lightware and
others and typically run in the $30-$120 range.

The Cadillac

A few years ago a new contender entered the ring looking to raise the
bar. Australia-based AquaTech, maker of diving enclosures, released
its SportShield. Made of materials similar to Gore-Tex, watertight
zippers, viewing windows, custom eyepieces, openings for flashes and
straps and a range of sizes for different body/lens combos, these
things are serious about their task. They look like they can protect
gear from a hurricane, and I know that they have. They are expensive,
slow to put on and remove and cumbersome to use. But if you’re in a
driving downpour, this is your best bet of keeping your gear dry
short of a diving enclosure. Although I’m sure AquaTech would happily
sell you one if you felt you needed it.

This is not a comprehensive list. I know I left things out. The trick
is to be creative, and to not be afraid of looking like a freak.

So in what whacked-out ways have you kept your gear dry in the past?

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  • Stephen Waterman, Waterman Media says:

    Generalize the issue to weather and media production in general, and then we’ve all got more than a few battle stories to tell around the campfire:
    –There’s the proverbial condom-on-the-microphone trick for wind, rain, snow, or dust. Military issue. I’ve carried several for years. Works great.
    –Then there’s the dimmer pack that’s over-heating in the 100 degree 4th of July sun, and the wind-tunnel made of sheet plastic, gaffer-tape, and two window fans brought in through the grid-locked traffic around Independence Hall on a bicycle. Saves the day.
    –And, of course, there’s the Nikonos water-proof camera on a remote island in the Caribbean that gets opened before it’s completely dried off of salt water and it gets submerged in fresh water to minimize the corrosion until it can be rushed to the nearest service center; but that’s a different kind of story, isn’t it?
    –And the batteries carried in a shooter’s vest under the foul-weather coat to keep warm in the minus-ten degree blizzard.
    –And, finally, if anyone can advise how to work and live in a tropical Central American rain forest for days on end in merciless drizzle without freezing up their equipment and growing various fungi in and around body parts, please let us know!–Stephen Waterman

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