It shouldn't need saying, but weather resistant, weather sealed and environmentally sealed do not mean waterproof. A cursory glance at your warranty should make this clear: no matter how good a reputation your brand has, if it isn't covered by the warranty, you're in 'at your own risk' territory.

Roger Cicala's latest blog post over at Lens Rentals shows the damage that can occur when a nominally weather sealed camera gets wet—both the damage and the detective work made clearer by the fact that this particular camera took a dip in salt water. Cicala follows the path of the corrosion throughout the camera and explains why an encounter with seawater may render your camera not just non-functioning, but completely irreparable.

As is so often the case with Cicala's 'big picture' blog posts, don't get too hung up on the specific model he's dissecting. As he points out in the comments, he's written off some of every brand from salt-water damage.

Check out some of the pictures from this particularly painful teardown at the top, and then click the big blue button below to see the full post on Lens Rentals.

Teardown of a corroded camera

As an aside, this is the main of reasons we can't test manufacturer claims in this area. Partly, of course, it's because we have to return all the cameras to the manufacturers; but another aspect is that, like lens copy variation, camera failure is probabilistic: you'd need to test lots of cameras to know whether the model you're testing is flawed or if you were just unlucky with your sample.

Cicala gets the kind of insight that the rest of us simply can't get—he gets to see a much larger data set based on what the company rents and what it then has to repair—but even he doesn't claim to have a solid answer to which brand is best. Just something to bear in mind the next time you're thinking of sharing that 'extreme torture test' video of your brand's flagship.