'Weather sealed' - a marketing con?

Started May 31, 2012 | Discussions
bobn2
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'Weather sealed' - a marketing con?
May 31, 2012

Tell a photographer that his significant other is ugly, he might agree with you. Tell him his camera isn't truly 'pro' and you risk being punched.

And as more and more 'pro' features find their way onto consumer cameras, the argument turns to whether they are truly pro. You can't argue about whether a 100% VF is more or less 100%, but you can argue about how good is the weather sealing, so people do. Some things to think about:

  1. What does 'weather sealed' actually mean? Proof against drizzle, light rain, torrential rain, hurricane, blizzard? Just how much weather is it sealed against? Does any manufacturer actually specify this?

  2. For how long? Whatever this weather the camera is protected against, for how long can it stand it? A second? A minute? A day? Does any manufacturer actually specify this?

  3. Why not use the standards? There are standards of 'ingress protection' which virtually all professional equipment designed to be used outdoors conforms to. Why do camera manufacturers not comply, if these are 'professional' cameras?

  4. Do materials matter? Is a metal body more 'sealed' than a plastic one? Does it matter what the seals are made of, or even if they are just good glue?

  5. Why more seals? The diagrams manufacturers love to show of all the seals alays show more seals for the more expensive cameras. Does that mean that the cheaper ones leave parts unsealed? If so, what's the point of that (like having a boat with just one hole)? Or are the extra seals on the expensive ones just for show?

  6. How well sealed are unsealed cameras? You get these videos of people hosing down their cameras, but would a cheap plastic camera withstand the same treatment? Or do we only get to see the ones where the expensive camera survived, and they are just a vulnerable?

  7. Why do some people claim their brand or model is best? No-one has done rigorous testing of this. How do we know one brand or model is any better than the others?

  8. If it's so good why are the warranties the same? Your warranty terms are just teh same for a sealed and unsealed camera. If the manufacturer can reject a claim for you Rebel breaking in the rain, they can also reject a claim for your 1D. Why is that?

So, really, is there anything at all to these claims of superior weather sealing, or is it one big con?
--
Bob

Canon EOS-1D
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Mark_A
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Re: 'Weather sealed' - a marketing con?
In reply to bobn2, May 31, 2012

IP ratings would make more sense than the current confusion.

Mark

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Mark_A
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Re: 'Weather sealed' - a marketing con?
In reply to Mark_A, May 31, 2012

Mark_A wrote:

IP ratings would make more sense than the current confusion.

Mark

I would have thought a non weathersealed DSLR would be IP 50

Wheras a wethersealed camera might be IP65

Mark

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bobn2
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Re: 'Weather sealed' - a marketing con?
In reply to Mark_A, May 31, 2012

Mark_A wrote:

Mark_A wrote:

IP ratings would make more sense than the current confusion.

Mark

I would have thought a non weathersealed DSLR would be IP 50

Wheras a wethersealed camera might be IP65

You might thinks so, but why won't they say?
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TrapperJohn
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Look at it as insurance
In reply to bobn2, May 31, 2012

You probably won't need it, but if you do, you'll be glad you had it.

I've only put one weathersealed camera to a test - slipped on a rock while crossing a creek, and fell over in a pool. Put my old Oly E1 about a foot under water briefly, maybe five seconds before I got back up. It came up shooting, none the worse for the experience.

Speaking of the E1, I remember one person complaining about moisture in an E1 they had. Seems they had been shooting in dusty conditions, and were rinsing the camera and lens off under a faucet. After six months of that, water got inside, possibly dribbling in during lens changes. So it's not full waterproofing.

On occasion, there will be a tale of woe about someone hit with an unexpected wave at the beach. Permanently dead camera is usually the result from salt water intrusion if it's not sealed.

Every once in a while, someone shooting in humid conditions puts the camera back in the bag, and finds it dead the next morning when condensation got on the circuit boards. The sealed camera prevents the humid air from getting inside.

So it's not a simple, easy to digest measurement, and it doesn't mean that it's an underwater camera. It's more like getting an insurance policy.

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Donald B
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Re: 'Weather sealed' - a marketing con?
In reply to bobn2, May 31, 2012

for me i dont go shootung in the rain as i dont have any wr lens for my pentax k7. but last night i noticed the off on switch was a bit sticky around the shutter button, so i got a can of WD40 and gave it a good spray knowing it was weathered sealed, perfect. worked a treat.

cheers don

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bobn2
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Re: Look at it as insurance
In reply to TrapperJohn, May 31, 2012

TrapperJohn wrote:

You probably won't need it, but if you do, you'll be glad you had it.

I've only put one weathersealed camera to a test - slipped on a rock while crossing a creek, and fell over in a pool. Put my old Oly E1 about a foot under water briefly, maybe five seconds before I got back up. It came up shooting, none the worse for the experience.

Speaking of the E1, I remember one person complaining about moisture in an E1 they had. Seems they had been shooting in dusty conditions, and were rinsing the camera and lens off under a faucet. After six months of that, water got inside, possibly dribbling in during lens changes. So it's not full waterproofing.

On occasion, there will be a tale of woe about someone hit with an unexpected wave at the beach. Permanently dead camera is usually the result from salt water intrusion if it's not sealed.

Every once in a while, someone shooting in humid conditions puts the camera back in the bag, and finds it dead the next morning when condensation got on the circuit boards. The sealed camera prevents the humid air from getting inside.

No it doesn't. That would be hermetic sealing, and no camera, so far as I know, is hermetically sealed. They have to 'breathe' because they change temperature, which means if they were sealed the air pressure inside would change and they would expand and contract. Similarly, when you focus or zoom the lens, air has to be transferred between the inside of the camera and the outside to equalise the pressure.

So it's not a simple, easy to digest measurement, and it doesn't mean that it's an underwater camera. It's more like getting an insurance policy.

I'm not arguing that it's not a good idea to have a camera that is sealed. I'm just saying that we don't actually know how well any of them are sealed, and whether it actually matches either the claims or the impression of users.

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Bob

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Braxton7
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Re: Look at it as insurance
In reply to TrapperJohn, May 31, 2012

TrapperJohn wrote:

You probably won't need it, but if you do, you'll be glad you had it.

I've only put one weathersealed camera to a test - slipped on a rock while crossing a creek, and fell over in a pool. Put my old Oly E1 about a foot under water briefly, maybe five seconds before I got back up. It came up shooting, none the worse for the experience.

Speaking of the E1, I remember one person complaining about moisture in an E1 they had. Seems they had been shooting in dusty conditions, and were rinsing the camera and lens off under a faucet. After six months of that, water got inside, possibly dribbling in during lens changes. So it's not full waterproofing.

On occasion, there will be a tale of woe about someone hit with an unexpected wave at the beach. Permanently dead camera is usually the result from salt water intrusion if it's not sealed.

Every once in a while, someone shooting in humid conditions puts the camera back in the bag, and finds it dead the next morning when condensation got on the circuit boards. The sealed camera prevents the humid air from getting inside.

So it's not a simple, easy to digest measurement, and it doesn't mean that it's an underwater camera. It's more like getting an insurance policy.

Exactly. I wouldn't deliberately take my E-5 out in the pouring rain but it's nice to know I can go for a walk when rain is threatening and not be too concerned if it does rain. I'm not going to test if it works just glad it's there.

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bobn2
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Re: Look at it as insurance
In reply to Braxton7, May 31, 2012

Braxton7 wrote:

TrapperJohn wrote:

You probably won't need it, but if you do, you'll be glad you had it.

I've only put one weathersealed camera to a test - slipped on a rock while crossing a creek, and fell over in a pool. Put my old Oly E1 about a foot under water briefly, maybe five seconds before I got back up. It came up shooting, none the worse for the experience.

Speaking of the E1, I remember one person complaining about moisture in an E1 they had. Seems they had been shooting in dusty conditions, and were rinsing the camera and lens off under a faucet. After six months of that, water got inside, possibly dribbling in during lens changes. So it's not full waterproofing.

On occasion, there will be a tale of woe about someone hit with an unexpected wave at the beach. Permanently dead camera is usually the result from salt water intrusion if it's not sealed.

Every once in a while, someone shooting in humid conditions puts the camera back in the bag, and finds it dead the next morning when condensation got on the circuit boards. The sealed camera prevents the humid air from getting inside.

So it's not a simple, easy to digest measurement, and it doesn't mean that it's an underwater camera. It's more like getting an insurance policy.

Exactly. I wouldn't deliberately take my E-5 out in the pouring rain but it's nice to know I can go for a walk when rain is threatening and not be too concerned if it does rain. I'm not going to test if it works just glad it's there.

How do you know it's any better than a camera that isn't 'sealed'?
--
Bob

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noirdesir
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Re: 'Weather sealed' - a marketing con?
In reply to bobn2, May 31, 2012

bobn2 wrote:

Tell a photographer that his significant other is ugly, he might agree with you. Tell him his camera isn't truly 'pro' and you risk being punched.

And as more and more 'pro' features find their way onto consumer cameras, the argument turns to whether they are truly pro. You can't argue about whether a 100% VF is more or less 100%, but you can argue about how good is the weather sealing, so people do. Some things to think about:

  1. What does 'weather sealed' actually mean? Proof against drizzle, light rain, torrential rain, hurricane, blizzard? Just how much weather is it sealed against? Does any manufacturer actually specify this?

  2. For how long? Whatever this weather the camera is protected against, for how long can it stand it? A second? A minute? A day? Does any manufacturer actually specify this?

  3. Why not use the standards? There are standards of 'ingress protection' which virtually all professional equipment designed to be used outdoors conforms to. Why do camera manufacturers not comply, if these are 'professional' cameras?

  4. Do materials matter? Is a metal body more 'sealed' than a plastic one? Does it matter what the seals are made of, or even if they are just good glue?

  5. Why more seals? The diagrams manufacturers love to show of all the seals alays show more seals for the more expensive cameras. Does that mean that the cheaper ones leave parts unsealed? If so, what's the point of that (like having a boat with just one hole)? Or are the extra seals on the expensive ones just for show?

  6. How well sealed are unsealed cameras? You get these videos of people hosing down their cameras, but would a cheap plastic camera withstand the same treatment? Or do we only get to see the ones where the expensive camera survived, and they are just a vulnerable?

  7. Why do some people claim their brand or model is best? No-one has done rigorous testing of this. How do we know one brand or model is any better than the others?

  8. If it's so good why are the warranties the same? Your warranty terms are just teh same for a sealed and unsealed camera. If the manufacturer can reject a claim for you Rebel breaking in the rain, they can also reject a claim for your 1D. Why is that?

So, really, is there anything at all to these claims of superior weather sealing, or is it one big con?

If you are a camera designer and are told by management to produce a weather-sealed camera, what would you do? Add a dozen rubber gaskets to somewhat random locations, ie, enough so that the camera looks impressive in a 3D CAD drawing?

Or, would you try to think where you would have to add gaskets to make the camera survive a moderate, not-too-long rain shower?

To come to the point: To me, weather-sealed means the cameramaker has made a good-faith effort to noticeably reduce the chances that light rain will harm the camera. Of course, I will put more faith myself into cameras (and manufacturers) which have somewhat of a track record among heavy outdoor users as being fairly rain-resistant.

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Braxton7
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Re: Look at it as insurance
In reply to bobn2, May 31, 2012

bobn2 wrote:

Exactly. I wouldn't deliberately take my E-5 out in the pouring rain but it's nice to know I can go for a walk when rain is threatening and not be too concerned if it does rain. I'm not going to test if it works just glad it's there.

How do you know it's any better than a camera that isn't 'sealed'?
--
Bob

I don't really just anecdotal evidence. I could dig some up or You Tube videos but I'm pretty sure it's not all hype.

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Mark_A
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Re: 'Weather sealed' - a marketing con?
In reply to bobn2, May 31, 2012

If I was going to go about making a DSLR more weatherproof one of the things I would consider is if I could encapsulate the various PCBs in epoxy that would protect them from any water that managed to get past seals.

Apart from that, seals on buttons and doors and joints would be required and sealing of lenses. It would be no easy task to make a splashproof DSLR.

Mark

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Leswick
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Re: 'Weather sealed' - a marketing con?
In reply to bobn2, May 31, 2012

bobn2 wrote:

Tell a photographer that his significant other is ugly, he might agree with you. Tell him his camera isn't truly 'pro' and you risk being punched.

And as more and more 'pro' features find their way onto consumer cameras, the argument turns to whether they are truly pro. You can't argue about whether a 100% VF is more or less 100%, but you can argue about how good is the weather sealing, so people do. Some things to think about:

  1. What does 'weather sealed' actually mean? Proof against drizzle, light rain, torrential rain, hurricane, blizzard? Just how much weather is it sealed against? Does any manufacturer actually specify this?

  2. For how long? Whatever this weather the camera is protected against, for how long can it stand it? A second? A minute? A day? Does any manufacturer actually specify this?

  3. Why not use the standards? There are standards of 'ingress protection' which virtually all professional equipment designed to be used outdoors conforms to. Why do camera manufacturers not comply, if these are 'professional' cameras?

  4. Do materials matter? Is a metal body more 'sealed' than a plastic one? Does it matter what the seals are made of, or even if they are just good glue?

  5. Why more seals? The diagrams manufacturers love to show of all the seals alays show more seals for the more expensive cameras. Does that mean that the cheaper ones leave parts unsealed? If so, what's the point of that (like having a boat with just one hole)? Or are the extra seals on the expensive ones just for show?

  6. How well sealed are unsealed cameras? You get these videos of people hosing down their cameras, but would a cheap plastic camera withstand the same treatment? Or do we only get to see the ones where the expensive camera survived, and they are just a vulnerable?

  7. Why do some people claim their brand or model is best? No-one has done rigorous testing of this. How do we know one brand or model is any better than the others?

  8. If it's so good why are the warranties the same? Your warranty terms are just teh same for a sealed and unsealed camera. If the manufacturer can reject a claim for you Rebel breaking in the rain, they can also reject a claim for your 1D. Why is that?

So, really, is there anything at all to these claims of superior weather sealing, or is it one big con?
--
Bob

Re: weather sealing

As far as I know (also noted above) Canon and Nikon have similar disclaimer....it can be weather-sealed, but when it comes to actual repairs caused by water....they can easily throw their hands up and point finger at the camera user....and tag it as "abuse". Your best bet is to have protective plastic ...
Open Talk on Jul 16, 2011, by Leswick

Actually, I'd like to add that having appropriate insurance is your best bet...aside from ordinary precautions. In the reported trip to Antarctica....the photographer who conducted the photo workshop, he reminded all of us what can happen. Over 20 Canon cameras ended up sucking in moisture (apparently Nikons didn't) and becoming unusable. The manuf claimed "abuse". The point that I'm trying to make is that a less than $1 rubber ring could easily leak...no matter which camera. Till we get true water-proof designation on the cams....and weather sealed continues to be meaningless to me.

Leswick

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LightRoom
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Re: 'Weather sealed' - a marketing con?
In reply to Leswick, Jun 1, 2012

I've taken out my k5 in rain a few times and haven't noticed any ill effects.

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Joe Pineapples
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Good question...
In reply to bobn2, Jun 1, 2012

From the "independent" reviews of new cameras that appear on various web sites to the glossy photos of impossibly glamorous models demonstrating the "film-like" qualities of certain sensors, information is presented to us in very packaged forms these days; but reading the forums here I've come to the conclusion that most people prefer it that way.

For example when Leica recently released some new cameras, various puff-piece reviews appeared on the web sites of specially selected photographers. Many people seem to honestly believe that this happens via some impartial process for the benefit of mankind, but if you point out to them that in fact is is a marketing exercise driven by considerable commercial interests on both sides of the deal, they won't thank you for opening their eyes to the truth. In fact they'll call you all sorts of rude names. They only wish that they might one day aspire to be worthy of such an honor...

So while people like the OP (and me) have an interest in things like standards, I believe the majority don't, and would rather accept things like "weather sealed" as acts of faith or boxes to be ticked in feature comparison checklists.

My little G1 makes no claims to weather sealing AFAIK, but it has been out with me in the rain and in ocean spray, and so far, it still works fine...

Joe

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CharlieDIY
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Re: Look at it as insurance
In reply to Braxton7, Jun 1, 2012

Braxton7 wrote:

I wouldn't deliberately take my E-5 out in the pouring rain but it's nice to know I can go for a walk when rain is threatening and not be too concerned if it does rain. I'm not going to test if it works just glad it's there.

I might deliberately take my K20D out in the rain, but it will be wearing an OpTech rain sleeve when I do. It's not that I disbelieve the Pentax statements of weather resistance of the camera, but I know that most of my lenses are not weather sealed--and, being zooms, can't be.

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bobn2
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Re: 'Weather sealed' - a marketing con?
In reply to noirdesir, Jun 1, 2012

noirdesir wrote:

bobn2 wrote:

Tell a photographer that his significant other is ugly, he might agree with you. Tell him his camera isn't truly 'pro' and you risk being punched.

And as more and more 'pro' features find their way onto consumer cameras, the argument turns to whether they are truly pro. You can't argue about whether a 100% VF is more or less 100%, but you can argue about how good is the weather sealing, so people do. Some things to think about:

  1. What does 'weather sealed' actually mean? Proof against drizzle, light rain, torrential rain, hurricane, blizzard? Just how much weather is it sealed against? Does any manufacturer actually specify this?

  2. For how long? Whatever this weather the camera is protected against, for how long can it stand it? A second? A minute? A day? Does any manufacturer actually specify this?

  3. Why not use the standards? There are standards of 'ingress protection' which virtually all professional equipment designed to be used outdoors conforms to. Why do camera manufacturers not comply, if these are 'professional' cameras?

  4. Do materials matter? Is a metal body more 'sealed' than a plastic one? Does it matter what the seals are made of, or even if they are just good glue?

  5. Why more seals? The diagrams manufacturers love to show of all the seals alays show more seals for the more expensive cameras. Does that mean that the cheaper ones leave parts unsealed? If so, what's the point of that (like having a boat with just one hole)? Or are the extra seals on the expensive ones just for show?

  6. How well sealed are unsealed cameras? You get these videos of people hosing down their cameras, but would a cheap plastic camera withstand the same treatment? Or do we only get to see the ones where the expensive camera survived, and they are just a vulnerable?

  7. Why do some people claim their brand or model is best? No-one has done rigorous testing of this. How do we know one brand or model is any better than the others?

  8. If it's so good why are the warranties the same? Your warranty terms are just teh same for a sealed and unsealed camera. If the manufacturer can reject a claim for you Rebel breaking in the rain, they can also reject a claim for your 1D. Why is that?

So, really, is there anything at all to these claims of superior weather sealing, or is it one big con?

If you are a camera designer and are told by management to produce a weather-sealed camera, what would you do? Add a dozen rubber gaskets to somewhat random locations, ie, enough so that the camera looks impressive in a 3D CAD drawing?

Or, would you try to think where you would have to add gaskets to make the camera survive a moderate, not-too-long rain shower?

To come to the point: To me, weather-sealed means the cameramaker has made a good-faith effort to noticeably reduce the chances that light rain will harm the camera. Of course, I will put more faith myself into cameras (and manufacturers) which have somewhat of a track record among heavy outdoor users as being fairly rain-resistant.

That's a really perceptive response. What they would do is the former, because people buy on the basis of those 3D CAD drawings, not any quantified degree of weather resistance.
--
Bob

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mhike
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Re: 'Weather sealed' - a marketing con?
In reply to bobn2, Jun 1, 2012

I find Canon's marketing speak on the 5DII (and possibly III) a bit odd, as they say the body is weathersealed, but take it out in the rain and you'll have to say goodbye to it.

They even gave it some sort of rating for water-resistance.

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aardvark7
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Not wanting to alarm you but...
In reply to Donald B, Jun 1, 2012

WD40 is not the best idea for many electrical items for two main reasons:

First, the solvents within it can be quite aggressive to the plastics and may cause them to become brittle or degrade.

Second, the residue it can leave will thicken and increase with repeated use, causing poor contacts.

It can be good in an emergency, as long as it can be cleaned as soon as possible (where water or stickiness is te greater trouble), but I wouldn't recommend it in such cases as yours because the risks are much higher than the benefits.
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To be decided...

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bobn2
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WHAT!!!
In reply to aardvark7, Jun 1, 2012

aardvark7 wrote:

WD40 is not the best idea for many electrical items for two main reasons:

WD40 fixes anything. I'm surprised you did not know that.
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Bob

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