The Cameramac is a handmade waterproof cape originally devised by Judith Bagnall, the wife of a professional photographer whose kit kept getting soaked while working at football matches. It's a reasonably priced solution for photographers who face a similar predicament.
- Hand-made to order
- Available in a range of sizes
- Prices range from £35-£55 depending on camera and size of lens.
- Visit http://www.cameramac.net for more details.
As the cape is handmade to order, any permutation of camera and lens can be catered for. When ordering a Cameramac you're encouraged to state the camera and lens combination you will be using it with.
The Cameramac supplied for review is the perfect size for my Nikon D200 plus 300mm f/4 lens, and would probably fit rather nicely on a 70-200mm f/2.8 as well. If used with a smaller lens, than specified, (such as my Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8) it can become rather difficult to use as you are left with lots of excess fabric which can impede ease of use of the camera.
To mount the Cameramac on your camera, you must first stretch the rubberised eyepiece opening around your camera's viewfinder. The advantage of this design is that you are not looking through any extra layers of plastic to see through the viewfinder, so your view is not obstructed. The disadvantage of the rubberised opening is that it has a tendency to ping off the eyepiece in use (on my D200). I can imagine this being less of an issue on cameras with a larger eyepiece, such as the Nikon D1 and D2 series cameras.
The other end of the cape is secured with a combination of Velcro, and a pull cord, which ensures a snug fit around the front of the lens hood. Clear plastic viewing windows are provided to enable easy viewing of the cameras LCD screen, rear controls and top LCD display.
Cameramac: Build Quality
Tough waterproof nylon material is used throughout the Cameramac. This material has a high-grade feel to it, and would appear to be able to give many years of use. For handmade product, the stitching and overall fit and finish is of a very high standard. If you were ever in any doubt about it's handmade credentials, the handwritten logo emblazoned on each side of the cape will serve as a reminder.
To test the Cameramac, first of all I took it along on assignment with me to an outdoor music festival I was covering. At the festival, it did bucket down a few times, so I had to press the Cameramac into service. I found that when hurrying to protect my camera from the elements, the rubber opening for the eyepiece was very difficult to secure properly, so much so that I had to resort to forcing the Nikon eye cup back over the Cameramac to secure it. I found the Cameramac not ideally suited to hand-held shooting, as the opening along the bottom leaves the camera vulnerable to the elements when shooting in portrait format.
After this experience I decided to test it with my long lens mounted on a tripod. I feel this situation is where the Cameramac is in its element, as the design allows for easy mounting on a support from the bottom, while providing ample protection against the elements. As a further test, I tipped a couple of litres of water over the tripod mounted Cameramac. It kept my equipment completely bone-dry!
To test the mac properly, I poured two litres of water onto it.
My gear was still dry after a risky test allowing a sigh of relief.
Whether the Cameramac is ideal for you, will depend on how you tend to shoot. If you tend to use some kind of support, such as a tripod, or monopod, and shoot mostly in landscape orientation, the Cameramac is a reasonably priced, high quality way to keep your equipment from being damaged by the elements. If however this is not you, the Cameramac is still worth a look, as it is a very high quality product. It just may be worth considering some other, better-fitted options.
Cameramac: Plus points
High quality materials
Cameramac: Minus pointsFEATURES
Rubber eyepiece opening can be difficult to secure properly
Design can leave the camera vulnerable when shooting portrait orientated pictures
The Cameramac costs from £35 and is available from the Cameramac website here