If you are anything like me, the last thing you want to hear is the sickening crash of plastic, metal, and glass hitting the ground. In October of 2009, I heard just that very sound at The Magic Kingdom. As I was taking a timed-exposure shot of Cinderella’s Golden Carousel, a park Guest bumped into my tripod. The tripod crashed to the ground, breaking the lens in two pieces (thankfully the glass survived) and cracking the chassis of my Canon 5dMk2. Unbelievably, the camera continued to work fine but with a major battle-wound across the top panel under the LCD screen.
The next day I made a call to my good buddies at B&H Photo, the professional’s choice and friends of The Magic in Pixels, and within a few minutes a brand new Camera Armor was on its way to my house. I figured that the cost of repair would be prohibitive and if the Camera Armor worked as advertised, I could buy some time before having to send the camera in for repair. I did have several trips planned and could not afford to be without the camera.
Camera Armor is comparable to a silicone case for your iPod or cell phone, only much harder and studier. I was immediately impressed with the Camera Armor. It went on quickly and tightly and had the effect of “de-branding” the camera so it would be less noticeable to people checking it out. The package also included a clear plastic cover for the rear display screen and a “tripod socket extender”. The extender acts as a pass-through screw that fits into the tripod socket (through the bottom plate of the armor) and has a tripod socket on the bottom end. This allows you to use a tripod with the Camera Armor in place. An additional benefit of the socket extender is it helps to lock the bottom plate of the Camera Armor in place, although it fits nice and tightly even without the extender.
The design of the Camera Armor is clever and well-thought out. There is a flap that fits into the camera’s hot shoe and is easily retracted, allowing a flash to be used while at the same time protecting the shoe. All of the camera’s controls, buttons, and dials are easily accessible. Cutouts in the product allow access to the memory card compartment, cable release connectors, and you can even change the battery without having to remove the product from your camera. It is obvious that care and ease of use were definitely designed into this product. Lastly, the package also included one Lens Armor which fits over a lens to protect it in a similar manner as the Camera Armor. It features a built-in lens hood and has a leash that sticks on to the lens cap to help prevent you from losing the lens cap.
The Camera Armor does make the camera a bit larger and heavier, which is the only negative that I could possibly find. It makes the camera feel very well protected although I will not be doing any drop tests with the armor on. If you are the kind of photographer who cringes every time your camera gets a new scratch, this is the product for you. I am in that class of photographers and can tell you when and where I found the first scratch on my camera. After the 15th scratch, I convinced myself that they are “battle-wounds, beauty-marks, or customizations” but I can assure you that I wish I had Camera Armor when I had purchased the camera itself. When I get my Canon 1dMkIV, I will buy Camera Armor for it as soon as it is available. Camera Armor also makes a ToughStrap & SafeGrip Set which features wrist and shoulder straps, adding yet another layer of protection to an already impressive system. You simply cannot beat the value for the price paid, which is amazingly inexpensive. B&H Photo, as of this writing, carries ten different models of Camera Armor, covering twelve different camera bodies, all of which cost less than $40.
The last thing that I wish to mention is the amazing customer service provided by Camera Armor. I misplaced the tripod socket extender (hint: screw it in and leave it in) and upon emailing B&H Photo and Camera Armor, had the issue resolved in minutes. It is clear that Camera Armor is willing to stand behind their product and takes great pride in their product and customer service. Accordingly, I give Camera Armor a very high recommendation. Of all the things you spend $30-40 dollars on in photography, protecting your camera body should be a no-brainer with this product. Get it today!
Product images © B&H Photo