What's with the sudden weather-sealing craze ?

Started Nov 9, 2012 | Discussions thread
BigBarney Senior Member • Posts: 2,722
It is all down to leapfrogging

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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