What's with the sudden weather-sealing craze ?

Started Nov 9, 2012 | Discussions thread
TrapperJohn Forum Pro • Posts: 16,483
It's not just for shooting in rain

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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