Protect your camera.
Before wrapping this up, I mentioned earlier that Camera Armor comes bundled with a
Lens Armor. It's made of the same rubber material as the Camera Armor, bendy and flexible.
It's meant to be used in the same fashion as a lens hood, and is meant to do to your lens
what the Camera Armor does to your body. It's a stretch-and-fit attachment, so it kind of
oddly just stays squeezed around your lens. It even comes with a little Lens Cap Leash,
which has an adhesive bit at the end, so you could stick your font lens cover on it and
avoid misplacing it. I haven't done this, in the fear of having the lens cover there
permanently, which I don't want to do. It might also be a non-permanent adhesive, but
there's no way for me to know this, and I rather not take the chance. The way the Lens
Armor is meant to do its job, I imagine, is to dampen hits taken to the lens, but that
functionality is again a bit less than meets the eye.
First of all, the Lens Armor is also made of flexible rubber and is not braced or
reinforced in any way, therefore has no stopping power in the front-to-back direction - I
can place my hand in front of the Lens Armor and just easily tap it backwards, and the
thing yields without effort. Made Products claimed this to be a feature, though, so that
you could pull the hood back to reduce possible vignetting. It would soften blows from the
side somewhat, though. I would imagine that the most-often-included rigorous lens hoods on
Nikkor lenses might do a better job in physically protecting the lens, while giving a
perfect protection from stray light. They are attached somewhat similarly (around the
front lens element), with the exception that they have stopping power in the front and
they snap securely to place and stay there. On the other hand, the Lens Armor is elastic,
probably doing a better job at dampening blunt blows. Also the Lens Armor has a fairly
small fitting hole (e.g. it was ok for a 50mm/1.8 Nikkor), the Nikon lens hoods come
dedicated to each lens. Also, when attached to the 50mm/1.8 Nikkor, the lens having a
rotating focusing ring, the Lens Armor actually would prohibit it from rotating if placed
too far forwards, therefore making possible damage to the lens and/or camera. Or, if I
would pull the Lens Armor backwards so that it would not rest on the focusing ring, it
would be difficult to manually focus the lens, would I have the need to do that, because
the focusing ring is obscured by the Lens Armor's hood.
Markings on the buttons
In practice, at least the Nikon D200 implementation was not as good as
I wanted it to be. The armor made my camera notably more clumsy to
operate. In hasty situations, this could mean a missed shot, and to many
that is unacceptable. If you are able to shoot with the same settings
during your whole shoot, then the camera armor doesn't get in your way.
But that most probably means you are shooting in a controlled environment
anyhow, thus not placing your camera in much physical danger.
Additionally, the pro bodies from Nikon and Canon are made to begin with
to endure blows in moderation. Unless used as an hammer (although rumors
say some bodies could double as one), they should last. So, could the
target audience be on the lower end of the camera market? They have less
buttons to operate, therefore the outer skin would get less in the way of
shooting. Individuals with relatively little knowledge of photographing might
adjust their settings a lot less in general. The less expensive SLR:s are
also mostly made out of plastic, therefore a removable exoskeleton would
be very much justified.
Despite the criticism I have dealt the Camera Armor in this article, I think it's only
fair to say that this all should be put in a broader perspective than my personal usage.
The Camera Armor, Lens Armor and an extra LCD-cover costs a total of only a few tens of
euros/dollars. Even if you wouldn't use the Armor constantly and permanently, you could
buy it for the spare display cover, and keep the armor in store for that day you know you
will be hiking in thickets or jumping in ditches. For me, however, the deal breakers are
the loss battery grip and the hard accessibility of certain controls. I feel, however,
that these are design problems that aren't impossible to overcome. Thin out the materials
around some dials, reshape it a bit here and there, and Made Product would have a killer
accessory. But like this, I really can't see myself using it too much with my camera.
Questions or comments? Visit MetkuMods forum.
Past related articles in MetkuMods
Canon EFS to EF
Concord Eye-Q 5330z
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