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01-08-2014, 04:00 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by Heie Quote
This is a red herring. The 'shot for years' wasn't an issue because back then, the cameras and lenses were mechanical and had no electronics that required protecting from water and dust.
I disagree. My PZ1 had AF,, power zoom, and all sorts of electrical and electronic components, and something like 5 processors internally. It was fully electronic, except for the sensor, lenses were electronic also, and note that lenses, and especially coatings, not electronics have more issues with fungus.

Water still could short out the electronics and corrode shutters, etc.

01-08-2014, 11:20 PM - 1 Like   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by BretW Quote
I don't see in what way this is useful.

Pentax has chosen to pursue photographers who wish to push the limits of DSLR equipment. You can argue that was a foolish choice on their part, or not. But I am within that demographic, and I am passing on some information about how I see the fitness of the system I have just invested in.

I think the move by Pentax was smart. People prefer photos that are uncommon, and one thing that creates uncommon shots is cameras that can be effective in conditions that most cameras can't handle. That is why I am here. On arrival I find that they have done some things right, and seem to have missed some opportunities to strengthen their dominance within this niche.

You want to shift responsibility back to me, and suggest I leave my equipment in safe conditions? Ok. But what's the point? I left Canon to gain the capacity to shoot in bad conditions. WR, DA* and the K5 and K3 are designed for that, but breathing lenses are a problem. They are an argument against WR--they are sealed against liquid water, but they inhale water vapor. The solution already has a name: internal zoom and focus.

Should I not have pointed this out? Should I only shoot things in a greenhouse? Should I go back to Canon?

What that I have said are you disagreeing with?

P.S. Greenhouses may have fungus in them, but 1) they have an exit door that you can take your camera through. And 2) the diversity of saprophytic fungi is orders of magnitude lower than any intact lowland tropical forest.
I think the point is that moisture will get into everything, no matter how well sealed. It is what you do after shooting that matters. If your home is conditioned, leaving the equipment open to dry out will get rid of condensed water. If the home is not conditioned, then a conditioned space may be worth thinking about if humidity levels where you live are really high.

The conditions that I shoot in are moderate humidity levels but lots of rain and snow. The house is reasonably dry, no where near dew point. So I wipe down my gear, bring it inside, let it stabilize in temperature and humidity. I don't have water getting in due to the WR, but I do have fog inside the viewfinder and lenses from time to time. So I let it dry out. I don't fuss about it. My gear is almost always wet when I'm shooting. After I'm done, it is dry.
01-09-2014, 03:05 AM   #18
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Hi, I am very new to the forums, and dslr's, but find this thread fascinating!

What I can see is this - if a photo is worth getting, especially in a place as exotic and wonderful as a rainforest, isn't it worth sacrificing a lens in order to get the shot? It seems like people want their equipment to last forever (understandable!) but how long will a lens actually last before spores germinate into something 'triffid-like'??

Forgive me, but my thinking would be that if a lens can last a couple of months at least, that would be worth it if I wanted to get some amazing shots. Maybe its an issue of wanting to photo extreme conditions. There is a price to pay for it??

I never considered that lenses allow air in and out of them. Am I being simplistic in thinking that it doesn't make sense, seeing as how the volume of air in a lens remains the same when lenses move around, so why not just allow air to circulate internally for all lenses? Is this a more technical challenge than it appears? I have much to learn about this matter apparently
01-09-2014, 06:53 AM   #19
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You can certainly sacrifice a lens if you want to, especially if it's cheap-ish.

Most lenses extend and contract when you focus or zoom them. That volume change sucks in the atmosphere and, generally, whatever's in the atmosphere.

01-09-2014, 07:39 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by derekkite Quote
It is what you do after shooting that matters. If your home is conditioned, leaving the equipment open to dry out will get rid of condensed water. If the home is not conditioned, then a conditioned space may be worth thinking about if humidity levels where you live are really high.
That's all well and good when the conditions are under your control. In June I was at the Tiputini research station in Yasuni, Ecuador. It is the biotically most diverse location known on the earth. It is, not surprisingly, extremely rich with photographic opportunities, though it may be destroyed very soon because Ecuador has chosen to allow oil and gas exploration nearby.

The forest has 10 species of monkeys (including the world's smallest) that absolutely refuse to stick to any schedule not set by the sun. There is no hot water, a few hours of electricity are generated at the station every day, but outside those hours and away from that spot, the conditions are set by the amazon. In the week I spent there this year, we did not see a single person from the outside world--no plane flew over, no boat passed on the river. It's that remote.

One quickly gets used to putting on the sweat-soaked socks from the day before, because fresh socks will be sweat-soaked within an hour anyway. When you hang your socks up, they don't dry because the humidity hovers constantly near 100% (when it isn't raining outright). As a wonderful consolation, the sweat on the socks attracts an amazing diversity of butterflies in search of salt. It's charming, and gross, all at the same time.

All electronics are stored in a dehumidified building, because any electronics that are not hermetically sealed would fail within days otherwise, but that solution isn't great for optics since glass has a high specific heat, and therefore takes a long time to warm up. When taken into the forest cold, lenses fog instantly. One can warm the front elements in a few minutes, but internal elements are another matter. And the danger of internal condensation killing a lens is substantial.

I never had internal fogging with my Canon L lenses, despite years of rainforest work, because they didn't breath. On the down side, they weren't sealed against rain so I missed a lot of shots while my fancy glass sat in dry bags.

In June I spent ten minutes watching a pair of tyras (giant, social, climbing weasels) attacking a sloth. I was no more than 20 feet from the branch on which this was happening. My Canon gear was back at the station because I wasn't expecting to see anything special, and the weather was not good. It was a once in a lifetime observation. No pictures. Had I moved to Pentax WR equipment before my trip, I would have had it on me and you would be looking at pictures of an event that, to my knowledge, no one has ever documented before. Of course Pentax puts me in a quandary they may not even be thinking of, even as they are thinking 'we are building equipment perfect for rainforest conditions'. The DA* 300 doesn't breath, but it would have been the wrong lens for the tyras. Too damn close. Too much reach. But the DA* 60-250, which would have been optically ideal, is the same price as the 300, and very likely to end up destroyed by internal condensation and/or fungus, in my semi-expert opinion.

I am not wealthy by first world standards, but I am extremely privileged in terms of what I get to witness. I love documenting it, but I have no choice but to do so in disgusting socks--the conditions in which this these creatures remain are inhospitable to people and technology by nature. Like everyone else at the field station, I complain about the socks with a broad smile on my face. I will not, however, smile about a lost lens or three, especially when the solution is well known and involves a generally more robust and desirable design.

I moved to Pentax to solve the rain problem. When I return to Ecuador, I plan to have my camera out and ready, irrespective of the weather. But I can see that vapor breathing lenses are their own kind of liability. Internal zoom and focus are features. Everybody knows it. That's is why the reviews here have a symbol to alert us when a lens has them (just like WR). Those features come at a cost. What I am saying can be summed up in one sentence that is simply true:

If Pentax wishes to design DSLR equipment that will attract photographers that shoot in conditions that DSLRs from Canon and Nikon can not tolerate, then internal zoom and focus should be high priorities on WR and DA* lenses.

Bret
01-09-2014, 07:56 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by BretW Quote
If Pentax wishes to design DSLR equipment that will attract photographers that shoot in conditions that DSLRs from Canon and Nikon can not tolerate, then internal zoom and focus should be high priorities on WR and DA* lenses.

Bret
Very very true! OTOH, what would that do to the, already elevated, Pentax lens prices?
01-09-2014, 08:11 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by BretW Quote
snip
But the DA* 60-250, which would have been optically ideal, is the same price as the 300, and very likely to end up destroyed by internal condensation and/or fungus, in my semi-expert opinion.
snip
I'm sorry. I cannot help but find you latching onto preconceived fallacies. As someone that has spent some time (albeit not much) in tropical rainforest in the summer, and who has lived on the coast his entire life, I understand humidity. In my experience with Pentax WR, I would have personally been 100% comfortable taking the DA* 60-250 in those conditions.

I trust you know exactly what you are talking about as a biologist. But with regard to Pentax WR, I am sitting here shaking my head at your claims despite numerous testimonials (not just by me) and explanations of how to care for the WR equipment in that type of environment.

Seriously, you are over thinking it. If you could guarantee the turn around time and get my gear back in say 2 weeks tops, I'd let you borrow my personal equipment. That's how much faith I have in them.

QuoteOriginally posted by BretW Quote
If Pentax wishes to design DSLR equipment that will attract photographers that shoot in conditions that DSLRs from Canon and Nikon can not tolerate, then internal zoom and focus should be high priorities on WR and DA* lenses.
I'm sorry, but that is completely unnecessary - Pentax has already achieved this mission as far as I'm concerned. Like I said before - if I had to pick ONE lens that I've banged around the most and still refuses to die already, it would be the DA* 16-50, also with telescoping parts (3 tubes, unlike the DA* 60-250's 2 tubes). As far as real-world use and my experience in a myriad of situations and environments are concerned, Pentax is already exactly where you want them to be. My only improvement would be more lenses (the 135-375ish telezoom and a WR ultra wide angle are what I am extremely interested in...)

I don't mean to be rude, but this really is a whole lot of much ado about nothing.

-Heie

Last edited by Heie; 01-09-2014 at 08:16 AM.
01-09-2014, 08:20 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tarragon Quote
isn't it worth sacrificing a lens in order to get the shot? It seems like people want their equipment to last forever (understandable!) but how long will a lens actually last before spores germinate into something 'triffid-like'??
Well as an anecdote, I purchased a used Magnon Zoom 22 years ago in New Zealand and it went to just about every country i visited since, including tropics, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Chile, Top of Whistler, Colorado, Kakadu australia steel mills in heat and zinc dust, forging factories etc.
It used to walk out of cold hotel rooms into tropical air on countless occasions. I suppose thousands of photos.
This one was destroyed when it dropped 20 ft onto concrete in a steel mill, and i rebuilt the front if with a dead donor lens.
The thing still keeps going, smooth and glass is clean. I used the lenses from the broken front on my viewfinder projects, no sign of fungus or anything.
I still use the lens occassionally on ist ds and K-01.

ps I remember that this was the main lens for water skiing, it was kept in a plastic bag with a UV filter on. It was quite wet many times and I used to worry a bit but no harm was done.


Last edited by wombat2go; 01-09-2014 at 08:28 AM. Reason: ps
01-09-2014, 08:29 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Clavius Quote
Very very true! OTOH, what would that do to the, already elevated, Pentax lens prices?
That's an entirely fair question. Is the value of internal focus and zoom worth the price and design constraint it imposes?
01-09-2014, 08:37 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tarragon Quote
It seems like people want their equipment to last forever (understandable!)
Neh... It needs to last just untill it is sold again to be replaced by the next model.
01-09-2014, 08:41 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by Heie Quote
I'm sorry. I cannot help but find you latching onto preconceived fallacies... ...with regard to Pentax WR, I am sitting here shaking my head at your claims despite numerous testimonials (not just by me) and explanations of how to care for the WR equipment in that type of environment.

Seriously, you are over thinking it.

I don't mean to be rude, but this really is a whole lot of much ado about nothing.

-Heie
You aren't being rude in the slightest. You are talking the time to pass on wisdom and experiance. That is an act of respect, and I value your input at the highest level.

I also hope you turn out to be right. That DA* 60-250 would pack a lot of punch for subjects I encounter.

Bret
01-09-2014, 09:14 AM   #27
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Thank you for not seeing my comments as rude or even unpleasant. Because that wasn't my intention at all despite being a bit on the abrupt side.

I just really don't think you will have an issue. If anything, on the contrary, I think the breathing will help because the issue comes when the temperature change is too drastic. It would help even that out a bit. But my recommendation is store your gear with the lenses unattached from the bodies in the dehumidified room. When you are going outside, put them in your camera bag (also stored in that room), and leave it outside of the conditioned room for a bit so it can acclimatize. The same when you come back (put entire bag in conditioned room, after a few hours, take apart the bodies/lenses). If wet, dry only when you get back - no need to do it in the field, yes to include zooming. Just make sure you zoom all the way out when you let them sit and dry, and make sure you zoom in and out a few times, repeatedly drying the telescoping barrel of straggler drops (coming from the weather sealing between the tubes - perfectly ok). If you allow for very slow temperature changes, you won't notice issues in the field, I think.

FWIW, I also do not EVER use a UV filter lens for protection, as I think they are a scam. The hood, on the other hand, you'll never find me without. Also, the hood on the 60-250 is VERY deep, which I'm found to be just phenomenal during true downpours - it keeps the front element free from drops

Slightly O/T - do you have room for 'hitchhikers' to partake in your expeditions? I'd be MORE than willing to devote some considerable amount of leave time to go with you for a couple of weeks and assist in any way I can (I make a good pack mule ). Of course it would have to wait a year or so (at the very least), and wouldn't be a long expedition (say 2-3 weeks max), but I'd LOVE to tag along

Also, do you need a tripod to carry around with you? I swear by this one when it comes to hiking:

Sirui T-025x Travel Tripod

-Heie
01-09-2014, 10:24 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by Heie Quote
Thank you for not seeing my comments as rude or even unpleasant. Because that wasn't my intention at all despite being a bit on the abrupt side...
No worries, I value candor and directness.

QuoteOriginally posted by Heie Quote
If you allow for very slow temperature changes, you won't notice issues in the field, I think.

FWIW, I also do not EVER use a UV filter lens for protection, as I think they are a scam. The hood, on the other hand, you'll never find me without. Also, the hood on the 60-250 is VERY deep, which I'm found to be just phenomenal during true downpours - it keeps the front element free from drops
I am stunned to hear you say this. Your point about lens hoods makes very good sense. But I'm amazed that having a cheaply-replaced piece of optical glass in front of the organically coated front lens element seems like a mistake to you. I can only imagine that you think it degrades image quality enough to outweigh the danger of scratching the front element, which you must regard as more unlikely than I would think. But I am eager to hear your logic.

For my part, the ability to wipe stuff from the front filter without worrying seems essential. I will wipe my UV filter with a cleanish corner of my shirt, which I would never do with the lens itself. And in tropical forest, I would worry a great deal about fungal spores reaching the front element and getting a foot-hold. Of course UV light is a good purifier, so it is possible that a UV filter increases the likelihood of fungus surviving somewhere within the lens, and that a filter that let UV pass unabated might provide better fungal protection. Thoughts?

QuoteOriginally posted by Heie Quote
Slightly O/T - do you have room for 'hitchhikers' to partake in your expeditions? I'd be MORE than willing to devote some considerable amount of leave time to go with you for a couple of weeks and assist in any way I can (I make a good pack mule ). Of course it would have to wait a year or so (at the very least), and wouldn't be a long expedition (say 2-3 weeks max), but I'd LOVE to tag along
I love the idea, and it might well work. I think I have a lot more to gain from your photographic expertise than using you as a pack mule, though. But in any case, I am addicted to introducing adventurous people to the sloppy magic of tropical ecosystems. And you clearly have the special combo of an active mind, eyes that can see, and a temperament that can laugh off discomfort. The particular photographic problem solving would also appeal to you, I suspect.

My wife and I are proposing a program that will go to Ecuador in winter of 2016. That would be the next opportunity, assuming it is approved.

QuoteOriginally posted by Heie Quote
Also, do you need a tripod to carry around with you? I swear by this one when it comes to hiking:

Sirui T-025x Travel Tripod

-Heie
Yes, you recommended that on my intro thread and it has been on my list to acquire ever since (like every thing else you highlighted). Though truth be told, I'm leaning toward the aluminum version. I confess to an anti-carbon-fibre bias stemming from my experience as a bicycle geek. Is the carbon version substantially better in your view?

Bret
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