Weather sealing -- How much of a factor does it play for you

Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
edited April 2013 in General Discussions
Ok my fellow photo enthusiasts, I would like to hear your thoughts on your purchasing decisions when buy and gear as it relates to: weather sealing.

I'm curious in what your perspective is as to: 1) how much does this feature add to the cost of a body and lens; 2) how big of a factor does it playing in knowing your are protect and not, and 3) finally how often do you find yourself shooting in condition that require it.

Here is where I stand:

1) No idea of what the actual cost is, but if I had to put a figure on it it would be as follows: for the body: $200-300, lens $50-100.
2) On a scale of 1-10 I would put it @ 10. Given the investment I make in buying a good quality lenses, I want it to be able to handle any condition, thus insuring longevity.
3) Less than 5% in the rain, 10-15% in dusty conditions.

The only lens that I own that is not weather sealed, hence it does not have a gasket on the mount...is my Fish-eye 10.5. All other have it.

If you are wondering why I'm asking this question, here is my dilemma: I'm looking in purchasing the Sigma 35 1.4 in the near future, yet this lens lack weather sealing..."the only lenses that are weather-sealed are in the Sports category." Thus, I'm hesitant in purchasing it should I find myself in a condition where this feature will come in handy.

The floor is now open for a healthy discussion....
Post edited by Golf007sd on
D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
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Comments

  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    When I went out of the shop with the new Sigma, it was snowing as I was walking back to the railway station and taking photos and from the arrival station back to my home. Altogether 3/4 hour in not very dense snow. Until today it's working and I also went through rainy situations with it. When having a prime lens on your D4, are you changing lenses in dusty or humid situations? Or do you prefer a zoom anyway?

    The question should be "which weather are the devices sealed against"? There are pictures of Olympus E1 - E3 swimming with lens attached in a bath tub and of course working afterwards - does anybody wants to try his/her D4 doing that with attached lens?

    Attributes like "weather sealed" or "weather resistant" do always lack the information how much rain they can take. So I see this attribute more like "we thought about it" - but it will not take the same amount of water a Nikonos can do. I do expect lenses and bodies to take a couple of drops but you would not see me shooting in monsoon conditions with no other protection.

    So, I give them only a 5 as pro lenses do have the attribute and others should be handled more cautiously.
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    Nikon is always been very careful NOT to say anything is weather "sealed" but saying "resistant" from whatever I have seen. They really take care in trying not to state anything about waterproofing, sealing or resistant. If you try searching their site, it will take a very long time to find anything if you do. That said, some pro glass (24-70, 70-200, 200mm + primes, not too sure to what extent on other lenses) is made to resist water, dust, etc. and expected to be in inclement weather. The gasket probably helps, but there is more to the weather resting designs than just that. A few of my gaskets don't really "hold tight" to do much more than keep light rain out.

    Cost - You can't separate the single cost of weather resisting with what comes with it - the robust build, design elements, constant aperture, etc. All of that combined seems to be in the range of a 30-50% increase to move to that level. (Take for example the new 18-35 - $750 and the 16-35 - $1,200 for instance.)

    Factor - I suppose I'm more concerned about drops and bangs rather than weather. If I'm going to be in bad rain or dangerously near water that the camera could take a quick dump in, I just use some silicone tape around the lens mount, filter mount, any other spot on the lens that may leak, and put some gaffer tape on the battery door, flash and hotshoe and the side doors along with a garbage bag or ziplock bag. I have dunked a D80 & D300 into rivers for a few seconds and nothing has ever happened. I have washed off my D300 with a hose before (took the battery out) when it got soaked with mud.

    How often - other than a sprinkle - rarely. Wind and dust - all the time.

    I have been in the same boat with the 85mm 1.4 Sigma vs. Nikon. I'm more concerned about banging the Sigma hard. That said, I would like to see the Sigma and Nikon go under a faucet for a couple of minutes.

    When it comes down to it, I probably look at my "use" for how concerned I am about it.
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,089Moderator
    Apparently my D7000 has protection but it is always my intention never to test it. The other day a dramatic sky turned into horizontal fine rain in a moment and my body was off the tripod and into the bag the following moment!

    I value it more as dust protection but again I try not to test it. If my camera were at the beach it would be in a plastic bag with just the end of the lens sticking out.

    My view on the cost of it is; if I am buying (in my opinion) an expensive camera body (D400/800/4) it needs to have weather protection. If 1 is unimportant and 10 is important, I would rate it towards 10 and not something that is negotiable as to have or not have (on expensive bodies).

    One more thing - never had it on my D5000 or D90 but at that price break that's OK. D7K having it is a very nice bonus.
    Always learning.
  • GodlessGodless Posts: 113Member
    Ok my fellow photo enthusiasts, I would like to hear your thoughts on your purchasing decisions when buy and gear as it relates to: weather sealing.
    I simply will not buy anything that is not weather sealed. It always seems to rain in here.

  • JohnJohn Posts: 134Member
    I try to take good care of my equipment and protect it from the element.
    If it's raining or snowing I try to make sure that the camera stays dry. When I'm in the desert or in dusty conditions I try to avoid changing lenses and all my equipment goes into a closed "all weather" bag when not in use.
    That being said the weather sealing does give me some extra piece of mind as rain and snow do occasionally hit the camera.

    Is weather sealing something I absolutely can't live without? No, it's not. If I see a lens that I need/want and it's not weather sealed then I will still buy it. (Although I might be a bit more careful where I use it. I might leave it at home in very damp conditions for example.)
    Is it a nice bonus to the pro-lenses that I tend to buy? Definitely!
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    I simply will not buy anything that is not weather sealed. It always seems to rain in here.
    There might be a different idea of "weather sealing" between manufacturer and customer - and how would you prove the amount of rain the gear should have taken but was not capable to cope with? My point is, I can't rate a "weather sealing" on my priority list, if there are simply no conditions mentioned by Nikon. And Sigma might be even more careful with not calling the lens in a way somebody could conclude one can dive with. I'm exaggerating , but like TTJ pointed out, Nikon is careful, too, not to promise things leading to misunderstandings.

    In electrical installations in Europe we have different grades how much water a switch can take and from which direction with which pressure it has to be taken by the switch before it's getting inside. Such a standard simply doesn't exist for cameras. so, best is being careful, using protection (even an umbrella helps) and not rely too much on attributes like weather resistant.

    We also should not forget, sealings get older - in diving cases they need to be replaced regularly to stay tight.



  • GodlessGodless Posts: 113Member
    I simply will not buy anything that is not weather sealed. It always seems to rain in here.
    There might be a different idea of "weather sealing" between manufacturer and customer -
    So far, Nikon and especially Olympus have not failed my expectations. And I do get wet and so does my gear.

  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    edited April 2013
    Caught in rain the other day with my D4 and Sigma 35mm f/1.4 which specifically states is not weather sealed or resistant. I did not worry, but at the same time I did what I usually do...try to keep it out of direct rain contact. And, if the rain becomes a downpour, I usually have a plastic raincoat.

    I think all the Zeiss lenses are not sealed, and I do not understand the actual difference in construction and why some are and some are not. The "feel" of the Zeiss and Sigma lenses when manual focusing is more to my liking than the Nikkor's.

    It is not a really important consideration when purchasing a lens.
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 2,093Member
    Weather sealing wasn't much of an issue for me, I don't really shoot in the rain. But I did take the D40 into some snow and light rain and it was fine.

    The D7000 should shrug off the same abuse with ease.
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
  • SymphoticSymphotic Posts: 641Member
    edited April 2013
    I had to send a lens back to Nikon for repair of the weather sealing a few weeks back. Since I manufacture underwater cameras, I took an interest in what exactly the weather sealing on the lens was. The material cost is about 50 cents. The labor to install is negligible. The likelihood of the seal failing during the warranty period is high enough that is should incur about a $5.00 warranty reserve for each lens, so I would say the total cost to the manufacturer of the weather seal is less the $10.00 with most of the cost being the warranty reserve, that Nikon may not book as a cost but as an expense down the line.

    Having said that, a cheap alternative to weather sealing is to wrap a rubber band around the connection a couple of times after you attach the lens. This will seal as well as the Nikon seal on those lenses that don't have the seal.

    Since I shoot at sea, salt spray is an issue, so I like the weather seal, but no so much I wouldn't buy a lens without it if I wanted it, I have other ways of keeping things dry, such as the rubber band and plastic bags.
    Post edited by Symphotic on
    Jack Roberts
    "Discovery consists in seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what nobody else has thought"--Albert Szent-Gyorgy
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    The plastic bag of spraynpray appears to be an excellent idea. Easy to carry, can be attached with the hood which is obligatory. Thanks, good idea :)
  • adsads Posts: 93Member
    Neither my current body (D5100) or main lens (Sigma 50-500 OS) are weather sealed. Both have handled heavy summer dust in central Africa, temps down to -40c, and light rain. Even budget Nikon bodies can handle some pretty bad conditions. If rain gets heavier I just use a camping dry bag with a hole in the bottom for the lens hood, and I'd do that if I had fully weather sealed gear anyway (from experience with other gear, if it doesn't say waterproof, its splashproof :-)).

    So from my (admittedly limited) experience I think sensible management of your equipment is 95% of the battle in poor conditions. You can have as many gaskets you want, but if you change lenses in the field in Africa you're still gonna get a camera full of dust :-)

    Having said that the bodies I'm looking at upgrading to all have weatherproofing, but that's not the reason I'm looking at them.

    BTW thanks for the rubber band tip @Symphotic, they are definitely being added to the kit for the next Africa trip. I'm guessing those rubber wrist bands people wear for various causes would work well too.
  • SymphoticSymphotic Posts: 641Member
    Ads: I should mention that the rubber band only works with G lenses (no aperture ring)
    Jack Roberts
    "Discovery consists in seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what nobody else has thought"--Albert Szent-Gyorgy
  • flight3flight3 Posts: 379Member
    @Symphonic Are you saying that you shouldn't use the rubber band on D lenses because you wouldn't have access to the aperture ring or will it not work as well/at all with a D lens?
    Nikon D3100, 18-55mm VR, 50mm 1.8D, Sigma 70-200mm 2.8 OS, Yongnuo YN-560 II Speedlight Flash www.dreshad.com
  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,199Member
    The only problem I ever had was when my wife got mad and threw my Nikon into a sink full of water. Both the camera body and lens were ruined. Fortunately, it was a D3100 with 18-55mm kit lens. But still, there is no excuse for such behavior.

    If the weather is bad, I am not out photographing in it. I think my Nikons can take worse weather than I can! Thus, weather sealing or resistance isn't very important to me. The level put into the D90, D7000, D7100 series has been good enough for me. The weather limitation in my photography is what I can stand, not what the camera can stand. Photography is an enjoyable hobby and standing in rain, snow or cold to take photos isn't enjoyable to me.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,089Moderator
    That is my sentiment for photography and motorcycling although with my bike, I will not go out in less than horizon to horizon blue sky. :\">
    Always learning.
  • SymphoticSymphotic Posts: 641Member
    edited April 2013
    @Symphonic Are you saying that you shouldn't use the rubber band on D lenses because you wouldn't have access to the aperture ring or will it not work as well/at all with a D lens?
    I don't know how well it seals with a D lens, but it doesn't work with a manual aperture ring lens. I don't fuss with it too much: I tried this once on a misty day using a Sigma lens.
    Post edited by Symphotic on
    Jack Roberts
    "Discovery consists in seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what nobody else has thought"--Albert Szent-Gyorgy
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    Weather sealing, be it for dust or water, is not "marketing." The following article is worth your time in reading. How a Lens Becomes Weather Sealed. Moreover, here is a video of what Zeiss does to ensure their lenses can withstand: "stress."
    Thanks for the Zeiss marketing material, Golf ;-) Well, tell me about the "wheather sealing" of Nikon "pro grade" lenses, then. Apart from the rubber on the mount. And tell me how all that air is supposed to escape and sucked in if it was "water proof". Thanks.

    FYI: "Pro grade" is a marketing term. It means the lens has a Gold (nikon) or red (Canon) ring, and a high price.
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 2,093Member
    edited July 2014
    Mind you this is a huge commercial for Joby and LowePro, but this spelunker takes his D7000 and I think a Sigma lens to take cave diving shots.



    It's an interesting video, and also I'm curious what sort of flashes he use.

    I guess if you're not too worried about your gear, a quick way to weatherproof it would possibly be using saran wrap or a clear plastic bag and then using a laminator or heat gun to seal the end of the bag.

    I'm not saying you should put your D810 and a 70-200 in that system, but I guess in a pinch (get it? :D) it could work.

    Golf007sd- that D600 video must have been done right after the oil splatter issue happened. I think the owner did that to get a new camera, not to test the weather proofing of the camera. :D

    The test would have been better if he had an after video to see if there was condensation under the LCD screens.

    He also didn't zoom at all with the 24-85, which would have been far harder for it to keep water out.

    I'm not doubting Nikon's pro build quality, but I don't think it's anywhere close to Olympus's quality. Certain Olympus m4/3 cameras are freeze proof. The D3 video shows freezing, but I don't think the lenses can take that sort of beating.
    Post edited by NSXTypeR on
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
  • tcole1983tcole1983 Posts: 981Member
    Since I don't make money taking pictures it would have to be a pretty spectacular once in a lifetime shot for me to venture somewhere with my camera that would require weather sealing. I have taken my d5000 out in the snow once or twice and slight rain for a short period but never long. I guess I don't want to be out in crappy weather either so like I said unless it is something spectacular then I don't have a reason to have my camera out. Actually I have my cheap S31 for this now. I take it in the field with me at work when I am in or near water or at the beach or pool. No worries about it.
    D5200, D5000, S31, 18-55 VR, 17-55 F2.8, 35 F1.8G, 105 F2.8 VR, 300 F4 AF-S (Previously owned 18-200 VRI, Tokina 12-24 F4 II)
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,089Moderator
    I think of weather sealing as more of a way to keep salt and dust out of my gear because like @tcole1983 I never go out in rain. Snow's fine though so long as it isn't actually snowing and even then I put the gear in a plastic bag before coming back into the warm.

    I do rate it as very important when looking at specs.
    Always learning.
  • cbgcbg Posts: 126Member
    While it is somewhat important to me, it is not critical. I try not to be out with my D7000 when it is really raining, light sprinkles are not much a worry. I took it with the Nikon 16-85 with me on the Maid of the Mist trip at Niagara Falls last year, and while I kept it under the plastic raincoat as much as possible, it did get fairly wet and seemed to have no problems. Of course I wouldn't do that on a regular basis.
  • FritzFritz Posts: 140Member
    I would think that the bayonet mount is the major weak point in terms of leakage. The rest of the lens and camera could easily be waterproofed with gaskets and switch covers but it would take a redesign of the lens mount to secure that area. I have a friend who works for a US defense contractor who tells me that waterproofing (no leaks to 48' under water) ads 25% to the cost of their electronic devices. The few times I've been out in heavy rain I've found a plastic rain cover and lots of electrical tape was enough. So I think I would buy a lens based upon the best optical quality I could afford on my budget.
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited July 2014
    Give that the Nikon warrantee, is not be applicable in the case of damage caused by water
    and given the weather in the UK normally involves copious amount of water, it is meaningless piece of marking hype
    Post edited by sevencrossing on
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