LensCoat for Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS review
I've been intrigued by the LensCoat neoprene covers for lenses for a while now, especially as I've been very impressed with the neoprene Gimps (made by Crumpler) web bought for our old 12-inch PowerBooks and 15-inch MacBookPros. If you're a wildlife shooter then the camouflage LensCoats are a no-brainer, especially if you're using one of Canon's white lenses, but they're equally attractive as a protective covering. If you thought the closed-cell (non-water absorbing) neoprene coat was solely for wildlife photographers, think again; LensCoat make covers with a raft of patterns as well as in two solid colors; white and black. I guess the white covers could be used in snowy conditions but also if you're looking to preserve the temperature reducing effect (from thermal gain) of the original off-white color of Canon's telephoto lenses in hotter climes.
I was sent the Forest Green (woodland) pattern cover fitting the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS (see above) by the UK distributor and e-tailer, WarehouseExpress. The kit consists of five rather small pieces of neoprene, all neatly cut to fit the painted areas of the lens while keeping the zoom and manual focus rings free. The fit is very snug; it's certainly worth making sure the lens body is free of any grit or dirt lest the paint is scratched during the fitting. I should point out the lens' controls for image stabilization and focus operation are covered by a fairly supple plastic window (as is the focus distance scale), however as the cover isn't waterproof as such (water can work its way in between the cover and lens barrel), the idea behind this is to provide some protection from scuffing. The window makes it more difficult to operate the sliders, but it's a fair trade-off in my opinion. Still, I rarely switch between the settings.
There's no doubt if you use a super-telephoto lens regularly, before long it will start to pick-up the inevitable scrapes and scratches, and that's true to a slightly lesser extent of smaller lenses as well. While covers for the shorter focal lengths are bordering on pricey (around $80/ £60 each), with only a small premium for the super-telephotos LensCoats are absolutely excellent value and an essential purchase in my view; the price will be easily recovered when the time comes to sell-on or upgrade your lens.