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I have a non weather sealed DSLR (Canon 2000D) along with a bunch of non weather sealed lenses and other equipment. I am for obvious reasons not planning to use the camera outdoors in rain, snow or similar weather.

However, I may have to move the camera in the bag to another indoors location in rain.

Today, I learned that many "all weather" camera bags have separate raincovers you have to put on. So, it's not the main material that is weather-resistant but rather a separate raincover.

Do typical camera bag materials (apart from the separate raincover) keep the equipment inside dry enough during a 5 minute walk in medium rain? In very heavy rain, I can of course use the separate raincover but I would prefer a camera bag that is built from material that keeps the camera adequately dry in medium rain for short periods of time. I understand that most camera bags are built from nylon and polyester.

  • This really depends on bag. Do you already own a bag and want to know if it will keep the equipment dry? Or... are you looking to buy a new bag? – Tim Campbell Mar 17 at 23:27
  • They aren’t made new anywhere but I use a Gregory Graph messenger bag. 100% rain proof (tested in Portland, OR). I’d highly recommend looking at hiking packs that sport weatherproofness and modifying for camera equipment. Hiking companies don’t eff around when it comes to keeping the inside dry. – Hueco Mar 17 at 23:56
  • Define typical camera bag materials. – Michael C Mar 21 at 4:39
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In my experience, most well-padded bags will hold dry in medium rain even for several hours. They will get soaked, but very, very slowly. The only source of immediate leaking could be the zippers. So the advise to the cautious would be to buy well-padded bags with weather-proofed zippers.

Note that it also depends on the design of the bag - e.g. mine has a separated non-photo-equipment compartment on the upper side (I use it for water bottles, pens, business cards,....), so even if some rain would enter there, I do not have to fear that my camera gets wet immediately.

Personally, I do not even know where I left the rain cover of my bag - in monsoon-type storms, I typically try to stay indoors or at least under some roof, and for everything else, I never even saw water getting in.

You could also try to further enhance the weatherproofness of your bag with an impregnation spray. They work better than nothing for all kinds of shoes, so it would be worth a try.

Note also that even non-"waterproofed" cameras will typically not die on you at the first exposure to the elements (i.e. a single rain drop), so 5 minutes of light rain should not even damage your camera in the open.

  • I want to add my 2 cents to this answer to provide a low cost alternative for don't let water onto the gear: Put all stuff in a big plastic bag (and close it) in your bag. It helped me already in a heavy rain, because my normal bag didn't hold back all the water for not even 5 min. (Leaking through the zippers was the main problem.) – Horitsu Mar 19 at 5:08
  • @Horitsu While this will help, it wouldn't ease my mind. Better to buy a decent bag in the first place. But: Yeah, it's an easy, cheap idea :-) – flolilo Mar 20 at 2:18
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Definitely, the problem is mostly water that drips, and in practice water remains in the bag's fabric (or is absorbed by the padding). I even spilled about a glass of white wine(*) in my photo bag and the lenses and camera survived.

(*) long story, let's say that a half-bottle (37.5cl) of Muscadet fits nicely in the space left by a Sigma 120-400mm. Lesson learned, I now have a corkscrew in my bag, and don't uncork bottles until I'm ready to empty them.

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    That would make some fantastic questions - "How to drain white wine from inside my lenses?" – flolilo Mar 17 at 14:54
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    @flolilolilo Or "Do I need optical stabilization after I have emptied half a bottle of wine?" – xenoid Mar 17 at 14:57
  • But camera bags are great for transporting (sparkling) wine. I "smuggled" a bottle and 4 glasses to a friends engagement. And since I was the photographer, everyone expected photogear in the bag pack. – Alexander von Wernherr Mar 18 at 12:21

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