Reviews

Review: LensCoat Covers

by | February 5, 2010

© Richard PetersOne of my non-photographer friends once asked me why my lenses were covered in camo. “Surely it’s a waste of time and looks silly!” he said. Looks silly? Well ok, depending on the situation, he may have had a point. But waste of time, absolutely not! LensCoat lens covers are not so much about camouflage but rather about the extra protection and handling they offer photographers. And in any case, do you really think someone who likes to spend time crawling through grass and mud, in all weather conditions with a huge lens is worried about looking silly?

LensCoat camouflage cover © Richard Peters

LensCoat camouflage cover

LensCoat Overview

  • Lens sizes: Available for huge range of Nikon and Canon lenses, including the rarest of the rare Canon EF 1200mm, and a few Sigma too.
  • Other products: All sorts from camera pouches to tripod covers.
  • Material: 100% closed-cell neoprene.
  • Official LensCoat website
  • Available to buy from NatureScapes

So are LensCoat lens covers really worth getting or is it just another gimmick to spend money on to try to look cool? Well, I was once at a Miami Dolphins game in Florida, sitting in 37 degree Celsius heat (or 100 degrees Fahrenheit in American terms) with the sun over head and no breeze for several hours. Exposed to all the heat, my D3 became so hot that I couldn’t touch the metal parts of it, especially the top. Professional quality lenses tend to have a lot of metal surface area too, so you can imagine how hot they can get as well! If you shoot with a lens that has a metal housing and shoot in either very hot or very cold conditions, these covers are a must. They do an amazing job of making the lens far more manageable, as the neoprene material doesn’t absorb heat or cold like the metal barrels of big telephotos lenses do. For that reason alone I think they are well worth having.

Design and Fit

LensCoat covers are custom fit to the specific lens, tripod, or other piece of photographic gear that you want to cover. Depending on the item to be covered, the LensCoats come in one or more pieces. Overall the fit of these pieces is excellent. In areas that cannot be covered by a solid section of neoprene (because for example, the lens collar knob is in the way), a neoprene strip with a peel off adhesive backing tape is supplied. Additionally, where your lens has VR/IS controls or focus switches, the cover has a clear flexible UV-PVC window so you can see and operate all your controls with ease. Small holes are cut in the cover for the locking knobs on your lens hood – you simply stretch the hole over the knob to provide a very tight fit.

Close-up of LensCoat cover © Richard Peters

LensCoat covers are custom fit to the specific lens, tripod, or other piece of gear that you want to cover.

All of the joints are very well stitched together, which gives you piece of mind when stretching your new cover over a lens for the first time – it can be quite a snug fit. This tight fit is what ensures that the cover won’t move around once it’s on.

Tight stitching on LensCoat cover © Richard Peters

Tight stitching on the joints

For my own lenses, I do not use all of the sections because I just wanted to cover the larger metal surfaces and nothing more. That’s just a matter of personal preference. LensCoats come in a range of patterns and colors. Some may argue that the various camouflage patterns don’t really do much to help you blend in, but I think given the right surroundings, provided you are also in camo, it certainly can’t hurt – especially for Canon shooters whose big white lenses tend to stand out in against trees and other natural surroundings.

Protection from the Elements

Nature and outdoor photographers often find themselves resting their lenses against rough objects such as brick walls, fences, and trees. I used to be paranoid about putting a big scratch in the lens barrel or knocking it against something and putting a dink in it. Of course the idea behind buying big lenses is to use them and getting marks on them goes with the territory, but if you’re not a professional earning big bucks, or you’re anything like me and you just want your equipment in as good condition as can be expected, then a little extra protection doesn’t hurt.

LensCoats are water repellant, but they don’t make your lenses waterproof. The covers stop water from getting on the lens itself but as you can see from the pictures, they don’t cover any of the joins or gaps between your focus and zoom rings. If you want to shoot out in ‘real’ rain then get a proper waterproof cover in addition to one of these. The LensCoat will stop your equipment getting as wet as it would have done if it was naked.

As I mentioned before, LensCoats also do a great job of insulating your lens (and hands) from the heat and cold.

Not Just for Lenses

In addition to lens covers, LensCoat makes neoprene covers and wraps for a wide variety of different photography products including teleconverters, tripod legs, the Wimberley MKII gimbal head, and camera bodies, both with and without a lens attached. It’s well worth looking around to see the full range of products offered.

LensCoat on gimbal head © Richard Peters

In addition to lens covers, LensCoat makes neoprene covers and wraps for a wide variety of different photography products

So, I should buy one?

I guess it all comes down to personal choice. There are those that might find the cost of these covers a little high for what is essentially a couple of pieces of neoprene. That’s fair. However, if you are shooting with thousands of pounds or dollars worth of equipment then the small premium is well worth the piece of mind. Not only do they help protect your kit from knocks and scratches, thereby improving the resale value of your gear, but they make extreme hot or cold shooting far more comfortable. And if you are comfortable, you can shoot for longer! For those that don’t want to walk around looking like they just stepped off the set of the latest Rambo movie, the covers also come in plain black, so all tastes are catered for.

And as for the company itself, well my first experience with Lens Coat was outstanding. After purchasing my first LensCoat cover, I was on a forum shortly after telling a member one of the pieces had been cut wonky. I wasn’t really complaining, just saying I had a pretty wonky piece but was still happy with my purchase. Well, a few hours after posting that, LensCoat contacted me to ask what piece was wonky and immediately sent out another section free of charge. This all from just reading my post and without even contacting them myself! What more can I say – LensCoats are a great product with first class customer service to boot!

LensCoat cover on lens © Richard Peters

“LensCoats are a great product with first class customer service to boot!”

Up close with LensCoat cover © Richard Peters

Up close with the LensCoat cover

For more information on LensCoats and to see their entire product line, please visit the LensCoat website at www.lenscoat.com. All LensCoat products can also be purchased in the NatureScapes Store.

Post a Comment

Logged in as Anonymous