How vulnerable are non-weather sealed cameras?

Started Apr 17, 2020 | Discussions
Bill_Edmunds Regular Member • Posts: 114
How vulnerable are non-weather sealed cameras?

I just bought a Canon m6 mkII. Great camera, but it has no weather sealing. As someone who loves going outside to photograph birds, I find myself occasionally in light rains, or on pond shores, in muddy conditions etc. I'm a bit worried that I chose the wrong camera for the environmental conditions I encounter. Just how vulnerable is a non weather sealed camera in this regard?

Canon EOS M6
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forest dream Senior Member • Posts: 2,225
Re: How vulnerable are non-weather sealed cameras?

In other way, how good vulnerable of WR camera? I did not found any IPX rating except some pricey Olympus camera.

(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 3,098
Re: How vulnerable are non-weather sealed cameras?

Normally, the occasional little drop won't hurt. Wipe it of... done.

Constant dripping (or with a bit of pressure) will hurt, water will penetrate. So you then have to be careful.

I like to shoot in the rain at night in the city streets. But... although my cameras are weather sealed... the lenses I like to use for these shoots are not! So... I am just being careful. I carry an umbrella, try to keep the camera/lens under it. I have a mini travel towel, folds to a need 4x4cm ball, that I can use to wipe of droplets.

So... definitely possible... but you just got to be careful. Of course it might be more difficult if you need to shoot sports or wildlife in the rain!

Mud... might be a problem for any camera. It may get in small openings and... how do you get it of! If have seen videos of people rinsing weather sealed Olympus cameras under a running faucet! Not something I would do... but it seems to be possible! Getting the mud of on a non weather sealed camera... I don't know.

Smaug01
MOD Smaug01 Veteran Member • Posts: 6,361
Re: How vulnerable are non-weather sealed cameras?
1

Bill_Edmunds wrote:

I just bought a Canon m6 mkII. Great camera, but it has no weather sealing. As someone who loves going outside to photograph birds, I find myself occasionally in light rains, or on pond shores, in muddy conditions etc. I'm a bit worried that I chose the wrong camera for the environmental conditions I encounter. Just how vulnerable is a non weather sealed camera in this regard?

Light rain is a no-no. Do they make weather sealed lenses for it? If so, you could protect the camera under the brim of your hat and let the lens get a bit splashed...

Pond shores and mud are fine; just keep the camera out of it.

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HobbyJohn Forum Member • Posts: 76
Re: How vulnerable are non-weather sealed cameras?

I used my 6Di in light rain and around splashing water several times without issue, but maybe I was lucky. I’m not sure how the weather sealing (lack thereof) compares between the 6D and the M6. I kept it under my coat or something until ready to shoot, got the shot, then returned it under cover. I did not wipe it after every use, as I thought that might be worse, possibly pushing the water into the body. After I was done, I used an absorbent towel to lightly remove any remaining water.

I even took it in a swimming pool with me the first time my kid went in the pool. My hands were wet and there was some splashing, and I got some shots from an inch or two above water level. No issues, but again, I may have been lucky.

I now have a 5Div and a couple weather sealed lenses that I default to when I expect to be out in the rain.

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Bob Janes
Bob Janes Veteran Member • Posts: 4,952
Re: How vulnerable are non-weather sealed cameras?

Bill_Edmunds wrote:

I just bought a Canon m6 mkII. Great camera, but it has no weather sealing. As someone who loves going outside to photograph birds, I find myself occasionally in light rains, or on pond shores, in muddy conditions etc. I'm a bit worried that I chose the wrong camera for the environmental conditions I encounter. Just how vulnerable is a non weather sealed camera in this regard?

Not very.

In a rain shower I tend to try to tuck my camera inside my jacket. If I'm needing to shoot much in light rain I tend to use a rainhood (I use an Optech one, others are available) and a lens hood.

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bobn2
bobn2 Forum Pro • Posts: 69,812
Re: How vulnerable are non-weather sealed cameras?
8

Bill_Edmunds wrote:

I just bought a Canon m6 mkII. Great camera, but it has no weather sealing. As someone who loves going outside to photograph birds, I find myself occasionally in light rains, or on pond shores, in muddy conditions etc. I'm a bit worried that I chose the wrong camera for the environmental conditions I encounter. Just how vulnerable is a non weather sealed camera in this regard?

So-called 'weather sealing' is a sales feature rather than an actuality. For a start, what does it mean? The camera is certainly not 'sealed' agains any kind of weather you might throw at it. Leave it out in a hurricane, and it's likely not to work after. Specifications are generally vague about what kind of weather it's safe to use the camera in, and the warranties are still invalid if water gets inside the camera - you'd think if the manufacturer was really confident about the quality of the sealing they'd back it up in the warranty, but they don't. Only one brand (Olympus) actually specifies the resistance to accepted international standards, and even then it's a the lowest level possible, and still not covered in the warranty. The internet is full of fans posting videos about how their favoured brand fares in the shower, run under the tap and so on - but just think, they are the lucky ones - the ones that bricked their expensive cameras likely feel too embarrassed to post. I once tried the running under a tap trick with my old Canon 350D (and posted a video) just to see how it did. It survived just fine. The truth is the the fit of the moulded parts of a camera is good enough without seals that the probability of it surviving a light shower is pretty good. The 'sealed' camera might (or might not) have a higher probability, but it isn't 100%.

So, I wouldn't worry too much. 'Weather sealing' is ludicrously hyped.

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Moti Veteran Member • Posts: 8,965
Re: How vulnerable are non-weather sealed cameras?
1

Bill_Edmunds wrote:

I just bought a Canon m6 mkII. Great camera, but it has no weather sealing. As someone who loves going outside to photograph birds, I find myself occasionally in light rains, or on pond shores, in muddy conditions etc. I'm a bit worried that I chose the wrong camera for the environmental conditions I encounter. Just how vulnerable is a non weather sealed camera in this regard?

A shower cap that you can find free of charge in every hotel room, will usually do the job to protect your camera against most environmental issues. I've been using it for years and never had any problems with non weather sealed cameras.

moti

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Gato Amarillo Veteran Member • Posts: 8,602
Re: How vulnerable are non-weather sealed cameras?
2

Much like the others have said, I'd be cautious but not paranoid. A few drops are not likely to hurt but a real rain could. And not many shops will want to repair a water damaged digital camera -- too much chance of it coming back on them due to advancing corrosion.

I carry a few household plastic bags (whatever is handy in the kitchen) in my camera kit to improvise protection should I need it. If I were going to shoot in rain on a regular basis I would buy a purpose designed cover.

If you go over to the Lens Rentals blog you can find some posts on weather sealing and water damage, complete with tear-down reports and photos. They are not encouraging.

Gato

alcelc
alcelc Forum Pro • Posts: 17,567
Re: How vulnerable are non-weather sealed cameras?

My non WR camera had dropped into a river by accident, had stayed in the river for a few seconds and came out like a water tank.

After dried by anything available to me, from tissue paper, towel, hair blow dryer, the combo worked again 3 days later.

Back home, service center told me to leave it alone due to corrosion inside.

7 years passed, that camera and lens still works normally most of the time.

Since then, WR has little meaning to me.

I shoot and swap lenses under any situation, rain light or heavy, snow, dusty... as long as I have to. So far all of my non WR gear retired before hardware failure despite of my abuse on them (of course reasonable aftercare is needed).

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donaldsc Veteran Member • Posts: 4,038
Re: How vulnerable are non-weather sealed cameras?
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I can tell you this - if you use a Sony A6000 in a fairly heavy rain for an extended period, your camera will be toast.  The reason I did this was that I was on South Georgia Island, my backup camera was on the ship and I figured that the possible loss of the camera was worth the pictures that I would take.  They were and I got a new A6400 out of it which my wife would normally not have let me buy.

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Camley Senior Member • Posts: 1,827
Re: How vulnerable are non-weather sealed cameras?
1

Bill_Edmunds wrote:

I just bought a Canon m6 mkII. Great camera, but it has no weather sealing. As someone who loves going outside to photograph birds, I find myself occasionally in light rains, or on pond shores, in muddy conditions etc. I'm a bit worried that I chose the wrong camera for the environmental conditions I encounter. Just how vulnerable is a non weather sealed camera in this regard?

It's very hard to make a camera/lens (or any other similar device) fully waterproof over its lifetime. Who knows if all the seals in your camera/lens were inserted perfectly and will last for many years of operation.

I wouldn't use a camera that claims to be weather resistant/sealed etc. in really wet conditions unless any damage is covered by warranty. If the manufacturer won't warranty water damage there must be a reason. That said, I have been taking photographs for over 50 years. For over 40 of those years I never owned a weather resistant camera and I never had a problem with occasional light rain.

If you are taking photographs in extremely wet conditions you can buy camera covers or there are cameras that are designed to be immersed in water.

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Timzee Senior Member • Posts: 1,131
Some advice re. non sealed cameras

Bill_Edmunds wrote:

Just how vulnerable is a non weather sealed camera in this regard?

Well, I'll offer some advice if I may.

Let's say you decided to get up before sunrise, board a large tour boat, grab a "prized" seat next to the captain's cabin, and head out to view a Hawaiian volcano spewing lava into the ocean. Along the way, this seat you thought was so great, turns out to be one of the only seats on the whole boat that gets absolutely drenched by waves every 30 seconds or so for almost an hour. Nowhere to hide, nowhere to run.

Just do your best to shield your camera & lenses (5D Mark III gear) for the whole trip out by holding them under your jacket. Pretty much a fruitless effort as it's about like trying to hide under a waterfall.

Soooo... a few weeks later when you get your camera back from Canon Pro Services after they did whatever they had to do to get it working again, you can only chalk it up as a lesson learned.

I'm not saying I know any of this by first hand experience mind you, only a story I heard from "a friend of mine". Yeah, right... 

Gato Amarillo Veteran Member • Posts: 8,602
What salt water can do -- with tear-down photos

I'm hanging out on the forums while I put off some non-fun work on the house, so I had time to look up this item I remembered from from Lens Rentals. In the post they tear down a Sony A7s ii camera that had been splashed with sea water.

The photos are not pretty -- not for the squeamish or faint of heart.

https://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2017/10/about-getting-your-camera-wet-teardown-of-a-salty-sony-a7sii/

Lens Rentals notes that the camera has some sealing, but none around the bottom plate. Sony claims it is "built to withstand the rigors of shooting in the field," but I don't see anything specific about water or weather sealing.

Gato

Martin.au
Martin.au Forum Pro • Posts: 14,241
Re: How vulnerable are non-weather sealed cameras?
1

Camley wrote:

Bill_Edmunds wrote:

I just bought a Canon m6 mkII. Great camera, but it has no weather sealing. As someone who loves going outside to photograph birds, I find myself occasionally in light rains, or on pond shores, in muddy conditions etc. I'm a bit worried that I chose the wrong camera for the environmental conditions I encounter. Just how vulnerable is a non weather sealed camera in this regard?

It's very hard to make a camera/lens (or any other similar device) fully waterproof over its lifetime. Who knows if all the seals in your camera/lens were inserted perfectly and will last for many years of operation.

I wouldn't use a camera that claims to be weather resistant/sealed etc. in really wet conditions unless any damage is covered by warranty. If the manufacturer won't warranty water damage there must be a reason. That said, I have been taking photographs for over 50 years. For over 40 of those years I never owned a weather resistant camera and I never had a problem with occasional light rain.

If you are taking photographs in extremely wet conditions you can buy camera covers or there are cameras that are designed to be immersed in water.

No manufacturer is going to provide warranty for a camera that can have it’s lens removed, and random, non weather sealed lenses attached. How would that even work?

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BrownieVet Veteran Member • Posts: 3,831
If you are really worried, get a "weather protective gear" . . .
1

Re: How vulnerable are non-weather sealed cameras?

or an alternative is a large Zip-Lock bag.

At the end of your photo session, wipe the camera dry. I carry a  hand towel in my camera bag.  Do not use tissue papers as it tend to leave "dust".  Silica gel (a drying agent) absorbs moisture.  Two packets would be sufficient.
I am well travelled.  May camera survived monsoon rain in Vietnam, Thailand, The Philippines and other southeast asian countries.
As others already posted,  "weather sealing" is practically over-hyped.

forest dream Senior Member • Posts: 2,225
Re: How vulnerable are non-weather sealed cameras?

Martin.au wrote:

Camley wrote:

Bill_Edmunds wrote:

I just bought a Canon m6 mkII. Great camera, but it has no weather sealing. As someone who loves going outside to photograph birds, I find myself occasionally in light rains, or on pond shores, in muddy conditions etc. I'm a bit worried that I chose the wrong camera for the environmental conditions I encounter. Just how vulnerable is a non weather sealed camera in this regard?

It's very hard to make a camera/lens (or any other similar device) fully waterproof over its lifetime. Who knows if all the seals in your camera/lens were inserted perfectly and will last for many years of operation.

I wouldn't use a camera that claims to be weather resistant/sealed etc. in really wet conditions unless any damage is covered by warranty. If the manufacturer won't warranty water damage there must be a reason. That said, I have been taking photographs for over 50 years. For over 40 of those years I never owned a weather resistant camera and I never had a problem with occasional light rain.

If you are taking photographs in extremely wet conditions you can buy camera covers or there are cameras that are designed to be immersed in water.

No manufacturer is going to provide warranty for a camera that can have it’s lens removed, and random, non weather sealed lenses attached. How would that even work?

IMO Are Fuji X100V can use same excuse since it not WR if the adapter & filter deattach?

forest dream Senior Member • Posts: 2,225
Re: If you are really worried, get a "weather protective gear" . . .

BrownieVet wrote:

Re: How vulnerable are non-weather sealed cameras?

or an alternative is a large Zip-Lock bag.

At the end of your photo session, wipe the camera dry. I carry a hand towel in my camera bag. Do not use tissue papers as it tend to leave "dust". Silica gel (a drying agent) absorbs moisture. Two packets would be sufficient.
I am well travelled. May camera survived monsoon rain in Vietnam, Thailand, The Philippines and other southeast asian countries.
As others already posted, "weather sealing" is practically over-hyped.

+1  "weather sealing" is practically over-hyped since no warranty and IPX rating.

Wu Jiaqiu
Wu Jiaqiu Forum Pro • Posts: 28,537
Re: How vulnerable are non-weather sealed cameras?
1

never had a camera die for being used in the rain or snow, and this is whether it was weather sealed or not

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the computer says no

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robert1955 Veteran Member • Posts: 6,639
Re: How vulnerable are non-weather sealed cameras?

I had one that went half blind though: a Sony NEX-7 which fell from a breast pocket into soft snow. Being relatively warm it melted some snow, making both the EVF and the rear screen waterlogged. In the EVF you could see water about halfway up, but it was so leaky it soon drained. The screen never recovered. Mind you, this was a camera from which the eye cup kept falling off, until I glued it on. Current models are hopefully better

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