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02-02-2014, 08:36 PM - 3 Likes   #1
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K5 + DA* 16-50 water resistance (relevant to other models too)

I decided to post here because the problem is obviously not only restricted to K5. I want to share my experience with water intruding the camera and lens after rain, so Pentax users can better judge the amount of weather their gear can withstand.

So I shot in heavy rain for 1 hour (or more) non-stop, with my K5 + DA* 16-50mm. Got some good shots otherwise impossible with most other cameras. After the rainy shooting event, I noticed the following rather worrying things, but wasn't too frightened and just open all seals including flash and let the camera air dry.
  • Water went into button seams and I can push it our by pressing the buttons
  • Some seals obviously couldn't take the rain for that long (1 hr), very tiny amount of water went in (esp. the SD card door and battery slot)
  • Water went through the lens mount seal of DA* 16-50 as well, but wasn't much (1ml?) and didn't affect the electronic contacts.

However, K5 went buggy the second day:
  • Non-responsive buttons, glitches (e.g. shutter release functioned as stop-down metering toggle and more)
  • Water in LED screen
  • Won't show image that were taken
DA* 16-50 has obvious condensation too.


Anxious , I immediately put the camera body (all seals and doors opened) and lens into a zip-lock bag with tonnes of silicon gel. Waited for a week, and everything is back to normal again. Even the water in LED screen vanished. Lens condensation went away and was focusing fine.

So that was a bit of misadvanture for me, even though the photos from the rain was satisfying (not to mention some awed passer-bys). What I learned from this experience (as many before have stressed):
  • Weather resistance (WR) is not weather-proof - your gear will surrender after a long combat with the weather, so it is still crucial to keep it from harmful weather whenever you can (put in bag when not used, minimise exposure to weather, dry as much as possible after shooting etc.)
  • Have some desiccant (e.g. silicon gel or rice) and zip-lock bags ready, that way you can save your cam asap if problem arises (esp. when you go on a humid trip)
  • Enjoy the weather, shoot a lot, get productive be safe


p/s: I'll post the photos in rain asap when I get back.

02-02-2014, 08:45 PM   #2
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Thank you. It's nice that Pentax gear will hold up to inclement weather, but we do still need to be prudent.
02-02-2014, 09:04 PM   #3
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There is no perfection when it comes to machinery. My K10D has survived unscathed, weather wise, but it doesn't survive falling on it when I slip on the ice. New top cover required; the camera is like new now, and has worked fine for the two years since that little incident.
02-02-2014, 09:27 PM   #4
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How old are the lens and the camera and how do you store them? It might be an issue where the seals have aged and cracked.

02-03-2014, 12:57 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikemike Quote
How old are the lens and the camera and how do you store them? It might be an issue where the seals have aged and cracked.
Mine was new (less than months). Storage is always in a drawer which is pretty dry and away from sunlight. I don't think the seals have aged at all. I guess it was because I exposed them to the rain for too long (1 full hour).
02-03-2014, 04:44 AM   #6
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So these are the photos I got from the rain








02-03-2014, 07:46 AM - 1 Like   #7
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I am not trying to discredit you, however my experiences have been that even I haven't reached the WR limits...

Probably the most consistently long-term WR exposure I've experienced was over the summer. I went to a field exercise with the Army and left two camera body/lens combinations (K-30/DA*55 and K-5 IIs/DA* 16-50) exposed for approximately 48 hours of continuous rain. I had to sleep outside (yes, that sucked ), and I didn't want to get the contents of my camera bag wet, so I left it closed and left the cameras outside, to include overnight while I slept (and not in a tent, but a makeshift lean-to shelter that the cameras were not put in). The rain varied from very, very heavy torrential, almost hurricane-style downpours to drizzle, but never ceasing during that time.

No issues, including something as minor as pushing the buttons to remove water incursion as reported here.

Just one of my experiences on the subject.

-Heie
02-03-2014, 07:51 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Heie Quote
I am not trying to discredit you, however my experiences have been that even I haven't reached the WR limits...

Probably the most consistently long-term WR exposure I've experienced was over the summer. I went to a field exercise with the Army and left two camera body/lens combinations (K-30/DA*55 and K-5 IIs/DA* 16-50) exposed for approximately 48 hours of continuous rain. I had to sleep outside (yes, that sucked ), and I didn't want to get the contents of my camera bag wet, so I left it closed and left the cameras outside, to include overnight while I slept (and not in a tent, but a makeshift lean-to shelter that the cameras were not put in). The rain varied from very, very heavy torrential, almost hurricane-style downpours to drizzle, but never ceasing during that time.

No issues, including something as minor as pushing the buttons to remove water incursion as reported here.

Just one of my experiences on the subject.

-Heie
Heie, you probably were given uber bodies/lenses, so you don't count
It may just be that the OP - having operated the camera constantly in the rain, allowed ingress of water by stressing certain parts of the camera/lens (zooming, etc). Alternatively he may have just a bad body.

One thing that I think all WR users should do in the rain is to just keep water from standing on the body if they can avoid it. Wiping off the camera/lens every now and then, or just shaking/tilting water off the top should be helpful.

02-03-2014, 07:52 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by mythguy9 Quote
Mine was new (less than months). Storage is always in a drawer which is pretty dry and away from sunlight. I don't think the seals have aged at all. I guess it was because I exposed them to the rain for too long (1 full hour).
If you have water damage from rain and new gear that is supposed to be WR, that should be grounds for free warranty service.
02-03-2014, 08:14 AM   #10
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By the way WR means Weather Resistant not Water proof...
02-03-2014, 08:21 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by manishved Quote
By the way WR means Weather Resistant not Water proof...
But the usage the OP describes is the exact use case and as Heie pointed out he has subjected similar gear to much worse conditions without ill effects. It is not like he submerged the gear which would be the thing they specifically warn against.
02-03-2014, 03:01 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikemike Quote
If you have water damage
There is no damage I reckon, just temporary glitches in K5 and mild condensation in lens, all are solved.

Yes, WR is just resistance, I wouldn't submerge my camera
02-03-2014, 04:08 PM   #13
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One thing you do not want to do with the 16-50, is zoom in and out when in the rain. The lens vents through the AF-MF switch on the barrel.
Not sure how the water got into the rest of the cam.
02-03-2014, 05:55 PM   #14
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Some years ago, I was photographing in a working underground coal mine. I used my K10D with 14/2.8 lens and AF-540FGZ flash. Despite the lens not being WR, but internal focusing, there have been no ill-effects to body, lens nor flash. One of those pre-moistened 'tissue' wipes was filthy on both sides after cleaning my gear. The conditions included fine coal dust atmosphere with high humidity.

It's worth noting that the ISO for Sv (sensitivity) mode is held separately by the body to all other modes. This can allow for flipping between flash (P) & no flash (Sv) captures when unable to see anything.
02-05-2014, 05:00 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ex Finn. Quote
One thing you do not want to do with the 16-50, is zoom in and out when in the rain.
That was exactly what I did a lot in the rain. Will take care next time, probably stick with 16mm most of the time.
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