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09-08-2009, 03:57 PM   #1
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Just to share stories on Pentax DSLR's water-resistance...

Late June I was taking photos at the Pride Parade in Toronto. It was raining prior to the parade, but I was still taking photos in the rain with my K20D and Pentax DA* 16-50mm. After about 2 hours in the rain the camera started showing some small signs of trouble - camera taking at the moment it is turned on, and unresponsive buttons and autofocus. I was frantically drying the camera because the parade would be starting in 30 min. Fortunately for me, just as the rain stopped, the parade started, and my camera suddenly started working again. Too bad I don't have any photos that showed how wet the camera got or how heavy the rain was.

Now just three days ago I was taking photos for school's frosh week, and one of the traditions that we do is a downtown walkaround and having a water fight in the water fountain at Nathan Phillips Square in front of Toronto Citty Hall. I thought I would use my backup K10D, and the Pentax DA* 16-50mm combo, this way if anything happens to the K10D I still have my main camera.

Here is the intensity of the water fight (this was shot in the middle of the fountain at 16mm and cropped to around 5.5mp, so I was actually close to the water fight, not staying on the side of the fountain):


You can also check out the rest of the photos here: F!rosh Week 0T9 - a set on Flickr

Basically, the combo lasted a good 10 minutes before it started showing some signs of trouble - camera constantly on (whether switch ON or OFF), and unresponsive buttons. I quickly got out of the water and dried my equipment with a dry towel. The camera was still showing signs of trouble for the next 2 days, including constant ON (still), and camera date reset everytime it's turned on. By the end of the 2 days, all these problems finally went away. The lens suffered a bit of condensation just inside the front elements, but I put it under the sun and now all the fogginess is gone and no signs of mold or anything.

CONCLUSION
- Pentax system is very water-resistant - or at least you should be confident enough. Most people in the last two situations (actually, no one for the second situation) would even take out their DSLRs. And if they did, chances are, they might die pretty pretty fast.
- Still need to be very careful and watch out for how wet your environment is to adjust how long you should stay in there. It will still fail when the threshold is reached.
- Dry the camera whenever you have the chance, to make it last even longer.
- Taking photos at a water fight = bad idea. Not that the camera might fail, but I choked on water too many times
- It feels good to walkaround in the rain or a water fight and have people look at you unbelievably

Just to share my stories


Last edited by DroolingCrow; 09-08-2009 at 04:04 PM. Reason: typos
09-08-2009, 05:08 PM   #2
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Quite strange and worrying that the camera started acting up at all. From all I have heard of Pentax weathersealing up to now, the only reason the camera is not rated as fully waterproof is that the seals are not designed to withstand water pressure if submerged. The fact that there was moisture in both the lens and in the circuitry (something shorting the "on" button?) of your camera makes me reconsider taking my K-7 out in the rain.

I like the waterfight pictures - really chaotic, colorful and lively. Did you have to keep wiping the lens to get drops off of the front element? What did you use for it? A microfibre cloth would just get soaked and smudge, no?
09-08-2009, 07:40 PM   #3
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At least you had fun,and your pics show it well.That's what photography it is all about.
09-08-2009, 11:35 PM   #4
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I bet it was your DA*16-50mm that leaked and probably allowed water in the K10D. The K10D would have to have a lot of water coming in to get up to the front elements of the lens. The bodies are tight enough for any natural rain/snow. Was the lens used the same lens on both? If so there is a really strong chance it was the lens letting in the water.

I have read of many DA* leaking and the tell tale sign is the water in the elements. I have not read of any bodies leaking? Not that I remember.

At Niagara Fall Canada I used my GX10 in the rain all day, with only plastic to protect the kit lens! Now I bought the DA18-55mm WR (I have other lens ) and so far in rain even hard rain no problems. I really believe Pentax has QC issues with the DA*s... Could be wrong.

09-09-2009, 06:09 AM   #5
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@PolishMike Thanks for the comment. I did not even bother wiping off the water from the front element. It would get wet within seconds anyway, so there's really no point keeping it dry.

@Barnstar Yeah it definitely was fun. Maybe not when I choked on water a few times though

In regards to the build quality of K10D/K20D and 16-50mm, I was thinking if it could be the lens too, but I would think a leak around the lens mount could cause a bigger problem. But when I checked the back of the lens and the metal mount on the camera, they were actually dry. As for why the inside of the front element fogged up, I guess one possibility is it was a 25 degree day, my lens has been in the sun for 5 hours, and the water in the fountain was quite cold (not sure, but 10 degree-ish?). So I guess the fog could form inside a bit.

I did notice some water forming around the ON/OFF switch on the camera. Seeing how both times the problems were somewhat related to the switch, I have a feeling the switch could be a weak point on the camera. And it's possible since it moves a lot, compared to most other parts that don't move at all.

If anything, it does live up to the weather-resistance claim from Pentax ...I guess just not as weather-resistant/proof as most other ppl
09-09-2009, 06:38 AM   #6
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Good stuff!
09-09-2009, 07:50 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by DroolingCrow Quote
LI was taking photos at the Pride Parade in Toronto. It was raining prior to the parade, but I was still taking photos in the rain with my K20D and Pentax DA* 16-50mm. After about 2 hours in the rain the camera started showing some small signs of trouble - camera taking at the moment it is turned on, and unresponsive buttons and autofocus.

The camera was still showing signs of trouble for the next 2 days, including constant ON (still), and camera date reset everytime it's turned on. By the end of the 2 days, all these problems finally went away. The lens suffered a bit of condensation just inside the front elements, but I put it under the sun and now all the fogginess is gone and no signs of mold or anything.
Well, I'm actually quite alarmed at this story.

It would have all been fine if the camera performed had flawlessly throughout the shoot, then was dried off and was still as good as new the next day.

Instead, we were told that the camera malfunctioned and while yes, it did appear to work properly later, the question has got to be asked: will there be any permanent damage due to button contacts corroding, mould/fungus damaging the optics, etc.?

Can you imagine the laughs on a Nikon or Canon forum if this story gets out?
09-09-2009, 08:17 AM   #8
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I was shooting wedding in rain with my k200d and sigma lens mounted. It was heavy rain and all equipment got watered. Nothing happened after 1.5 hour ,everything works as new

09-09-2009, 08:48 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Spock Quote
Well, I'm actually quite alarmed at this story.

It would have all been fine if the camera performed had flawlessly throughout the shoot, then was dried off and was still as good as new the next day.

Instead, we were told that the camera malfunctioned and while yes, it did appear to work properly later, the question has got to be asked: will there be any permanent damage due to button contacts corroding, mould/fungus damaging the optics, etc.?

Can you imagine the laughs on a Nikon or Canon forum if this story gets out?
No I dont. let them try and do that same stunt and if their cameras performed better under such watery situations, then they could laugh all day.


IMO, if there was any problems as to leaks, probably it would had been the lens. QC issues are normal but limited. not that alarming enough to have a product recall. I'm not sure as to what the warranty or atleast a guarantee covers if the camera is defective or doesn't perform in a way it was intended or supposed to. some products have a return/exchange policy.

anyway, I read a thread where a photography used his K-7 with only a LTD lens (photographer didn't know the necessity for WR lens) soaked under heavy rain for 2 hours and was still working inspite of the photograher unawareness of that fact. makes you think that the LTD is more weatherproof than the DA*. that would be just hilarious to think. maybe I could use a Takumar just for fun.

so it's possible that this might be a case of a defective copy.
09-09-2009, 09:19 AM   #10
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I think most cameras can cope with a bit of water so long as they are not dunked underwater.

I had a Program Plus with a 28-80 mounted that got a bucket of water thrown on it while white water rafting (by some jokers on another raft). Immediately afterwards it didn't work properly (switches etc.) but after I let it dry (with the lens and film removed), it and the lens, worked fine.

I just would have expected a camera like the K7 which has all-weather pretentions to do better than a 1980s Program Plus.
09-09-2009, 10:25 AM   #11
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I've never subjected my K10D to places where there is a lot of water, especially water pressure. I do know with cars you should never point a water hose with some pressure at auto components when washing. I did this, when i was young, with my new Toyota, many years ago and had problems with the car for the rest of it's life.
09-09-2009, 10:44 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Spock Quote
. . . . . I just would have expected a camera like the K7 which has all-weather pretentions to do better than a 1980s Program Plus.
I think the OP is describing his experience with a K10D rather than a K-7. Or did I miss something?

Jer
09-09-2009, 10:56 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sailor Quote
I think the OP is describing his experience with a K10D rather than a K-7. Or did I miss something?
That is correct. However, the K10D (and K20D) has always been touted by Pentax as being fully weather-proof, like the K-7 is.
09-09-2009, 12:21 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by RBellavance Quote
That is correct. However, the K10D (and K20D) has always been touted by Pentax as being fully weather-proof, like the K-7 is.

I think Pentax touts the K10D, the K7 as weather resistant, not water proof. You don't find too many water proof watches, you do find weather resistant watches.

The K10D and the K7 are not divers' cameras, they are simply cameras which are well sealed and have better weather resistance than the average camera.

That said, most of the Pentax lenses are certainly not waterproof and not even water resistant. A lens gets soaked, surely it won't be long before some of that moisture seeps into the camera, which I think is what happened with the OP.

I take my K10D outside a lot, if it starts raining...I whip it in a plastic bag or my LowePro camera bag which has a water resistant cover that can be pulled over the case. I assume that my K10D can take a ...bit...of moisture without fear of damage while I get the camera under cover. But I don't prolomg it's exposure to the wet, watery stuff.

Taking a camera, even a water or weather resistant camera to an event where you know there will be lot's of water, or keeping on shooting when it's pouring rain is courting disaster, unless that camera is a water proof Nikonos...designed and certified to be water proof under a number of meters of water.
09-09-2009, 01:12 PM   #15
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I think the weather resistant feature is designed so you don't have to panic if it begins to rain a bit while you are out shooting, not so you can use the camera in the pouring rain.
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