LensCoatTM Review and Impression
This is a quick review to express my impression of the LensCoatTM product that I own for my Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VRII , Nikon 300mm f2.8 VRII lenses, and teleconverter set:
“LensCoatTM Lens Covers are manufactured from 100% closed-cell neoprene, offering protection from bumps, jars and nicks”, “provide a thermal barrier, protecting your hands from cold lenses in lower temperatures”, “are easy to install and remove, sliding on like a sleeve, leaving no residue on the lens”, “and LensCoat™ lens covers are waterproof, providing protection in harsh conditions. Other features include a clear, flexible UV-PVC window over the AF/IS/VR controls and the distance-scale window. The LensCoat™ also features custom holes that reveal the red-dot for easy alignment to the camera body without removing the cover” – From the lenscoat.com website
As I mentioned before, I own the LensCoatTM for two lenses and my set of teleconverters. In all, I spent around $190 for all of these lens covers. That breaks down to $30 for teleconverter covers, $80 for 70-200mm f2.8 VRII, and $80 for 300mm f2.8 VRII. After making the substantial investment in my lenses and teleconverters, I figured I should do everything possible to protect them. LensCoatTM seemed like a reasonable option. Though I do not completely regret purchasing this product, I do feel that it is overpriced for what you end up with. Honestly, I may not have purchased the LensCoatTM again if given the opportunity. Here’s my list of PROS and CONS…you can decide for yourself if they would be worth the money to you:
1. Good overall fit – The LensCoatTM “cover” is actually composed of multiple band-like strips of neoprene that have been precut to the dimensions of each section of the lens. These sections have been sewed together along one side. Realistically, I probably could have made these myself with a little effort and materials. Probably would have cost me around $10..maybe $20 tops!
2. Light weight, non-intrusive – As you would expect from thin strips of neoprene, the coat does not add much weight to you lens, nor does it alter your ability to hold the lens.
3. Good scratch prevention – This is the main reason I wanted the LensCoatTM. I seriously doubt the covers will do anything to prevent damage if I were to drop my lens or really bang it against something. Instead, I wanted something to protect the surface from dings, dents, or scracthes when I place the lens against hard/irregular surfaces for balance, or from other accidental scratches (ie . equipment to equipment rubbing).
1. Expensive – At approximately $20 for their smallest cover for the 50mm f1.8, or over $100 for the largest cover for the 600mm f4, these strips of protective neoprene that make up a LensCoatTM cover aren’t cheap. You might find that your money is better spent on other items.
2. Difficult to access AF/IS/VR control buttons – Despite the advertised “clear, flexible UV-PVC window over the AF/IS/VR controls and the distance-scale window” (seen above), I found it really difficult to actually make fast changes to setting using this button panel on the lens with the LensCoatTM section attached. Sure, it is possible to switch the buttons through the clear plastic, but it is not easy in my opinion… and definitely not easy to do quickly. I constantly found myself rolling this section down out of the way when I needed to access these buttons. Finally I just took the section off both of my lenses all together, so now the buttons are not covered. Now, I have at least one section of the cover that I am not using…
3. Slightly hinders manual focus– On the 70-200mm model at least, one of the sections goes over the manual focus ring (see from the photo above). I was not a big fan of this as it made it more difficult to quickly locate the manual focus by touch, since all of the neoprene sections feel the same. So I ended up taking this section off my cover also. Now there are two sections not being used…
4. Hinders seeing alignment “dot” on lens and teleconverter for attachment to camera – It is true that the LensCoatTM covers have a “custom holes that reveal the red-dot for easy alignment to the camera body”. However, it is not easy to see this hole or keep it perfectly aligned over the dot, in my opinion. I feel that I am constantly having the roll the edge of the cover up slightly in order to confidently find my alignment dots. I actually went as far as to make my own mark on the surface of the lens cover to designate the spot of the dot, but I still have to double check each time since there can be a slight shift in the cover after a lens has been in your bag. I definitely don’t want to ruin a mount on the camera or lens because I was not able to see the alignment marks. Despite this annoyance, I did keep this section on both of my lenses.
5. Edge roll – I find this especially true on the “irregular” shaped portions of the lens like some lens hoods. For example the lens hood on the Nikon 70-200 f2.8 VRII version, has an undulating curved edge. As a result, the lens cover for this piece does not stay on very well. It like to roll or even invert at the edges. Sure, I could probably use two-sided tape or something to fasten it down, but I chose not to do this. I really don’t want any adhesive residue to deal with in the future. So, you guessed it…I took this section off also 🙂 This is not a problem on the Nikon 300mm f2.8 lens hood since it is essentially a cylinder shape and stay on rather nicely.
So overall, I have mixed feelling about the LensCoatTM. On the most basic level they does prevent cosmetic blemishes on the surface of the lens and this could help retain value if I ever were to sell the lens. However, I personally don’t use every section that comes with the LensCoatTM cover for the reasons that I already mentioned. In an ideal world, the sections of the LensCoatTM would be sold seperately and a person could just purchase the sections that they would actually use…for a cheaper price of course. Oh well that’s camera equipment for you. Hope this helps. Feel free to share you comments, experiences or just leave feedback, as it is greatly appreciated!!
I have aquired a few new items since I last posted an update to my photography equipment section. Feel free to ask if you have any questions about my satisfaction with any of the items listed at the link below. I will try to do some reviews on these newer items in the near future.