Having a good rain cover in your photo kit is a great idea because clouds, snow and thunderstorms can often produce very dramatic images. If you’re a working professional, you also need to be able to guarantee you can work in any condition, particularly photojournalists and sports photographers. I’ve reviewed a number of rain cover on this site in the past, and they typically fall into two categories: Firstly you have ultra lightweight covers that don’t totally enclose the back of the camera. These covers take up less room in your bag, so you can typically leave one in there all the time for emergencies. I think the Storm Jacket is the best ultralight camera rain cover.
Ultralight covers have their place, but for people that really anticipate having to work in the rain on a regular basis, a fully enclosed cover is a better option, with the downside being that they are bulkier to carry around. Over the years, I’ve used two kinds: The Think Tank Hydrophobia V3 and the Aquatech Sport Shield – given a choice I prefer the Think Tank ones these days as the V3 versions are cheaper, but also include a shoulder strap and a front element cover that’s tethered to the main cover.
Both of these covers – Think Tank and Aquatech – have a totally enclosed design and the back of the cover is see-through, allowing you to view your camera controls and the LCD screen. The problem with these see-through plastic covers is that over time, the plastic becomes cloudy and it becomes increasingly harder to view the screen and the camera controls. To prevent this, Think Tank advises that you keep the covers in a closet, away from directly sunlight, and that you don’t keep it folder up in its bag during long storage periods. From experience I can tell you that this doesn’t prevent the clouding of the plastic. It might delay it, but it certainly doesn’t prevent it.
I spoke to someone at Think Tank about this, and they told me that you can use, of all things, a Mr Sheen Magic Eraser to polish the plastic back to its original condition. These erasers cost just a few of dollars on Amazon so I ordered some to test this out, and lo and behold, it worked perfectly using just the “Original” Mr Clean Magic Eraser!
IMPORTANT NOTE: For the photos here I’ve actually used a Think Tank credential holder because it was far easier for me to display the before and after photos than it was with my rain cover. Note that the credential holder uses the exact same kind of see-though plastic that rain covers use, and it had the same great results on the covers too.
I’ve struggled along for a few years with a cloudy cover, I really can’t believe that the problem is that simple to fix! Just remember to wet the Magic Erase before you try rubbing it on the plastic and in a couple of minutes your rain cover will be as good as new again.