Saturday, September 13, 2014

DIY Weather Proofing for your Sigma 35mm f/1.4 | A

It's no secret that the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 | A is one of my favorite lenses. It's just a good lens. It's well built, beautifully designed, and most importantly the image quality from the lens is second to none. Click the link for my review of the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 | A.

Anyway... This isn't an updated review on the lens, but whenever I see discussions about this lens on camera forums all over the web invariably argument, "well the Nikon/Canon 35mm f/1.4 versions are weather sealed" comes up. I've got a quick and easy solution for that.

With fall and winter coming, the weather tends to get cooler and wetter. So what I have here is a simple do-it-yourself way to weather seal your Sigma 35mm f/1.4 | A. The best part is that it's probably better than Nikon or Canon's factory weather sealing. It also protects against minor impact damage keeping your lens in perfect shape. You can't say that about Nikon or Canon's weather seals.

Let's get down to it. First you need a beer koozie. Or can-cooly, beer sleeve, or can-cooler if you prefer (if you're an Aussie you might know these things as a "stubby holder"). Secondly you need a pair of scissors. That's it.

The great thing about beer koozies is that you can get them for free at just about any event. So weather proofing your $900 Sigma lens won't cost you one red cent! Can't beat that.

  1. Take the beer koozie in your hand. It should be folded flat naturally. 
  2. Notice the bottom part. Take the scissors and cut that bottom part off. 
  3. Slide the koozie over the lens like it was a can of beer. 
That's it! It's really that simple. The neoprene koozie is water resistant and takes the impact of the occasional bump that can often happen to a lens. Just to clarify, this does not make your lens waterproof, but it will protect your lens from splashes and light rain and snow. Of course this works best if you also have a weather sealed camera body. 

So, let's take a look. 

First of all here's the naked Sigma 35mm f/1.4 | A

Here's your beer koozie. I like the Sailor Jerry brand because it has that old school tattoo look. You can choose one that fits your own personality, like a sports team, a company logo, your favorite beer brand, or whatever free koozie that you have on hand!

A typical beer koozie is the perfect length to fit the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 | A lens leaving enough room to attach the lens hood. Coincidence or design?!?

Once your beer koozie is on the lens and the lens is attached to the camera, slide it down to help seal the lens mount. 

There you have it. Not only is your lens weather proofed it's also stylish! I had pinstripes added to the lens hood for extra old school hot-rod appeal (guaranteed to add at least 10hp to your camera!)

A few things you should know before putting one of these on your lens. 
  1. You will not be able to access the M/AF button on the lens. Don't worry, just about every camera has one on the body. 
  2. You won't be able to see the distance scale on the lens. How many people use these on AF lenses? I don't. 
  3. Due to the awesome HSM motor the focus ring does not turn when autofocusing so don't worry about the koozie impeding autofocus functions. I've had mine on for two years with no problems!
  4. The focus ring is on the front part of the lens. You can still manually focus by firmly gripping the front of the lens and turning the focus ring. At first the koozie will be tight and you will have some resistance, but in time it will loosen up and turn freely. 
*This DIY weather proofing may or may not work with your zoom lenses. I haven't tried it on any of my zooms, but I'm guessing it will be a pain in the butt. This may work well with other prime lenses of similar size. Again, I haven't tried it on any of my other primes because most of them are too small or too big. If your lens doesn't have an HSM, AF-S, USD, PZD, EF-S or some other type of lens motor that doesn't require the focus ring to turn I would not use this.

Edit: After using this koozie on the 35mm for a couple of years it got pretty loose. I removed it and replaced it with a new one. I tried the old one on my Sigma 24-105 f/4 | A and it works brilliantly. 

New and improved full color koozie!

The old loose koozie on the 24-105


Not said...


This is a brilliant idea, but where could I get these koozies? (Online as I would require international shipping).

J. Dennis Thomas said...

Jeez, I don't know where you'd find them online. They give them away in the US as promotional gifts. I've got at least 50 of them (for no good reason at all). As a matter of fact I've got 5 of them sitting on my desk right now that I got last week.

King Ott said...

Great idea.

J. Dennis Thomas said...

Thanks King Ott, I like to think I'm a pretty resourceful dude. :)