As part of gearing up for an upcoming trip to the Arctic, I've been trying out the EasyCover silicone skin. I've been intrigued by them for a while. They're essentially silicone gloves for camera bodies, each one designed to fit a specific camera model. The one I've been using fits the Nikon D800.
My cameras tend to get a bit banged up on the road. It doesn't worry me much--I don't need them to look pretty--but I was especially interested in trying out the EasyCover because I'll be kayaking in the Arctic and will have very cold and wet hands. It'll also be going in and out of a bag often and sometimes roughly when I've got other things to worry about (like paddling or not falling in!). So I've been trying out an EasyCover on my camera to see if it's something that will be useful.
They're relatively inexpensive. Most come in black. Some also come in bright yellow, red, or a camouflage pattern.
There are cutouts for the dials and screens, as well as for some buttons. Some other buttons are covered over, but their position and label is marked on the cover (though it's not always easy to read). There's also a flap that goes over the hot shoe, and it has a grooved bottom that means you can slide it into the hot show and it'll hold in place. If you need to use the hot shoe for a flash or remote commander, you can easily fold the flap back.
I found it easy to put on. It's not something that you can just take on and off easily on the fly, but it wasn't much of a chore to install it. It's easier if you remove any camera straps or other accessories first.
Once installed, it forms a snug fit for the camera.
I've not run into any real issues with it interfering with the operation of the camera, although it does feel a bit different and some of the covered buttons don't give quite the same tactile feedback with the cover on. Overall, it does feel different in your hand, so it can take a little getting used to if you're controlling by touch.
It comes with plastic adhesive screen cover. I didn't install that because, frankly, there are better glass ones available.
Does it add protection against water?
It's important to note that it does not make the camera waterproof. Most of the moving parts, buttons, and doors remain exposed so that you can operate them.
You might be able to argue that it adds some extra protection against damp conditions because the silicon covers quite a bit of surface area that in turn reduces the amount of surface area on the camera itself that water can drop directly on, but this is by no means a waterproof cover.
Something I have come across is that when water does get trapped in between the case and the camera body, it takes a bit longer to dry out.
Does it offer protection against knocks?
Some. This is not some magic suit of armor for your camera, but it does add an extra layer of shock-absorbent silicone around many of the exposed areas of the body. It's only a thin layer, though, so you'll need realistic expectations of how strong a knock it's going to protect against.
Does it improve grip?
Some. The surface of the silicon isn't as textured or grippy as it could be. And the small but noticeable extra bulk adds just that little bit extra to wrap your hands around.
It's smoother than something like neoprene, and it's a shame it's not grippier.
Does it protect against scratches?
Yes, mostly. There are still exposed areas, but overall it adds a lot of protection against scratches. If you plan to resell your camera in the future, this could make a real difference.
With just the silicon cover installed there LCD screen remains exposed. There's a separate adhesive screen cover included, or you can add your own if you wish.
Does it interfere with operating the camera?
On the D800, not really. All of the necessary buttons, doors, and dials are still accessible. In some cases, the smaller exposed controls can be a little more finicky to adjust because of the thickness of the silicon around them, and I've found that particularly to be the case with the front dial to change aperture, but the controls are all still accessible.
The biggest thing I've found is that I needed to recalibrate my touch memory for the controls because they feel a bit different. So for a while, I found myself looking down at the camera a bit more than usual. But that's something I got used to pretty quickly.
Each cover is of course customized for the specific camera model, and I haven't tested them on other camera models.
Does it protect lenses?
No, it's only for camera bodies. If you're looking for something for your lens, check out the LensCoat neoprene covers.
Can you still use the camera on a tripod or with a QR clip like those from Peak Design?
Sort of. The bottom is cut away to expose the tripod socket, but the lip of the cover does interfere a bit. You can either move the cover a but and put the edge of the quick release plate under it, or you can tighten the QR enough to jam the silicon underneath (not recommended because it might put the screw at an angle and damage the thread. You could conceivably cut out a little from the lip of the cover, but that's going to weaken it and will probably result in looseness.
So this is a weak area of the EasyCover, although it's probably going to be different on different cameras and with different QR plates.
There's no problem with small attachments like the ones used with Black Rapid straps. It's only for plates or mounts that are large enough to go to the edge of the camera's bottom plate.
Find Them At
You can find the EasyCovers for an extensive range of different cameras at B&H Photo.