How good is weather sealing?


Link Posted 05/01/2014 - 08:50

After being a happy owner of a k-x, I decided to upgrade to a k-50 with the 18-135 WR kit. I'm very impressed with both so far.

I'm shortly going on holiday to Thailand and would like to know how good weather sealing is (it'll probably be very humid and I'm expecting quite a few thunder storms!). I've seen plenty of pictures, including on Ricoh's website, with cameras that look soaked, but the manual says to avoid contact with water, dust etc.

Has anybody had any experience of weather sealing problems? Will it be fine in heavy rain?

Thanks in advance.


Link Posted 05/01/2014 - 09:17
I think the clue is in the name: weather sealed, vs water sealed or waterproof...

It's a bit rude to say in the manual to avoid water and dust really, and I've heard of incidences where Pentax haven't backed people who got their gear wet, which is a bit silly from a PR point of view.

Thailand and tropical downpours are pretty heavy so personally I'd be taking extra precautions...


Link Posted 05/01/2014 - 09:54
I know it's not a K50 but I would hope that Pentax make all their WR cameras to the same standard:link
I bet the manual for these said avoid dust and water too

Hopefully this will give you a bit more confidence.
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Link Posted 05/01/2014 - 10:23
Generally, we just take the K-5 cameras anywhere in any weather and don't worry about it.

In the case of the warm high humidity of Thailand maybe take extra precautions against condensation in the camera and lenses. The conditions are probably more extreme than in the UK.

So I always wipe the zoom barrel after the lens has been extended, to remove most of the water droplets before the lens retracts. I do this automatically when out shooting images as it makes sense to minimise the amount of water the lens has to resist.

When I return to base I wipe the camera dry and then leave the camera to acclimatise before changing lenses or removing cards or batteries. This avoids moisture condensing inside.

Just common sense precautions I think.
Best regards, John


Link Posted 05/01/2014 - 10:44
I think it works very well indeed. There have been a few reports of water ingress but really very few - all cameras of all brands have some level of problems/premature failures.

Given the high performance of the WR I do think it's a shame that Pentax don't stand by the odd case of failure under warranty as those few cases tend to grab headlines and sow doubts.

It remains to be seen how the sealing copes with time, particularly zoom lenses.
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Link Posted 05/01/2014 - 11:10
I haven't taken my Pentaxes to a high humidity country, but they have been in extreme cold, snow storms, ice storms, and all sorts of downpours, including a huge rainstorm storm in the Pacific Northwest. They survived all of those, often with the non WR 17-70 attached. So I think the weather sealing works well.


Link Posted 05/01/2014 - 11:20
Gwyn wrote:
often with the non WR 17-70 attached. So I think the weather sealing works well.

Have you noticed that the DA17-70 has an O-ring installed in the flange, it's a black one and feels a bit harder than the red one installed on WR lenses.

Makes me think the DA17-70 was intended to be a WR lens but didn't pass the testing but the tooling etc. was too far down the line to make viable cost effective changes, would be interesting to know.
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Link Posted 05/01/2014 - 11:35
Yes I had noticed Brian.

I think it is an WR lens even though it doesn't have the magical two letters after it's name. Mine has survived an awful lot of horrible weather completely unscathed.


Link Posted 05/01/2014 - 12:01
This article made me think a bit more carefully! (Right at the bottom is the info about WR - probably not Pentax lenses shown, so not sure of any comparison)

My DA*50-135 has been in some terrible downpours, but I don't think it should be taken for granted. Seals degrade over time, and it's painful to get repaired! I would suggest taking sensible precautions for condensation and water, but then not worrying overly if you get caught in a downpour

The light is often much nicer in the rain!

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Last Edited by MattMatic on 05/01/2014 - 12:02


Link Posted 05/01/2014 - 12:16
I've read somewhere that fungus is a big problem in humid climates. When not in use it might be a good idea to put your vulnerable gear inside ziplock bags with silica gel.

Don't get too paranoid though, fungus might only be an issue to people living there and storing their gear inappropriately.
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Last Edited by Mannesty on 05/01/2014 - 12:17


Link Posted 05/01/2014 - 12:23
I went out yesterday for a stroll by the River Colne (Hertfordshire) with the K-5II + 18-135. E.g. -

The river at that point is usually just a trickle through the big central arch: e.g. from July -

It was raining most of the time yesterday, and the camera and lens were thoroughly soaked. When I got back to the car, I extended the lens slowly to 135 with it still on the camera body, and dried the outside with a clean handkerchief. As I expected (from past experience), today it is all dry and working perfectly. I think that was another good test of Pentax WR!



Link Posted 05/01/2014 - 12:27
When I'm working in rain for a time longer than 10 mins I slip one of these on

For the price they can't be beat.
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Link Posted 05/01/2014 - 12:29
Expectations, of course, are simply a down payment on future disappointment.

This is a quote from the article that Matt linked to. It is presented as a fact, but it seems just a very miserable world-view to me. It totally ignores the possibility that the future may exceed all our expectations...

The other extreme is Professor Panglov's point of view "It is the best possible result in the best of all possible worlds" or something like that. See Voltaire for details.

In any event our cameras and lenses have survived many downpours and, as Matt says, the light in the rain is superb.
Best regards, John


Link Posted 05/01/2014 - 13:21
Does anybody know whether the WR employed on the new 18-55DAL WR used on the K50 is inferior to that used on the 18-55 DA WR lens you get with the K30?

Penny pinching seems to be the order of the day as the lens seems inferior in build quality to the 18-55 DA WR and you no longer get a hood with it. The K30 actually seems a better bet for this reason alone and I wonder whether future K50 sales will be impacted by this attempt to save a couple of quid.


Link Posted 05/01/2014 - 13:41
The DA-L versions are basically the same lens, but with three cost cutting measures: plastic mount instead of metal, no QuickShift and no lens hood supplied. The optics are believed to be identical.

The WR is something new and if it's labelled WR, I'd believe that it's a WR version. The only difference in WR is that the DA* lenses have a more complex WR design that gives better sealing.
Best regards, John
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