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05-17-2017, 01:51 PM   #1
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How weatherproof is weatherproof?

I've got a K-50, and really like it, been a Pentax owner for years. I would like to ask a question about the weatherproof feature of my camera and lens.
It says the are "WR", and I believe that means weather resistant, but exactly how much water can it withstand? Any ideas or experiences, good or bad?

For example, I'm wondering if it is just resistant enough that being rained on won't damage it. Or, if it were completely submerged, would that damage it? I understand it isn't intended to be an underwater camera, but if it were dropped in the water for a few seconds, would it be ruined?

I'm going on a trip to a calm bay/river in northern Florida, kayaking, and would like to take my K-50, but I definitely don't want to lose it due to water damage. I "probably" wouldn't drop it in the water, but...I'm considering worst case scenario.

I'm thinking it is a big no - don't take a chance - so I'm asking for second opinions too. Thanks.


05-17-2017, 01:54 PM   #2
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A dunk in fresh water probably wouldn't kill it, if it was powered off...quick removal of the battery and a complete drying would be necessary...

A dunk in salt water would kill it...
05-17-2017, 01:55 PM   #3
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I trust my K-5, my WR DA and DFA lenses and my AF540FGZ-II flash unit in weather I'm not uncomfortable to be out in personally. As soon as anything more than a hoodie is needed, I start not trusting stuff any more.

I wouldn't take it out in a torrential downpour unless I really, really had to and the importance of the pictures outweighed the value of the camera and everything mounted on it.
05-17-2017, 02:01 PM   #4
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Weather sealing is not intended to protect the camera from being submerged, nor is it intended to protect it from water under high pressure. Liberally zooming or manually focusing while your camera is wet could also potentially compromise weather sealing, depending on how harsh the conditions are.

Note that there are two types of weather sealing for lenses: WR, which is your basic moisture protection, and AW, which also protects against dust. AW lenses tend to be premium lenses with better build qualities, and are likely to better withstand water as well.

My advice is that as long as you're careful and do your due diligence, you should be fine. If you're going on a kayaking trip, get a waterproof bag (even a ziploc would work) to store the camera in if you ever feel there's a chance you might fall in the water. And definitely wear that neck strap at all other times, drying the camera off with a cloth/your shirt if it gets hit by a splash

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05-17-2017, 02:09 PM - 4 Likes   #5
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Weatherproof is not waterproof. Like some other photographers, I shoot outdoor in very poor weather, including tropical rainstorm, sand and sea spray, mud and dust.... In addition, as part of my activity, I have to record (ie photograph) natural disasters. Thus I always choose carefully my gears and I am a careful user (as much as I can).

Based upon nearly 10 years of outdoor shooting with Pentax dSLR, let me share three tips:

- WR is an insurance; it does not mean waterpooof and will not save your camera gears from stupidity or bad luck;

- TLC is an absolute requirement; Tender, Love and Care of your equipments (camera, lenses....); I cannot stress more that TLC is the key of long-lasting successful photography in atrocious weather;

- Do not swap lenses in bad weather; dust, moisture, ....could too easily damage lenses and cameras; NO lens swapping; this means often that you want ton have two camera bodies, each with a different lens; In my case, I often have one body with a prime and another with a zoom. [Zoom lenses need much more TLC than primes.]

Hope that the comment may contribute to the discussion and assist the OP.

Last edited by hcc; 05-17-2017 at 05:24 PM.
05-17-2017, 02:24 PM   #6
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Thank you for the quick responses! They were pretty much what I was thinking already.
I believe I'll just look for a inexpensive, "waterproof" camera for my little adventure. That way, I could maybe get some underwater pics and if it gets submerged, oh well, it is supposed to be made for that!
Only bummer thing, is that I know it won't take nearly as nice an image as my Pentax. But I'm not much of a gambling man, so I don't want to bet my good camera on a little trip. I don't want any bad memories if I can avoid them!

05-17-2017, 02:39 PM - 1 Like   #7
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WR significantly reduces the chance of damage but can never eliminate it. Submersion, forceful spray, fast zooming a wet camera, and simple bad luck can all force water inside the camera and damage it. The Pentax warranty does NOT cover water damage.

That said, I and many others have taken their Pentax cameras out into bad weather and never had a problem. I've even had my K-5 splashed by a ocean wave without incident but I would not count on the camera necessarily surviving every such encounter with sea water (or even fresh water).

Every outdoor photographer has to realize the environment does pose a risk to their equipment. Pentax makes good rugged cameras that reduce the chance of damage from outdoor use, but the risk is still there. There's great advice on this thread for further minimizing the risk of damage, but the risk is still there. However if you are in the middle of a river in rain storm and see Sasquatch, then take out the camera, take your pictures, and take the modest risk that something might happen.

Most of all, have fun. Feel free to use the camera in ways that more timid photographers with more delicate equipment would not. You'll get pictures that they'll never get.
05-17-2017, 02:40 PM - 1 Like   #8

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Consider weather resistance marketing hype. Pentax will not honor a warranty claim for water damage, even if it is caused by a raindrop rather than water immersion.

05-17-2017, 02:54 PM - 1 Like   #9

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My K10 has been fully underwater in brackish salt water I dunked it again in fresh water and let it dry and everything was fine, that said, the lens didn't survive the exercise.

Would I recommend it, No way!

There is a reason that tough cameras exist. The rule of thumb that you don't want a camera out in worse weather than you want to be in is a good one.
05-17-2017, 04:59 PM - 1 Like   #10
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In my experience, normal light rain is fine, providing your'e using a WR lens and you're not doing a lot of zooming. Anything beyond that and you're into dangerous territory. I have used my K-5 and my Sigma DG 70-300 lens in heave rain, and it's been fine, but it's probably not designed for that. The camera is not designed to be immersed in water or any other liquid for that matter.

If you're planning to shoot in a very wet environment then the good old trick of a clear plastic bag and an elastic band around the lens barrel works very well. It still won't survive a dunking, but at least offers a bit of extra protection.
05-17-2017, 05:24 PM - 2 Likes   #11
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I routinely take my K3 out in the kayak on both fresh and salt water. I always use a WR lens (18-135 or 55-300). The camera has gotten splashed, with no problems. I have rinsed the salt spray off afterwards under a gentle shower. Still never a problem. I have shot in light to moderate rain. No problem. Last week, I did the unthinkable and slipped while entering the kayak, and fell into the river, completely submerging the camera for several seconds! To my utter amazement, everything was fine after drying it off! I know that Pentax WR seals are not rated for that, but too many of us have stories like that for me to think it is a total fluke.

Don't go out of your way to test the sealing, but don't be afraid to take it out in the boat or use it in the rain. Some shots can't be taken any other way.

05-17-2017, 05:46 PM   #12
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My K5iiS has held up well to fairly heavy rain storms and in very windy/dusty conditions (not both at the same time.) I don't baby it but I don't coddle it either. I bought it so I could use it in the rain and I use it that way when I need to.

I towel it down after rain exposure or clean it off after heavy dust storms. I don't change out any lens until it is dry or clean and I pay particular close attention to the mount area.

The only two lenses I use in these situations are the 100mm macro and the 18-135 zoom. I have UV filters on both lenses as additional insurance.

On Reid Reviews the blogger there has had his K5 hosed down with a fire hose with no bad results but he has never submerged it.

In one circumstance I did take it in for a professional cleaning after having used it on a trail that was primarily bug dust. This is a very, very fine dust that flows like water and big clouds can be stirred up just by walking. It was pretty dirty, as was the lens, but it never stopped working.

Of course, sample of one and so on.
05-17-2017, 05:54 PM - 1 Like   #13
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WR is weather resistance not weatherproof. That being said it's pretty good. I have went out in rain many times with my K-30 or K-50 with the 18-135, and I have been caught in a downpour where I was out in it for at least 30 minutes with the K-30. I do try not to point the camera up because not only do you want to spot the front of the lens, I would think the seams of the zoom barrel sections could be a weak spot in the sealing, if there is one. I always dry it with a towel as soon as I can and leave that lens on until I know everything is dry. I have also had either camera out with the DA* 300 in heavy wet snow. Wet snow tend to stick to the gear more than a colder snow does.
05-17-2017, 07:26 PM   #14
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A couple of plastic bags--one in the other in a stuff sack--should protect it fine--and then when comfortable use it. Seems like a shame if you could have gotten a great photo but did not have a good camera.

I have been doing this for half a century of canoe trips--from Canada to Florida. Usually with one or two lenses. Makes sense to also have a point and shoot/cheap camera also, or a fully waterproof one if you do this more often. (I have/take an underwater film camera.)
05-17-2017, 07:32 PM   #15
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Yeah, your warranty does not say weatherproof!

Having said that, neither your camera or phone or watch will dissolve if some rain drops land on them.

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