What's with the sudden weather-sealing craze ?

Started Nov 9, 2012 | Discussions
amvrvd
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What's with the sudden weather-sealing craze ?
Nov 9, 2012

I know it's awesome to be able to shoot in the midst of Sandy without fear of ruining your camera but, do we really need every lens to be weather-sealed !?

I've recently noticed that people clamor, ever so frequently, for weather sealing, in forums, blogs and rumor sites. I fear this craze will lead to Olympus and Panasonic actually listening and WSing every future lens, and thus rising up the prices, which in turn will corner M4/3 into a unfavorable position against larger sensored mirrorless. I mean, sure, WS is nice and gives you and edge over other systems but do we really want/need m4/3 to be even more expensive than the competition ?You may think I may be blowing this out of proportion but if the demand is there, the manufacturers will eventually deliver.

Besides the cost factor, does every consumer need the extra peace of mind that a WS lens gives you ?

This is my guess but I think M4/3 is not even close to its peak market penetration and now we have more competition than ever, and the race is getting fiercer with other systems catching up in features and lens roadmaps. In this scenario WS makes sense as a differentiating feature but M4/3 will always be under fire because of the sensor performance/DOF (even though the EM5 and recent pany models have proven otherwise) and higher prices is only means giving competition more arguments against MFT for their marketing department.

IMO they should keep today's strategy and only reserve this feature to high-end bodies and lenses, products which are already expected to be expensive where WS wouldn't add much to the existing cost. People want every new lens to be WS as if it was mandatory, they even want re-releases of older lenses (i.e.20mm) to add the feature.

PSCL1
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Re: What's with the sudden weather-sealing craze ?
In reply to amvrvd, Nov 9, 2012

I agree completely with your post.  Unless you are a  pro wiith high-end equipment in extreme climates, it is totally unnecessary with normal shooting precautions and basically a gimmick for raising prices a lot while adding little value to the camera.

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DLBlack
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Re: What's with the sudden weather-sealing craze ?
In reply to amvrvd, Nov 9, 2012

Weather-sealing is really nice. At least I like weather-sealing. During the past year or so weather-sealing has saved my camera twice. Both times were when I was hiking back from waterfall photography. I had my camera hanging from my neck and I sliped on a wet rocks while crosing a small stream. Each time I landed on my knees and my camera was laying in a few inches of water.

I also do a lot of caving and kayaking photos and it is nice having a sealed system so you can handle the camera with damp hands.

So weather-sealing does give one a little bit more peace of mind when out and about. Weather-sealing also seems to help improve the quality-built of the camera or lens. Otherwise it is just a check-box that is checked.

So it really depend on the photographer and what type of photography is being done.  It is really nice to have choices for either sealed or non-sealed.

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tt321
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Re: What's with the sudden weather-sealing craze ?
In reply to amvrvd, Nov 9, 2012

amvrvd wrote:

I know it's awesome to be able to shoot in the midst of Sandy without fear of ruining your camera but, do we really need every lens to be weather-sealed !?

I've recently noticed that people clamor, ever so frequently, for weather sealing, in forums, blogs and rumor sites. I fear this craze will lead to Olympus and Panasonic actually listening and WSing every future lens, and thus rising up the prices, which in turn will corner M4/3 into a unfavorable position against larger sensored mirrorless. I mean, sure, WS is nice and gives you and edge over other systems but do we really want/need m4/3 to be even more expensive than the competition ?You may think I may be blowing this out of proportion but if the demand is there, the manufacturers will eventually deliver.

Besides the cost factor, does every consumer need the extra peace of mind that a WS lens gives you ?

This is my guess but I think M4/3 is not even close to its peak market penetration and now we have more competition than ever, and the race is getting fiercer with other systems catching up in features and lens roadmaps. In this scenario WS makes sense as a differentiating feature but M4/3 will always be under fire because of the sensor performance/DOF (even though the EM5 and recent pany models have proven otherwise) and higher prices is only means giving competition more arguments against MFT for their marketing department.

IMO they should keep today's strategy and only reserve this feature to high-end bodies and lenses, products which are already expected to be expensive where WS wouldn't add much to the existing cost. People want every new lens to be WS as if it was mandatory, they even want re-releases of older lenses (i.e.20mm) to add the feature.

I used to think weather sealing was nuts, as the only camera I know which was disabled by water was my mum's weather-sealed Olympus Mju 135 compact, because of internal condensation where the weather sealing worked against the user's interests.

I guess most people would probably be happy to pay for weather sealing if the cost overhead is 10%.

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s_grins
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Re: What's with the sudden weather-sealing craze ?
In reply to amvrvd, Nov 9, 2012

amvrvd wrote:

I know it's awesome to be able to shoot in the midst of Sandy without fear of ruining your camera but, do we really need every lens to be weather-sealed !?

In the midst of Sandy storm, I stayed inside to be safe by myself. In short moments when I was outside, protected by brick wall, to smoke a cigarette, I had no desire for the camera.

I've had many cameras, none of them were sealed, none of them failed due to weather conditions, and I'm not craving for this feature.

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Macx
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Re: What's with the sudden weather-sealing craze ?
In reply to amvrvd, Nov 9, 2012

I think we agree on the point that ideally, we want to have both lenses with weather-sealing and lenses with out on the market. That said, I don't think it's crazy to want lenses with weather-sealing. It all depends on how you use your camera and the climate you're living in.

I almost always pack the 12-50 with me and the main reason for that is its weather-sealing. Because of it, I can carry my camera on my sling even when it rains, and thus it's handy when an opportunity appears.

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TrapperJohn
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It's not just for shooting in rain
In reply to amvrvd, Nov 9, 2012

If you peruse the intermediate dslr forums, the ones that aren't weathersealed, you will find the occasional tale of woe where an unsealed camera got killed for reasons other than being in a rain shower. A couple of common events:

At the beach. Someone sees a neat shot, gets on the shore, the odd rogue wave comes along and splashes them... dead camera.

In humid condition. This happens more often than you might think. Shooting in humid conditions, put the camera in the bag, take it out the next morning, turn it on... condensation shorts out connections.

In nature... this actually happened to me. Was crossing a creek in the hardwood forest where I live, slipped on an algae covered rock, down I went, right next to a deep pool. My E1+14-54 I was holding got put about a foot underwater briefly as I went over. It came up shooting, none the worse for the experience. I also saw a swimming pool photo someone took with an E3+ZD 7-14, with the lens half in and half out of the water. Neat shot, but that was really pushing the envelope.

Accidents or carelessness. This also happened to me. I was shooting moon shots with the EM5+Nikkor 400 3.5, mounting them on a Celestron C8 telescope as an autoguider (refractive lenses give better contrast than mirror/reflective, which is why I wasn't using the C8 for moon shots). Middle of the night, I went back inside, sat down on the couch, and dozed off. The next morning, I went outside, found the EM5 drenched in dew. Even though the Nikkor wasn't weathersealed, the EM5 body was. It came to life, no problems.

So weathersealing isn't just for shooting in the rain. It's an insurance policy against accidents and carelessness.

It has it's limitations - if it's heavily drenched in water, and you work a zoom that does move the front element while zooming, water can get sucked in past the dust filter due to air being pulled in with the changing volume of the inside of the lens.

A few years ago, someone got on the Oly SLR forum, complaining about water getting in his E1+14-54. Turns out he had been using it in dusty conditions, and had been rinsing it off under a faucet to get the dust off. Six months of this, and some water finally got inside.

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luigibenet
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Re: It's not just for shooting in rain
In reply to TrapperJohn, Nov 9, 2012

I am a 'Semi-Pro' photog and as I was waiting for an event to start last evening (in Phoenix where it almost never rains) I was wishing I had packed my 12-50mm as it was drizzling and every time it started, I went under cover.

If I had the 12-50mm with me(had at 12mm on one M5 and the 25mm on the other) and the , I would have cranked up the ISO and not worried about it!!

So, its a security blanket! (and on a trip that does not entail things like museums) the 12-50mm is the only lens I take.....

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papillon_65
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It's a Pentax thing....
In reply to amvrvd, Nov 9, 2012

even their flashes are weathersealed, apparently Pentax users either live in the desert or a tropical rainforest, that's why you never see them....

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Corkcampbell
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Weather-sealing is an industry trend.
In reply to amvrvd, Nov 9, 2012

And so all camera systems must provide it, at least in the higher-end models. I certainly don't see a problem with that. I don't know what costs are added to the finished product - another poster mentioned 10% but without reference - but it will be expected by those buying what they perceive as quality products. The particular user's actual need for weather-sealing has little to do with it; it's the perception of the product, from a marketing standpoint.

As for trying to make m4/3 cheaper...photography is not a cheap hobby and I doubt that price makes a big difference for those buying m4/3 compared to portability, etc. It certainly doesn't to me - I paid almost as much for my OM-D as for my Sony A77 (also weather-sealed).

Anyone thinking that lower costs will always increase the market share of a product has somehow missed the example set by Apple, among others.

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Brian Wadie
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Re: It's not just for shooting in rain
In reply to TrapperJohn, Nov 9, 2012

I shoot a lot of water sports and other coastal activities and frequently do so in wet, windy and sandy conditions. Whilst "Weather Sealing" is not essential (that's what plastic bags and rubber bands are for ) it sure as heck is worth having, particularly when a wave suddenly slops over the side of the harbour breakwater and tries to wash you into the harbours (as happened to me not long back)

I don't understand all the fuss - if you don't need it, don't buy it and leave those of us who do to get on with our own business - simples!

(not aimed at you TrapperJohn, it was a reply to the main thread that just got tagged on to your input some how)

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Optical1
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Re: What's with the sudden weather-sealing craze ?
In reply to amvrvd, Nov 9, 2012

amvrvd wrote:

I know it's awesome to be able to shoot in the midst of Sandy without fear of ruining your camera but, do we really need every lens to be weather-sealed !?

I've recently noticed that people clamor, ever so frequently, for weather sealing, in forums, blogs and rumor sites. I fear this craze will lead to Olympus and Panasonic actually listening and WSing every future lens, and thus rising up the prices, which in turn will corner M4/3 into a unfavorable position against larger sensored mirrorless. I mean, sure, WS is nice and gives you and edge over other systems but do we really want/need m4/3 to be even more expensive than the competition ?You may think I may be blowing this out of proportion but if the demand is there, the manufacturers will eventually deliver.

Besides the cost factor, does every consumer need the extra peace of mind that a WS lens gives you ?

This is my guess but I think M4/3 is not even close to its peak market penetration and now we have more competition than ever, and the race is getting fiercer with other systems catching up in features and lens roadmaps. In this scenario WS makes sense as a differentiating feature but M4/3 will always be under fire because of the sensor performance/DOF (even though the EM5 and recent pany models have proven otherwise) and higher prices is only means giving competition more arguments against MFT for their marketing department.

IMO they should keep today's strategy and only reserve this feature to high-end bodies and lenses, products which are already expected to be expensive where WS wouldn't add much to the existing cost. People want every new lens to be WS as if it was mandatory, they even want re-releases of older lenses (i.e.20mm) to add the feature.

The cost to seal a lens is minimal, but the price increase for weathersealing is not related to the cost in any way.  Personally, I think of WS as insurance more than anything.  I don't enjoy shooting in the rain, so I don't do it, but I I certainly feel more comfortable taking my camera places that it might get wet (i.e. fishing, water parks, hiking, camping, traveling, etc.).

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jcharding
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Its not a craze
In reply to amvrvd, Nov 9, 2012

Nikon, Canon and Pentax have been doing it for years. So has Olympus.

If you shoot outdoors a lot weather sealing is a wonderful safety blanket.  Something to tilt the odds so that you can take photos but lessen the risk on your equipment.  I do a lot of landscape photography, so for me weather sealing is a huge selling point.  It is just important to remember that weather sealing is not a guarantee - just a change in the odds.

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G1Shooter
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Re: What's with the sudden weather-sealing craze ?
In reply to amvrvd, Nov 9, 2012

For those of you in this thread that see WS as "insurance", I have 2 observations:

1. My GH2's and non WS lenses have been wet on more than one occasion. Not held under the water for 5 minutes wet, but wet on the exterior from rain and also from me falling on a stream crossing. They still work just fine.

2. If insurance is what you are after, buy insurance. It is less $ than WS. I pay $25 per year for no fault, all risk, blanket coverage of $2,500 on non scheduled camera equipment as a rider on my homeowner's insurance. If I drop a camera in the 100' of water (or whatever), I get the replacement cost up to $2,500.

The down side is I have to pay the premium every year, so at some point WS would be less $. But I would get nothing if I dropped my WS camera and lens in the ocean, so I keep paying the premium each year.

FWIW, I mostly shoot outdoors in more extreme conditions than the average photographer so the loss of a whole camera and lens in water or dropped off a cliff is not an unreasonable expectation.

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s_grins
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Re: What's with the sudden weather-sealing craze ?
In reply to Optical1, Nov 9, 2012

Optical1 wrote:

amvrvd wrote:

I know it's awesome to be able to shoot in the midst of Sandy without fear of ruining your camera but, do we really need every lens to be weather-sealed !?

I've recently noticed that people clamor, ever so frequently, for weather sealing, in forums, blogs and rumor sites. I fear this craze will lead to Olympus and Panasonic actually listening and WSing every future lens, and thus rising up the prices, which in turn will corner M4/3 into a unfavorable position against larger sensored mirrorless. I mean, sure, WS is nice and gives you and edge over other systems but do we really want/need m4/3 to be even more expensive than the competition ?You may think I may be blowing this out of proportion but if the demand is there, the manufacturers will eventually deliver.

Besides the cost factor, does every consumer need the extra peace of mind that a WS lens gives you ?

This is my guess but I think M4/3 is not even close to its peak market penetration and now we have more competition than ever, and the race is getting fiercer with other systems catching up in features and lens roadmaps. In this scenario WS makes sense as a differentiating feature but M4/3 will always be under fire because of the sensor performance/DOF (even though the EM5 and recent pany models have proven otherwise) and higher prices is only means giving competition more arguments against MFT for their marketing department.

IMO they should keep today's strategy and only reserve this feature to high-end bodies and lenses, products which are already expected to be expensive where WS wouldn't add much to the existing cost. People want every new lens to be WS as if it was mandatory, they even want re-releases of older lenses (i.e.20mm) to add the feature.

The cost to seal a lens is minimal, but the price increase for weathersealing is not related to the cost in any way. Personally, I think of WS as insurance more than anything. I don't enjoy shooting in the rain, so I don't do it, but I I certainly feel more comfortable taking my camera places that it might get wet (i.e. fishing, water parks, hiking, camping, traveling, etc.).

The cost of seal a lens is a minimal? How do you know?

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bluelemmy
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Re: Its not a craze
In reply to jcharding, Nov 9, 2012

I was shooting a glamour set in Spain with a couple of Nikon F5s when a wave from a motor boat knocked me of balance and dunked one of the Nikons in the water.

It got really hot very quickly and smelt most peculiar. It never worked again and Nikon said to junk it. I suppose that's a bit extreme and not really a test of weather resistance.

My GH2 has got wet many times without ill effects - so I suppose the GH3 should be OK for most uses, if not dipping in the ocean.

Why is it popular suddenly? For the same reason at one time cars were advertised for the coefficient of wind resistance - fashion.

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BigBarney
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It is all down to leapfrogging
In reply to amvrvd, Nov 9, 2012

amvrvd wrote:

I know it's awesome to be able to shoot in the midst of Sandy without fear of ruining your camera but, do we really need every lens to be weather-sealed !?

I've recently noticed that people clamor, ever so frequently, for weather sealing, in forums, blogs and rumor sites. I fear this craze will lead to Olympus and Panasonic actually listening and WSing every future lens, and thus rising up the prices, which in turn will corner M4/3 into a unfavorable position against larger sensored mirrorless. I mean, sure, WS is nice and gives you and edge over other systems but do we really want/need m4/3 to be even more expensive than the competition ?You may think I may be blowing this out of proportion but if the demand is there, the manufacturers will eventually deliver.

Besides the cost factor, does every consumer need the extra peace of mind that a WS lens gives you ?

This is my guess but I think M4/3 is not even close to its peak market penetration and now we have more competition than ever, and the race is getting fiercer with other systems catching up in features and lens roadmaps. In this scenario WS makes sense as a differentiating feature but M4/3 will always be under fire because of the sensor performance/DOF (even though the EM5 and recent pany models have proven otherwise) and higher prices is only means giving competition more arguments against MFT for their marketing department.

IMO they should keep today's strategy and only reserve this feature to high-end bodies and lenses, products which are already expected to be expensive where WS wouldn't add much to the existing cost. People want every new lens to be WS as if it was mandatory, they even want re-releases of older lenses (i.e.20mm) to add the feature.

There is competition between Olympus and Panasonic as well as m43 competing against other compact system cameras and dSLRs.

As soon as Olympus launched the excellent E-M5 with a weather-sealed kit zoom lens, Panasonic clearly felt that their top of the range stills and hybrid stills/video camera and its kit lenses should leapfrog the E-M5 in as many features as possible.

As a retired rugby player I still go back to my old clubs and try to take action photos. With the non weather-sealed GH2 and 14-140mm kit lens, I find that I can shoot in wet weather without weather sealing as long as I take reasonable precautions. These precautions include drying everything off in the clubhouse bar afterwards while I test my alimentary canal's resistance to beer.

Even Olympus's non weather-sealed cameras can prove very resistant to water damage. In my younger days I went over the Lava Falls rapids in the Grand Canyon of the Colorado river shooting more or less continuously with my Olympus 35RC film compact camera. We both came out the other side rather moist, but we both dried out and carried on functioning correctly afterwards. Indeed that 35RC still works today.

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Landscapephoto99
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Re: What's with the sudden weather-sealing craze ?
In reply to amvrvd, Nov 9, 2012

I like it and it seems to fit right in with m43rds.   When I go hiking or out by the ocean, it is nice to be able to take a light camera and lens with high IQ along and not have to worry about problems.

It might not matter so much with a mammoth-sized FF that would remain back in the studio.

amvrvd wrote:

I know it's awesome to be able to shoot in the midst of Sandy without fear of ruining your camera but, do we really need every lens to be weather-sealed !?

I've recently noticed that people clamor, ever so frequently, for weather sealing, in forums, blogs and rumor sites. I fear this craze will lead to Olympus and Panasonic actually listening and WSing every future lens, and thus rising up the prices, which in turn will corner M4/3 into a unfavorable position against larger sensored mirrorless. I mean, sure, WS is nice and gives you and edge over other systems but do we really want/need m4/3 to be even more expensive than the competition ?You may think I may be blowing this out of proportion but if the demand is there, the manufacturers will eventually deliver.

Besides the cost factor, does every consumer need the extra peace of mind that a WS lens gives you ?

This is my guess but I think M4/3 is not even close to its peak market penetration and now we have more competition than ever, and the race is getting fiercer with other systems catching up in features and lens roadmaps. In this scenario WS makes sense as a differentiating feature but M4/3 will always be under fire because of the sensor performance/DOF (even though the EM5 and recent pany models have proven otherwise) and higher prices is only means giving competition more arguments against MFT for their marketing department.

IMO they should keep today's strategy and only reserve this feature to high-end bodies and lenses, products which are already expected to be expensive where WS wouldn't add much to the existing cost. People want every new lens to be WS as if it was mandatory, they even want re-releases of older lenses (i.e.20mm) to add the feature.

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julieng
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I dunno
In reply to amvrvd, Nov 9, 2012

I don't think its a sudden craze, I think Panasonic and Olympus got there in their respective line up. It's all cool, we have the choice.

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Nikko aus London
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Re: What's with the sudden weather-sealing craze ?
In reply to amvrvd, Nov 9, 2012

> What's with the sudden weather-sealing craze ?

Duh?  Winter coming perhaps?

Nikko

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