Alley in Pisa, Italy

by Lars Kotthoff

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I'm thinking about buying a Nikon D7000 and I have found out that it's weather sealed (sealed to shoot in rain). So my questions are:

  • Does it really work in heavy rain or is it only for a few water drops?
  • How can I know which lenses are weather sealed too? Is there a list?
  • Can I somehow make my curent lens "weather sealed" with some kind of plastic bag?
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5 Answers 5

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Nikon is puposefully vague about weather sealing. They say resistant to casual humidity in the manual. It doesn't sound likr much but I used their D3S in the rain without problems.

The D7000 is one level below but I would expect it to work in the rain and snow. I have a Pentax K-5 and K-7 which the same class of camera and have rinsed both several time under the tap when the become too dirty with sand, mud and sulfur (the same should be done for salt-water). Neither had any problems at all with that.

It is easy to find if a lens is weather-sealed, just look for the Umbrella icon next to a lens on Neocamera. You can also search for weather-sealed lenses by enabling the same icon: http://www.neocamera.com/search_lens.php

Finally you can protect your camera and lens by buying a rain cover. They come in different sizes, have a transparent back and access for your hands. Poor man's version is to use a plastic bag with whole cut out for the lens and a rubber band to keep it tight around the lens barrel.

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I have been using a D7000 for two years, and frequently in heavy rain/very humid conditions as I mostly use it for outdoor sports like mountaineering or sailing.

Does it really work in heavy rain, or is it only for few water drops?

Well, yes it does. Never had a problem using it for 30 minutes in heavy rain or on a sailing boat after it received a huge wave (I was so scared I dried it as fast as I could and removed the battery but it was fine).

That said - I am an engineer - having had a closer look at it I would not be so confident if you wanted to regularly shoot when it is raining. I feel more lucky than really safe with my still alive d7000 ;) I would certainly recommend a plastic bag.

How can I know which lenses are weather sealed too? Is there a list?

I can't provide anything more than Itai's answer on this part of the question.

Can I somehow make my curent lens "weather sealed" with some kind of plastic bag?

I prefer using something such as an Aquapac

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"Weather sealing" is something that i would never trust fully - these cameras are designed to be resistant to a quick sprinkle, but not to a constant heavy soaking.

You can get clear weather covers for cameras, and would suggest that if you think you will be working a lot in the rain - get one - leakage will NOT be covered under warranty.

yes you could rig up a weather sealed lens i guess, id say with a plastic bag, some tape and a UV filter.

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Remember that weather sealing is intended to help in a variety of conditions including humidity and rain, but also limits the dust and dirt that gets into the camera. It's simply extra insurance that the camera can handle more adverse conditions than non-weather sealed cameras.

Is it really working in heavy rain or is it only for few water drops?

When you are working in light or heavy rain, you need to be conscious of how you are using and protecting the camera. Weather sealing is not waterproofing. If you keep the camera in your coat and pull it out for some photos in torrential rains, then put it back in your coat immediately, I'm sure the camera will be fine, and I bet the camera will keep working, perhaps because of the weather sealing. If you expect that weather sealing means you can sling the camera over your shoulder for a 10-hour day outside in heavy rain, you're going to be in serious trouble -- forget about weather sealing for a second and just think about all that moisture on the front of the lens; you won't be able to see anything!

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I was watching some videos of talks given by pro photographers at B&H and this came up. His rule of thumb was that if you're wearing a jacket you should probably cover your camera as well, but if it's dry enough that you're comfortable in just a t-shirt then the weather sealing on your lens/camera should be adequate.

For me, it's about how comfortable with my $1500+ gear getting wet. I'm not rich so any kind of moisture is too much for me because it'd be pretty devastating to have it be destroyed, especially if it is preventable.

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