eye-watering water-damage repair cost for K5+18-135mm


Link Posted 04/08/2013 - 21:50
Yep, except Pentax advertises it as "weatherproof" in their promo here:

1 min, 11 sec.

Ok, yes, what is weatherproof? But the implication and descriptions is clearly of a high level of exposure, and there is mention in the documentation of extreme weather. The manual actually tells you to dry it after it has been in the rain - which surely implies use in the rain is acceptable (but be sensible afterwards).

Of course no-one would submerge the thing, but use in rain is reasonable given Pentax's indications. If it is used every day in the rain, but dried after each time, that would seem to me to be within the advertised abilities plus following Pentax's own advice.

Now in my case, we are talking about the camera being cold but not below freezing for 2 weeks without really warming up, and being used in rainy conditions every other day and dried each time after use, but spending most of the time in a bag in between shots.

It is strange that the description of the weatherproofing is expanded on much more in the German product description, so for you all I have quickly translated it. I even noticed the smaller description I gave in an earlier post above is more detailed in German. So a quick translation from both parts is below. You have to accept my translation, but it is also important to consider what is implied:

"The K-5 is based on a unique chasis with 77 body seals to protect against water splashes, moisture, dirt, dust, ice, snow and temperatures down to minus 10 ° C."

"77 body seals against moisture and dust. Protection against environmental influences is one of the most important factors of an electronic camera. Rain or high humidity can lead to corrosion in the camera body. The photographer only notices this much later when the repairshop is asking for high prices or repair is no longer possible.
Visits to the beach can effect it much quicker. In modern microtechnology, a grain of sand is sufficient to allow the tiny motors, and even smaller gear wheels lock and the camera will often be unusable. With the comprehensive protection program for K-5, this camera can still take pictures (even in winter to -10 ° C) when other photographers have their to wrap up their camera."

German below if interested:

Die K-5 basiert auf dem einzigartigen Chassis mit 77 Gehäuse-Dichtungen zum Schutz vor Spritzwasser, Feuchtigkeit, Schmutz, Staub, Eis, Schnee und Temperaturen bis minus 10°C.

77 Gehäusedichtungen gegen Feuchtigkeit und Staub. Schutz vor Umwelteinflüssen ist eine der wichtigsten Details bei einer elektronischen Kamera. Regen oder hohe Luftfeuchtigkeit führen zu Korrosion im Kameragehäuse. Der Fotograf merkt dies aber erst sehr viel später, wenn die Werkstatt hohe Reparaturpreise verlangt oder eine Reparatur nicht mehr möglich ist.
Sehr viel schneller macht sich der Aufenthalt am Strand bemerkbar. Bei moderner Mikrotechnologie reicht ein Sandkorn aus, damit die winzigen Motoren, und die noch kleineren Zahnräder blockieren und die Kamera oft unbrauchbar wird. Mit dem umfangreichen Schutzprogramm für die K-5, kann diese Kamera noch fotografieren (im Winter sogar bis -10°C), wenn andere Fotografen ihre Kamera besser verpackt lassen.


Link Posted 04/08/2013 - 21:53
I've used a GX-10, and now a K5 many times in the rain. More so the K5 & 18-55 WR lens. The amount of water was short of putting the kit under a shower head, and this is one of the many reasons why I really like Pentax cameras.

This particular issue has more to do with the very poor customer service you are experiencing than the camera itself. Don't let them play the blame game with you. I'd write letter now just to pass the ball to them. It is simply unacceptable for them to respond this way.

Twitter | Someone said time-lapse?
Pentax K5 | Samsung N9005 | DA 18-55 WR | DA 35 2.4 | DA 50 1.8
Tamron 10-24 SP | Tamron 90 2.8 Macro | Tamron 70-300 Macro
Samyang 85 1.4 ...and a few other manual lenses older than me.
Last Edited by Opethian on 04/08/2013 - 21:54


Link Posted 04/08/2013 - 22:03
Yes point taken Opethian.

I would disagree slightly. though. It's not only an issue of customer service if the warranty does indeed exclude water-damage without exception, especially given the direction of the advertising and product descriptions.

Legally, they could fall back on this whenever they want, regardless of product description. Although there is a history of legal arguments about products where the owner doesn't get to see the warranty until they have bought it - I might look twice as a first time buyer if I have a "-proof" camera that will have its warranty voided if actually used in those conditions.


Link Posted 04/08/2013 - 22:27
Whether of not the warranty includes/excludes water damage is, to me, irrelavent. Under UK law it would be possible to take action against Pentax for the failure of the weather sealing and if they counter claim you would claim it was "Not fit for the advertised purpose". But as you are in Germany other local consumer protection rules would apply although some are common through teh EU


Link Posted 04/08/2013 - 22:58
But weather sealing doesn't have a specific measurement a judge could measure against so I dont see how under UK law you could have a case. If the camera was waterproof then you would have a case.

Its like stainless steel, it still stains eventually it just stains less. Weather resistant could mean it resists weather but it doesnt say how long it resists weather either, its just marketing spiel.

Consumer law is now the same across the EU iirc.
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Concert photography

Currently on a Pentax hiatus until an FF Pentax is released


Link Posted 04/08/2013 - 23:23
Not quite the same, the UK has some advantages in consumer protection.
Best regards, John


Link Posted 04/08/2013 - 23:41
Proof is the key here. Prove you didn't use it with a non-wr lens or drop it in a puddle etc.

Its not as easy as with a fully sealed unit.

Ok they have to prove their case too, but it's on the balance of probabilities here - more likely than not. So depends on the luck of the draw a bit with the courts. Speaking as a lawyer (just not in Germany sadly!).

Germany actually gives longer warranties as standard, but with no real equivalent to the small claims court, unless you stand to lose or have least thousands, it's a gamble with lawyers fees.

Even if consumer law were the same across all countries, agree with john it's not (minimum standards though), access to the law is the crux.

But, to digress...


Link Posted 04/08/2013 - 23:53
Cost of repair is based on disassembly, costly replacement parts, re-assembly and testing plus the labour. Nothing like the manufacturing cost.

At the end of the day, the camera isn’t worth that much for you to pay, as you say, a new one is cheaper.

My 16-50mm was written off yet I was offered a new one at cost, AUS$500.

Other marks don't push WR yet their top models are which is why pros all over the world use them. This thread will have already dissuaded some from using their cameras in the rain.

Good luck with your claim.

Best regards


Link Posted 05/08/2013 - 16:27
I suppose one consideration should be labour costs in manufacturing vs repair.

Camera made in Vietnam by factory workers. Repeairs done by German (or wherever) engineers.

I would be willing to bet that the labour costs of manufacturing one unit are nearly the same as one hour's labour of a European engineer.

Not defending their quotation, but food for thought when we buy all our electrical goods from markets with low labour costs.

They are considering my counter-offer. I wouldn't eactly call what I wrote to them a counter-offer, but we'll anyway...


Link Posted 05/08/2013 - 17:39
I remember Leica justifying the high cost of stripping down
and reassembling one of their mechanical cameras by saying
something like.... The camera when you get is back is basically
a hand built camera put together by hand by one of our highly
skilled mechanics shock:

Half Man... Half Pentax ... Half Cucumber

Pentax K-1 + K-5 and some other stuff



Link Posted 06/08/2013 - 07:06
It has always puzzled me how e.g. the K-5 + 18-135 can prevent water getting in, if the full zoom range is deployed while the combo is soaking wet with rain. When the lens is adjusted from 18 to 135, it appears to (approx.) double its internal volume. Basic physics tells us that this would halve the internal pressure, creating a partial vacuum in the system. Is this vacuum sustained while the lens is extended? - If not, it would appear that something of the order of 100 cubic cm of air will be drawn into the lens and camera, and how could that occur without also sucking some moisture past the seals?



Link Posted 06/08/2013 - 09:00
I use a bit of common sense when shooting in the rain, so, for example, if the lens barrel is fully extended and soaked with water I give it a quick wipe to remove most of that before pulling the barrel back again. In this way, I expect to be lessening the load on the system and helping to keep things dry inside.

I think that reading the instructions helps and this is what they say for WR lenses such as the 18-135mm: "These lenses are made with a simplified weather-resistant construction by using DA* lens sealing technology which makes it difficult for water to enter the lens."

Difficult, not impossible, so we just need to be sensible.
Best regards, John


Link Posted 06/08/2013 - 09:57
Yes, I do likewise. In this case I took the lens off and fully extended it, leaving it in a nice dry place for a day.
But under field conditions, using it at various focal lengths, it is always being zoomed in and out. To wipe it off before every shot is not going to happien realistically, so the risk is never 100% gone.

Retracting the lens if slightly damp you here the sound of air pushing past water - the air in the lens has to go somewhere when the volume decreases! It was at this point I tOok off the lens before extending to dry off again - for fear of water being somehow sucked in.

bearing in mind johns info on the lens, although the lens may remain at risk of water getting in the barrel, surely the seals should prevent any moisture getting to the inner workings of the camera itself. Theoretically, applying a modicum of scepticism as to the specs (my modicum is increasing somewhat).


Link Posted 06/08/2013 - 09:58
Apologies for terrible smartphone related spelling.


Link Posted 06/08/2013 - 09:59
There might be a discrepancy here between advertising and reality.
However, there is also a difference between "waterproof" and "weather-resistant".

From the manual:

"All PENTAX cameras purchased through authorized bona fide photographic distribution channels are guaranteed against defects of material or workmanship [...] Service will be rendered, and defective parts will be replaced without cost to you within that period, provided the equipment does not show evidence of impact, sand or liquid damage, mishandling, tampering, battery or chemical corrosion, operation contrary to operating instructions, or modification by an unauthorized repair shop."

["Vermeiden Sie Kontakt mit Müll, Schlamm, Sand, Staub, Wasser, toxischen Gasen oder Salzen. Sie können zu einem Ausfall der Kamera führen. Wischen Sie etwaige Regen- oder Wassertropfen an der Kamera gleich ab. [...] Die Gewährleistung erlischt, sobald ein Fremdeingriff, unsachgemäße Behandlung oder Gewaltanwendung vorliegt."]

Note that this discussion is not new.
See e.g. http://www.dslr-forum.de/showthread.php?t=1057249 and http://forum.digitalfotonetz.de/viewtopic.php?t=93793

There seems to be no guarantee whatsoever if damage by water occurs.
Though, the probability of such a damage might be lowered by the seals.

E.g. washing the body with or even under water - as shown in some movies - is risky and not covered.
Water can also get in the body, if e.g. air is sucked in or a component is hit by rain at a certain position:
K5 air sucking: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dv3gBca3ymg
PU weatherproofness: https://www.pentaxuser.com/forum/topic/testing-k-5-weatherproofness----35949/p-0
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