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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Some Body Armor for My Canon EOS Rebel XTi 400D

I like to keep my eye out for interesting accessories that I can pair with my Canon EOS Rebel XTi. Recently, while searching, I came across an interesting product called the Body Armor for the camera. At first I did not know what it was, other than it gave a pretty aggressive and customized look to your camera body and had what looked to be an oversized lens hood.

Stock Photo for the Camera Armor for the Canon EOS Rebel XTi 400D
My initial reaction was that the device was basically a “skin” for your camera. Similar to what you might put on an Apple iPod, Apple iPhone, or even a Blackberry. The purpose was that it would keep it from getting nicked and scratched and provide a little better grip when you are handling the camera.

But, after reading the product description, it appeared that the body armor does a lot more than just provide a protective covering for the Rebel XTi body. Its purpose is quite a bit more ambitious than simple nicks and scratches. Rather the goal of the body armor is to protect your camera and the lens from drops and major bumps with impact absorbing silicone. (They are also offered for most Canon EOS cameras)

This product, made by Made Products in Seattle, Washington retails for $49.95, but is available from (Click here for the Amazon Camera Armor Product) for roughly $35. Camera Armor is effectively a skin as you would call it if it was for your Apple iPod or Apple iPhone. The skin covers the entire body of the camera, the LCD, and has a lens protector with it. In addition to providing scratch protection, it has additional shock absorption at strategic places that are most commonly bumped, including the lens.

I have yet to ding my Rebel XTi yet, but I know that it is just a matter of time till it either takes a nice bang or drop. Best to give it all the protection I can before it happens. The great part is that this particular model will also work with the Rebel XSi, so when I upgrade – I can take the Camera Armor to it.

So, I went ahead and ordered the Camera Armor to give it a try.

The Camera Armor arrived after a week’s time and upon opening the box, there were three distinct pieces in it.

First there was a LCD shield, or a clear piece of polycarbonate plastic that goes over the LCD screen, around several of the functional buttons and the viewfinder.

Then there was the main Camera Armor piece made of elastomeric silicone that covers the main body. It has cutouts for the dial, switches, strap, and openings for the CF Card, the USB ports, and the bottom was pretty much open – leaving space should you also potentially use a battery grip with your Canon EOS Rebel XTi.

The last piece is know as the Lens Armor, which is a protection that could possibly used as a lens hood in addition to impact protection – that should fit over most lens. There is also an optional lens cap lanyard which I will not be installing with my Tamron SP AF17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical (IF) lens.

Installation does require you to remove the shoulder / neck strap from your camera as well as the camera lens. I removed both of those and put the Canon lens protective cover on the body for the installation.

Then I installed the LCD Shield before the by simply overlaying the clear plastic over the LCD and the viewfinder. Now it was time for the Camera Armor. The fit was as precise as I would have expected and although most of the buttons are hidden, they still work very well after turning the camera on.

It did take me a few minutes to get the strap re-installed – but with a little patience, it was not too much of a problem. Lastly, I installed my Tamron SP AF17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical (IF) back on the camera. It did require a little more pressure to attach due to the silicone Camera Armor – but did not require me to force it.

Lastly, I placed the Lens Armor on the Tamon SP AF17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical (IF) lens to complete the installation.

My Rebel XTi after the installation of the Camera Armor
After toying around with the Camera Armor product for a few minutes, I am pretty happy with it. While it did not add much weight, it seems that it will provide a little additional protection from the camera. If it helps the camera survive even one drop or decent bang, then it was well worth the money. Plus, I like the new look.

A Different View of my Camera Armor on my Rebel XTi
What do you think?


Anonymous said...

Hi Ken,
thanks for the info.

I am wondering, if you need to install an external flash, will there be any problem? I see that the silicon is covering the battery contact.


Ken Hanscom said...

Great comment and great question. Your observation is correct, that it is covering the battery contact for an external flash. However, since it is pretty pliable -- I would not see an issue with simply flipping it up and then attaching the external flash. Nothing on the Camera Armor should prevent that.

Mark said...

Good luck with that one Ken. I've owned the particular body armor you are using for about 6 months, it was given to me as a birthday gift. Initially I was quite pleased, but that wore off after about two weeks. It takes constant fiddling to get the CF in and out. The thing is a dust magnet like you can't possibly imagine, and the way it curves under the body precludes you using a battery grip. In order to get mine to fit properly requires you to trim just a little bit off the bottom edge, which is just enough to mess up it's integrity and cause even more fit issues. And if its humid they DO trap moisture under them, despite assurances to the contrary by the manufacturer. So, not to jinx you, I hope you have a better experience, but good luck...

Bilal said...

I just recently bought one. It's okay right now but the thing that annoys me is that after adding this armour, I can't hear the 'click' sound from the dial? Do you know what I mean?

Do you have the same problem or no? I guess I wouldn't call it a problem. But still, it kinda bothers me.