How important is weather sealed camera/lens?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by newcomer15, Aug 14, 2016.

  1. newcomer15

    newcomer15 New to Mu-43

    Apr 18, 2015
    For Alaska, beach, etc.

    Sent from my iPad using Mu-43 mobile app
  2. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    How weather resistant are you? If you're not going to be taking pictures in such conditions then there's very little point. Alaska and beach seem completely different conditions to me - first says rain, snow, cold, second says salt spray and sand. The latter two are a real killers even for weather resistant devices - you have to ensure everything is properly cleaned afterwards.
  3. stratokaster

    stratokaster Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 4, 2011
    Kyiv, Ukraine
    I have personally seen at least 2 supposedly weather-sealed E-M5s with fogged EVFs and rear screens, which suggests they may not actually be THAT sealed.

    If I'm heading out in really adverse conditions, I always use a clear plastic bag and a rubber band to keep my camera safe from harm. But in my experience, even non-sealed bodies and lenses work well in humid places as long as they're not subjected to heavy downpour or something like that.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Actually, the presence of sealing gaskets is very likely to make condensation worse as it makes it harder to equalise internal versus external temperature and humidity. They can't seal it hermetically otherwise thermal expansion becomes a problem. You just have to take some precautions when transitioning between extremes (e.g. cold AC to hot/humid). I've walked around with my camera on my hip in sub-zero fog and light rain before, just don't take them into a super warm room suddenly.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  5. RickinAust

    RickinAust Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 9, 2013
    I'd add to that waterfalls. The spray/mist had me drying the front of the lens after about every 2nd shot. The sealing seemed to work fine - EM5 MK1 + 12 - 40 Pro f2.8
  6. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    It really depends on what you do there. If you stay there for a few weeks rather than take a couple of pictures and move on. If you stay for a long time I would advice to put the camera and lenses inside a sealed bag (a ziplock or better a top roll sack) too when not in use (for salt protection).

    If you shoot in a snow storm, or on the beach with strong wind then sealing is required. I've shot in a sandy wind with a non sealed compact and the zoom still grinds for the sand. I've shot with the E-M10 + P20 and 12-40 under light rain with no issues (drying the camera every few minutes as best as I could) but I would not advice doing it.


    The sealing on most m43 cameras is good, it is not a gimmick, a few people here do use the camera under heavy rain with no problems.
  7. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    I will add to what @wjiang@wjiang stated above. One of the reasons they will fog is because they are sealed and cannot equalize the difference between what conditions inside the camera and outside. A camera and lens are not hermetically sealed and can have dry or moist air inside them, depending on the air quality when a weather sealed lens is attached to a weather sealed body (which is the only time a camera is weather sealed, a lens is sealed when the end cap is attached because the lens is where the gasket is located to make that seal between body and lens, I really wish someone made the cap for the camera body with a seal on it).
  8. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Really only you can answer that question and it comes down to your level comfort with your gear in different environments. There are people who always use camera condoms even with their weather sealed gear and there are those (like myself) who trust the gear can withstand the environment. One of the reasons I switched to Olympus is because they have what I believe is some of the best weather sealing in the camera industry. Personally I think they are just behind Pentax in this area and I have complete faith that my gear can survive the conditions I throw at it.

    Personally I find those camera condoms aka plastic bags to just get in the way while trying to shoot and if moving thru dense brush get caught on everything (also with a high chance of ripping when they do get snagged on something). I also love shooting in rain because it can give a very different feel to photographs and sometimes you get this just magical light that is only possible during storms. I will schedule trips to take wildlife photographs because it is raining.

    Here are two videos I shot with my EM1 and ZD 150mm while out in the rain (both shot on the same day). I rarely shoot video so forgive the bad video and the only reason I even thought to shoot it was because of another thread I had replied to about weather sealing.

    A video of the rain hitting water to show how hard it was raining.
    View attachment 482033
    Rainy Day of Shooting by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    A video of a GBH in the rain (shot shortly after the above video)
    View attachment 482034
    GBH by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    As @stratokaster@stratokaster mentioned about the fog in EM5's, I have seen it in my EM1 several times while out in the rain. It is nothing to worry about and does happen because of the sealing not allowing things to equalize between the air inside camera/lens and outside. The only real problem it causes is trying to see thru it to shoot.

    Edit: Guess you can't link videos from Flickr
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    I will be sad to see my Pentax KS-2's excellent weather sealing go when I sell it, but I won't miss the hassles of a DSLR. It leaves me in a bit of a pickle, because I would like another weather-sealed camera, but nothing on the market ticks all my boxes.

    Right now, it seems like the X-T2 is one of the best options on the market, but the lack of a touchscreen, the very steep price-tag, and the X-Trans CFA are big strikes against it for me. I've also heard very mixed reports about Fuji's weather-sealing.

    To date it seems like Olympus and Panasonic are still the best options on the mirrorless market as far as weather-sealed cameras go, so here's hoping there are some sensor improvements in the next generation. Or that Sony finally decides to include proper weather-sealing alongside an improved sensor on the A7 III...
  10. PacNWMike

    PacNWMike Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 5, 2014
    Salish Sea
    Limiting factor in my experience is keeping rain off of the lens. Salt air isn't a problem as you can just do a quick rinse. Blowing sand/dust is a no go situation
  11. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
  12. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Rain is okay, one of the few times I would bother attaching a hood...
  13. Drdave944

    Drdave944 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Feb 2, 2012
    It seems to be one of those things people obsess about repeatedly here. I suppose it would be mandatory for a serious nature or combat photographer. I have had some equipment that was and some that wasn't. I always try to protect my equipment ,by shoving it under my jacket or putting it under an umbrella. It has rained.I have been in jungles,etc. It just never has made the least difference to me in practice. I do worry about salt spray at the beach more than anything else,but the weather sealing makes no difference in my behavior. No one ,in my opinion should just let equipment hang out in the elements,sealed or not.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  14. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    In my experience, there's a lot to be said for not needing to baby your equipment. Being confident that my Pentax would have no problems shooting in pouring rain is a real relief.

    I take good care of my things, so I find that using unsealed gear in wet conditions just ends up being really stressful. No one wants to ruin $1000 in gear. I end up spending more mental energy fretting about my gear than trying to get the best out of my photos and showcasing the beauty of the weather I'm in...
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2016
    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    I try to avoid having photography get in the way of anything, so that means minimal faffing about with stowing and covering things repeatedly. I'm not that weather resistant, but I'd like to think that when I'm up for going outside, my camera can come along too without getting in the way. When taking tripod shots on a frosty/foggy windy hill it's pretty likely it will get exposed to moisture. I wear jackets whenever possible (umbrellas get in the way of everything), and there's no way I'm opening my jacket when it's cold or precipitating.
  16. Drdave944

    Drdave944 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Feb 2, 2012
    It may be more important for some people than others. Even a few raindrops getting on any camera won't hurt if you just wipe it off.
  17. sethrus

    sethrus Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 19, 2016
    Never hurts. When a lightly sprinkle starts, you'll be glad.

    Sent from my STH100-1 using Tapatalk
  18. astrostl

    astrostl Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Oct 4, 2014
    St. Louis, MO
    Justin Honold
    I enjoy getting asked, "OMG is that thing going to break?!" more than anything when shooting an E-M1 + 12-40 in the pouring rain :D
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  19. Duke Sweden

    Duke Sweden Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 9, 2016
    Duke Sweden
    Right you are. I even read an article on a photography website that said that "weather sealed" cameras are more of a gimmick than actually useful. As you pointed out you've seen fogged screens on "weather sealed" cameras.

    My late wife worked for a bedding manufacturer. The small comforters they sold came packaged in perfectly sized heavy plastic with zippers, perfect for protecting my gear.
  20. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    The fogged screens have nothing to do with problems in the weather sealing, it is pure physics.

    You will have to click thru to watch them because they are on Flickr but here are two videos I shot with my EM1 and ZD 150mm ƒ2.0 in pouring down rain. Shooting in weather like that is why I only buy weather sealed gear.

    View attachment 482519
    GBH by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    View attachment 482520
    Rainy Day of Shooting by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr
    • Agree Agree x 1
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