“It was just misting”, my friend rued when telling me the story of how he killed his Canon camera. He was shooting a wedding when it was raining most of the day. He was doing fine shooting indoors when they got the briefest break in the clouds and wanted to get some outside shots. It was only misting, or so he claims. Almost as soon as he got back indoors he got an error code and had to finish the shoot with his spare body which was a Canon T3i. Ouch.
April showers might bring May flowers but, if you’re not careful, it can also bring an expensive repair bill for your camera. Some countries have to contend with cold and wet weather all year but, for the bulk of us, spring and early summer is the time we have to watch the weather. Stick with me after the jump for soggy weather shooting tips.
A Word About Weather Sealing
One of the reasons I bought a Canon 7D way back when is because it has awesome weather sealing. Some people look at that claim and think their cameras are waterproof. That is not true. A camera with even the best weather sealing is really only designed to protect it from an incidental splash, a minor amount of condensation or small drips that make it through a rain sleeve. Shoot out in the rain for any length of time and your camera will be just as dead, weather sealed or not. It’s not waterproof, it’s not even weatherproof, it gives you a precious few seconds to get your camera under cover and that’s it. Don’t take my word for it, read your owner’s manual.
Get a Rainsleeve
Your basic rain protection is the rainsleeve. Most of them are under $10 and basically just a bag that fits over your camera. You can shoot outside in the rain with these, but it’s not a great idea. A rainsleeve is really the protection you need to get your camera back to the car in good shape. Really what they’re made for is if you’re working a press conference and the rain kicks up, then you throw on your rainsleeve, get your shots and sprint for the car. You should have one of these taped to your camera strap or in the bottom of your gear bag at all times!
Heavy Duty Rain Gear
If you’re going to be working regularly in rainy weather…and I’m looking at you, Seattle…then you’ll want to invest in heavy duty rain gear like this Think Tank rain cover. The heavy duty covers have access holes for your arms that close off around your wrist so you can work the camera controls with dry hands. The really good ones are made to fit your particular lens and provide a good, solid seal around the barrel of the lens.
A Poncho For You
I’ve tried every kind of rain gear there is and a heavy-duty poncho with wrist straps still reigns supreme. They can be a little problematic in the wind but they’re wide enough to also cover your chair and your gear bag. Keeping your gear bag, feet and chair dry are important if you’re working outdoors for any extended time. Otherwise you have to carry a rain jacket, pants and shoe covers and I’ve never tried a combination of those that didn’t leak somewhere.
As bicycle riders are fond of saying, there’s no such thing as bad weather, there’s only having the wrong equipment.