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03-24-2012, 12:55 PM   #1
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Weather & Dust Resistance

Hi,

I have a question regarding "weather resistant" lenses. I'm looking for a quality close up zoom lens and would have purchased the DA* 16-50mm F2.8 were it not for horror stories I've seen while doing research. I've seen many opinions in these threads that say something to the effect of "remember, they're only weather resistant, not waterproof" along with "any quality built lens should do okay." One of my main reasons for purchasing the K-5 was because of it's sealing not only for rain, but also for dust. I live off a dirt road, an in the summertime I can write my name in the dust on my end table about three days after I've last dusted, but I haven't found anyone discussing dust, just water. Bearing in mind that dust is a big issue for me, do you think that I would still be okay with any quality built lens (like the Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM) or no? Additionally, does anyone have experience with the Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM and harsh environmental conditions?

Mike

03-24-2012, 01:06 PM   #2
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I too live on a dirt road. The north side of it, so those nice southerly winds blow dust in my house all day. However I own no weather sealed lenses. I have no adverse effects from dust. I do keep my camera and lenses in a case when not in use. I believe you'll be fine. Just wipe them off before you store them. Get a rocket blower for the sensor and prism. Just like anything else, it is all in how you maintain it.
03-24-2012, 01:22 PM   #3
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One of my two residences is in a very rural location (yet only miles) near Charleston. It gets incredibly dirty in that lcation, also occasionally dust from dirt roads in the general area. While I do own the K-01 and several other cameras varying in prices from less than $200 to more than 40k... For each and every single one of them; I'd be especially cautious anywhere near an enviroment that has dust.

Even with the WR ratings on existing some existing Pentax cameras and lens' I still have seen both that were damaged by it. Perhaps by example; dirt, dust, moisture, or even water somehow managing to get into the first element (of by any type of protective filter - which btw I would highly suggest for any camera lens). And for the K-01... Consider IFdust or any type of moisture did get into the internal fill (type) flash?? And also at all costs I suggest that anyone be quite careful even when changing out the lens - even though the Pentax does in fact have dust removal features and can also map out bad pixels.

It doesn't take much to damage the sensor in any camera. Sure there's a change of editing it out later or even having it fixed by a shop if it gets bad enough, but..

I would also suggest what Kansas uses; a good quality case such as one by LowePro or Tamrac. Also though, even be cautious about using air equipment on a camersa to clean it properly; I'd suggest against compressed air and would use a manual blower only.

For truly bad enviroments I would unfortunately only suggest a quality P&S; not any interchangeable lens model - even with the best of quality lens'
03-24-2012, 01:57 PM   #4
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WR & Dust: I have shot for several years in harsh conditions incl. mud and dust. For the last 2.5 years, I used my K-7 (WR body) with a couple of non-WR lenses (DA18-250 & VL58 f1.4).

My main comments about dust are: TLC (tender, love and care) and no lens swapping. First you do need to take care fo your lens, and brush off dust & mud regularly to prevent any accumulation. Second never swaps lens in dusty conditions - Never. If you do need to change a lens, retreat to a clean area (eg a car, if you are camping) and ensure the area is clean incl. your hands before swapping.

In any case, I prefer to use a WR camera and some sturdy (or WR or DA*) lenses, than a non-WR dSLR. In each case, I often carry a waterproof/shockproof/dustproff P&S for the worst conditions.

Hope that the comments may help.


Last edited by hcc; 03-25-2012 at 01:23 AM.
03-24-2012, 05:18 PM   #5
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Kansas, Med FormatPro, hcc,

Thanks for the advice - I appreciate it.

Mike
03-24-2012, 08:23 PM   #6
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Before you write off the 16-50mm, check out this guys gallery at Pbase:

Fany 2011 Photo Gallery by Alexander Brazhnik at pbase.com

Some really great work, the colors are real yet luscious, Pentax all the way.

The Pentax 16-50mm is worth any trouble it might be to find a good one in my opinion. For what it's worth, mine has been flawless so far since July 2011.
03-24-2012, 09:36 PM   #7
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The 16-50 is an excellent lens. I got it over the tamron and sigma for the weather resistance and the SDM (I really wanted quiet focusing), and I've not regretted it at all. I've had limiteds before this and I like the 16-50 much much more than my limiteds. Its the peace of mind that I can use it no matter the condition and have the confidence of the weather seals.
03-24-2012, 11:32 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by KansasPen Quote
I too live on a dirt road. The north side of it, so those nice southerly winds blow dust in my house all day. However I own no weather sealed lenses. I have no adverse effects from dust. I do keep my camera and lenses in a case when not in use. I believe you'll be fine. Just wipe them off before you store them. Get a rocket blower for the sensor and prism. Just like anything else, it is all in how you maintain it.
+1 to the above.

I live in Shanghai and there is always dust in the air due to the huge amount of construction that has been going on in the city for the past 15 years ! As the OP describes, every 2 or 3 days there is a layer of dust over the car etc. that you could easily write your name in .... wait a couple of weeks and you'd need a hammer and chisel. I only have one WR lens that I actually use and I have never had an issue with dust with any of my lenses/cameras (K7 and now 2xK5s). Take reasonable care and you'll be just fine, life is too short to worry too much about dust. If it gets inside the camera then it's easily cleaned unless you are the unlucky one in 10,000 where it actually damages the sensor. I'd only ever consider a protective filter if taking shots on the beach / desert in the wind, or if shooting motocross, rallying or the like.

Look at the extreme conditions/locations where these cameras have been used, everywhere from Antartica to the Sahara, they are meant to be used not molly-cuddled and just taking reasonable consideration and care, both before you shoot and afterwards, will see your camera last a long long time. Notice how even retail shops selling used cameras often have them all stacked up without lenses on ? A little CLA/TLC soon has them in fully working condition again.

03-24-2012, 11:52 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Medium FormatPro Quote
It doesn't take much to damage the sensor in any camera.
Hi

How do you do that? I guess you are talking as result of cleaning ? You can easily damage the sensor if you put your mind to it.

The sensor assembly, while it is a delicate piece of engineering, is remarkable robust. The sensor itself is easily damaged, but you are not going to be able to get anywhere near it during cleaning. What you are touching with your cleaning implements, in other words where the dust settles down, is the AA filter which sits on top of the sensor. This AA filter, as I understand it, is harder then your common window glass.

You can test the implements which are used for sensor cleaning on a CD or DVD which is much softer. I bet you'll find it difficult to make a mark on the CD if you employ the same cleaning procedure as you should when cleaning the sensor. Lens cleaning, to name another example, can be more detrimental then sensor cleaning because some of the coating is quite soft (modern ones are better now). I have not heard of many people having buggered up their lens glass by cleaning it. If it was you would not find almost every second hand lens on e-bay described as faultless.

You must also understand that camera manufacturers know that the sensor needs cleaning. Otherwise they would not provide a "mirror up" function for this task. They also know that someone will have to do it, either the owner him/herself or their service staff. They also know that service staff can have an "off day" (and often they are no better than the camera owner). And you will imagine that cam manufacturers don't wish to be called to the party for replacement claims. Also camera repairers would not want to provide this service if there is a lot of danger associated with it. Do you really think camera manufacturers will build this part of the camera, which in essence is a user serviceable item, in such a way it will easily be ruined ? Hardly. I attribute a lot of stupidity to manufacturers but not this one.

There is enough scaremongering by sensor cleaning vendors, and they love horror stories (if they don't invent them themselves) because then they can sell a one dollar item at $37.95.

Greetings
03-25-2012, 12:04 AM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Qwntm Quote
The Pentax 16-50mm is worth any trouble it might be to find a good one in my opinion. For what it's worth, mine has been flawless so far since July 2011.
QuoteOriginally posted by Verglace Quote
The 16-50 is an excellent lens. I got it over the tamron and sigma for the weather resistance and the SDM (I really wanted quiet focusing), and I've not regretted it at all. I've had limiteds before this and I like the 16-50 much much more than my limiteds. Its the peace of mind that I can use it no matter the condition and have the confidence of the weather seals.
I too would like to add to this. Please see:

Update Number *One* From my Afghan Deployment

Update Number *Two* From my Afghan Deployment

Update Number *Three* From my Afghan Deployment

I am a United States Combat Engineer officer (lieutenant) that is deployed to Afghanistan. If you don't know anything about the country, know this: it is one of the dustiest places on earth. And I don't mean sand, or other gritty, clearly visible stuff. I am talking super fine, almost baby-powder-type dust. One of the many photographic struggles I had was to determine whether to get the 16-50 for the deployment (I had the 50-135 also and LOVE it). I can tell you that with absolutely ZERO reservation that I am EXTREMELY glad that I bit the bullet and got the 16-50. And it was a used copy from the Marketplace here!

You can join the group that swears it off by the few (relatively) vocal owners that have had issues with their SDM, or you can take the chance to own one of the finest zoom lenses Pentax has ever made.

Is this dusty enough for you?


This was taken around 1 pm, a time of day so sunny that it is excruciatingly painful not to wear sunglasses.

I say again: without any reservation whatsoever, I completely recommend you get the 16-50.

-Heie

Last edited by Heie; 03-25-2012 at 12:14 AM.
03-25-2012, 04:00 AM   #11
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And Heie has just had the last word, done and dusted
03-25-2012, 06:19 PM   #12
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Thanks all for the advice. It's appreciated.

Mike
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