Our best camera rain covers for guide picks out the best equipment to help photographers safeguard their equipment from adverse weather.
Photographing in the wet isn’t everyone’s idea of fun, but sometimes you’ve got to brave the elements to capture the best sports and wildlife shots.
Camera manufactures know this, which is why most mid-range and high-end DSLRs have weather seals to protect against moisture and dust, leaving the good old rain cover high and dry.
However, while your camera may be weather-proof, not all lenses are sealed, and the lens mount can be particularly vulnerable to moisture ingress. That’s bad news when it comes to changing lenses, and a dripping wet camera can also let water in when you change memory cards or camera batteries.
Lastly, if you’ve invested big bucks in your camera kit, it makes sense to add an extra layer of weather protection. We’ve gathered a selection of traditional rain jackets designed to let you shoot with the cover in place, along with simpler products that provide a quick and convenient pouch in which to stow your camera in the event of a passing shower.
There’s more to a rain cover than simply shielding your camera from dust or a drenching:
1. Use your hood
A rain cover will keep your camera dry, but it can’t do much to stop droplets forming on the front of your lens. That’s a problem best solved by fitting your lens’ hood.
2. Size matters
Most rain covers are designed for use with pro DSLRs and equally large lenses. Smaller setups are likely to be swallowed by excess material, making them tricky to operate.
3. A clearer view
A cover with a clear plastic panel will let you see your camera, but some also have a small hole that’ll keep your viewfinder visible should the plastic fog up inside.
4. Strap up
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.
5. Long lenses
The average rain cover is best suited to a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. However, some manufactures offer longer or extendable versions for super-telephoto optics.
6. Going underwater
The cases and covers here are designed for rain, not submerging in water. If you want to do that you need to pick from the best underwater housings for cameras and phones
So, which rain cover would suit you and your camera? Read our guide to the best rain covers for camera equipment below to find out... And remember that we'll be constantly updating this list, so don't forget to check back.
Best rain covers for cameras and lenses
The Hydrophobia may not be cheap, but you’re paying for a real step up in design. Rather than two hand openings either side of the camera body, here the left opening is further forward, just where you need it for lens controls. There’s also a grippy coating inside the lens jacket that ensures it won’t slide out of place. More useful extras include a rugged carry strap and a front lens cover cap, should you need extra wet-weather protection between shoots.
A clever touch is the viewfinder hole in the back panel – although to achieve a waterproof seal, you’ll have to spend £27/$35 on a compatible camera eyepiece.
The material surrounding this can also obscure the top of a smaller camera’s rear LCD. But overall, this no-compromise cover is a pleasure to use, even in extreme conditions.
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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.
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.
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.
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