Lens (lack of) weather resistance concerns

Started 3 months ago | Questions thread
Promit Senior Member • Posts: 2,083
Re: Lens (lack of) weather resistance concerns

I spent quite a bit of time photographing dolphins some years ago, working with trainers behind the scenes and getting up close with the animals. Here are two interesting things about dolphins: they live in salt water, and they really enjoy splashing people. My camera kit came back coated in salt water after every shooting day, at which point I would shove the entire thing under the sink and rinse off all the spray.

Obviously, this is a brutal way to use a camera. I would not expect a non-sealed combo to endure this for very long.

See the thing is, water and especially salt water eventually work their way through the gaps and joints and find things to eat away at. Microscopic particles of salt get stuck in places and leave microscopic grooves and holes. A weather sealed setup resists this much longer, but the corrosion can take hold over a long time and eventually begin to cause issues long after the actual exposure. And it may not affect anything if it just happens a bit and doesn't get anywhere meaningful. Maybe the camera board roller bearing channel in the lens will have a microscopic hole or two that affects nothing in particular. The weather seals themselves may be compromised over time.

So what happened to my saltwater camera, five years later? As far as the body goes, nothing that I can tell from the outside. The lens fared a bit worse, the zoom action feels grimy and it sticks slightly at the short end from time to time.

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