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11-27-2013, 07:55 AM   #1
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So how WR are the Pentax systems, really?

So far I've been pretty much a fair weather photographer, but tonight Mr frogoutofwater and I are thinking of going to photograph the balloon inflation for the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. Although the weather forecast isn't as dire as originally predicted, it could still be fairly wet - anything from light drizzle to downpour. So I'm wondering how weather-resistant the Pentax systems really are. I've got the K-3 and the WR 18-135 and 55-300 (expect I'll use primarily the former). Any tips? Should I use a raincover on the camera itself?

11-27-2013, 08:04 AM   #2
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I've been in summer downpours. It's frequently out in the snow - but that's usually not a big problem. The 18-135 is good, though if I expect to be out all day in the rain I'd likely find a way to shield it when not in use...and not worry about it when I'm taking pictures.
11-27-2013, 08:12 AM   #3
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Ive used my K5 in heavy rain before with the kit lens and not had a second thought about it. My K5 also sees a lot of dew when doing astrophotgraphy and so far no issues.
11-27-2013, 08:13 AM   #4
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Good practices with a WR camera and lens combo is to:

1) Shield the system when possible (i.e. if you aren't shooting, keep it in the bag, keep it in the jacket, etc).
-This reduces the amount of time your camera is exposed to rain.
2) Wipe the system down when possible (i.e. before putting it in the bag, when entering covered areas, etc).
-This reduces the amount of water sitting on seals.
3) Avoid zooming in and out too much on a lens that doesn't internally zoom. The seals will protect the lens, but constant usage will introduce moisture into the lens.
-If anything, zooming the direction where the lens extends is fine - just wipe it dry before zooming back in.
4) Don't try changing lenses while exposed.
-Seems obvious, but should be mentioned!

Given the above, you could expect your system to easily survive any precipitation. It's usually high pressure water that overwhelms the WR seals in the lens and camera - so something like a hose spraying hard at the camera, or having someone dump a tub of water on you, or falling into a lake, or getting hit by a wave, etc.

11-27-2013, 08:23 AM   #5
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Thanks everyone for the quick and helpful replies!
11-27-2013, 09:02 AM   #6
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Ahem

-Heie
11-27-2013, 09:10 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Heie Quote
Ahem

-Heie
Exactly. I haven't submitted my humble K10d and DA* 16-50 to your extremes, Heie, but I consider taking it under Moul Falls in British Columbia's Wells Grey Provincial Park a decent test of the water resistance. The toughest problem was keeping the viewfinder eyepiece dry enough to see through it.

Use the lens hood, and try to keep the lens level or pointed down to keep the water drops off the front. This is not to protect the lens; it is to keep the blurring from the water down.
11-27-2013, 09:14 AM   #8
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The 18-135 is not an internal zoom; it changes length just like most zooms. As a lens gets longer it has to suck air in from outside. I trust WR but take an extra precaution by lightly shaking the camera to remove excess water before zooming. Keep the camera semi-dry between shots under a rain cover, hat, inside your coat, etc.

11-27-2013, 09:48 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by DeadJohn Quote
The 18-135 is not an internal zoom; it changes length just like most zooms. As a lens gets longer it has to suck air in from outside. I trust WR but take an extra precaution by lightly shaking the camera to remove excess water before zooming. Keep the camera semi-dry between shots under a rain cover, hat, inside your coat, etc.
I wish we had a couple of appropriate primes to use for this photo outing, but we've only got the one 50mm f/1.8 between us (which may be good for low light and some portrait-type shots). However, I was thinking of trying to do more with a wide angle, so I'll have to stick with my zoom. Thanks for the specific advice about using the zoom in wet weather.
11-27-2013, 10:23 AM   #10
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I've used a K5II and a 60-250 in an absolute downpour - it was totally fine, apart from I couldn't see through the viewfinder for the drops of rain. It took a while to remove the water from the barrel of the lens but I would do it again without any problem at all.
11-27-2013, 10:45 AM   #11
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It's good to know the WR is living up to expectations. One of the reasons Mr frogoutofwater and I decided to buy Pentax systems is because our travels take us to some wet places. We've got a joint 50th birthday trip to Borneo planned for 2014 and the Galapagos Islands in 2015 or -16.
11-27-2013, 11:03 AM   #12
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I Fly Fish, and my K-5 IIs with the 18-55mm WR has been bounced off River rocks and taken a few big dips.

When you Fly Fish a lot, Wading in trout streams you will take some slips here and there.

Camera and lens still work like new.

Love my K-5 IIs. Probably the best 16 meg APS-C Camera ever made. Or maybe just the best APS-C ever made, Period.
11-27-2013, 11:32 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by DeadJohn Quote
The 18-135 is not an internal zoom; it changes length just like most zooms. As a lens gets longer it has to suck air in from outside. I trust WR but take an extra precaution by lightly shaking the camera to remove excess water before zooming. Keep the camera semi-dry between shots under a rain cover, hat, inside your coat, etc.
To illustrate what DeadJohn and JinDesu said, try this at home:
1. Mount the 18-135 mm.
2. Unplug one of the rubber plugs (like the one sealing the microphone jack)
3. Actuate the zoom
4. Hear/feel the considerable rush of air that enters/exits the body via the open hole

When the hole is plugged, that air still enters/exits the system somewhere, I'm guessing from one of the seals around the lens barrel, maybe it's calibrated to "give in" near the top. Not saying to avoid using the 18-135 in the rain -- just be careful when extending the lens (when the air will tend to be be sucked in).
11-27-2013, 11:44 AM   #14
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I suppose if you are concerned you could take some photo tape and tape the lens at a desired FL and the hyperfocal distance (I often do this for other reasons). That would ensure not "breathing in" humid/wet air.
11-27-2013, 12:14 PM - 1 Like   #15
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I think you are fine. The biggest problem I have when shooting in rain/snow is that you have to protect the front element. If you get water on it, everything else is wasted.
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