Weather sealing of the K5... Show your usage.

Started Mar 1, 2013 | Discussions thread
Heie2 Contributing Member • Posts: 515
Re: Snow falls

Ehh....I think it might be decent from what I hear

I can personally attest that the weather sealing claims with regard to Pentax products are very real, and in my experience are not touted enough, for example I recommend using the internationally recognized IP Codes (see for a much more detailed explanation). These are industry standard, regardless of the industry involved, and are also the standards used for evaluating critical pieces of gear/equipment for military usage (as the military demands the highest levels of durability, as one would expect). Using these codes, I have personally determined the weather sealed bodies (I own and have personally tested the K-5, K-30 and K-7) when combined with a WR/AW/DA* lens to be, at a minimum, IP55W. AW and DA* will have a higher degree of sealing against water and dust, but the difference between 4 and 5 is enough that I would categorize WR as 5 (just barely) as well. What this means is:

1) IP - Ingress Protection Rating, sometimes also interpreted as International Protection Rating (mandatory prefix to coding)

2) 5 - Dust Protected - Ingress of dust is not entirely prevented, but it must not enter in sufficient quantity to interfere with the satisfactory operation of the equipment; complete protection against contact

3) 5 - Water Jets - Water projected by a nozzle (6.3mm) against enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects.

  • Test duration: at least 3 minutes

  • Water volume: 12.5 litres per minute

  • Pressure: 30 kPa at distance of 3m

4) W - Weather Conditions

*Disclaimer: I have not personally had access to a "6.3mm, 12.5 L/m, 30 kPa nozzle," however I believe that a highly pressurized showerhead more than suffices for this.

Here is a testimonial from another Pentax user (who luckily has insider access somehow...lucky b*stard...)

i left mine under the cold shower for 6 straight hours, i had to test it cause it was a k5 with the improved seals that they used on the k30, dont ask how i got it, lets just say i also got a k30 in may. they both perform the same after 6 hours of non stop shower. I never trusted a camera nor a manufacture like i trust Pentax

The intent behind the aforementioned email to Pentax is that it is my personal opinion that Pentax should lead the industry by publishing their confidence in their equipment as rated to an internationally recognized standard. This would make Pentax the very first camera company to do so for DSLR's, and would help further the credibility of Pentax's purported claims (which still are dubious at best to many). As a 100% private user (i.e. not paid by Pentax in anyway), I stand by the above standard (IP55W), and all experiences have been through personally owned cameras.

I believe I can venture to say that I have abused my cameras--both intentionally and unintentionally--worse than 95% of Pentax's userbase.

The following examples should provide enough documentation and evidence to support that claim. For those of you who have seen these before, I apologize for a lot of self-plagiarizing/-summarizing.


  • This was actually the second iteration I did that day (I screwed up the first shoot), and now, over 3.5 months later (this was made in the beginning of July and is not mid September), I have never had a single issue with either camera or the lenses. No sand inside any of the dials, buttons, etc. The flash got "stuck" on the K-7 in the video because sand had gotten under it (it is weather sealed also, but obviously not the space between it and the camera), so once I raised it up manually, it was good to go, and today it feels as if I just bought it - springy as ever. Come winter time I plan to do a sequel to that weather sealing video - I'll save the details to keep it a surprise Also, you have to remember, that natural rain hardly ever has the same intensity and pressure as a full blown shower head - I have lived through plenty of hurricanes and I can promise you that whatever rain you are thinking of will at best match the water's intensity that you saw in that video I made. And that would be unbelievably rare when it does happen.


  • I can't count the amount of times I have poured water from liter+ bottles, sinks, shower heads and even a hose once just to freak photographer friends out

  • Using the above methods to legitimately clean off my cameras after getting them extremely dirty from being in the elements.


  • Do you see the large rectangular pouch that my left arm is resting on? Inside is my Pentax K-5 + mounted DA* 55mm that I took on a nighttime helicopter raid mission. I considered bringing the Sigma 30mm since they both share an aperture of f/1.4 while the Sigma is considerably wider, but ultimately went with the 55 because of the weather and dust sealing. The next morning, I was so glad that I did - the helicopter that was coming to pick us up overshot the PZ (Pickup Zone) and flew RIGHT. OVER. us and pelted us with not just dust, but rocks. It was a CH-47 Chinook, which is the largest and most powerful helicopter in the Army's arsenal. Couple that with double rotors, and holy rotor wash lol. The camera and lens were so caked in dust and sand it was actually pretty shocking since it was inside the pouch. So I was very glad I took the 55 and not the unsealed Sigma 30. This was later cleaned under a shower head.

View: original size

  • This was taken by me in Afghanistan during a dust storm at approximately 1300h (1 PM), a time when it is so bright it is still painful wearing shades at times.

Pentax K-5, DA* 50-135

View: original size

  • This was also taken by me, but in a thunderstorm - the first few photos were ruined because there was so much water on the lens element that I didn't notice at first. Thankfully I did quickly and cleaned it.

Pentax K-5, DA* 16-50

View: original size

  • I have taken my camera running - yes, literally running, and not in a bag/pack - just the strap across my shoulder or holding the grip in my hand. I was leading a physical training event in the rain at around 0400 as I was the lead trainer of 10 soldiers that were being trained to attend an elite military school that I had recently graduated from. Here's a photo taken from that morning, 2 hours into the rain soaked PT session (yes, those lucky few were carrying the 135kg/300lb+ boat the entire way the entire time).

Pentax K-5, DA 18-55 WR (weather sealed kit lens

View: original size

  • I have had my camera in a turret (unsecured/not tied down) while being the gunner during a mounted vehicle convoy. Because I am sure the question will arise: no, photography was obviously never my priority - it was just to catch opportunity shots, and I shot pics through the bullet proof observation windows of the turret - I never put myself at unnecessary risk. At one point we were fired upon by enemy insurgents, at which point I fired back and the links and shell casings from my .50 caliber machine gun fell on the unprotected camera/lens. Again, this had to be cleaned under a shower head to be cleaned from all the dust and sand that covered the body and lens. Picture is of the K-5 + D-BG4 Battery Grip, DA* 60-250

View: original size

  • I have been out while it was snowing and the camera and exposed lens ended the day not only covered in snow, but having the snow freeze over as well.

  • I have taken my camera (in this instance the K-30 + DA* 16-50) directly under the waterfall we are paddling towards.

  • I resorted to taking my K-5 on combat patrols (similar in fashion to the Night Vision image above) in a drop-leg holster (Lowepro Zoom 55 AW, which is a perfect fit for the gripped K-5 + DA* 60-250 with reversed hood) as I operate in an advisory role patrolling among Afghan soldiers. Yes my primary "weapon" is an actual rifle, not the camera, which is kept within the holster except for 15 sec intervals of quick-removal,-picture,-replacement-into-holster. Yes, as you can imagine, the same cleaning treatment is given upon return to base each time.

This is just my experience and I have never had a single issue with any lens/camera, and like I said, I think it is fair to say I abuse them more than 95% of users do.

Lastly, for a montage (hundreds) of photos taken with/of weather sealed Pentax DSLR/lens combos? See here:

Like I said....Pentax's weather sealing is decent

Hope this helps.


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