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  1. #1

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    Weather-sealing in film cameras?

    Is weather-sealing really important in a film camera? I can understand why it's important to digital SLRs with their electronic circuits and sensor, but is it as useful on an analog camera?

    Anyone brought their non weather-sealed film SLRs out in light rain before and survived? And how much "abuse" from bad weather can a weather-sealed film SLR like the EOS 3 take before it stops working?

  2. #2
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    One of my Nikon Fs took an hour bath in dirty water. After three days of drying out it worked O.K. It's better to keep water off of the camera than relying on weather sealing. One way of doing this is to cover the camera in a plastic bag with only a lens hood sticking out. If the bag is big enough, you can shoot with your head in the bag. This still doesn't protect from high humidity..

  3. #3
    phaedrus's Avatar
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    Nikon F3: soaking wet, then the rain froze on the camera. Wiped it down when it thawed, none the worse for wear.
    OTOH, I've subjected DSLRs to light rain with no ill effect, the better models often are sealed. Keep the lens pointed down till it's time to shoot.

  4. #4
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    I've been out with my Canon New F-1 in the rain occasionally with no ill effects. If the camera has a meter, dedicated flash, or auto exposure there will be some electronics in there. Even an all mechanical camera benefits from weather sealing.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

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    I figure it cuts both ways.

    I wouldn't want to expose my camera to rain etc.

    And, anyway, the light would be so crummy that the photograph wouldn't be very good.

    Now, if I were a PJ and hired to shoot a monsoon I might think otherwise - so long as the boss is buying the replacement gear!

  6. #6

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    To me it really depends on whose camera it is: the company equipment or my personal equipment. I don't think it is really a difference between film and digital equipment... either one of them can be drown in a good downpour, and might even live once again after being dried out.

    But to really answer your question with some of my experience - a regular camera will ultimately suffer and become unreliable with adverse weather/dust exposure. I once photographed a lot in underground metal mines using Nikkormat cameras. The mines are very wet, humid, and dusty. The cameras needed complete overhauls after every (approx) 160 hours of underground service. In coal mines I used Nikonos cameras - they never needed servicing but that was mostly because we couldn't open them (even to change film) underground. After dragging them through a shift in the coal mine we'd just hose them off, blow the water off with canned air and then change the film.

  7. #7
    Philippe-Georges's Avatar
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    Why do you think Pentax sealed the LX?

    Good luck in the rain ,
    Philippe
    "...If you can not stand the rustle of the leafs, then do not go in to the woods..."
    (freely translated quote by Guido Gezelle)

    PS: English is only my third language, please do forgive me my sloppy grammar...

  8. #8
    David H. Bebbington's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by film_guy View Post
    Is weather-sealing really important in a film camera? I can understand why it's important to digital SLRs with their electronic circuits and sensor, but is it as useful on an analog camera?

    Anyone brought their non weather-sealed film SLRs out in light rain before and survived? And how much "abuse" from bad weather can a weather-sealed film SLR like the EOS 3 take before it stops working?
    If I had to photograph in rain, I trust my Nikon F3 more than any other camera. Conversely, I would be 100% certain that any view camera lens would not be water- (or even damp-)proof. I was once caught in a heavy shower with a Pentax Z20 in a case - I mistakenly thought it would be OK, on examination there was quite a lot of water in the film chamber and indeed inside the film cassette (which was dumped). The camera motor and exposure meter did dry out (as soon as I got back to the car, I wrapped the camera in a towel, shook it to remove as much water as possible and turned the car heater up full for the 50-mile drive home), but the autofocus never recovered. On the other hand, I did leave the same camera (which then was the one I carried at all times) in a light bag lying on the ground while I opened the garage door. I forgot it and drove over it with a light car (Opel Corsa). It sustained a crack in the LCD window, otherwise worked fine. Motto - you can sometimes get away with being stupid, but don't count on it.

  9. #9

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    So is Canon or Nikon's official spec sheet on their pro cameras being weather-sealed is nothing but false advertising? By weather-sealed I don't mean that their pro cameras can be used underwater, but they should be able to at least survive a light shower in Spring time.

  10. #10
    David H. Bebbington's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by film_guy View Post
    So is Canon or Nikon's official spec sheet on their pro cameras being weather-sealed is nothing but false advertising? By weather-sealed I don't mean that their pro cameras can be used underwater, but they should be able to at least survive a light shower in Spring time.
    No, this is what I meant about trusting my Nikon F3. If Nikon and Canon pro cameras weren't moisture-proof, the makers would have gone out of business years ago. The Pentax Z20 I mentioned was a mid-range camera, not intended for pro use. View cameras are in themselves not very affected by weather, but all the open slots around the edge of view camera shutters offer no resistance to moisture at all. And of course opening a darkslide in damp conditions and exposing film to dampness is a definite no-no.

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