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06-14-2011, 02:21 AM - 9 Likes   #1
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Putting the K-5 through the elements (lots of pics)

Hi all, I purchased a K-5 recently, primarily for its resistance to the elements. Now that I've taken it out in some harsh environments, I thought I'd share my experiences. (Sorry if this is in the wrong place.)

This includes heavy rain, waterfall misting, semi-heat (high 90s), semi-cold (mid 20s), sand, dust, and even paintballs. The K-5 is always exposed, hanging from a sport strap on my hip and I don't use any special protective gear for it (it doesn't hide away in a bag until I'm ready to shoot, I like it ready at all times). All these shots were taken with the DA* 50-135 (the only WR lens I have until I get the 16-50 next month).

The first "test" I gave the K-5 was near a 40+ ft. waterfall. I didn't have the guts to take it in, but it got plenty of spray by taking it pretty close (maybe 10-15 ft). My sister actually took this one of me running into the waterfall for a bit (very cold since it's ice melt, haha).



Next, I hiked Hidden Canyon at Zion National Park in Utah, in the rain. It started as a light drizzle (at the bottom) and got pretty heavy as I got closer to the top (and very humid). On the way back it really started coming down. Once I got back to the trailhead, I did another, shorter, hike and then headed back to camp. I was drenched from top to bottom, as was the K-5.

I'm not fond of the idea of having to baby my gear when I'm out hiking, so the K-5 was exposed the whole time, with no covering (though in this kind of rain I'd usually keep it covered with something, I just wanted to really test it out). This was a solid 5 hours in the rain. When I changed cards I used a cloth to pat dry the K-5 and provide cover over the card slot. The K-5 got so wet and it felt so humid out that I figured it would develop a problem later on (it didn't).

Sure enough, 100 ft from the trailhead the shutter button got stuck half way down (where you'd AF). Fortunately I use back button AF only so it didn't affect my shooting at all. I stopped for a few seconds, puckered my lips around the shutter and sucked the water out (which pulled the shutter all the way out). I did that a few times and patted it dry around the area and it was back to normal the rest of the day!

By the way, if any of these images look grainy, it's because of the rain.















There was quite a bit of sand everywhere that did a great job of sticking to my hands whenever I touched the chains going along the edges or scrambled over rocks/ledges. That, of course, made its way onto the camera. It cleaned off pretty easily, but did get into the crevices around the LCD cover and where the rubber (for your hand) meets the plastic of the camera casing. I've managed to clean most of it out but there's still a few little bits stuck in there.

A couple shots (semi-HDR, single exposure) from some random hiking the following day.





Next, I drove down to Vegas and took a couple friends on a popular hike that ends with a nice overlook of Vegas. It was mid 90's, so not crazy hot but decent enough for sweaty hands and, of course, a dusty/sandy and rough environment for the camera. Piece of cake for the K-5 (I took the K-x out in this stuff all the time.)









Next up, I took the K-5 paintballing in Boise, Idaho. (Part of a bachelor party.) Thank goodness I have quick reflexes, otherwise the K-5 would've been hit a lot, haha. I used a blue cloth draped over the lens so they all knew it was me, but they were still shooting at me until I waved the blue cloth around, haha. The camera got hit once and picked up some decent splatter but it all cleaned off with water very easily.

And in case anyone else wants to do this, and you're new to taking these expensive toys like this into harsh environments, keep the lens pointed down. The lens hood does a great job of protecting the lens (I don't use filters for protection).











Lastly, I thought I'd drop in a couple high-ish ISO night shots from my cousin's wedding (6400).





Not high-ISO but one of my favorite photos from that trip.



Jumping from the K-x to the K-5 has been spectacular. Not because the image quality is all that much different, but because the build quality and external controls make it the difference between a toy and a tool. So far the K-5 has easily survived some solid abuse (even my nephews climbing on my camera bag, which the K-5 is stored in vertically with the 50-135 mounted) so far and given me the confidence to take it anywhere, any time. It's worked flawlessly so far!

And if you're wondering, I had several people stop me and ask about the camera being completely rain drenched, haha. One guy: "Oh, it's a Pentax. I didn't know they made DSLRs that could handle rain."


Last edited by jremick; 06-15-2011 at 09:42 AM.
06-14-2011, 02:32 AM   #2
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very cool and thanks for posting this!
I have ordered and wait for my K5, so this kind of experience is really appreciated
06-14-2011, 06:22 AM   #3
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Excellent post, thx for sharing your experience.
06-14-2011, 08:13 AM   #4
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Glad you liked it, thanks!

06-14-2011, 08:50 AM   #5
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Great post, keep us updated. I wonder if any long-term problems will develop? I hope not. Sounds like you're using your equipment as designed, but to the limits. That's great. I say get the most from your gear. Few of us do.
06-14-2011, 08:52 AM   #6
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Wow! Excellent experiences, although I must confess I get a little vertigo just looking at your shots.
06-14-2011, 10:35 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by rfortson Quote
Great post, keep us updated. I wonder if any long-term problems will develop? I hope not. Sounds like you're using your equipment as designed, but to the limits. That's great. I say get the most from your gear. Few of us do.
When/if it dies (I kill it, haha) I'll be sure to post about it. I think with appropriate care and maintenance it will be fine, but I won't be surprised if something comes up over the next couple years.

This is why I bought it though so I'll use it as I see it was meant to be used until I kill it, haha.

QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
Wow! Excellent experiences, although I must confess I get a little vertigo just looking at your shots.
I'm not a fan of heights but over the last few years my K-x (and now K-5) have driven me to face my fears and climb/scramble/hike areas/objects to get some great shots. The more I do it, the less it scares me, except when you're standing on the edge of a 1000+ ft drop-off and that always gets the blood pumping, haha.
06-14-2011, 10:54 AM   #8
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A couple more pics for Rondec, shot at Zion National Park (also with DA* 50-135).





06-14-2011, 12:40 PM   #9
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very nice pics!
06-14-2011, 12:50 PM   #10
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Great shots, you used DA*50-135mm all the time?

Funny that picture off the Hidden Canon
06-14-2011, 05:52 PM   #11
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Good stuff, thank you for posting.
06-14-2011, 05:56 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by RonHendriks1966 Quote
Great shots, you used DA*50-135mm all the time?

Funny that picture off the Hidden Canon
Yup, all these shots were with the 50-135 (a few made with lots of shots).

I can't wait to get the 16-50 as I really need the wide end of things, haha. I make do with the 50-135 and just take lots of shots.
06-15-2011, 02:50 AM   #13
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Great post and thanks for sharing! And great pics to go along with your adventure story.
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06-15-2011, 09:47 AM   #14
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I just realized I hadn't included any photos from paintballing, so I've added those to the original post (and a couple others).

Thanks TOUGEFC!

I plan on getting Pentax's P&S "adventure" camera so when I go out on these excursions I can snap a couple quick shots of the K-5 actually enduring the elements. Then I'll have proof! haha
06-15-2011, 06:36 PM   #15
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Love the paintballing shots!!
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