This is another one of those photography products that’s either really dumb or absolute genius. I haven’t quite decided yet. Most photographers who shoot outdoors will have to deal with the rain at some point. Personally, I defend against it by using weather sealed gear. But that’s not an option for every photographer.
Devised by a small team in Brooklyn, the Camera Canopy is another way around that problem. It’s essentially an acrylic roof that attaches to your hotshoe and goes over your camera and lens, protecting it from the rain falling down from above. Seems logical, right?
Sure, there are other options out there, like various rain coats, which are anything from a glorified plastic bag to a fairly nice thick padded enclosure with windows. But I’ve used those, and boy do your hands and arms sweat when they’re inside those things, which just introduces humidity into the air inside the bag, which then fogs up the viewing window. And they can make it fiddly to adjust your settings, too.
The Camera Canopy gets around this by not actually encasing your whole camera and lens. It sits above it like, as the name suggests, a canopy. So, you get full freedom of movement using your camera and lens as you normally would.
It’s a pretty unique design, but a couple of things stick out to me…
- That thing’s fairly long, and it weights about 2lbs. It mounts to the hotshoe, and it can extend.
- It’s going to be pretty useless in windy conditions, as there’s no protection from rain coming in from the side
Even the hefty Nikon SB-900 speedlight only weighed about 12oz. This thing weighs more than double that, and the weight is extending out way beyond that which normally sits on a camera’s hotshoe. And this thing can extend to cover really long lenses. This means it’s going to magnify that weight and force on the hotshoe. It’s simple physics.
In windy conditions, as well as offering little protection from the sides, that thing’s going to be a hell of a wind trap, creating even more force on the hotshoe than just the weight of the thing alone.
That doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily a useless product. Hotshoes are pretty strong things these days. 99 times out of 100, if you’ve got a flash on there and something breaks, it’ll be the flash’s foot before the camera’s hotshoe. But, it would be nice to see some kind of attachment near the front of the canopy so that you can rest it on the top of your lens to take some of that load and strain off the hotshoe – in the same way that a tripod collar on a long lens stops you from having to put all that front-heavy weight on the camera’s 1/4-20 socket.
But, it does mean it’s probably only going to be useful in light rain or calm conditions with little-to-no wind.
Personally, I think I’ll just stick to using weather sealed gear. I do like the general idea, though. And I think some will find it quite useful. Possibly Sony shooters.
If you want to find out more, see a video of it in use, or even buy one of your own, they’re $79.99 over on the Camera Canopy website.
[via Digital Camera World]