More and more camera companies are making weather resistant cameras and lenses, which in my opinion, is fantastic. As a product photographer who takes photos of technical outerwear, bags, and other outdoor gear, it's important to be able to shoot in the rain, snow, dust, etc. Also living in Vancouver, BC means needing to be comfortable out in the rain, which includes photography.
But not all cameras and lenses come with weather resistance, in fact most don't. While my camera of choice (the amazing Fujifilm XT-3) is weather resistant, pretty much all of my favourite lenses (the Fujifilm 18mm F2 / 35mm F1.4 / 55-200mm F3.5-4.8) don't feature weather resistance. Other amazing Fujifilm lenses like the 18-55mm F2.8-4 / 56mm F1.2 / and 23mm F1.4 also don't feature weather resistance, and when your camera is weather resistant but the lens isn't, well, then nothing is water resistant.
So what are you to do? Make yourself a custom weatherproof camera cover! Follow the steps below to make a lightweight cover that will turn any camera/lens combo into a tough, weather resistant combo.
For this project you will need about 1/2 yard of waterproof fabric (ideally with a bit of stretch) We are using some leftover three layer waterproof breathable ripstop from a recent outerwear project. You will also need about one yard of cording (shock cord, static cord, paracord, etc.) and two cord locks (that fit the size of cord you are using) That's it!
First up measure your camera and lens combo, in this case we are using the Fujifilm XT-3 and the 35mm F1.4 - although we made sure that the lens portion was wide enough to fit over the Fujifilm 55-200mm F3.5-4.8 (details on that down below)
This is what the pattern looks like for the Fujifilm XT-3 body and lens cover - large enough to fit both the the 35mm F1.4 and the 55-200mm F3.5-4.8
Feel free to download, copy and modify the pattern! It should be a similar pattern for most mirrorless cameras and lenses with only small changes in dimensions.
Next up - sewing the lens sleeve
Start by folding the sleeve in half along the long side (11")
Sew the edges together leaving a 1/2" gap just before the halfway mark
Next split the seam and sew the seam allowance flat (this part is optional but it gives it a more polished look)
Next up sew a little loop of fabric (or in this case webbing) about 1.5" from the back of the sleeve. This is for the excess cording (again this is optional)
Now slide the cording through the hole in the middle of the sleeve, fold the sleeve in half around the cord, and clip the back of the sleeve together
Now with everything clipped, sew the sleeve together as close to the cording as your presser foot will allow
Then sew the back of the sleeve together as well
Next you can clip the cord to size and tie or sew the cord ends together
Now take this chance to make sure it fits before moving forward!
Now on to the camera body cover!
Next cut out the hole for the lens sleeve
Next sew the lens sleeve into the hole in the camera cover, making sure to keep the seam in the lens sleeve at the bottom of the camera cover
Now this is your first exposed seam so make sure to seal the edge of the fabric so it doesn't fray. Because we are using a synthetic fabric we just used a lighter to melt the edge of the fabric to prevent it from fraying, but you could also use bias tape, serge the edge like this - or if you really want to make it waterproof you can use seam sealing tape
Now you want to fold the corners in, clip and sew them along the lines we made earlier - then trim and seal the edges
Next in the centre bottom of the camera cover sew a little wedge leaving a gap just like the lens sleeve - then cut a small hole and seal the edge with a quick flick of a lighter
Now feed the cording through the hole and then wrap the fabric around the cording - clipping it together all the way around the opening of the camera cover
Now sew the cord sleeve closed all the way around the camera cover - and you're finished!
There you have it, a simple, effective weather and water resistant camera cover! Is it as elegant as WR lenses? No definitely not, but now we can use lenses that don't offer WR in pouring rain and not have to worry! (well at least not worry as much)
As I mentioned earlier the camera body we use (Fujifilm XT-3) is weather resistant so we didn't put any protection over the back of the camera. If we were making this for a camera body that wasn't weather resistant a simple clear vinyl panel sewn to the top of the back would be very effective keeping water off the camera - while still letting you see the LCD screen.
Another thing to note is that I find it very easy to control the camera functions through the camera cover. The aperture ring, shutter speed, ISO dials, and shutter button are all easily located through the camera cover and don't require you to take the cover off to make changes to your settings. You can also change lenses without having to take off the cover, just loosen the cord at the front of the lens and pull the lens straight out the front.
Finally we won't dive into how to make the 55-200mm extension sleeve because that was made a few weeks ago and not documented, but it is quite simple and made just like the lens sleeve above (except it doesn't need any cording or cord adjustment)
Well that's it for this side project, we hope you enjoyed it!