Musings on weather sealed lenses

tonyturley

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Over the past couple of weeks, I have done a whole lot of reading and research on the matter of weather sealed lenses, and discovered a few things. The available m4/3 sealed lenses are expensive, they are fast (except for the 12-50), and they are big. Just for grins, I did a comparison of the E-M5 with the 14-42 II R and 12-40 Pro. *Huge* difference:

http://camerasize.com/compact/#289.412,289.92,ha,t

I realize the 12-40 Pro is a constant f/2.8, and physics is physics, but wow! I really like the compactness of the E-M5, but even the 12-50 f/3.5-5.6 is much larger than the 14-42 II R. I do have a 14-42 II R that I picked up at a low price for use when I just want a light setup for quick snapshots. I guess it is just not possible to make a weather sealed lens that is small and light. In all my searching for the best hiking lens, I stumbled upon the 4/3 mount 14-54mm ZD v.2. A lot of good sample images and comments on this lens can be found, it is reasonably fast at f/2.8 on the wide end, and can be bought used for about 1/5 the cost of the 12-40 Pro. It is about the same size as the 12-40 Pro, and one is now on its way to my house, along with a MMF-3 adapter. I am eager to see how it handles out in the woods.

Tony
 

Tilman Paulin

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Yes, on the whole it's a bit disappointing that Olympus isn't adding weather sealing to a larger choice of lenses.
They don't have to add any optical image stabilization, so they could add weather sealing instead (just my opinion).

The 14-54mm is a great lens for hiking. (I ended up moving away from primes when hiking - don't want to switch lenses all the time when we want to keep moving :) )
With adapter it's noticeably bigger than the 12-40. But not much heavier and it balances nicely on the E-M1.
 

OzRay

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Weather sealing can add considerably to the cost, when you consider all the extra design, engineering and components that are required to ensure that the lens is fully weather sealed. It's not a trivial task and would add a fair bit to the cost, which would then receive its fair share of criticism.
 

Tilman Paulin

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Weather sealing can add considerably to the cost, when you consider all the extra design, engineering and components that are required to ensure that the lens is fully weather sealed. It's not a trivial task and would add a fair bit to the cost, which would then receive its fair share of criticism.
I don't know... the 12-50mm and the 60mm aren't that expensive.
Adding maybe a tele-zoom (at the 12-50 quality) and a "normal" prime to the weather sealed lineup shouldn't be impossible.

(and of course people will complain. We complain about everything, don't we? :wink: )
 

tonyturley

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Thanks for all the comments. I think the American expression "there is no free lunch" applies here. I found this interesting site: http://www.four-thirds.org/en/special/matching.html

I'm sure it's not new to many of you, but it's cool how a m4/3 camera can be selected, and quite a few 4/3 or m4/3 lenses modeled on the camera. You can even show the adapter. The ZD 14-54 II is a bit large on the camera, but nothing like some of the long zooms, and even with the adapter, it's shorter than the Vivitar 85/1.8 T-mount I carry in my bag; it's just larger in diameter.

Tony
 

tonyturley

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The ZD 14-54 II arrived this afternoon. Even with the adapter, it isn't as large in person as I expected. I don't find the size to be that bad. It's about as long as my Minolta 135/3.5 + adapter, just larger in diameter. I took a few test photos around the house, but the weather is supposed to be lousy this weekend, so no good light for outdoor pics. Looking forward to putting it through its paces.

Tony
 

BeyondTheLines

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Weather sealing can add considerably to the cost, when you consider all the extra design, engineering and components that are required to ensure that the lens is fully weather sealed. It's not a trivial task and would add a fair bit to the cost, which would then receive its fair share of criticism.
Is weather sealing all that complicated? I don't really know but it makes me think of a blog post by LensRentals Roger Cicala where he writes, "When you take lenses apart all day you find out it {weather sealing} usually means 'we put a strip of foam rubber behind the front and rear elements and scotch tape over the access holes under the rubber rings'."
 

OzRay

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Is weather sealing all that complicated? I don't really know but it makes me think of a blog post by LensRentals Roger Cicala where he writes, "When you take lenses apart all day you find out it {weather sealing} usually means 'we put a strip of foam rubber behind the front and rear elements and scotch tape over the access holes under the rubber rings'."
There is weather sealing, and then there is weather sealing, to wit: http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2014/11/cracking-open-the-7d-ii.

The same will apply to lenses, some may only have a foam strip and call it weather sealed, others will have O rings, double lipped seals, much finer machining tolerances between parts that seal etc and call it weather sealed. The latter is what you find in the Olympus 4/3 HG and SHG lenses, they can be dropped in a river, fished out and not have a drop of water entering (this happened to me), or used in torrential rain during a football game where every inch of your clothes and body are saturated (thanks to a rain coat that wasn't), yet the camera and lens are fine.
 

Promit

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I was really hoping they'd do ONE sealed walk around fast prime, something in the 15-25 range. After all, if I'm shooting in the rain it's not likely that I'll have a lot of light either. Unfortunately, it seems that this isn't about to happen.
 

tonyturley

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I really wanted the wx sealed gear more for winter hiking than rainy days, but the E-M5 is so good, it has moved to the front as my go-to camera. I've only done a dozen or so snaps with the ZD 14-54 II, but I anticipate it getting a lot of use.
 

tomO2013

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The EM1 has some of the best weather sealing in the business and Olympus did not skimp on the latest Pro grade lenses 12-40 or 40-150.
http://www.thephoblographer.com/2013/09/28/watch-us-run-the-olympus-omd-em1-under-a-faucet/#.VIJj_DHF_To

If rugged outdoors weather sealing is your thing, short of a d4s and 1dx, then the EM1 may be the adventure camera to beat.
I'd personally love to have more weather sealing, particularly in the more expensive lenses such as the 42.5 Nocticron, 25 Pana-Leica, and the super telephoto natives 75-300 and 100-300.
 

OzRay

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A lot of people forget that weather sealing isn't just for wet weather, it's also for extremely dusty conditions. In fact, it's often reasonably easy to shield your gear from rain etc, but not quite so easy to shield your gear from billowing dust, especially the bulldust that afflicts much of outback Australia. This bulldust tends to get in everywhere, can be very abbrasive and any camera gear that can keep this mongrel out is exceptionally well sealed. I can certainly attest to the previous 4/3 cameras and lenses. I haven't yet tested the E-M1 in such conditions, only the moderate dust of the High Country.
 

jnewell

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The EM1 has some of the best weather sealing in the business and Olympus did not skimp on the latest Pro grade lenses 12-40 or 40-150.
http://www.thephoblographer.com/2013/09/28/watch-us-run-the-olympus-omd-em1-under-a-faucet/#.VIJj_DHF_To

If rugged outdoors weather sealing is your thing, short of a d4s and 1dx, then the EM1 may be the adventure camera to beat.
I'd personally love to have more weather sealing, particularly in the more expensive lenses such as the 42.5 Nocticron, 25 Pana-Leica, and the super telephoto natives 75-300 and 100-300.
From personal experience, the E-M5 and the Panasonic 12-35/2.8 and 35-100/2.8 are in the same category as the E-M1.
 

tonyturley

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I took the EM-5 and ZD 14-54 II out in a steady rain today, without a bag. It wasn't a torrent, but it was still nice to have the comfort of WR (as Pentax calls it).

Tony
 

johnvanatta

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It also makes cleaning a lot easier. I normally wipe my EM-5 with the 12-40 attached using a dripping-wet cloth after it has had a lot of salt spray on a beach. But a few times when I was tired or in a hurry I skipped the cloth and just held it under the sink.
 

jaydubstar

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I live in the Northwest, and I would benefit from having weather sealing. I am the new owner of the 12-40 and to be able to walk the dog in the rain, waiving the camera in the rain is sweet. And, the 12-40 is significantly smaller than the 12-60... Was it worth the price to switch just for size? I don't know, I'm hoping the 12-40 will grow on me for its own merits... But the 12-60 is hard to compete with!
 

GBarrington

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The ZD 14-54 II arrived this afternoon. Even with the adapter, it isn't as large in person as I expected. I don't find the size to be that bad. It's about as long as my Minolta 135/3.5 + adapter, just larger in diameter. I took a few test photos around the house, but the weather is supposed to be lousy this weekend, so no good light for outdoor pics. Looking forward to putting it through its paces.

Tony
I love my 14-54 MK I! It is the reason I bought an E-M10 instead of something else when I decided it was time to retire the E30. I couldn't bear the thought of trying to find a lens that good that was that inexpensive. In truth, I 'm not sure it is even possible to find something that good that cheap.

Yes, it's a little slow on autofocus, but not as slow as some would have you believe. And the manual focus on the E-M10 is about as fast and accurate as manual focus can be.

The 14-54 was almost the only lens I used on my E500 and E30, and it is almost the only lens I use on the E-M10.
 
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