Most of my photography so far was done outdoors and most of the times in far from ideal conditions, whether it's -40 degrees Celsius in Siberia or +40 in Dubai, whether it's pouring rain, blistering snow or just plain old dust.
As you can see I'm not the over protective type with my gear and pretty often I put those whether sealing capabilities to the test. Achile's heel is that from my experience the hot shoe is the most vulnerable exposed part that can very easily get hurt. It includes electrical contacts, fine machined mechanics and even an electrical contact that senses the presence of a external flash.
Just when I had the external flash detector contact jammed did I seriously think of the problem and I was quite amazed to see that there aren't a lot of solutions to protect these kind of incidents. I couldn't find anything from Canon that's for sure but I did notice Nikon had their BS-1
hot-shoe protection caps just as I needed. Nikon and Canon body's are quite different when it comes to hot-shoe area design and functioning so I searched for hours an answer to whether Nikon caps will work on Canon bodies.
Given the low investment price I took the leap of faith and tried a BS-1 on my 7D. It's a less than ideal match as the shape of the cap prevents it from sliding completely on the hot shoe. That doesn't mean the problem can't be fixed, all you need are some skills with a sharp blade to remove the extra material and it will work great on any Canon body I think (only tested on the "small" body ranges of 40D, 60D, 7D, 5D mkII, 5D mkIII).
By the time I lost my BS-1 I was already with a 5D mark III so took another shot with the BS-2
which is a far superior cap and even fits perfectly without any modification. While BS-1 is clearly plastic, BS-2
is more like a plastic core with exterior rubber.
You can see above a Nikon BS-2
mounted on a Canon 5D mark III body. Works like a charm even though the "design lines" don't seamlessly blend together. Now the problem is to always be careful and remember where I put the cap when I take it off but even that won't protect from an accidental bump that will push off the cap into the sea of little things that vanish without a trace. Must I say that this is my third cap now.
Alternatives? Well, on my 7D I successfully used a Camera Armor that has an integrated hot-shoe cover. The bad part is that while camera armors are good for scratch and bumps protection they're filled with holes that let dust and particles accumulate between the camera body and the cover. Above all that, the integrated hot-shoe cover has a high tendency to get off it's place. Even so I'll order a camera armor for my current 5D mark III when they'll be available.