Think Tank Emergency Rain Covers: A Cinch in a Pinch


(text by Robert Jordan, above photo by Clarissa Jordan) Nowadays renowned for his pickleball skills, Robert Jordan was, prior to his 2017 retirement, director of photography at the University of Mississippi. He has done several articles and reviews for the UPAA blog and the Contact Sheet magazine. Read more here, here, here  and here

Cameras today are much better sealed from the elements than their predecessors, so a light mist or rain is of little concern. But serious rain conditions can still put your camera gear at risk.

Early in my career I used garbage bags, rubber bands and gaffer tape to cover my gear when covering football games. While it protected my gear from water, it was nerve wracking and the bags really interfered with shooting, especially when changing film every 36-shots.

Over the years I tried several commercially available rain covers, but most were awkward, exposed the camera/lens to rain when shooting verticals, fogged up or would shift out of position, blocking the eyepiece.

In 2008 I reviewed the ThinkTank Hydrophobia (TTH) rain cover for the UPAA Contact sheet. The TTH I reviewed was designed specifically for a DSLR with either a 300/400mm 2.8 or 500/600mm f4 lens. It was a game changer for me, no more garbage bags. Best of all, the TTH could be pre-mounted on the lens hood and rolled up out of the way to be deployed quickly if needed. The downsides to the TTH were cost ($150), the need to use a special TTH camera eyepiece ($20) and it does take a few minutes to install the cover ( in the original review I likened it to “wrestling a large, ill-tempered bagpipe, and loosing badly”). Like all ThinkTank products, it was very well built and durable. I’m still using that original Hydrophobia I reviewed on my 200-400mm, and ThinkTank has made numerous improvements over the years with Hydrophobia 3.0 being the current model.


(photo by Robert Jordan) The Think Tank Emergency Rain Cover (TTERC).

The TTH is definitely the ‘mother of all rain protection covers’ and recently ThinkTank introduced a new line of Emergency Rain Covers (TTERC) that may be just the ticket for those photographers who only shoot in inclement weather occasionally. Like all ThinkTank products, the TTERC is well designed and durable, using the same waterproofing technology, seam sealing and robust fasteners as the their current Hydrophobia covers. The beauty of the TTERC is their simplicity and low cost ($35-60). Stored in the included pouch they are only about 3.5” square and less than 2” thick, much smaller than the TTH, so it’s the TTERC is easy to pack and can be installed in no time.

The TTERC works well with both DSLR and Mirrorless bodies (with or without auxiliary grips) and they come in three sizes; Small (fits 16–35mm f/2.8, a 14–24mm f/2.8, a 24–105mm f/4, or a 24–70mm f/2.8 lens) Medium (fits 24–70mm f/2.8 or a 70–200mm f/2.8 lens) and Large (fits 150-600mm f5.6/6.3, 200-500mm f5.6, 200-400mm f4, 300/400mm f2.8, 500/600mm f4).

ThinkTank supplied a Medium and Large TTERC for testing, both are simple, tube-like designs featuring a reinforced opening at one end that fits over the end of the lens hood and secures with a velcro strap. The other end of the TTERC features a large window that provides a clear view of the top and rear of the camera, including the viewfinder and LCD.


(photo by Clarissa Jordan) TTERC in action.

Fitting the TTERC cover is a piece of cake. There is a black plastic anchor molded into the clear window at the rear of the cover, slip it onto the camera’s hot shoe. Then position the lens opening so it’s as close to the end of the lens hood as possible and tighten the velcro strap. That’s it!

ThinkTank’s anchor that secures the cover to the hot shoe is pure genius, it ensures that the viewfinder won’t be obscured by a shifting rain cover, a problem I’ve run into with rain covers from other manufacturers. Also, while the elastic lens openings on other rain covers may be easier to fit, they don’t stay in put like the rubberized and velcro secured ThinkTank design. TTERC covers have a generous opening below the camera with a cinch cord, simply reach up through this opening to hold the camera/lens. The rear of the TTERC can be used fully deployed so the back of the camera is protected by the plastic window, rolled up as far as the anchor point or rolled up onto the lens if the rain lets up temporarily.


(photo by Robert Jordan) An ingenious tab slides into the hot shoe, keeping the cover in place regardless of horizontal/vertical orientation.

I tried the Medium cover with my Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 on both the D850 (DSLR) and Z6 (Mirrorless) full-frame bodies. It literally takes seconds to install and I can easily see and manipulate all of the controls on the top and rear of the camera and look through the plastic cover into the viewfinder. Therein lies my only criticism. Unlike the Hydrophobia which uses a dedicated viewfinder, when fully deployed, you look through the plastic window on the TTERC to shoot. The view is a bit fuzzy, but it’s a small price to pay for an effective rain cover that is so affordable, easy to pack and use. The good news is that unless you’re in a torrential downpour, simply roll the TTERC over the hot shoe, leaving the anchor in place and with a bit of the window overhanging the back of the camera providing direct access to the eyepiece. I’d recommend packing a ball cap along with the TTERC, the ball cap bill, combined with the TTERC protects the camera back, keeps rain out of your eyes and eliminates any concern about the TTERC window fogging up.

With both TTERCs I found that leaving the cover attached to the lens, I can easily slip the anchor off the D850 hot shoe and swap out to my Nikon Z6 mirrorless camera with the FTZ adapter. Shooting with the Z6 is as effortless as the DSLR and the eye sensor on the Z6 usually switches back and forth from the EVF to the LCD screen. Occasionally the Z6 ‘sticks’ in EVF mode, when it does, all I have to do is extend my right thumb away from the camera body, pushing the plastic window away from the eyepiece and the Z6 swaps over to LCD viewing.


(Photo by Robert Jordan) Convenient access is a plus.

As expected, the Large TTERC cover is a longer, larger tube to accommodate a variety of long lenses. The Large TTERC features a sealed zipper and three small clips running along the underside. Unzipping the zipper all the way makes installing the cover easier and provides easy to access to the lens’s tripod collar for mounting as well as access to all of the lens controls with the left hand. Installing the Large TTERC on my Nikkor 200-400mm f4 lens was easy-peasy. With the lens mounted on a monopod, there is enough slack in the TTERC that I can rotate the camera in either direction to shoot vertically without exposing the camera or lens to the elements. If it’s really windy, you may wish to partially zip the zipper or fasten any of the three clips that run along the zipper. However I find that I prefer leaving the cover loose for maximum ventilation and ease of rotation. Just like the medium version, I was confident that no matter how hard it rained, no water would get through and after shooting for a few minutes it’s easy to forget the TTERC is there.

Feeling a little adventurous, I fitted the TTERC to my Nikkor 200-500mm f5.6. Zooming this lens requires an awkward 180 degree rotation of the zoom ring and the lens extends nearly 4” as it’s zoomed out all the way. To my surprise, the TTERC only slightly interferes with the prodigious rotation of the zoom ring and does not interfere with the lens’s change in length in any way. Using the TTERC on the 200-500mm turned out to be a much better experience than I anticipated.

I highly recommend the ThinkTank Emergency Rain Covers to anyone who may need to shoot in inclement weather. They are inexpensive, easy to use and offer peace of mind that your gear is protected so you can relax and concentrate on shooting.

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