Dave Etchells, founder and Editor-in-Chief of Imaging Resource, has shared a video and accompanying blog post that dives into the topic of weather-resistance in cameras. In both the video and blog post, Etchells shows off the bespoke system he’s built for testing the claims of manufacturers and chats with a leader at Olympus to get an inside look at what goes into the manufacturing process behind weathersealing a camera.

A close-up shot of the dripper used in Etchells' current testing rig.

Etchells’ bespoke system, which he says it’s taken him ‘literally hundreds of hours’ to build over the past three years, was conceived after the weather-resistance of the Nikon D850 and Sony a7r III proved to be the tie-breaker for Imaging Resource’s 2017 Camera of the Year Award. In his own words, he wanted to build a ‘test system that would let me rigorously control all the variables, built around an array of timers, pumps, custom-made drippers (coming in what I’ve been calling version 1.5 of the system) and other components.’

His desire for all of this work is explained in two parts:

'First, to give manufacturers a way to meaningfully market and compete with each other on the basis weather sealing. More than just that though, I want to push them to up their game across the board, making good weathersealing more common for consumers and pros alike.'

To see what goes into the process of weathersealing a camera, Etchells partnered up with Olympus and took a trip to Olympus’s R&D headquarters in Hachioji, Japan, where he met with Takao Takasu, the Imaging Product Development manager for Olympus Corp.’s Research and Development department.

A screenshot from a promotional video showing how Olympus tests its cameras for water-resistance.

After a brief intro, the 12-minute video starts with an interview with Takasu-san, who provides a history of weathersealing inside Olympus camera systems. After that, the video transitions into a walkthrough that shows nearly every weathersealing component inside Olympus cameras, from small gaskets around buttons and dials to protective meshing used throughout lenses.

Both the video and article are a wealth of knowledge on the matter and go to show the lengths to which Etchells will dive into the details to share his knowledge and the insight of his industry contacts with the photography community.