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As per your PERSONAL EXPERIENCE...how weatherproof (water, specifically) is the E-M5 + 12-50?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by LowriderS10, Jun 1, 2014.

  1. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    Hello all,

    I'm going on a long weekend trip to Japan and it looks like it's going to be raining the whole time. Boo. However, I don't want that to stop me from enjoying the sights - the plan has included a roughly 15 km (10 mile hike) -, so I'm thinking of ditching my usual travel gear (7.5 FE, 9-18, 45) for a single lens: The 12-50 because of its weathersealing.

    How much rain can this combo put up with? I generally baby my gear and I've yet to get so much as a drop of water on any of my gear, but hey...part of the reason I bought the camera, and 100% of the reason I bought the lens was because of the little rubber O-rings...might as well use it! :D 

    Thanks! :) 

  2. (G)

    (G) Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 5, 2012
    Personal experience with my E-M5: My wife and I spent a week in Denali National Park last summer, staying at a place that does day-long hikes into the tundra. On one of the days it poured the entire time. I decided to be smart and kept my camera under my rain jacket except for the times when I was shooting video and photos -- which was a lot. The camera indeed got wet, yet performed admirably. I was using the kit lens, which is water resistant.

    On the bus ride back to our cabin I decided to take a peek at some of the photos I'd shot. I turned the camera on and the screen turned a funny color, and then half of it vanished. I turned it on and off several more times (a mistake, I know), and gradually the screen completely disappeared. I let it sit overnight in a baggie filled with rice, but the next day there was still no rear screen.

    HOWEVER, the camera still worked fine using the viewfinder for the rest of the trip.

    In spite of the fact that I had no rear screen for half of our trip, I was impressed that the camera performed as well as it did, considering the abuse I dished out.
  3. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    The most difficult conditions I've tried the E-M5/12-50 combo in was a boat ride near Niagara Falls. Me and the camera got complete drenched by the mist, but it worked fine.

    As a general rule of thumb, I would still keep the camera protected when you're not shooting since it is possible for a seal to fail if you're unlucky, but I wouldn't hesitate to take it out and use it when a good shot presents itself.
  4. neofx19

    neofx19 Mu-43 Regular

    May 16, 2012
    I wouldn't worry too much about water getting on the EM5 and the 12-50mm. Personally, I've never had any issues taking pictures with this combo in the rain or even in cold winter months. The only time when you have to really worry about water in a camera is when the camera physically falls in a pool of water. But then again, Olympus cameras (especially there high end ones) can take a shower of water without any issues (for the most part). The camera is phenomenal and built like a tank. If you're absolutely worried you could buy a simple plastic camera rain sleeve (for cheap), or you can even make one your self using a plastic bag (even cheaper).
  5. My biggest concern about using the E-M5 and 12-50mm in the rain is keeping the front lens element clear such that it is still worth taking images with.
  6. napilopez

    napilopez Contributing Editor

    Feb 21, 2012
    NYC Area
    Napier Lopez
    I, on the other hand, do not baby my gear at all. In fact, I tend to go out to shoot in the rain on purpose =P

    The combo handles the rain fine. A lot of my favorite shots are from rainy days, so go out and shoot!

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  7. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    Awesome to hear...thanks, everyone! :D  I'm kind of looking forward to putting the camera/lens to the test! Also, as silly as it sounds, I'm looking forward to doing the trip with just one lens (unless the forecast improves drastically). It will be interesting to see what this combo can do straight out of the box, as it were. :D 
  8. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
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    I would recommend taking a low-light prime with you though...
  9. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    ^^ Very cool...is that your picture?

    Yeah, I'm thinking of taking the O45 with me and storing it in a weatherproof bag so it isn't damaged when it's raining and I could use it when it's not.
  10. zeropoint

    zeropoint Mu-43 Rookie

    Jun 24, 2013
    Nagano, Japan
    Ah, the rainy season... You might get lucky, it's pretty unpredictable. I use that combo all the time but I admit I haven't exposed it to any seriously wet conditions. The worst I've seen is that the viewfinder can get fogged up a bit.
  11. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    Thanks, I can deal with that!

    Yeah, I generally try and get out of Asia for July/Aug, but for early June, I think I'm a little unlucky...but who knows...it might clear up. They're saying 40-50mm (2 inches) of rain for one of my only two full days, so that's a bit of a bummer...but hopefully they're off by a day or two, or I can get away with just dealing with random showers, as opposed to constant rain.
  12. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team Subscribing Member

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    I used my E-M5 (with Panasonic 12-35) in the wet a few weeks ago. It was fairly persistent rain, not heavy, but I was out maybe 3-4 hours in it. The camera got fairly wet; I didn't try to protect it - just pointed the lens down to avoid the front element getting wet. It performed fine and whilst there were no after effects, I did notice the viewfinder window got steamed up behind the eyecup - clearly this at least is not well sealed!
    • Like Like x 1
  13. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA
    I can also testify to the effectiveness of the waterproofing on the EM-5 and 12-35. Last month I was out in a heavy rain for over an hour with this pair and my EM-1 with the 35-100. Both were outside my parka almost all the time. They were completely soaked. No problems then or later.

    The lens hood on the 35-100 kept the front element completely dry. The 12-35 hood was less effective (as the 12-50 hood will also [not] be).

    I had the 12-50 for a while and it was used in light rain/drizzle with no troubles. I would expect it to perform as well as the two Panasonic lenses did in terms of water resistance.

    • Like Like x 1
  14. starcolony

    starcolony New to Mu-43

    Nov 8, 2013
    This winter I took my EM5 and 12-50mm out to document a particularly nasty coastal storm. At times the wind and rain were coming in so strong that I couldn't even see. I had to just turn my back into the deluge, hoping for a break. There were several photogs out with big DSLRs, sporting even bigger Canon L lenses, taking their pics from the safety of a nearby parking garage. As best I could see, I was the only fool out taking pics in the wind and torrential downpour.

    I used a Nikon clear filter to protect the front lens element from damage, and maybe provide an extra layer to help keep water out. It is my understanding that some weatherproof lenses require a filter to complete the weather-proofing package. The filter did protect the glass from damage and did keep water off the front element, but did a poor job of shedding water from itself. I was constantly having to wipe the filter to keep it clear of water drops.

    Despite my modest rain gear, by the time I finished up I was soaked to the skin from head to toe. I headed home to dry off and see how my Oly combo held up. I rinsed the camera/lens off with distilled water to remove any residual salt spray. After dying, I could not detect any ill effects to my gear from this outing.

    Lessons learned:
    -It is really fun and liberating to have a weather sealed camera/lens combo out in the elements. The wind and rain did not dictate my photography locations.

    -I was hoping for some dramatic photos, but the nasty wind and rain made most of my pics look hazy and gray. The pics are great from a documentary perspective, but have little artistic value.

    -I need better rain gear.

    -Having to constantly wipe the clear filter was a pain and drops on the filter ruined several pics. I have since purchased a new filter with nano coatings to shed water. I have not tested the new filter in a real storm, but using a spray bottle of water confirmed the nano coatings do help keep the filter much cleaner.

    I'm someone that usually babies my gear. That said, I am really enjoying the EM5 as a camera I can take with me, anywhere, and not worry too much about its welfare. I have dubbed it my "Field Camera". Sadly Oly hasn't seen the need to weather-proof any of their fine little prime lenses. The 12-50mm is a decent performer, but there are times and places that call for something smaller and faster.

    I compared the lens mount of my Oly 17mm to the 12-50mm. They look identical, and the 17mm is actually snugger on the camera. The 17mm mount should be as weather-proof as the 12-50mm. Put a clear lens filter up front, and a few wraps of gaffers tape (or a bit of bicycle inner-tube) around the body and I'll have a poor man's weather-proof Oly 17mm. I plan on giving this a shot when I get the chance. Yes, I'll lose the ability to manually focus (I don't use that too often anyway), but gain the ability to take the camera/lens combo out in less than ideal environmental conditions. I'll report back after I try this out.

    I say go ahead and purchase the insurance that covers spills and thrills, then go out and enjoy your camera while the rest are left cowering in parking garages. ;-)

    Cheers, TR
    • Like Like x 1
  15. aidanw

    aidanw Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 19, 2012
    Wellington, NZ
    I used my EM5 w 12-50mm in Barcelona last year as it was too wet to be using any primes. I keep it in a camera cloth bag. There were times of using it constant rain. I didn't have a hood.

    After a few days I noticed a rain drop had dried on the inside front element of the 12-50mm. This is near impossible to remove and has left a permanent mark on the inside of the lens. It appears to affect image quality only when a bright pinpoint light is in a generally dark frame.
    • Like Like x 1
  16. barry13

    barry13 Mu-43.com Editor Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California

    Has anyone tried Rain-X or similar on a cheap filter?
    The only concern I can think of is that it sometimes leaves a rainbow smear on glass.
    Should be removable with alcohol.

    The sealed lenses have a small rubber O-ring around the outside of the mount.

    You might be able to get by with some Silicone diver's grease, but keep it away from the sensor.

    If I had to do it, I would put some on the mount and a tiny bit on the filter threads.
    However, I don't think it's a good idea as the tape might leak.

  17. nardoleo

    nardoleo Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 2, 2013
    I used the EM5 with 12-50 last May in London. It was raining when I visited an outdoor antique market.

    No issues there except the viewfinder fogging. Having weathersealing really gave me the piece of mind when travelling.

    Sent from my GT-N7105 using Mu-43 mobile app
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