Anyone ever dunk a PRO lens?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Underwater, Oct 1, 2016.

  1. Underwater

    Underwater Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 1, 2014
    Eugene, Oregon
    I have. While shooting waterfalls this morning my E-M1 dropped into a swift-flowing creek. Of course, it happened to be attached to my most expensive lens- the 7-14 f2.8. I recovered it a couple of feet downstream in 16" of water. The SD card, battery, and the inside of all the port covers were wet, and there's condensation/droplets inside the rear element of the lens.

    In case you're curious how this happened...I was changing shooting locations and grabbed the tripod by the "neck". I'd only gotten a couple of steps and the camera dropped off the Oben ball head- the release screw had apparently backed off just enough. I think- but I'm not positive- that it went straight into the water instead of bouncing off a rock first, and I can't find any impact marks so I've got that going for me. When I got home, I discovered that there was enough wiggle room with the release screw all the way tightened that the plate could work itself loose. Yes, I should have removed the camera before going anywhere or at least checked it, but I'd only had it on there for a few minutes, and I'd taken enough shots in portrait and landscape that I would have noticed if it was loose. While checking it out at home one of the bubble levels popped off without being touched, so the build quality obviously isn't the best. Grrr.

    Everything is currently sealed in a tote with a large amount of desiccant, but I don't know that I'll even try turning everything on. I'm guessing the memory card can be saved; if so I'll pour myself a stiff drink and post the last picture below. You know what's ironic? I've taken cameras underwater on hundreds of dives and never flooded a single one. Anyways, I'm guessing the camera is a total write off, and I'm mentally prepared to buy a replacement (I'm married to the M1 for the time being because of the underwater housing- this really sucks because the best diving conditions for Oregon happen to be in October- I would rather have dropped my E-M5II instead). I'll send it in to Olympus, but I'm guessing no way no how is it's going to be fixed with their $200 flat rate.

    The lens is my big worry, and the reason I'm posting here- is it soggy toast or, in your esteemed opinions, repairable? A lens is easier to repair than a camera, right? Please tell me I'm right...The lens is technically still under warranty; obviously this isn't a covered defect but I like to think that the fact that I'm the original owner can't hurt, what with their new Pro service and all.

    Other questions-
    -What's the typical turn around time before getting word back from Olympus on what they'll do?
    -Would I be better off sending this to a non-Oly repair facility? Advanced Camera is less than 2 hours away from me.

    Thanks for listening to my sad story... :crying:
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  2. RamblinR

    RamblinR Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Aug 16, 2012
    Qld Australia
    I can't help with your questions but I feel your pain.
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  3. AG_Alex2097

    AG_Alex2097 Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 18, 2015
    Alex S.
    This might be a bit late since you took the time to write this post, but open up your camera battery compartment (remove the battery, don't re-use it either), swivel & mount so water can escape (careful for the sensor though), make sure to replace the desiccant regularly (not sure if you use small bags or just a box full of the stuff, if the latter, it should be fine, unless it was still really soaked when you put it in), keep the camera in the sun as well if possible (sensor side not exposed to it) so that water can evaporate.
    The fact that it wasn't salt water is already a big plus for the survivability, as salt water usually corrodes the print plates beyond repair.

    For the lens, put it in another bag with desiccant, point the front element at the sun (no lens cap) so that sun shines down the barrel (to prevent fungus growth), apart from that, all you can do is wait, and for the lens, you'll have to wait a very, very long time before the humidity inside the lens has dropped significantly

    For both objects, put them in a dry place and keep them there, don't move them around and subject them to temperature changes, i'd recommend leaving them like that for at least 24 hours, but preferably 48 or more if you can whilst regularly changing the desiccant
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  4. Underwater

    Underwater Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 1, 2014
    Eugene, Oregon
    Thanks- I dried everything I could with a chamois-type cloth, and I bought a couple pounds of the desiccant stuff that's designed to dry out RVs. Battery and card are out of the camera, and port covers, doors, and the screen are popped open. I hadn't thought of fungus, so I'll figure something out there.
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  5. AG_Alex2097

    AG_Alex2097 Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 18, 2015
    Alex S.
    Keep us posted, would love to know if either of the 2 survive, my biggest bet is on the lens, but with a bit of luck, the camera might've survived as well, we'll see, crossing fingers for ya!

    Oh and i don't know about the repair / enquiry stuff, for some items (read: expensive equipment, read: probably your thingies) Olympus requests it be sent in to get a quote (shipping is on you though)

    ps I only just noticed, but the irony in your name must make this extra painful >_>
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  6. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    @Phocal@Phocal has dropped his E-M1 into swamps multiple times with no harm.

    Fungus won't grow in sunlight.
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  7. AussiePhil

    AussiePhil Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 1, 2014
    Canberra, ACT, Aust
    Just on the memory card, I wouldn't worry about that, it should be fine... i have a couple SD cards i use for my 3D printer and i regularly forget to take the spare out of the pockets before the clothes get washed so I've had one that is nearly two years old and been washed multiple times and it still works :)
  8. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    I have dropped my EM1 and ZD 150mm ƒ2.0 multiple times into the swamp, one of the hazards of not using straps. It has landed in a few inches of water and nasty muck I don't know how many times. There have been 4 occasions where it has ended up in 1-2 feet of water, all 4 times only long enough for me to reach down, find it and pull it out (15-30 seconds I am guessing). Every time I have just sprayed it off with water from my Camelbak to get all the nasty off it (I am putting up to my face after all) and kept on shooting. To date I have had zero problems with either camera or lens.

    Sorry to hear what happen. Personally, I would replace both camera and lens after that. Sure, it may dry out and seem to work properly for a time but there are problems just waiting to pop up. After 20 years as an electronic tech in the Navy I have seen all matter of things happening to electronics. Water (salt or fresh) will start to rust and corrode the stuff inside the camera. Most of the stuff is protected in a coating, but not everything and those things not protected are where the problems will start.

    This is also why I only buy used guy from reputable places that also provide some type of warranty. Honestly, if this happen to me..........I would dry it all out and hope that it worked. Working gear would then be sold on eBay and non-working gear would get repaired sold on eBay (if financially viable).

    Edit - FYI, I have some used gear I am about to sell if anyone wants first crack at it.
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  9. Underwater

    Underwater Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 1, 2014
    Eugene, Oregon
    PA010515.jpg PA010522.jpg Thanks, guys. The card was fine, but it figures that none of the 7-14 shots were worth a damn; here's a couple with the 12-40. Fortunately, I remembered that I bought insurance in case my under water gear flooded. I read the fine print, and there's nothing in the policy that says you need to have been diving to have an insurable loss. I filed a claim so we'll see how it goes.
    Phocal- trade you a one owner, low mileage M1 for a tuna? I'll throw in a tripod ball head if the lens comes with some of your gator magic...
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  10. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Good to hear you have insurance and it's why I also insure my gear. My little tuna is going no where. But come by and I can teach you some gator magic.
  11. Ziggy

    Ziggy Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Sep 21, 2016
    Melbourne, Australia
    Once dried a lens out on an overnight hike by using clean dry socks as a dessicant. Just one droplet drying spot was left.
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  12. Underwater

    Underwater Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 1, 2014
    Eugene, Oregon
    If anyone is interested, I took the camera and lens up to Advanced Camera in the Portland, OR area. As suspected, the camera wasn't repairable although they managed to fix the lens for $350. The zoom mechanism tightens up a bit at the end of the range, but I don't think it's worth stressing over and I'm otherwise happy with the repair. Test shots show that sharpness and overall image quality seem to be as good as it was when new, and it still has the standard-issue field curvature the lens is known for (reassuringly average photo below).

    In even better news, I received payment in full on my claim through the insurance policy I purchased here:
    Site Login
    The insurance cost a little over $100 per year for about $3k in total value covered; kind of expensive, but the risk is high with diving and certainly worthwhile in my case. It might even be useful for non-divers, especially those that like to live on the edge around water.
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  13. cyrax83

    cyrax83 Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 8, 2014
    Dumb question, but aren't the E-M1 and Olympus Pro lenses weather sealed? I guess thats different from going swimming with it, but I thought a bit of water wouldn't hurt? I've washed my E-M1 and 12-40 pro lens without issue in a sink over a tap
  14. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    The seals make them splash and dust resistant, not fully weather sealed. They're only tested to IPX1 which is hardly anything. If the seals have dust on them, are a bit old, or have shrunk due to temperature, they will be compromised. Striking pooled water and going under also implies pressure which is more than just drops or light streams, this is likely to defeat light seals.
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  15. 50orsohours

    50orsohours Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 13, 2013
    Portland Oregon
    When the em1 and the 12-40 first came out, ming thein ran hot water on the camera for 30 minutes in his shower. I wash my combo in the sink when I come back from a dusty outing or snow. No issues.
  16. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2012
    David Dornblaser
    I think that those tests are not as tough as dropping a camera, fully immersed, in a stream. I have shot a fair amount of fly fishing pictures and videos and I will dunk a camera at some point. I have been looking into the protections that some of the Amex cards, Chase CSR, etc. (cards that I have) offer when purchasing kit moving forward.
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2016