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General photography questions and answers: Discuss Is Your Camera Weatherproof?...I came across this from Michael Reichmann on Luminous Landscape... So – what does the extra $4,000+ that the 1Ds ...
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Old 17-02-2006, 18:10   #1 (permalink)
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Is Your Camera Weatherproof?

I came across this from Michael Reichmann on Luminous Landscape...


So – what does the extra $4,000+ that the 1Ds MKII commands provide over the 5D? Obviously, a 16MP sensor, and most noticeably significantly improved weather sealing and ruggedness of construction. It's actually worth a moment's digression though to explore this topic, because during the first few weeks after the 5D's announcement there has been a lot of speculation on this issue.
One online wag went so far as to label the 5D "leaky". Well, that's obviously adolescent posturing. What is the real story on weather sealing?
All I can offer is anecdotal evidence from my 35+ years as a photographer, having worked in conditions ranging from the jungles of Africa, to the Arctic of Canada, and deserts of the American Southwest; from rainstorms, to blizzards, to dust storms, and in temperatures ranging for -40C to +40C. In all that time I have never had a camera fail completely because of dust, moisture, heat or cold.
Well – a Rollei 6008 once stopped working briefly after I'd walked under a waterfall with it, and it needed to be dried out under the hot air of a gas station washroom's hand dryer before it came back to life. I also once had a Leica M3 stop shooting after I worked an Olympic event during a thunderstorm for 2 solid hours. I let it air dry overnight and it was then none the worse for wear. A Nikon F2 literally froze-up while I was shooting a ski race in near blizzard conditions, but was fine once it thawed out. These are the only casualties after thousands of days of shooting all over the world over many decades with a huge range of cameras.
The Canon 5D is a typical prosumer camera in terms of weather sealing and build quality. I would therefore expect that photographers will be able to shoot in conditions where the photographer will give up long before the camera does.
I'm reminded of a situation on one of my recent workshops where we were shooting on an at-first misty and then quite rainy early morning. As the mist and fog turned to rain one of the workshop members went back to the protection of the car, and packed away his camera. I went over and asked if he was OK. His response was that he was fine, but that he was concerned about his camera getting wet. I said if he thought that a bit of rain was endangering his camera, he was mistaken, and I urged him to return to where the rest of the group was working in the rain. He did so reluctantly, and then later in the day when he saw that his camera was still working fine he thanked me, because he said that in the past he'd never gone out shooting when it was even threatening rain for fear of damaging his camera. He said that this new-found realization was worth the price of the workshop.

Full article HERE.

Anyone else think he's being just a tad blase about this? Any experiences of soaking cameras which have survived to tell the tale?
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Old 17-02-2006, 18:17   #2 (permalink)
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Well yes, especially with todays mostly electronic digital cameras it only takes a drop of water in the wrong place at the wrong time to break it beyond repair, but I suppose if you think the picture is worth the risk then you'll take it.
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Old 17-02-2006, 18:30   #3 (permalink)
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He doesn't actually say what camera his student was using, but he seems to be addressing his remarks to all 'prosumer' cameras. By that reckoning the bunch of us who were all protecting our 20Ds and 350Ds with placcy bags on the Chester Zoo trip were all wimps!

Obviously it's a recent article as it concerns the 5D, so he's including electronic cameras. I wonder if anyone has ever sued him.
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Old 17-02-2006, 18:46   #4 (permalink)
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I've used mine in very light rain before and its only a 350D - had no probs, but that was a one off and I wouldnt risk it if it wasnt necessary (also I did keep patting it dry with some cloths just to stop any water seeping through).

I would never over expose the unit to the elements though - temperature wise Im much less cautious but humidity and other moisture I try to be careful about. As mentioned his experience of water damage doesnt seem to mention any full digital units, only film cameras (unless Im mistaken), and electronics and moisture are alot different to mechanics and moisture.

Also if I recall a member on here suffered a failed unit, which showed signs of moisture corrosion, although there were some issues with the service people aswell, think this was either a 10D or 20D.

Also just to add if I had paid £2000+ for a 5D and it got damaged because someone said it would be fine, it would be entirely my own fault for taking his advice, but I would still be thorougly p***** **f (would be more than upset if it was even my 350D) as Im sure any of you lot would.

The main point of the 1D being almost indestructible is that if it does leak it "may" be Canons fault, however if its not weather sealed and leaks its gonna be time to get your credit card.
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Old 17-02-2006, 19:52   #5 (permalink)
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Temperature extremes I am not bothered about in the slightest, sure I take care and use common sense when taking the camera from one extreme to another, allowing time for it to adjust. I would never switch it on after coming from the -16 temps of outside to the warmth of the house without allowing for all the condensation to evaporate and vice versa but the rain I am not overly bothered about. Again I take care and will prevent the camera from getting wet whenever I can, shelter it under a coat etc but it would not stop me from taking a photo that I wanted. I also wipe it regularly to keep any water from settling and being able to seep or work its way into the body.

Last year I attended the Southport Airshow (along with a few other members from this forum) and it absolutely threw it down for the majority of the day. At the time I was using my 10D as was Matt and I believe that Marcel was using his G3 and Stewart was using either his 300D or it may have also been another 10D. All of our equipment got wet to various different degrees but we all sheltered them when we could and wiped the excess rain away often. To my knowledge all the cameras used on that day worked fine throughout and nobody complained that they have failed since.

I guess that using common sense is much better than being afraid or taking someone else’s word for it. If you feel that the elements are too bad to use your camera in then don’t, but you may miss that one great shot or you could miss that one great shot and save yourself from ruining £££ worth of equipment. The problem is that if you don’t risk your camera, you’ll never know if the rain was just too much and would have damaged it in the end. Dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t
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Old 17-02-2006, 22:09   #6 (permalink)
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My attitude is pretty much the same as yours Steve, if I need to use it, I will do, but taking as much care as possible. I just thought it was cavalier advice from someone like Reichmann, and likely to lead to disaster for anyone taking him literally.
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Old 18-02-2006, 11:43   #7 (permalink)
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I was out all day last Sunday at 3 Sisters, the rain was horizontal. I used my 1DMk2, 70-200 f2.8 IS L, other than the lens constantly got wet and ruined a load of shots but both just needed wiping down when i got back to my car. No issues what so ever!

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Old 18-02-2006, 12:18   #8 (permalink)
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That's why you paid all that money for the 1D Carl.
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Old 18-02-2006, 18:55   #9 (permalink)
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I remember shooting at the Woking Half Marathon many years ago. I only remember it was Woking as we were sat almost right outside the McLaren factory.

Anyway I shot for almost 2 hours in torrential rain with my EOS 100. I must have changed 40 or 50 rolls of film and the camera never missed a beat. Still use it today sometimes.

I would be far more wary with some digi cameras though and would be very reluctant to take the Valeo out in a drizzle but have no problems with the 1D in a storm.
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Old 19-02-2006, 12:34   #10 (permalink)
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ive used my d70 in light rain at the beach before, but i must admit i was pretty scared. the waves were huuuuuge tho so i couldnt stop. it still works but i wonder what the limit is?
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