Hands on: DeluxGear Lens Guard
The DeluxGear Lens Guard provides extra protection for your lenses, in the form of a giant body cap. There are photographers that say, justifiably, that their lenses are the most important part of their gear. Their lenses mean the world to them. When you place your lenses in your camera bag, lens wraps can provide some level of extra protection. However, if your bag doesn't have lots of padding, you may end up feeling that they're a bit unprotected.
What Are Lens Guards?
First off, Lens Guards come in three different sizes: small, medium, and large. Rubberized on the outside and textured and squishy on the inside, Lens Guards protect your lenses from bumps and scratches. They imitate the design of a plastic soda-bottle cap.
I've heard that they can be used to replace lens caps and back caps. I wouldn't recommend that, though; I'd actually recommend putting these on top of those caps for even more protection, besides that there might be some dust inside the guards. In fact, I put filters on my lenses, then I put on the lens caps, and then I put the Lens Guards on. The guard works to not only protect the front and back elements of the lens, but also the areas directly around them, since it hugs those areas.
How Do They Work?
In the photo above, I've got my 35mm F/1.4 L mounted on my Canon 7D, with the Medium Lens Guard attached to the front. All Lens Guards have tether straps attached to them so that you can wrap and secure them better. I usually tie mine to the camera strap in an area that won't get in my way while shooting.
My only qualm is that I can't attach my lens hood while the guard is on. Even with the larger guard, it won't stay on securely. Because of this, I'll need to keep the lens hood in a different pocket of my camera bag to be ready when I need it. That's not too bad though, because I own a Domke F2, which can accommodate the lens hood in a separate pocket.
The Lens Guard fits securely onto the front of your lens just by pushing it down until the lens looks a bit like a mushroom. In fact, it feels a bit like a mushroom as well, since the head is squishy for shock-absorption.
The head feels more malleable than the sides. When the guards are mounted on the lens and you try to apply pressure to the sides, they don't conform to pressure as much.
Lens Guards can also go onto the back of the lens, to create an entire clamshell of sorts. This gives the lens optimal protection, with only a little bit of it exposed. If you try to knock on the lens with your knuckles, it will sound as if you're knocking on a turtle's shell. Though that says something about the level of protection, I wouldn't recommend hitting it any too hard, lest you be smitten with your lens.
If you have a larger telephoto lens, the guards will cover the front and back, but won't totally cloak it the way it will with the smaller lenses like the Canon 85mm F/1.8. When I put them on my longer lenses, I usually tie the tether straps together. Though not covered completely, some of the critical pieces of the lens will be protected.
For the rest, many photographers (me included) use Gaffer's Tape.
Overall, the Lens Guards now stay on my lenses when I need the extra protection. At first, I wasn't totally sure how to use them, but they started to grow on me. Since my 24-105mm F/4 L IS doesn't have a lens hood, I use the Lens Guard to protect the lens instead, and take it off when I need to start shooting. Sure, lens hoods do other things as well, but the Lens Guards are designed specifically for protection.