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03-24-2018, 02:10 PM   #1
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SMC Pentax M 50mm f/1.4 in weather?

I have a pristine copy of the SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.4 that I use with my K-3 fairly often. I'm wondering how vulnerable it is to weather, not so much because of any risk to the lens but because of concern about the camera at the mount. I wouldn't intentionally take it out in the rain but sudden showers are not unheard of here and I got caught in one on a stroll around the neighborhood a few weeks back. No harm done in that incident but it got me thinking. Any thoughts about the potential for leaking at the mount, other than try not to find out? Is there a way to better seal the connection on the lens?

03-24-2018, 02:27 PM   #2
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If you haven't done so already, I recommend you read the following thread:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/6-pentax-dslr-discussion/351252-about-th...-practice.html

You can see from this thread that even with a WR lens fitted, you have to take reasonable precautions, and the chances of water ingress are considerably greater for a non-WR lens. If you get caught out in a shower, keep your camera and lens under your coat, or in a waterproof bag. If it does get wet, wipe away standing water immediately - but the best advice is to avoid that happening altogether
03-24-2018, 02:44 PM - 1 Like   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
If you haven't done so already, I recommend you read the following thread:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/6-pentax-dslr-discussion/351252-about-th...-practice.html

In short, don't let the camera and lens get wet when you have a non-WR lens fitted. The chances of water ingress are considerably greater than with a WR or AW lens. If you get caught out in a shower, keep your camera and lens under your coat, or in a waterproof bag. If it does get wet, wipe away standing water immediately - but the best advice is to avoid that happening altogether
Thanks, appreciate it. I'd not read the thread, although I'm familiar with the gist. The incident a few weeks back was a sunny day with me wearing a t-shirt and cargo shorts, just out for a stroll; coat weather here is fairly rare even in winter, during the daytime anyway. I'll start carrying a big baggie. Thanks again.
03-24-2018, 02:56 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Weldon Berger Quote
Thanks, appreciate it. I'd not read the thread, although I'm familiar with the gist. The incident a few weeks back was a sunny day with me wearing a t-shirt and cargo shorts, just out for a stroll; coat weather here is fairly rare even in winter, during the daytime anyway. I'll start carrying a big baggie. Thanks again.
You're welcome

Yes, some sort of protective bag or cover is a good thing to carry... also an absorbent microfiber cloth if you can, to mop up any standing water (which, in my view, is where the real risk lies). Even with a WR or AW lens fitted, it's good practice

03-24-2018, 03:21 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
Yes, some sort of protective bag or cover is a good thing to carry... also an absorbent microfiber cloth if you can, to mop up any standing water (which, in my view, is where the real risk lies). Even with a WR or AW lens fitted, it's good practice
Yeah, I always have my little cleaning kit with me, including ROR, a brush, and a few microfiber cloths. My most-used walkaround lens is the DA 18-135 WR, which has held up through a lot of weather over the years. I have three WR lenses and only one of them is a fast prime, the D FA 100mm WR macro, and that's not really a good walk-around lens. I guess I'll just use the 50mm on the non-electronic SLR camera if it looks like rain. Thanks again, Mike.
03-25-2018, 03:07 AM   #6
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Hi Weldon, cargo shorts have many pockets IIRC, maybe a plastic bag in one of them from now on.................................

Last edited by pjv; 03-25-2018 at 03:34 AM. Reason: typo
03-25-2018, 06:14 AM - 1 Like   #7
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I don't have this lens, but when I photograph in rain I don't worry that much about the body when using a lens with no weather sealing. I usually put a cloth over the lens to mostly prevent whole drops from getting through, and wring out the cloth when it gets too wet. So far this has worked. Of course when not using the camera I keep it out of the rain. Usually when rain gets very heavy I stop photographing, not entirely because of equipment though.

I use a cloth vs. plastic because once the cloth gets wet it sort of sticks to the lens. If you have a way of attaching plastic to the camera that could be good too. I do have the inexpensive ($5US?) plastic rain guards with an opening for a lens, but only use them if I'm going to be using the camera a lot - like if I was at an event and wanted to keep in out all the time.

Also you could seal the seam around the lens with gaffer tape if you really wanted to, but a roll of that isn't exactly handy to carry and costs as much as some of my lenses.

Last edited by tibbitts; 03-25-2018 at 06:27 AM.
03-25-2018, 06:21 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by tibbitts Quote
many Pentax weather sealed lenses including some DA* lenses have no seal at all at the lens mount
Is that really the case? Do you happen to know which models? All of the WR and AW lenses I've used have a sealing ring around the outside of the metal mount On some lenses it's obvious because of the ring colour, but the DA* lenses (for example) have a black weather sealing ring. I'm sure that's the case for all of the DA* AW models...

03-25-2018, 06:27 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
Is that really the case? Do you happen to know which models? All of the WR and AW lenses I've used have a sealing ring around the outside of the metal mount
I just checked and in the case of my lenses I was wrong - the o-rings just aren't as plainly visible like on some newer lenses. I will correct my post. Sorry.

The rest applies though. Most of my lenses aren't weather-sealed in any way and I have used them in light rain frequently.
03-25-2018, 06:38 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by tibbitts Quote
I just checked and in the case of my lenses I was wrong - the o-rings just aren't as plainly visible like on some newer lenses. I will correct my post. Sorry.
No apology necessary... you just had me foxed for a moment, though That mount sealing ring is arguably the most important part of the weather resistance formula on any WR or AW lens, given that this is where the camera and lens' electronic contacts are exposed. The big risk of using a non-WR / AW lens in rain, however light, is that moisture can seep between the camera and lens mount, even though it's a tight fit.

I've also used my camera with a non-WR lens in what I could best describe as very light drizzle, but I've kept the whole kit covered under my jacket, and only brought it out when I'm ready to take a shot...
03-25-2018, 06:54 AM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
No apology necessary... you just had me foxed for a moment, though That mount sealing ring is arguably the most important part of the weather resistance formula on any WR or AW lens, given that this is where the camera and lens' electronic contacts are exposed. The big risk of using a non-WR / AW lens in rain, however light, is that moisture can seep between the camera and lens mount, even though it's a tight fit.

I've also used my camera with a non-WR lens in what I could best describe as very light drizzle, but I've kept the whole kit covered under my jacket, and only brought it out when I'm ready to take a shot...
Yes, I have only used mine in fairly light rain, but I've photographed in light rain fairly frequently. And the camera/lens sits exposed on the tripod for a bit while I get the composition the way I want, and then sometimes it's fairly dark out (accompanies rain often) so the exposures are long. Those pads on the tripod legs act like sponges in the rain of course which can be a little annoying.

The gaffer tape might not be a bad idea if there were little rolls of it - making your own little rolls is difficult. I use it to hold the lens release buttons on my camera bodies and so far they haven't fallen off (and it's sealed them too, I imagine.)
03-25-2018, 08:23 AM - 1 Like   #12
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So this thread got me curious and I just tried spraying water into the lens/body joint with a non-WR lens mounted (and the battery removed of course.) I let the water stand for a while, squirted more, repeated... then wiped off the excess on the outside and removed the lens. So far there appears to have been no water penetration. Maybe someone else can test with other body/lens combinations, but at least so far the joint seems fairly resistant to leakage. I'm sure it's not a perfect seal but I did get it wet enough that water was dripping fairly steadily off the bottom of the body, more than in most rain I've experienced. I emphasized the sides and top vs. the bottom of the mount area since having the body upside-down seemed less likely.

I won't try spraying water directly onto the lens, since the aperture and focus rings aren't sealed, and I don't have a way to test if water penetrates unless so much gets through that it becomes obvious. But I believe every lens would be different in that regard. The body/lens joint is really more sensitive I think because it's more difficult to cover with the cloth I use, and rain from the rest of the body drips down to it. The rings on the lens are easier to cover with a damp cloth.
03-27-2018, 02:42 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by pjv Quote
Hi Weldon, cargo shorts have many pockets IIRC, maybe a plastic bag in one of them from now on.................................
I had the cleaning kit, spare battery, couple filters and some other unrelated stuff with me. In my defense here, I was also less than 20 minutes from home on foot on a sunny day with no rain in the forecast; it's not as though I decided to go trekking in a downpour. I was just strolling the neighborhood.
03-27-2018, 02:45 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by tibbitts Quote
So this thread got me curious and I just tried spraying water into the lens/body joint with a non-WR lens mounted (and the battery removed of course.) I let the water stand for a while, squirted more, repeated... then wiped off the excess on the outside and removed the lens. So far there appears to have been no water penetration. Maybe someone else can test with other body/lens combinations, but at least so far the joint seems fairly resistant to leakage. I'm sure it's not a perfect seal but I did get it wet enough that water was dripping fairly steadily off the bottom of the body, more than in most rain I've experienced. I emphasized the sides and top vs. the bottom of the mount area since having the body upside-down seemed less likely.

I won't try spraying water directly onto the lens, since the aperture and focus rings aren't sealed, and I don't have a way to test if water penetrates unless so much gets through that it becomes obvious. But I believe every lens would be different in that regard. The body/lens joint is really more sensitive I think because it's more difficult to cover with the cloth I use, and rain from the rest of the body drips down to it. The rings on the lens are easier to cover with a damp cloth.
I'm glad it got you curious, good information has arisen. Thanks for contributing, I appreciate that.
03-27-2018, 03:28 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Weldon Berger Quote
I'm glad it got you curious, good information has arisen. Thanks for contributing, I appreciate that.
Please just remember that there are no guarantees - even with a WR or AW body and lens combination - and the risks are greater still if the lens isn't WR.

I'm all for people weighing up the risks and benefits and making an informed choice, so long as it doesn't lead to disappointment and dissatisfaction if the worst should happen
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