Snow/rain on the lens and weather sealing

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by ForrestPhoto, Mar 12, 2007.

  1. ForrestPhoto

    ForrestPhoto Guest

    I've had a lot of digital cameras out in pretty rough weather, and
    it's never given me any trouble. It seems like now that megapixels
    are starting to level off a bit manufacturers are using more
    ruggedized bodies to differentiate their stuff. I'm curious, what
    kind of weather does it take to destroy a camera? A sand-storm in the

    Now I wouldn't go tempting fate, dive with the camera and no housing,
    or anything like that. But I've stumbled over the leg of my tripod,
    and sent my D60 crashing down into wet grass in the middle of the
    night, and had my 5D out in snow storms, just covered in melting
    snow. Maybe I'm abusive, but some of my best landscapes have been on
    trips with questionable weather ... with some luck and a good vantage
    point, it adds a lot of drama. It also seems like the cameras are
    better at taking this kind of abuse than we tend to think. The worst
    that's ever happened was with an Olympus digital point and shoot, out
    in a blizzard, and the batteries went flat after about three
    exposures. Once they warmed up they could power the camera again.

    In both of these, you can see snow melting on the lens. It was coming
    down too fast to keep the optics clean. So, I'm curious if other
    people have had the same experience, or if I'm just really lucky. And
    if anybody happens to know just where the line is between what you can
    get away with putting a d-SLR through and what not to risk, I'd love
    to hear it.
    ForrestPhoto, Mar 12, 2007
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  2. ForrestPhoto

    C J Campbell Guest

    It depends. The Nikons in general can take a lot of abuse. However,
    they will eventually give up if you get them too wet or too hot or too
    dusty for too long.

    Lenses seem most sensitive to losing AF or VR when dropped; it takes a
    lot to knock a lens out of alignment, but it can be done.

    So, sandstorm in the desert might not be enough to knock it out. I have
    dropped my D70 off tables onto marble floors, dropped it on pavement
    from chest height, and used it outdoors during a category 4 typhoon. It
    has fallen forward on the tripod, smashing the front of the lens on a
    rock. It rolled with me when I fell into a construction trench. I
    carried it around for months on end unprotected in the trunk of my car
    in tropical heat. I took pictures with it on Hurricane Ridge during a
    snowstorm. I have had it hanging out the window of an airplane in the
    middle of winter. It survived. I think what finally killed it was
    something wrong with the CF card holder; I haven't had a chance to take
    it in, yet. My guess is it is probably something minor.

    The D200 you could probably drive tent stakes with.

    Canons are similarly tough. You could probably drop-kick one of the pro
    models through a wall and it would survive.

    Other models may not be so tough. I have had a lot of problems with
    Fuji and Minolta cameras, though I have never owned one of their DSLRs.
    All of them seemed extremely sensitive to moisture and heat. I lost a
    Fuji to condensation -- completely zapped it out.
    C J Campbell, Mar 12, 2007
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  3. ForrestPhoto

    timeOday Guest


    My Canon AE-1 died with just the slightest bit of water 12 years ago,
    since then I'm very careful. I guess those old film cameras just
    weren't built to last like the new digital ones are :/
    timeOday, Mar 12, 2007
  4. I can't speak to where the line is, and it probably depends a lot
    on the camera (amateur/advanced amateur/pro) body, and its history.

    I generally us tenba rain covers on my cameras and lenses in heavy
    rain, but in light rain I have never been concerned with getting
    a little water on my 1D Mark II and L lenses. I have worked in
    temperatures as low as about 5 degrees F with no problems.

    I also dropped the 1D II about a meter onto a rock in Australia,
    fortunately with no ill effects.

    Salt spray seems to be the worst for corroding parts and destroying
    optical coatings. I always use a UV filter on my lenses when working
    around salt spray near the ocean.

    But all the above experiences pale in comparison the beating
    gear takes on safari in Africa. A couple of weeks on dirt roads
    with your lens mounted on top the vehicle, feeling the pounding
    dirt road (when you have a road), or the pounding from driving
    through a forest off road (and I mean no road at all),
    or on the open Serengeti. Add in the dust factor and
    everything takes a beating. And I was lucky on the January
    trip: recent rains kept the dust factor down a little. I was
    constantly concerned with the pounding, but luckily no
    one in our group had permanent damage. We did have a few
    components stop working or sound strange (like the IS
    on a 500 mm lens) for short times.

    Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark), Mar 13, 2007
  5. ForrestPhoto

    C J Campbell Guest

    Well, it was a Canon, so who cares? :) Seriously, some fantastic
    improvements have been made in sealing and ruggedness in the last five
    or six years, even in the film cameras.
    C J Campbell, Mar 13, 2007
  6. ForrestPhoto

    C J Campbell Guest

    Man! That is adding insult to injury!
    C J Campbell, Mar 13, 2007
  7. ForrestPhoto

    C J Campbell Guest

    Salt spray, fine sand, and dust seem to do the most damage, that's for
    sure. I was out taking pictures of blowing sand streams on a beach
    during a typhoon in Aparri, Philippines, and despite all kinds of care
    to keep the camera protected I still got sticky sand all over it. Took
    me hours to gently clean it off.

    But to me, the camera is a tool for taking pictures. While not exactly
    disposable, I would be willing to sacrifice it for a single great shot.
    C J Campbell, Mar 13, 2007
  8. Like having an elephant shit on your camera. I actually had
    this happen to my old Speed Graphic 4x5. It's better
    than sitting on it, I guess.

    Doug McDonald
    Doug McDonald, Mar 13, 2007
  9. Il 13/03/2007 15:40, Doug McDonald dixit:
    This is one of the most amazing stories I ever heard about photography!
    It seems a lost Hemingway's page...

    Please, can you tell us more?

    Cyrus (the /curious/ virus)
    cyrusthevirus, Mar 13, 2007
  10. ForrestPhoto

    Bandicoot Guest

    Bandicoot, Mar 13, 2007
  11. Did you get a picture of the event?

    Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark), Mar 13, 2007
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