I was recently photographing burrowing owls in eastern Colorado during a rainy few days, so of course I put on my rain cover to protect my gear. Pro level lenses and bodies are well sealed against the elements, but they are not waterproof. I really like that Nikon has eliminated the popup flash on the D500 and D850, this significantly improves improves weatherproofing. Take a look at your lenses, many have a rubber gasket where the lens mounts to the body to prevent elements from entering the body. I just returned from Bhutan and shot an entire portrait session in a steady rainstorm, and the D850 and 35mm F1.4 performed flawlessly. But let’s face it, while these cameras can take occasional showers or even some light drizzle, if you shoot during a downpour at some point water is going to get into your lens or camera body. Try one of these two rain covers, and you should be able to shoot through a downpour in fine fashion.
For my small lenses, I use a simple rain cover from FotoSharp. These rain covers are as simple as it gets, and are small enough to put in your back pocket. One issue many rain covers have is they are larger, bulky and take a half hour to get them on your camera. With the Pro Rain Cover from Fotosharp, you simply pull it over your lens…it’s like a long waterproof tube. The bottom has a velcro opening so your can still mount your lens on a tripod. I have one of the 16″ versions in each of my photo backpacks.
When I am shooting my 600mm F4, I use a cover by LensCoat RainCoat Pro. I like this cover for my big lens because it has multiple velcro straps to secure the cover, and a hand opening that I can use to hit the shutter button. This cover doesn’t need a dedicated eye piece which some rain covers use; this does give an extra level of protection. But if it is raining that hard, I’ve found heavy rain produces soft images when scenes are compressed with a 600mm lens. This cover also has a tripod opening, and is very easy and fast to slip over your lens.
Don’t let a little rain keep you from going out. You are going to find images that are unique. If you stay inside and drink coffee, you aren’t going to get any images! My favorite portrait from Bhutan was in a pouring rainstorm. See the image at the top of this post.