Camera Rain Covers, love ’em, hate ’em.

Hi everyone,

Camera Rain covers, if it rains/snows heavily and you’re walking about and like me, you want to protect your gear and you’ve not got one with you you’ll be cursing your luck or be prepared to play Russian Roulette with your gear. If you have got one then you’ll be thankful in a way but probably quickly be cursing how they work.

If you search the Wibbly, Wobbly Web for camera rain covers you’ll find loads of different types and makes so why is it that I’ve not found one yet that ticks all my boxes?, surely it can’t be that difficult can it?. Many it seems are made to fit a small elephant, some are nothing more than a flimsy plastic bag, some cost an absolute fortune (and are way too big) and they’re all ridiculously impractical for my use for one reason or another.

As a user of small Micro Four Third cameras and small, short prime and zoom lenses I wish that someone made what I need. I’ve now got three camera rain covers, I’m not counting my first attempt which has long since been re-cycled, hopefully into something/anything more useful πŸ™‚ , all of which don’t work well for me for different, though broadly overlapping reasons. My Thinktank “Emergency Rain Cover (small size) isn’t too bad size-wise, still a bit big though, but not so good to hand-hold and much better suited for a tripod, it also lacks an integral strap or any way of attaching one and the front lens opening doesn’t cinch down small and tight enough for 99% of my small lenses.

Then there’s my small-size Manfrotto-badged rain cover which is also too big, even more cumbersome and slow to fit/remove and, again, lacking in any strap mount . In their defense I will say that both of the aforementioned do at least allow one to get one’s hands in and operate the zoom and/or focus ring and incorporate a transparent panel allowing one to see the controls and viewfinder unlike my third cover, the Peak Design Shell small size.

I’ll say in fairness to them, that it’s well made and they don’t claim that it’s so much a rain cover as a means of transporting the camera in the rain, (if that’s all I want to do then I’ll keep it in my waterproof camera bag), but they do claim that the camera can be used with the shell fitted and that’s where it falls well short of working for me as it’s very difficult, nigh impossible, to turn a zoom or focus ring and the cover has to be pulled back exposing the viewfinder/screen and to operate the camera controls. It’s worth noting that all of these products are, size-wise supposed to be designed for MFT/CSC cameras, which prompts me to think, how big do they think a typical MFT camera body and small lens is?.

What would be my perfect rain cover given my choice of camera equipment and shooting preferences?. Apart from being water-proof which I hope that one should be able to take for granted. Firstly it has to be big enough to get one’s hands in and operate the camera and lens controls without being designed for a lens the size of a bazooka. Next it has to have a window to view the viewfinder/screen and controls. Then it has to either have an integrated strap, a way of attaching a strap or even better, for me, allow my Peak Design strap connectors to pass through which is, for me, the only really good bit of the Peak Design Shell. Lastly it has to be quick and easy to fit and remove, compact to transport in a small camera bag or a coat pocket and allow for access for changing camera battery and/or memory card when required. I do try to always ensure that my battery and card have the required capacity before fitting a cover as one really doesn’t want to be messing about in the rain changing these. This doesn’t sound that difficult does it?, so how come I’ve not found one yet that ticks all these boxes?. My quest continues, for now I’ll keep using my Thinktank cover as it’s the nearest to best one that I’ve got. If they could down-size it a fair bit, add a strap or facility to fit a strap and make the cinch around the front of the lens a fair bit smaller then this would work well for me I think. So much so that I e-mailed them my suggestions, I can’t be alone in desiring something like this.

In-lieu of not being able to fit a neck strap I’ve taken to using a wrist strap which I can quickly swap to from my neck strap using Peak Design connectors but I’d prefer to have it hanging from my neck and not to have to hold the camera all the time but it does at least offer a degree of protection from drops when walking around.

Kind regards,

Leigh

Additional. Credit to Thinktank they quickly acknowledged my product suggestions and the requirement for something like this and will pass them on to their design team, here’s hoping. πŸ™‚

Just me rambling on. :)

Hi everyone, hope this find you all well.

Weather-sealing is very useful but, if one wants to have it in a M.Zuiko lens, it inevitably means having to buy very expensive and too heavy (for me) PRO series lenses. I guess that I’ve gotten increasingly used to the beauty of small, light, lenses and even my new M.Zuiko12-45mm f/4 PRO lens seems heavy again by comparison, although blissfully not as heavy as my 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO. Optically, it seems very good, given my limited opportunity to test it and it will probably be the lens that I take on my travels this year but I’m not really looking forward to carrying it around on foot all day despite its comparatively small size whereas, by comparison, my Lumix 14-42mm is so light, covers virtually the same range and is optically very good but not weather-sealed.

It’s a trade off for me, carry something lighter, increase my mobility, decrease my pain and ultimately increase my happiness and get more shots or something heavier that’s got weather-sealing and, arguably better image quality, which limits my mobility and get fewer shots due to increased fatigue. As the old saying goes, at least for me, it seems like, “one can’t have one’s cake and eat it”. πŸ™‚

I wish that OMD would make a range of non “PRO”-branded lenses with weather-sealing. I’m not bothered about them being fast lenses like their f/1.2 series. At the moment there’s a considerable gap between affordable, lightweight f/1.8 non weather-sealed lenses and f/1.2 heavier, expensive, weather-sealed prime lenses and the gap is there with their zooms as well. I’ve also worryingly started to drop things, I’ve dropped three lenses recently albeit indoors on carpet and, fortunately, they’ve all survived, I find that my grip just goes without warning. πŸ™

I’m more than happy with the image quality of their old “Premium” series glass, I just wish they had thought to incorporate weather-sealing in their designs. Broadly-speaking Fuji got this right!. I’d love OM Systems’ 20mm f/1.4 PRO for its weather-sealing and it’s a really interesting focal length, not interested in the f/1.4 bit, that much although useful in poor light of course, but it’s way too costly and, most importantly, too heavy.

IMHO all camera gear should be made with at least a degree of weather-sealing including lenses which should always come with a lens hood and some form of case, something that Olympus don’t provide in the price except with their “PRO” lenses and even then one doesn’t get a case. Panasonic, Sigma etc. however generally do. I guess it comes down to Olympus/OM Systems moving in one direction design/marketing-wise and I’m moving in another direction preference-wise. πŸ™‚ The latest lenses and, particularly cameras, are offering me more and more features that I don’t require or want but not those that would be of the most interest and benefit to me.

Kind regards

Leigh

First test of M.Zuiko 12-45mm f/4 PRO lens.

Hi everyone,

I took my new M.Zuiko 12-45mm f/4 PRO fitted to my Olympus E-M5 II for a spin today to test it out. Very impressed with the images, sharp corner to corner and the close focusing is a bonus.

“Close Up”
“Shelter”
“Stonewalling”
“0%ABV!” πŸ™‚
“The lost shoes”

Kind regards

Leigh

For my next trips

Hi everyone,

For my next trips. E-M5 II, M.Zuiko 17mm f/1.8 and my new M.Zuiko 12-45mm f/4 lens. Should make a nice lightweight selection for travelling. πŸ™‚ A weather-sealed body and lens combination and a faster prime for low light/indoor shots. Although generally-speaking I prefer the 25mm FOV I’ve chosen the 17mm because of its wider angle. This is useful in indoors situations and it’s also good for landscapes and architecture. I’m not a street-shooter but, using zone focusing set the aperture to f/5.6 and set the focus to 3m and everything between 3m and infinity is acceptably sharp. I do like to have a depth of field scale on a lens like this. Like some of their other lenses it also has a manual focus clutch which enables switching between auto focus and manual focus very quickly. I’ve always disabled it in the camera settings as I find it far too easy to accidentally move especially when attaching and removing the lens and I prefer a function button dedicated to toggling manual focus suits me better.

You might also notice that I’ve added a half-case to the camera which adds negligible weight. It protects the camera especially the base of the camera, the tripod thread and the somewhat delicate and vulnerable battery door which I’ve already replaced once. It also removes the possibility of the small rubber “bung” that protects the contacts for the dedicated grip falling off and getting lost and as it pretty much covers the rubber cover over the HDMI and USB sockets which I don’t use often, preventing it from accidentally opening and thus further helps with the weather protection. It improves one’s grip without having the added extra bulk and weight of a camera grip and lastly it looks darned smart, the black faux-leather with red stitching matching my choice of camera strap. πŸ™‚

Snug as a bug in a rug for transporting in one of my small Manfrotto shoulder bags.

Kind regards,

Leigh

I’ve ordered a new lens: Olympus M.Zuiko 12-45mm f/4 PRO.

Hi everyone,

Recently I’ve been experimenting a lot with different selections of lenses. Yesterday I took out my PEN-F camera with three lenses, my Lumix 12-32mm and M.Zuiko 17mm and 45mm f/1.8 lenses. For ages now I’ve known what works best for me in nearly all situations and my personal style. All I really need is a “standard” zoom covering moderate wide angle to moderate telephoto and maybe a fast lightweight prime like my 25mm f/1.8. I find the 17mm too wide to leave fitted all the time and, useful as the 45mm focal length occasionally is, and bearing in mind that I don’t habitually do portraiture or people shots, the same is true. The 25mm lens with its full-frame equivalent 50mm, “nifty-fifty” field of view works best for me, probably something that has stuck with me since my film days as most cameras came with one and thus it was one’s first lens and, not by coincidence, it was the first Micro Four Thirds lens that I bought.

Yesterday proved the point to me once and for all, I shot with all three lenses and particularly the 12-32mm but made a point of using the 45mm and to a somewhat lesser extent the 17mm lenses. I was changing lenses all the time, too often for my liking which significantly slowed me down and I missed one of my other standard zooms like my Lumix 14-42mm II, Lumix 12-60mm or M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO all of which are very capable lenses which I’d very happily shoot with. I gave up using the 12-40mm PRO some while back, not because it isn’t a good lens, it is a very good lens and it has weather-sealing but it’s too heavy for me nowadays and a bit front-heavy on my smaller MFT camera bodies. I took my 12-40mm to Malta, Brussels, Rome, Corfu and Prague and my 12-60mm to Bruges/Ghent and Porto/Lisbon and they both performed admirably so I know that a lens in this range pretty much ticks all the boxes for me when travelling.

I’ve chosen to buy an M.Zuiko 12-45mm f/4 PRO lens which I found at a very tempting price. This lens covers the focal length range I most frequently use, it’s lighter than the 12-40mm albeit a stop slower, which doesn’t worry me at all, but it has weather-sealing and a useful close-focusing capability of 12cm at 12mm focal length and, here’s the clincher for me, at 7cms (2.8″) in length and weighing only 254g (9 oz), it’s a fair bit smaller and lighter than the 12-40mm. I have faster standard zoom lenses (M.Zuiko 12-40mm), I have significantly smaller standard zoom lenses (Lumix 12-32mm), I have lighter standard zoom lenses (Lumix 12-32 and 14-42mm) but I don’t have a lens in this range that has this combination of size, weight, performance and weather-sealing. I think this lens is a very good move by Olympus, not all off us want faster, heavier, bigger lenses and dreamy bokeh!. πŸ™‚

I’m really looking forward to trying out the new lens when it arrives, it just could be my new go-to lens, especially when travelling married to one of my favorite smaller camera bodies such as my PEN-F or more probably, primarily for it’s weather-sealing, my Olympus E-M5 II camera. This combination along with my 25mm lens fits in squarely within my self-imposed 1Kg weight limit at 860g or 1.9 lbs. :), marginally lighter than a bag of sugar and every bit as sweet!.

Kind regards

Leigh

D.I.Y camera bag rain cover

Hi everyone,

For ages I’ve been trying to find rain covers for my little Manfrotto bags. They don’t make one so I hit on the idea of buying elasticated shower caps which fit them perfectly πŸ™‚ and if it’s really bucketing down you could choose to put it on your head but, should you choose to do so, don’t blame me for the looks you’ll getπŸ™‚

Β I would probably advise against putting it on your head for two reasons. In order of personal priority: 1. Your bag would get wet and 2. You’ll look VERY silly. Not that the last point concerns me as much as the first, sadly, when one gets to my age nobody ever mistakes me for a dedicated follower of fashion.Β πŸ™‚

PS. I guess they’re a standard size but, if you can find one, look out for the extra-large “politicians” size.

πŸ™‚

All the best,

Leigh

I 🧑 Pancakes πŸ˜„

Hi everyone,

I love pancake lenses, these tiny little lens are great. I fell in love with them some years back and they are so light that one doesn’t know that one has them in one’s camera bag/jacket pocket and fitted to the camera and, by virtue of their small size and weight, they make excellent travel companions.

Lumix : 12-32mm fitted to my E-M5 II camera, 14mm f/2.5, 20mm f/1.7 and, not strictly a pancake design but very small and light, 35-100mm.
All fit into a very small camera bag.

I retro-fitted fitted lens hoods, although they add a bit of length to the lenses, my camera rain cover, when fitted, needs something for the cinch cord to grip the front of the lens and I also prefer to have a lens hood fitted.

Kind regards,

Leigh

A nice versatile Micro Four Thirds travel kit, Olympus M.Zuiko 9-18mm and 14-150mm II lenses.

Hi everyone,

I’ve decided to try out this combination of gear specifically orientated towards travel. Seen here on my Olympus E-M5 II/Ti camera, my Olympus M.Zuiko 14-150mm II plus my M.Zuiko 9-18mm. I’ve taken the 14-150mm on my travels a few times abroad and in the UK and I’ve been consistently impressed with the quality of the images produced by this lens. The body and lens combination is weather-sealed, something that’s always nice to have when travelling as one never knows what the weather is going to be like and the focal length range is very useful as it avoids having to change lenses as much as possible especially in the rain. The 9-18mm lens isn’t weather-sealed (unfortunately) but it’s another favorite of mine which excels at wide landscape, architecture and interior shots. Both lenses are slow and not constant aperture but with the amazing higher ISO performance of these cameras if required plus excellent image stabilization coupled with some great de-noising software its never presented me with any insurmountable problems. I added some “bling” to the E-M5 II. Well actually it’s not bling at all as I managed to loose the flash sync socket cover (again) and rather than replacing it with a boring black one I thought I’d choose a hi-vis red one this time, theory being that at least I’ll spot it’s missing when I surely next loose it πŸ™‚ and it forms a part of the body weather-proofing.

A few images taken with these lenses, first the 9-18mm.

Some taken with the 14-150mm lens.

Best wishes,

Leigh

“19-21”.

Hi everyone,

Beach huts in Felpham. I had some fun yesterday with a short local trip to Felpham, W.Sussex, just down the coast from here. I took my E-M1 mk 1 and two lightweight lenses, my Lumix 14-42mm II and 45-150mm. If I substitute my PEN-F or E-M5 II camera bodies I’ve now got the weight of my kit down to about 1.5 lbs which is quite remarkable. πŸ™‚

Olympus E-M1 mk 1 and Lumix 14-42 II.

Have a great day, best wishes.

Leigh

A few gear refinements.

I replaced the shoulder strap on my small Manfrotto shoulder bag with a neoprene one by OPTECH that I’ve had for some years. It’s proven to be much better for me in combatting my neck and shoulder pains. It really helps cushion the weight and it is anatomically shaped to fit into one’s collar bone/shoulder blade and, unlike the supplied strap with a shoulder pad it doesn’t slide up and down on the strap which I find a bit annoying.

I put my M.Zuiko 9-18mm and 35-100mm Lumix lenses in a couple of my small neoprene lens pouches. This gives them a bit of added protection from knocks and moisture whilst in the bag and I can also just remove them from the bag and pop them in jacket pockets to spread the weight around my body and get it off of my shoulder and upper torso.

I replaced the plastic petal type lens hoods on the two Lumix lenses with 46mm metal screw on ones for five reasons. Firstly I think that they offer better protection against knocks. Secondly, they’re a better shape/grip when attaching my camera rain cover. Thirdly, they have a 58mm filter thread on the end so I can attach a 58mm clear filter when using the rain cover and thus remove it and clean it easily if and when it gets wet. Fourthly, it reduces their diameter and thus permits them to fit into the neoprene lens pouches. Lastly it enables me to leave the hood permanently fitted and eliminates having to reverse it every time when transferring the camera with lens attached to and from the bag. I’ve also taken to using my Dymo label machine to add arrows to the lens caps which make it easier and faster to see the positions of the side-pinches with less fumbling about.

This will be the kit that I take with me on my trips to Cornwall and Prague.

Kind regards

Leigh