How important is weather sealing?

Started May 1, 2012 | Discussions
radil Junior Member • Posts: 43
How important is weather sealing?

Hi

One of the great attractions of E-M5 is the weather sealing. I often put away my G2 when it is raining (and often need to bring an extra bag for it for that reason). However, I would like to know if weather sealing is really necessary for ordinary use?

In other words: Have any of you had your g2 or other m43 camera (or perhaps even m43 lenses) destroyed by rain? (please convince me that I can relax a bit more when its raining)

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2
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Landscapephoto99 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,183
Re: How important is weather sealing?

I've never had any problems with my E300 or E620 and they have been through a lot, but having said that I will be a bit bolder with the E-M5 / weather sealed lens combo in taking photos in the rain / sand, etc.

radil wrote:

Hi

One of the great attractions of E-M5 is the weather sealing. I often put away my G2 when it is raining (and often need to bring an extra bag for it for that reason). However, I would like to know if weather sealing is really necessary for ordinary use?

In other words: Have any of you had your g2 or other m43 camera (or perhaps even m43 lenses) destroyed by rain? (please convince me that I can relax a bit more when its raining)

Reybabes
Reybabes Senior Member • Posts: 1,797
Re: How important is weather sealing?

It's important to me. I really liked my old Pentax DSLRs for this reason as I:

. often took them out into the dry/sandy/windy dessert climes when hiking

. loved to get moody street shots when raining

. never hesitated to grab a photo op when the weather didn't cooperate (like the family trip to Disney when it poured)

. grabbed some amazing nature shots when riding the airboat in the Everglades (i.e., the mist didn't slow me down)

The Pentax weight bummed me out so the OMD seems to fit the bill as I had been hoping/waiting for a capable but lighter replacement.

Only you can answer this question. In other words, do you like to shoot in conditions such as the ones I've mentioned? If not, then don't bother. Otherwise...

Good luck.

Rey

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Timbukto Veteran Member • Posts: 4,988
Re: How important is weather sealing?

The funny thing is weather sealing is a far better trait for entry level DSLR's then they are for MFT. Here is why. Dust can get into your mirror assembly, on top of your PDAF sensor, on your focus screen, behind your focus screen into a penta-mirror/viewfinder chamber, and onto your sensor. For MFT, dust can get onto your sensor.

As for lens, MFT has a smaller form factor...a DSLR with larger glass has more surface area for dust and wind to blow across. Larger barrel cam's and zoom rings and IMO probably looser tolerances in these gaps vs tiny cute MFT lens.

So yes even if weather sealing is a great thing to have, there are factors for which MFT's naturally are more weather 'resistant' than DSLR's IMO. The only factor that is probably less resistant is with the smaller size electronic componentry is probably a little closer to the outer surface than on a DSLR such that even non-weather sealed DSLR's have been known to be just fine when getting a little wet. However again the smaller MFT body and lens affords you the ability to keep it covered from the elements that much easier in the first place.

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jcharding Senior Member • Posts: 2,542
Re: How important is weather sealing?

It depends a lot on you and your shooting style.

One of the most common benefits of weather sealing had been preventing dust from getting on shots, however dust removal systems have drastically reduced that need. Still, I've had a lot of dust on my Nikon shots and weather sealing helps with that.

Second, weather sealing gives you more ability to shoot in rain or wet conditions (such as on boats). As I understand things, the weakest links in a system are, in order, (1) bodies, (2) non-internal zoom lenses (water on retracting barrels) and (3) primes or internal zooms at the lens mount. Weather sealing obviously helps with the first category and gives you a lot more leeway.

I've shot in rainy condition at Yosemite using a weather sealed Pentax, and done so with reasonable confidence - but just to be safe in frequently toweled off my gear to ensure that nothing got in via the lens mount. I've done the same with Nikon gear - but a little more uncomfortably.

Weather sealing isn't perfect - because a lot of the time you won't be using sealed lenses - but it does significantly increase your margin of error.

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OP radil Junior Member • Posts: 43
Re: How important is weather sealing?

Thanks for the advice. It sounds as the m43 body is at greatest risk, but that nobody has actually tried to have it destroyed by a light shower...

jpig Contributing Member • Posts: 556
Re: How important is weather sealing?

For me, it's not important at all. I take 80% of my photos while backpacking in all kinds of terrain and weather conditions (mountain, forest, desert, snow, hail, rain, blowing dust, etc.). I'm fortunate to be able to spend 6-8 weeks a year in the backcountry, I've taken 50k+ plus photos there, and I have never had a problem with any of the non-weather sealed cameras I've used (Nikon D40 and more recently Olympus E-PL1). I wouldn't object to weather sealing, but so far I've never felt a need for it.

jpig

Boris
Boris Veteran Member • Posts: 9,257
Re: How important is weather sealing?

I have used my GH2 w/45f1.8 in light rain a couple of times with no problems. I would feel better with weather sealing if all the lenses were also weather sealed.
Boris
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Bob Meyer Veteran Member • Posts: 5,375
Re: How important is weather sealing?

I've been shooting 35mm or digital since about 1968. I've had weather-sealed pro bodies, and very definitely not weather-sealed amateur bodies. I've never had a body damaged from being in a light drizzle.

Any heavier than that, and I'm probably not going to bother shooting. But on rare occasions, when I need to, I used these:

http://www.bing.com/shopping/search?q=optech+rainsleeve&qpvt=optech+rainsleeve&FORM=HURE

For occasional use, they work fine, and cost a lot less than a new body. There are similar, but much more rugged, products available, too.
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lsrmz Regular Member • Posts: 429
Re: How important is weather sealing?

I dunno. I guess it depends what you shoot.

Check out this example:

http://www.mu-43.com/f42/hardcore-weather-sealing-test-e-m5-12-50-lens-24755/

Lori

Bruadair Junior Member • Posts: 45
Re: How important is weather sealing?

The weather sealing is also important to me. I live on a sailboat and like to know that I have some protection from the ocean spray and if I'm out exploring a river or beach it's it's nice to have some protection from the harsh elements. I'm headed to India i four weeks and will be there during monsoon season. I would hope that having the M5 and 12-50mm combo will open up new photo opportunities for me in conditions where i would normally not have my camera. Being an outdoors kind of guy I sometimes do get caught out in a rain, so a little bonus like a weather sealed body is nice to have.

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DLBlack Forum Pro • Posts: 15,566
Re: How important is weather sealing?

It all depends upon what and where you photograph. Just this past two months while hiking down a stream after photographing a waterfall each time I spilled on wet rocks and fell. each time the K-5 with the DA*16-50 ended up sitting in a few inches of water. Then there is handling the camera with wet hands while kayaking or caving. In my case a weather-sealed camera and lens is important.

Dave
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RoyGBiv Senior Member • Posts: 1,958
I *love it* :D

lsrmz wrote:

I dunno. I guess it depends what you shoot.

Check out this example:

http://www.mu-43.com/f42/hardcore-weather-sealing-test-e-m5-12-50-lens-24755/

Lori

Great link! It doesn't matter for me whether you're talking about a drenching, or just a light drizzle...the point is that you don't have to do anything to explicitly prepare for the shot, like pack a sleeve, or wrap your camera in saran wrap. Run 'n gun.

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J R R S Senior Member • Posts: 1,337
Weather sealing is for wimps :)
1

3hrs (little wind) started as snow went quickly to hail then rain... timelapse

No issues at all - although thats the limmit - they were drenched - even started to creep in to the lens mount area on the camera a tiny bit - no problems tho...

I should think the OMD is very very water proof

sean000 Veteran Member • Posts: 7,727
Re: How important is weather sealing?

I live in the often drizzly Pacific Northwest. There have been times when I have put away my Panasonic GF1 and used my Nikon D200 with 17-55mm f/2.8 in the drizzle. I don't know if the GF1 would fair much worse, but my perception is that the semi-pro DSLR is better sealed.

So I will be happy to have the weather sealed EM-5 around here. I do like dramatic skies, and the weather sealing means I will be a little less timid about shooting in light rain... and on the beach on windy days. Just need to get a hood for the 12-50 to keep the rain off the front element!

Sean

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RoyGBiv Senior Member • Posts: 1,958
I've taken apart lenses before...If you're zooming, it's a problem.

RoyGBiv wrote:

Lori

Great link! It doesn't matter for me whether you're talking about a drenching, or just a light drizzle...the point is that you don't have to do anything to explicitly prepare for the shot, like pack a sleeve, or wrap your camera in saran wrap. Run 'n gun.

Btw, I've taken apart lenses before, and I'm pretty cavalier about taking non-sealed cameras into weather too. For the most part, you can get away with shots here and there in rain & snow w/o much risk. Even more so if you're dealing with prime lenses. Things get dicey if you do much zooming around. On a normal zoomlens, the barrels I've disassembled are mated with a velour type felt material that really attracts moisture, and becomes a damp spongy mess pretty quick. That being said, there'd still be some inner pieces to work through before it gets to glass. contacts are exposed, though, and it's just playing it pretty close to the margin for error to make a habit out of it, if you ask me.

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lsrmz Regular Member • Posts: 429
Re: I've taken apart lenses before...If you're zooming, it's a problem.

Isn't the 12-50mm internal zoom? I wanted it, but settled for the 14-42mm II R because I got tired of waiting. I don't ever expect myself to be in the position of possibly getting hit by a wave, but what do I know? I haven't seen a 12-50mm either so I don't know what the difference is.

For the most part, my most extreme need would be shooting in the rain, and not heavy rain, since golfers generally stop playing once rain gets too heavy. Beach and swimming pool pictures on occasion. However, dust is another story!! I am always shooting in dusty conditions.

Lori

szlevi Contributing Member • Posts: 932
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dingenus Senior Member • Posts: 2,016
Re: How important is weather sealing?

Have a look on you tube. There are severall video's from the introduction of the EM-5 where people of Olympus the camera pouring with water.

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DRabbit
DRabbit Veteran Member • Posts: 4,724
Re: How important is weather sealing?

I've shot with all my cameras (m43 included) in the rain and snow. Never had a problem. Towel off occasionally.

However, I'm careful about it. I keep the gear under a coat/sweatshirt until I want to take a photo. I try to protect the camera as much as I can with my hands or facing away from the wind, etc.

The only camera I take out in pouring rain is my weather-seal Pentax (until my OMD arrives).

video shot with EP2 on a rainy day:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6Rjxr2xaEk

Amy
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