Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Think Tank Photo Hydrophobia 300 - 600 Review

As the summer approaches here in England so does the probability of more seasonal wet weather. For those photographers who need to be outside some sort of weather protection for their kit as is as important as a decent weatherproof jacket & trousers.

Shootin' in the rain - Think Tank Photo Style

Think Tank Photo have released the Hydrophobia 300 - 600 designed to protect big fast glass such as 300 mm f2.8, 400 mm f2.8, 500 mm f4 and 600 mm f4 lenses.

As with everything that Think Tank Photo design and sell, the product has been well thought through and designed by photographers for photographers. For this test I've used a Canon 50D with a 100 - 400 mm L IS zoom lens, which quite frankly is a bit like a young kid dressing up in Dad's suit, but it shows the principle behind the Hydrophobia 300 - 600.


The cover is designed to remain attached to your lens even when it's not raining and deploys quickly and easily in the event of rain or other wet elements. During normal use the cover is cinched around the lens hood with the bulk of the cover contained around the lens barrel. This does not in any way impede performance or handling due to the light weight of the cover.

Eye cup pocket

On the side of the cover at the front is a pocket to take the eye piece adaptor suited to your specific camera make & model. These eye pieces enable a tight seal and maintain use of the optical viewfinder without having to resort to Live View mode and reduced battery life.

Cushioned make and model specific eye cup

To deploy the cover all you need to do is loosen the red cord and pull the cover over your camera and lens. The cover is supplied with very detailed instructions on how to pack it for use and fitting to your lens.


Hydrophobia 300 - 600 deployed


Once deployed the Hydrophobia 300 - 600 provides a roomy weatherproof cover with access from both right and left. The build construction is excellent and in line with high-end outdoor foul weather gear. The seams are sealed with tape to prevent ingress of water and the zip is of a type to minimise wet penetration. There are clear panels on the top and back allowing you to see both you top panel and rear preview screen and controls. The entry cuffs are generous enough for the user to wear heavy protective gear. There is sufficient room to focus and zoom the lens and allow rotation of the lens and camera body.


Rear view showing the eye cup with cover deployed

There is a panel at the rear of the cover which fits snugly around the eye cup. This makes use very straightforward and should it be necessary you can very quickly unzip the cover and remove form the eye cup for adding a tele-convertor. Memory cards can be changed without removing the cover.

In conclusion a cracking bit of kit and one that every outdoor photographer should have ready for use. A small investment to protect an expensive investment. There's no excuse for not carrying a Hydrophobia 300 - 600 in your bag, they are light in weight and pack down to about the size of the average paperback book.

Pack's Rating * * * * *

For more information visit:
http://www.thinktankphoto.com/products/hydrophobia-300-600-rain-cover.aspx

In the UK you can buy your Hydrophobia 300 - 600 direct from Snapperstuff:
Hydrophobia 300 - 600

My first review of a similar product was posted last year - the Kata Rain and Elements covers. I'll leave it for you to be the judge of which product is best suited to your particular needs.

For those of you in the UK, here's the link to the Met Office, who may or may not predict when it will rain:
http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/uk/

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