LensCoat Lens Cover Review: Camouflage Your Lenses for Wildlife Photography

You've probably seen them before, and the concept is nothing new to the market. However, as LensCoat keeps cranking out new Lens Cover designs to match all the hottest new lens releases, these protective camouflage sleeves are just as relevant today and worthy of taking a closer look at.

While I mentioned that they have models to match new lenses, such as the Nikon 500mm PF, Sony 400mm GM, and Canon's 400mm and 600mm IIIs, I own the 20-year-old Canon 500mm f/4 IS and sure enough LensCoat keeps a stock for the lenses of yesteryear as well. In the latest video from my YouTube channel, I review the wildlife photographer's staple accessory and give my thoughts on what works and what doesn't.

What I Liked

  • Protection against bumps and scrapes, and a thermal barrier so the lens is always comfortable to hold on to.
  • The camouflage pattern prints look excellent and will come in handy with more cautious wildlife.
  • Sleeves are tight fitting and don't slide around after they are on.

What I Didn't Like

  • Completely covers functioning buttons on the lens I own and renders them useless.
  • The clear plastic window for the lens controls doesn't work with flat switches. You have to make cutouts or you will miss shots.
  • I wish the sticky back coverings would come precut with custom cutouts.

You can find a massive range of LensCoat Lens Covers, including designs for the latest lens releases, available through B&H today.

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Bobo Bird's picture

One thing worth adding to the "dont like" bit - build quality It is pretty bad considering that these are "Made in USA". I use my stuff hand-held and there is no way to avoid the cladding. It wears very quickly.

michaeljin's picture

"The camouflage pattern prints... will come in handy with more cautious wildlife."

Will they REALLY?

Greg Silver's picture

Exactly, does camo really make a difference? Or is just cool looking?

David Crossley's picture

Ryan's 100% right.

michaeljin's picture

I'd actually like to see this tested out.

David Crossley's picture

You should attend a workshop.

michaeljin's picture

Not going to shell out time and money for a workshop to satisfy a passing curiosity on the effectiveness of camouflaging a lens barrel when a video review done by a person testing something like this out in the real world would suffice.

One would think that if it was really such a valuable and effective tool (the camo part), enthusiasts would create some videos doing comparison real world testing between different types of camouflage techniques for your lens barrel.

David Crossley's picture

Lot's of information on the effectiveness of camoflage and protocol out there-i believe Ryan mentions the Real Tree Max 5 in his article.

Guy Incognito's picture

These are expensive lens cozies. Another money-making con that this hobby has to offer.

Rayann Elzein's picture

When you see that for a 500 or 600mm lens, the difference in 2nd hand value can be up to 1000 €/$ when it's scratched/not scratched, I don't think that your comment is relevant.

michaeljin's picture

I can definitely see the argument for the LensCoat as a protective device. That's a separate issue altogether from whether the camouflage makes any difference. Also, how close are you really getting to a subject with a 600mm lens? That's pretty freaking long.

Guy Incognito's picture

Maybe I should wrap all of my lenses in protective wraps, then?

Rayann Elzein's picture

And tell me, how do you reproduce a situation that would present scientific proof? You'd need the same duck, at the same place when you start approaching, with/without the camo. You'd also need that nothing else in the environment changes, wind, other birds, etc. Not going to happen. Also, it's not only about the lens being covered, it's your entire person. If I try to photograph birds, I wrap myself entirely in camo (also a LensCoat product).

michaeljin's picture

You do what anyone else does when you can't reproduce the exact same scenario. You go with large sample size and statistics which mitigates the effects of any individual variable by diluting it in a sea of tests.

So you take a group of people wearing camouflage with the camo lens coat and a group of people wearing camouflage without the lens coat and have them try to approach a variety of subjects and see how close they can get. You mix it up so that all of the photographers are using both setups so that you rule out the other skills of that photographer.

You obviously could not create a scientific proof, but there are very few things that are actually PROVEN by science. More often than not, in real world situations we are dealing with theories, statistics, trends, etc. So while you couldn't create a scientific proof, you should definitely be able to identify trends.

Michelle Maani's picture

As far as birds go, they generally don't like white. Other colors don't seem to bother them much. If your lens barrel is black, putting camouflage on it won't make much difference. They are very sharp-eyed and notice movement. Since they can see far more colors than we humans can, they might be seeing colors in your fancy camouflage lens cover that we don't even imagine are there, negating the effect.

Guy Incognito's picture

Wouldn't you have to be entirely dressed in camo for this to make sense?

People literally point long guns at animals all the time and it doesn't seem to bother them ... until it is too late.

Mark Thomas's picture

When photographing wildlife, I tend to point the lens at the subject so that all they see is a large, black disc, which they can find disconcerting. Therefore, I paint the glass with matt camouflage paint. However, I don't seem to get any keepers!

Guy Incognito's picture

Let's go into business making bluetooth-enabled camo lens caps which, by using an app, you can instruct to self-eject from the front of the lens allowing you to take the shot. Everyone loves apps and bluetooth and silly gadgets!

I'll start writing up the kickstarter description immediately!

Spy Black's picture

That's an awesome way to lose all your gear in the wild. They'll just blend in to your surroundings and you'll never find them...