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Skyler lens covers, a (better) LensCoat replacement
  
 
RyanNY
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Skyler lens covers, a (better) LensCoat replacement


Recently, while browsing YouTube, I came across a video of an Australian photographer using a lens cover that I had never seen before. Video here:



After some extensive Google Image searching I managed to find the cover for sale on eBay being sold as the Skyler camouflage lens protector by a seller in Taiwan. By a stroke of luck the only two covers they had available happened to be for my lens, the 600mm f4 IS II. I had some eBay Bucks saved up so I didn't hesitate and ordered a cover for myself. This is a summary of my initial impressions and my thoughts on how the Skyler cover stacks up against the LensCoat I was using.

Here is the Skyler cover that I received. They even include a hex key for removing the Canon lens foot (I use a 4th Gen foot which has different screws so it didn't work for me, but it's a nice touch).


The outer material is 1000 Denier Nylon, according to the eBay listing. The inner surface that is against the lens is softer, it feels very similar to the external surface of a LensCoat. The edges are all finished and each section/loop includes a strip of elastic material that provides a bit of stretch when fitting the cover to the lens. There are cutouts for the strap lugs, the lens collar knob, and even the pinch release buttons for the drop in filter. There is an open space for the hood release knob also. There are flaps over the lens control switches which are held in place with velcro instead of the plastic windows that are on a LensCoat.









Pros:
Quality and Price - The price of the Skyler cover was $95 compared to $99 for a LensCoat, you can get a LensCoat shipped for free though from a number of stores so after shipping the Skyler was actually about $10 more expensive. That said, I feel like I'm getting a lot more for my money with the Skyler than with the LensCoat. I think the material will be much more durable than neoprene, I like that the edges are finished, and I like the velcro flaps better than the plastic windows (which a lot of people dislike so much that they cut them out). The Skyler cover feels like a more mature and refined product.

Coverage - Every LensCoat I have had feels like it was cut too conservatively and they have all had fairly large gaps between the sections where the lens shows through underneath. That's not even mentioning the tripod collar which I never cover because of LensCoat's awful approach of using adhesive strips. There are no such problems with the Skyler cover, each piece sits nearly flush against those on either side of it providing nearly solid coverage. Even the tripod collar gets covered, and no stupid adhesive.

Cons:
Availability and selection - As far as I have been able to determine the only source for these is the seller in Taiwan where I got mine. These covers are also only made for a limited number of lenses, mostly the newest Canon SuperTele's and a smaller selection of Nikon SuperTele's. I've been in contact with the seller and there are price discounts available for larger purchases. If you are interested in acquiring one of these covers please see below, if there is enough interest I would like to organize a group purchase.

Color selection - At the moment they are only available in MultiCam, I'm told there may be some additional patterns coming but nothing else right now. Personally I like the MultiCam quite a bit but I also think the Digital Camo on my LensCoat was a bit more universal, it fit equally well at sporting events, airshows, or out in the wild. The MultiCam isn't too bad in that regard, and it's certainly better than the more dedicated hunting patterns like Max-4. The other issue here is that all my other gear is currently covered in Digital Camo, so my 600mm is the odd man out. It would be nice to see a wider variety of patterns.

Installation - This wasn't too bad, but getting the Skyler cover on and off is a lot more work than with a LensCoat. The sections over the focusing ring and the tripod collar were by far the worst and required a lot of effort to get into position because they are a snug fit. If you like to put your covers on and take them off fairly regularly the Skyler might get to be rather annoying. If you just put it on once and forget about it this isn't too much of an issue.

Conclusion:
I plan to stick with the Skyler cover going forward. I feel that it is simply the superior product compared to LensCoat. Ideally I would like to see these covers become more widely available and perhaps put some pressure on LensCoat to refine their product and deliver something that provides a better value relative to the cost. Right now though, if you can manage to find one of these covers for your lens, I highly recommend giving it a shot.

Want one for yourself?

This is the full list of covers that is currently produced:

Canon 300mm 2.8 II $75
Canon 400mm 2.8 II $95
Canon 500mm 4.0 II $95
Canon 600mm 4.0 II $95
Canon 800mm 5.6 $95
Canon 400mm 4.0 DO II $95
Canon 200-400mm 4.0 $95
Canon 1.4x III $20
Canon 2.0x III $20

Nikon 300mm 2.8 G ED VR II $75
Nikon 500mm 4.0 E FL ED VR $105
Nikon 600mm 4.0 E FL ED VR $105
Nikon 800mm 5.6 G ED VR $95 (I assume this is actually supposed to be the f4 E FL ED VR, but this is how it was presented in what they sent me.)
Nikon 500mm 4.0 D VR $95 (Assume this is the f4 G ED VR)


These prices assume an order of 6+ pieces which is where free shipping kicks in, below that and shipping is $15-$25 depending on the item. I am happy to organize an order but please note that I would need to charge an additional $8 or so to ship the covers out once I receive them, this would still be a savings over ordering direct. If there is enough interest there are additional price discounts that kick in when ordering 11+ pieces. If I can put together an order of that size I would retain a small portion of the discount as a handling fee and pass the rest on. I think that would be fair if I am going to handle/ship a large number of these. If enough people are interested in these I will get a price quote from the seller, collect funds, and place an order. If you would like to purchase one or more covers please let me know, I don't need a firm commitment at this point but I do need to gauge interest.



Nov 11, 2016 at 04:12 AM
EB-1
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Skyler lens covers, a (better) LensCoat replacement


Normally I use the LensCoat covers to protect from rains.
What is the purpose of this 7-part system, camouflage only?

EBH



Nov 11, 2016 at 04:49 AM
RyanNY
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Skyler lens covers, a (better) LensCoat replacement


EB-1 wrote:
Normally I use the LensCoat covers to protect from rains.
What is the purpose of this 7-part system, camouflage only?

EBH


Not sure I'm following, LensCoats are definitely not made for water protection. Maybe on small lenses? Do they make any one piece lens coats? (I've never used a LensCoat on anything smaller than a 300mm 2.8) Anyway, the purpose is exactly the same as a LensCoat, protect the lens from wear and tear, and provide some camouflage if needed. For the record, a LensCoat for a 600mm f4 II comes in 6 pieces, one of which is an adhesive strip that a lot of people don't even use, and there are rather significant gaps between the sections.

For the sake of comparison, this is my lens with a LensCoat on it.




Nov 11, 2016 at 05:06 AM
jaredmizanin
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Skyler lens covers, a (better) LensCoat replacement


EB-1...are you comparing this to a rain cover rather than a Lenscoat?

If I did not already have a lenscoat for my 800L, I would definitely be interested. As is, however, I am going to pass. Looks like a great product. Hopefully, as previously stated, this competition forces Lenscoat to up their game!

Thanks for sharing this!



Nov 11, 2016 at 11:58 AM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



EB-1
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Skyler lens covers, a (better) LensCoat replacement


jaredmizanin wrote:
EB-1...are you comparing this to a rain cover rather than a Lenscoat?

If I did not already have a lenscoat for my 800L, I would definitely be interested. As is, however, I am going to pass. Looks like a great product. Hopefully, as previously stated, this competition forces Lenscoat to up their game!

Thanks for sharing this!


Oh I see. The product labels of the ones I have indicate LensCoat.
There must be a LensCoat-LensCoat and a LensCoat-Raincoat, which are different products.

EBH



Nov 12, 2016 at 04:29 AM
Frogfish
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Skyler lens covers, a (better) LensCoat replacement


Nice write-up. However for me I'm happy with the $30-50 Chinese sets. Neoprene & Velcro.


Nov 12, 2016 at 06:26 PM
jcolwell
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Skyler lens covers, a (better) LensCoat replacement


I like my LensCoat covers. I also like the plastic panel that covers the lens switches. It's easy enough to activate the switches through the plastic (with a bare finger or thumb nail). I like this approach so much that I actually tape plastic covers over some of my other lenses, like the 70-200/2.8L IS II below, to eliminate accidental switching while the camera is hanging off a shoulder. The 70-200/2.8L IS (Mk I) was actually pretty prone to this problem, as some of its switches stick out a fair bit. The Mk II is less prone to malswitching, but I like it, anyway.



jcolwell 2016


Flerxible plastic sheet covering over switches on EF 70-200/2.8L IS II




Nov 13, 2016 at 02:03 PM
Dragonfire
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Skyler lens covers, a (better) LensCoat replacement


"Spending is easy, overspending is an art" Mrs Dragonfire


Aug 11, 2017 at 08:04 PM







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