6 Waterproof ways to protect your camera from rain
Wherever you are in the world, rain will always be a total pain in the neck when you’re filming outdoors. However, the foreboding clouds and drizzle can produce the perfect conditions for some earthy and atmospheric footage that just has to be captured.
We all fear an attack from the elements on our camera equipment, but with some clever crafting or a handsome budget, there are many ways you can keep creating those epic moments come rain or hurricane! So here’s a list of DIY and store-bought items to keep your camera dry while shooting outdoors.
Ok, so it may not be the most glamorous of solutions, but often, it’s the simple ideas which can work best.
Umbrellas are an essential item for any filmmaker and photographer because not only can be it positioned to protect your camera from wind and rain, but a large enough one will protect you as well. Of course, umbrellas do require the use of a spare hand, something we don’t always have available, so if you couple a ‘brolly with a tripod, or better yet, a willing friend, you’re all set!
While umbrellas are great for rain and a bit of wind, they’re not the most reliable when gales really start to pick up. If the weather is torrential and you require something a little more mobile, then a sturdy polyurethane bag can be your best, cheap friend.
You’ll need something that’s thick as well as flexible, and it needs to be large enough to cover your whole camera and lens while leaving some movement room for you to access buttons. Once you’ve fitted the bag over the camera, cut a hole around the end of the lens, and secure with elastic band. Et voila! A cheap and cheerful waterproof hack.
We typically use a lens hood to reduce flare, but they can double up to offer a little bit of water protection too.
If you fit a clear or UV filter to protect the lens element adequately, then mount your lens hood to your camera, it’ll help protect the front end of your camera from getting wet. However, this solution doesn’t protect your camera body, so it’s a good idea to couple up your lens hood with the plastic bag method.
Rain covers, also known as rain sleeves, come in a wide variety of sizes and fabrics to suit all budgets.
If you’re looking for something small and stashable for your camera bag, and you don’t want to break the bank, then something like the Op/Tech rainsleeve is ideal. It’s a waterproof cover with a drawstring feature that creates a snug fit around the lens. These sleeves can be used more than one, but aren’t designed with longevity in mind. Other types of rain covers will come with hand holes, be made of thicker material and cost a little more money.
If you find yourself spending hours shooting outdoors and the rain is being particularly relentless, then consider investing in a proper camera jacket, or camera coat.
Usually made from a much thicker and more durable material than the camera sleeves, camera jackets cover the entire camera and lens and can be used over and over again. With improved features and fabrics, the price of these can range anywhere from £25 to over £100.
Hands-free umbrellas are becoming more popular with companies investing in proper research into them. They free up your hands to eliminate the cumbersome balancing act or DIY duct tape bodge of sticking an umbrella to your set-up.
These hands-free devices are designed to be attached to your tripod when there isn’t a great deal of wind. There are a few different mounts to choose from, whether you want a ‘brolly that screws into an arm offset from the tripod or mount which has a vice-arm attachment that can securely hold an umbrella to the side. Depending on the mount you use and the umbrella, prices vary from £25 to £130.
To help keep your equipment dry, you must stay dry also, so it’s a great idea to invest in some warm, waterproof clothing, especially gloves.
Another pack essential is cloths which are ideal for mopping up moisture on your camera and lens. Chamois leather and microfibre cloths are super absorbent and soft, perfect for wiping down your lenses and your hands too.
When shooting in the rain, our top tip is to change lens undercover, so you reduce the risk of moisture affecting the affecting or working its way into the camera body itself. If your camera does get a little damp, you can always pop it into a bag with silica gel packets, or uncooked rice to help dry out the humidity. To dry your lenses, best to leave them fully extended so that water doesn’t get trapped inside, which can lead to mould.
It can be tricky to shoot in the rain with the fear of moisture seeping into your camera, but if you take the necessary measures to protect yourself and your equipment, then you’ll be able to capture incredible footage.