The best rain covers for cameras are the unsung heroes of outdoor photography. Even if the heavens open, you'll be able to carry on shooting without worrying about your gear getting damaged. Conversely, if you specifically intend to take photos on a wet day, for example if you're working in an area such as wildlife or sports, you'll be able to get unique pictures you wouldn't be able to capture otherwise.
Yes, many mid- and high-range DSLRs and mirrorless cameras are now weather-sealed. But this only protects them up to a point and they may not stand up to a serious downpour. Plus you need to think about protecting your lenses just as much as you do your camera. Not to mention that rain covers will make it easier to change memory cards or camera batteries.
In this article, we’ve brought together the best rain covers on sale today, along with simpler products that provide a quick and convenient pouch in which to stow your camera in the event of a passing shower.
Best rain covers for cameras and lenses
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If you're serious about wet weather shooting and want the best rain cover for your camera and lenses, here's our top recommendation, although be warned, it's not cheap. This rain cover made from Denier Nylon fabric, which is beautifully watertight, sturdy enough to protect your gear, and flexible enough to fold up nicely. It has a handy front cover to keep your lens dry while you're waiting to shoot. It's got lots of zippers and different openings, making it suitably flexible.
Yes, it's a bit fiddly to attach. And yes, it's on the pricey side. But it helps you get that perfect shot or saves your camera from damage (or both), it's surely worth the investment.
Make sure you get the right one for your camera, though, as the Hydrophobia range comes in a variety of sizes. The 300-600 V3 fit cameras with a lens size of 300-800mm, the 70-200 V3 fit cameras with medium-telephoto zoom lenses, and the 24-70 V3 fit cameras with short primes, wide-angle, and standard zooms.
When you get down to it, a good camera rain cover doesn't need to be complicated. It needs to protect your camera from the elements while also giving you the ability to keep on shooting. This is a target that the Think Tank Emergency Rain Cover hits perfectly, for a relatively cheap price.
The DWR (Durable Water Repellent) coating actively repels moisture from the outside, while the extensive seals ensure there's no chance of ingress through the material. It folds down into a small carrying pouch, and when you do need it, it's quick and easy to deploy. You can access your camera controls through the cinchable sleeve, with an oversized window that makes it easy to see what you're doing at all times. It uses the shoe mount to securely attach to your camera, so you can be sure it won't slip off.
This is the Medium version of the cover, which also comes in Small and Large. If you frequently use lenses of wildly different lengths, you might find yourself needing to pick up more than one to ensure all your bases are covered. Happily, they're well-priced enough that this won't represent a horrendous outlay of cash.
Like the Manfrotto cover, this design features a transparent section. It’s only large enough to view your camera’s rear and top panels, though, so you’d better be well acquainted with your controls. On the plus side, the clear portion incorporates a small hole that lets a viewfinder eyepiece pass though, so you won’t miss a shot should the plastic fog up.
This is a versatile cover. In its standard configuration, it’ll shelter a good-sized pro body and a 24-70mm optic, but an additional cover stowed in a small attached pouch can be unravelled to add an extra 33cm of lens protection.
However, it’s hardly an elegant system, and the joint between the two sections of cover isn’t watertight. The thin, cheap-feeling material doesn’t inspire confidence, either. You get a lot for your money, but don’t expect top quality.
This cover is spacious enough to protect a full-frame SLR and a 70-200mm lens, with enough room to allow easy operation of all the camera and lens controls. However, unlike some covers, where you’ll have to fumble around blind, Manfrotto’s large clear plastic panel lets you see everything, although condensation build-up in cold or humid weather could spoil the view.
Rain will have a job getting inside, thanks to drawstrings securing both arm holes and the lens opening. The latter has a semi-rigid adjustable collar to ensure free movement of an extending lens barrel.
Attaching the cover is quick and easy, with a large Velcro-fastened slot in the base that also allows a tripod mount to pass through.
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This rain cover is designed to work in harmony with Peak Design’s Capture Clip system, which attaches your camera to a belt or a bag strap.
The stretchy neoprene sleeve slips over your lens and onto the camera body, with drawstring cords tightening around the base and lens to create a snug fit. A couple of well-sealed slots allow your camera’s strap to pass through the top.
Although Shell looks neat and tidy when fitted, the cover needs to be folded back awkwardly to use your camera; even then, the lens is still obscured, making this better suited to protecting a prime optic. A clever concept, but not without its limitations. See our full Peak Design Shell review.
A cheap and simple weatherprooﬁng solution that works with practically any camera/lens combination! The Optech Rainsleeve is essentially just a plastic bag that ﬁts over the camera and you insert your hands through the opening. You get two sleeves in every pack - and it is designed to sit taking up to next to no room in the corner of your camera bag, until the day you get caught out by the weather.
What is a rain cover?
A rain cover for a camera is a protective cover made from waterproof material that shields your camera and lens from rain, snow, and other moisture. This enables you to continue shooting in wet conditions, without allows you to shoot in adverse weather conditions without compromising the safety of your gear. Note, though, that they are not designed for submerging in water. If you want to do that, see our guide to the best underwater housings for cameras and phones.
How do I choose the right rain cover for my camera?
A good rain cover will do a lot to keep your camera dry, but be aware that rain covers come in various sizes and designs to accommodate different camera models and lens combinations. Most are designed for use with pro DSLRs and mirrorless cameras with equally large lenses; smaller setups are likely to be swallowed by excess material, making them tricky to operate. So think carefully about buying a cover that's the optimal size for your camera.
Also consider functionality. Many rain covers feature transparent windows or flaps that allow you to access essential camera controls, such as buttons, dials, and the viewfinder.
As for long lenses, the average rain cover is best suited to a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. However, some manufacturers offer longer or extendable versions for super-telephoto optics.
A rain cover won’t do much to stop droplets forming on the front of your lens. That’s a problem best solved by fitting your lens hood. Also, threading your camera’s strap outside a rain cover will get it wet and compromise water resistance. A cover with an integrated strap is a much better solution.