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12-27-2013, 07:39 PM   #1
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General WR lens question

Since I'm evaluating the 55-300 DA vs. WR, and haven't had a WR lens before, I'm wondering if forum members have found WR to be an important feature in lenses. I don't need to be convinced about bodies, but I've never had an issue with lenses in 40+ years of using them in as much rain/snow/spray as I'd want to be in myself (a moderate amount, but not extreme.) I do either wrap lens barrels in cloth or plastic to prevent drops from pooling and running into joints, or at least give them a quick wipe frequently - but I do that with WR bodies, too, since it just seems dangerous to allow water to pool in obvious potential intrustion locations.

So I'd be interesting to hear of experiences with damage that a WR lens might have prevented.

I did drop a (uncapped/unmounted) 28-55FD into a stream one time, and it took me a few seconds to retrieve it. It had gotten a little water inside, enough that - though it worked fine after drying - there was always a haze on the interior elements. Given that it was uncapped at the rear, I'm pretty sure WR wouldn't have helped there, but I'd be interested to know if others have had experiences where they at least believe WR helped.

12-27-2013, 08:16 PM   #2
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Same experience here (minor splashes/rain on non-WR lenses, wiped and functioned well ever since) but also interested to know what is the major difference that WR lens make. Thanks for posting.
12-27-2013, 08:38 PM   #3
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No mishaps, but it does give some peace of mind.
12-27-2013, 09:03 PM   #4
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I'd guess it's the seal at the mount, which helps keep the electronic contacts, mirror box and sensor from harm. I don't know though, I'm new to WR as well, but the gasket on my 18-135 still impresses me every time I remove it.

12-27-2013, 10:30 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kharan Quote
I'd guess it's the seal at the mount, which helps keep the electronic contacts, mirror box and sensor from harm. I don't know though, I'm new to WR as well, but the gasket on my 18-135 still impresses me every time I remove it.
This. I've always been too nervous to really test my gear either before I got a WR lens or after, but it seems to me that using a WR body with a non WR lens is like having a big wall around your castle… and leaving the front gate unlocked (an oversimplification, I know).
12-27-2013, 11:40 PM   #6
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I never worry much when I am using non WR lenses in the wet. I just wipe them down frequently. When I went under a 100 m high water fall, I was a lot more comfortable with my K10D when it had the DA* 16-50 on it rather than the DA 12-24. But if I needed wider than 16, I used the 12-24. And wiped it down.
12-28-2013, 12:05 AM   #7
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I have always just wiped my non WR gear down, or covered it up. You just have to use it within reason.

The K100d I have kicking around has been blasted by ocean spray (not the juice), covered in sand, rain, snow, frozen, and basically everything. Never an issue, ever. That's how the wife treats it, never me!
12-28-2013, 08:15 AM   #8
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I've taken my AW gear to baths with my toddler, swimming, and never had a problem. My son thinks the camera is something that should be splashed, so usually the camera and I get pretty wet when we are taking pictures of bath/swimtime. I don't think I'd do that with a non-AW or non-WR lens. I don't actually have a WR lens, but I'm sure I'd use it the same way if I had one.

12-28-2013, 08:17 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by calculator01 Quote
I have always just wiped my non WR gear down, or covered it up. You just have to use it within reason.

The K100d I have kicking around has been blasted by ocean spray (not the juice), covered in sand, rain, snow, frozen, and basically everything. Never an issue, ever. That's how the wife treats it, never me!
I used my K100d in weather pretty frequently, and once got water bubbles under the top lcd after an hour or so of pretty frequent use in moderate rain. It kept working, however, and a few minutes of blowing with a hair dryer seemed to get rid of the bubbles. That's one reason I have to be less convinced about the body - there are just so many potential openings and so many electronics inside. It seems like with a lens, particularly a screw-drive where there are minimal electronics inside the lens itself, the o-ring between the body and lens might be the biggest advantage of WR, although I've never known of water getting inside my camera. Perhaps the normal metal/metal (or plastic) seal of the lens mount might be tight enough (since that seal is hopefully relatively light-tight) that moisture wouldn't readily enter there. It's possible to have issues when changing lenses, of course, but they wouldn't be affected by WR.
12-28-2013, 03:23 PM   #10
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My old K-x and current Sigma 18-200mm both got pretty wet while at Tracy Arm, AK. The lens fogged up making pictures useless until it dried. A passenger lent me their zoom (can't remember what model - shortest end registered at 135mm and I was past 230mm ). The LCD on the camera was wet for a few days but dried out nicely, as did the lens - current humidity in my area is < 10% today.
I was in the rain/drizzle for a while, and caught the rare 645D in the wild using the 18-200mm though.

Can anyone tell from the EXIF info what lens I used - looks like a Sigma (bigma?)
I'm guessing Sigma 120-400mm f/4.5-5.6
Attached Images
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K-x  Photo 
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K-x  Photo 

Last edited by formercanuck; 12-28-2013 at 03:37 PM.
12-29-2013, 10:28 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by tibbitts Quote
So I'd be interesting to hear of experiences with damage that a WR lens might have prevented.
I don't have any stories of "damage that a WR lens might have prevented," however here's my experience with Pentax weather sealing. Due for an update, but you get the point

Click here.

Hope this helps.

-Heie
12-30-2013, 09:55 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Heie Quote
I don't have any stories of "damage that a WR lens might have prevented," however here's my experience with Pentax weather sealing. Due for an update, but you get the point

Click here.

Hope this helps.

-Heie
I don't have anywhere the hard knocks you've put your cameras through, but I have used Pentax since 1961, and they stand up to me quite well -- and my middle initial is "K" for Klutz. My waterfall beats yours, though. Moul Falls in British Columbia is 100 m and I went under with my K10d and DA* 16-50. No problems except for keeping the lens front clear of water and the viewfinder needed wiping out frequently so I could see where I was pointing the thing.
12-30-2013, 10:35 AM   #13
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I've been shooting with Pentax for a long time now and before the digital era Pentax gear was not WR, so i was using plastic bags when it was raining. Now i don't use bags when it's raining or snowing even under a heavy rain, that's a joy and easier way to shoot. But it's not a necessity.
BTW last summer i dropped my Canon 7D and 400mm/5.6 L in a pond and my 7D detached from my 400mm and fall back a second time in the pond but this time fully opened to the water, the water was dripping like a small waterfall from the lens mount hole
After drying them in rice for 1 week they are still working now.
12-30-2013, 11:18 AM   #14
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Peace of mind is what makes it for me. I won't buy anything that isn't WR until I have finished my road map. I purchased a DSLR to document the landscape restoration work I am getting into. Being outside in the rain documenting water harvesting with dirty hands from working with the elements demands weather sealing. That is why I chose Pentax.

That said, my 18-55 WR does not inspire confidence. I may have a bad copy (it is sharp enough stopped down) when it comes to build quality though. When we replaced my K7 with the K3 for Christmas, we purchased the 18-135 kit so that my family back in the States could keep the K7 running. The difference in build quality on the 18-135 versus the 18-55 is unspeakable. It doesn't wobble at all, even fully zoomed to 135mm. My 18-55 doesn't feel that well put together. I would trust the 18-135 any day in the rain (keeping the barrel wiped for precaution when zooming, not sure if it is necessary) over the 18-55. However, I still wouldn't shy away from heading outdoors in the rain with the 18-55.

Now, the DA* 50-135? Total trust. Internal focusing (IF) combined with the stated higher standard for WR... Makes me want the DA* 16-50 to replace my 18-55 WR. The new 20-40 WR Ltd looks great, but it isn't IF.

Last edited by Finchj; 12-30-2013 at 11:20 AM. Reason: I can't proof read even with preview.
12-30-2013, 12:31 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Finchj Quote
That said, my 18-55 WR does not inspire confidence. I may have a bad copy (it is sharp enough stopped down) when it comes to build quality though.
. . .
However, I still wouldn't shy away from heading outdoors in the rain with the 18-55.
Was hiking in the Telluride, CO area this summer. Retreating from a storm from 13K feet was epic, and I decided to give my Pentax K-5/DA 18-55 WR a reality test to see if I could actually trust it in real situations that I could expect to encounter. So I left the camera exposed on the standard neck strap all the way down rather than stuffing it in a plastic bag in my pack. Hail was certainly not a problem, but the heavy rain lower down, for a solid 2 hours, during which I took some pictures, certainly tested the WR capability. Getting back to shelter, I toweled off the camera and lens, noting no water intrusion at all. The camera and lens kept functioning perfectly then and later.

Note that I did have my FA 20-35 and FA 77 safely in plastic bags once the storm broke. The 18-55 was my bad weather backup, and it performed that function well.

For me, Pentax WR does inspire confidence. Even on my "lowly" plastic (but wobble-free) DA 18-55 WR.
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