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Old Feb 17, 2011, 7:44 PM   #1
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Default I thought of something important!

I have been so focused on finding a good DSLR camera that I might have overlooked an important factor, and if it is an important thing...I have much to reconsider.

How important is weather sealing for a DSLR? I ask becasue one of the big thigs that I want a new camera for is traveling. I do not think I would go walking around in a pouring rain or anything that severe, but I think that I would not let a light drizzle or shower deter me from waling around a place I had traveled to. With my 500SP UZ Olympus, I didnt give it a second thought, but a DSLR is a MUCH more expensive thing. I remember walking abound before in light rains and taking pictures with the 500, and the camera still works fine, even though it certainly got a little wet. Would this have killed a non sealed DSLR? I dont do a lot of ocean pictures, but if I took a DSLR out on a small fishing charter boat (for example) on the ocean would the salt in the air be really bad for a DSLR? or what about standing on a pier and getting a bit of salty ocean water splash on it?

I guess my major concern and insecurity is this: Just how fragile is a non weather sealed DSLR in comparison to a sealed one, and how suseptible to small things are they? This question really has me concerned now. Hopefully I am just making to much out of this but maybe not. Appreciate the help guys!
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Old Feb 17, 2011, 8:09 PM   #2
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For general purpose photography, I wouldn't use weather sealing as a make or break consideration, but as one factor in the mix.
Carrying a camera in the rain, you should keep it covered anyway, and shooting in rain or spray, you don't want to get the lens wet 'cause it messes up the pictures. I would think of weather sealing as a little extra peace of mind.

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Old Feb 17, 2011, 8:54 PM   #3
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Thank you, that is a bit reassuring. The problem is that it seems so few cameras have sealing and none of the sonys that I was looking at do. Weather sealing also seems to add weight and lighter weight was something I was hoping for.
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Old Feb 17, 2011, 9:57 PM   #4
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I have carried my e620 in a light to moderate rain but I did modify my behavior. The camera was under my rain jacket when I wasn't shooting, I ducked under cover to swap lenses, and shot from under cover when that seemed smart.

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Old Feb 18, 2011, 5:29 AM   #5
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As long as you take adequate precautions you should be fine. Short exposures to very light rain isn't a huge problem (make sure it is dry before putting away). I wouldn't use the camera in a downpour or even think about submerging it (even with weather sealing). And if your lenses aren't weather sealed, it doesn't matter if your body is sealed or not.
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Old Feb 18, 2011, 6:29 AM   #6
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As a rule only the top end professional grade bodies and lenses are weather sealed so if you are concerned and have the budget go for it! As already pointed out you can take precautions and still shoot in mild conditions. You can improvise or buy sleeves to protect the camera in more adverse weather but you should be looking at a marine enclosure for shooting in hurricanes or monsoons..
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Old Feb 19, 2011, 8:54 AM   #7
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I travel a lot too and on one hike in Washington, where it was raining (not hard, but more than a drizzle) I saw a number of people with dSLR cameras that had plastic bags of various sorts around most of their cameras, when they weren't in camera bags. So it can be done with thought and preparation.

On the other hand, my camera and several of my lenses are sealed and I didn't take any precautions. I have also taken some pictures in a real downpour with that combination, but I was only outside of the car briefly - I'm not going to go for a long hike in that kind of weather anyway.

The one thing about using a weather sealed camera and lens in the rain - you can't change lenses unless you have a shelter of some sort. On my hike in the rain, my other half was using one sealed camera and the only sealed zoom I have, I was using another sealed camera with a sealed prime lens. It meant that I had to look for photo opportunities that fit my lens, rather than having the ability to capture whatever I wanted. Luckily the rain stopped when we reached our destination (a waterfall) so I could switch lenses to an unsealed wide angle lens. It convinced me that I really, really want another sealed zoom lens, for times like that (which I still haven't quite managed to buy yet, but I will one of these days).

The other reason why I've made a point of buying weather sealed camera and lenses is that I also live near a desert and am often shooting in wind/dusty conditions. It does give peace of mind for shooting in those conditions also. As far as salt spray from shooting along the beach, I worry more about the front element of the lenses than I do a little bit of spray.

When it comes to Pentax cameras, I don't think the weather sealing itself makes that big of a difference when it comes to weight. The K7 and K5, both sealed cameras, are lighter than some of the non-sealed cameras from other manufacturers. Their DA* line of sealed lenses are significantly heavier than their non-DA* line of lenses, but I think that has more to do with their in-lens focusing motor, rather than the weather sealing. And the weather sealed 100mm macro lens is quite light - much lighter than my old Vivitar Series One 105 macro which is built more like a tank (and not sealed - it stayed in my bag on that hike).

Good luck with your decision, I have weather sealing and am very glad that I do. But most things can be managed with some extra thought and precautions.
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