Photographers who shoot British landscapes often manage to capture some of the most beautiful shots you’ll ever lay eyes on thanks to the intense colours of the varied terrain, but these shots come at a price. The British Isles see an average of 800mm of rainfall a year, and without the proper rain gear, you could risk causing irreparable damage to your camera and lenses.
There are a number of solutions out there, but for my two months in Wales, I decided to go with the affordable RainSleeve Op/Tech USA. It is a simple plastic sleeve that covers your camera and the length of your arm just above your elbow. Large and roomy, it is easy to slip over any sort of rainproof clothing. Likewise, it is easy to fold up and pack away in any small bag when the rain subsides.
On the end where the lens peeps out, there is a tie string you can adjust to the size of your lens. It fits quite snugly around the tiny body of the M.Zuiko 12mm, and I can imagine that it would fit just as well around a larger lens.
As a rule of thumb, I would suggest using the RainSleeve with a lens that has a hood as it will not protect the glass from the elements.
I was pleased to find out that the plastic cover doesn’t interfere with your use of the LCD screen and viewfinder. With the Olympus Pen E-P5, I was able to use the touchscreen through the plastic, and I was also able to activate the electronic viewfinder just by putting my eye to it. The only annoyance is that the EVF will sometimes activate when the plastic gets too close to it, turning off the LCD screen when I am trying to view a photo.
In terms of protection, the RainSleeve does the job. The E-P5 was bone dry when I removed it from the sleeve after 20 minutes of shooting in moderately heavy rain. (We won’t go into my state of ‘wetness’ however! Ah, the sacrifices we make for photography.)
You can find the RainSleeve at a reasonable price online. Of course, if you’re looking for a cheap makeshift solution, you could probably make one of your own by cutting a hole in a plastic bag or shower cap, but it wouldn’t cover the length of your arm, wouldn’t have an adjustable tie at the end, and probably wouldn’t last very long. I personally consider a sleeve like this an essential investment for anyone living in a rain-prone country such as Wales.